16. M. Claudius
Marcellus, called by Cicero, for distinction's sake, the father of Aeserninus. (Brut.
36.) We have no account of his connection with the main branch of the Marcelli, the family of the conqueror of Syracuse: the pedigree, as made out by Drumann, though not in itself improbable, is wholly without authority.
He is first mentioned as serving under Marius in Gaul in B. C. 102, when he bore an important part in the defeat of the Teutones near Aquae Sextiae. (Plut. Marc. 20
.) In B. C. 90 his name occurs as one of the lieutenants of L. Julius Caesar in the Marsic war: and it appears that after the defeat of the consul by Vettius Cato, Marcellus threw himself, with a body of troops, into the strong fortress of Aesernia in Samnium, where he held out for a considerable time, but was at length compelled to surrender for want of provisions. (Appian, App. BC 1.40
; Liv. Epit.
It is doubtless from some circumstance connected with this siege that his son derived the surname of Aeserninus.
There is little doubt that it is this M. Marcellus who appears as one of the judges in the trial of P. Quintius, B. C. 81 (Cic. pro Quint.
17), and to whom Cicero also alludes as having a deadly feud with the orator L. Crassus (pro Font.
He was himself a speaker of no ordinary merit. (Cic. Brut. 36