15. Q. Cassius
Longinus, is called by Cicero (Cic. Att. 5.21
) the frater
of C. Cassius [No. 11], by which he probably means the first cousin rather than the brother of Caius, more especially as both Quintus and Caius were tribunes of the plebs in the same year.
The public life of Quintus commenced and ended in Spain. In B. C. 54 he went as the quaestor of Pompey into that country, and availed himself of the absence of the triumvir to accumulate vast treasures in Further Spain. His conduct was so rapacious and cruel, that a plot was formed to take away his life. In B. C. 49 he was tribune of the plebs, and, in conjunction with his colleague M. Antony, warmly opposed the measures of the aristocracy. They put their veto upon the decrees of the senate, and when they were driven out of the senate-house by the consuls on the 6th of January, they left Rome, and fled to Caesar's camp. Caesar's victorious advance through Italy soon restored them to the city, and it was they who summoned the senate to receive the conqueror. Upon Caesar's setting out for Spain in the course of this year, in order to oppose Afranius and Petreius, the legates of Pompey, he took Cassius with him; and after the defeat of the Pompeians, when he departed from the province, he left Cassius governor of Further Spain. Hated by the inhabitants, on account of his former exactions, and anxious to accumulate still further treasures, he was obliged to rely entirely upon the support of his soldiers, whose favour he courted by presents and indulgencies of every kind. Meantime, he received orders from Caesar to pass over to Africa, in order to prosecute the war against Juba, king of Numidia, who had espoused the side of Pompey; orders which delighted him much, as Africa afforded a fine field for plunder. Accordingly, in B. C. 48, he collected his army at Corduba; but while he was thus employed, a conspiracy broke out which had been formed against him by the provincials, and in which many of his troops joined.
He was openly attacked in the market-place of Corduba, and received many wounds: the conspirators, thinking that he was killed, chose L. Laterensis as his successor. [LATERENSIS, No. 2.] Cassius, however, escaped with his life, succeeded in putting down the insurrection, and executed Laterensis and all the other conspirators who were unable to purchase their lives.
The province was treated with greater severity than ever. Shortly afterwards two legions, which had formerly served under Varro, the legate of Pompey, and which were marching to Calpe to be shipped for Africa, openly declared against Cassius, and elected one T. Torius as their commander.
The inhabitants of Corduba also rose in insurrection, and the quaestor, M. Marcellus Aeserninus, who had been sent by Cassius to quiet the town, placed himself at their head. Cassius immediately sent to Bogud, king of Mauritania, and to M. Lepidus, who commanded in Nearer Gaul, for succours; and till these should arrive, he took up a strong position on a hill, about 4000 paces from Corduba, from which it was separated by the river Baetis (Guadalquiver). From this position, however, he was obliged to retire, and take refuge in the town of Ulia, which Marcellus proceeded to enclose by lines of circumvallation.
But before these were completed Bogud came to his assistance, and shortly afterwards Lepidus appeared with a numerous force.
The latter called upon Marcellus and Cassius to lay aside hostilities; Marcellus immediately obeyed, and joined Lepidus, but Cassius hesitated to place himself in his power, and asked for a free departure.
This was granted to him; and as he heard about the same time that his successor, C. Trebonius, had arrived in the province, he hastened to place his troops in winter-quarters (B. C. 47), and to escape from the province with his treasures.
He embarked at Malaca, but his ship sank, and he was lost, at the mouth of the Iberus. (Cic. Att. 5.20
, ad Fam.
16.11; Caes. Civ. 1.2
; Hirt. B. Alex.
48-64; Appian, App. BC 2.33
; D. C. 41.15
; Liv. Epit. 111