5. M. Claudius
Marcellus, M. F. M. N., son of the preceding, was remarkable as a youth for his personal beauty, as well as for his modest and engaging demeanour.
The insult offered him by Scantilius, and the punishment inflicted on the latter by the elder Marcellus, have been already adverted to (p. 297b). In B. C. 208 he accompanied his father as military tribune, and was one of those present with him at the time of his death.
He was himself badly wounded in the skirmish in which the elder Marcellus fell, notwithstanding which, we find him shortly after entrusted by the consul Crispinus with the charge of conducting the troops of his father's army into safe quarters at Venusia. (Liv. 27.27
; Plb. 10.32
; Plut. Marc. 28
.) On his return to Rome, he received from Hannibal the ashes of his father, over which he pronounced his funeral oration, a composition which Caelius Antipater already regarded as unworthy of credit in an historical point of view (Liv. 27.27
), though it may well be suspected to be the source from whence have emanated many of the misrepresentations and exaggerations which have disfigured the history of the elder Marcellus.
In B. C. 205 he dedicated the temple of Virtus, near the Porta Capena, which had been vowed by his father, but was still unfinished at the time of his death (Liv. 29.11
); and the following year (204) he held the office of tribune of the people.
In this capacity he was one of those appointed to accompany the praetor, M. Pomponius Matho, to inquire into the charge of sacrilege brought by the Locrians against Scipio, as well as his lieutenant, Pleminius. (Liv. 29.20
.) Four years later (B. C. 200) he was curule aedile with Sex. Aelius Paetus: they rendered their magistracy conspicuous by the quantity of corn that they imported at a cheap rate from Africa, as well as by the magnificence with which they celebrated the Roman games. (Liv. 31.50
.) In B. C. 198 he was elected one of the praetors, and obtained Sicily as his province, with a force of 4000 foot and 300 horse, but his services were confined to the sending supplies to the Roman armies in Greece. (Id. 32.8, 27.)
After the customary interval of two years he obtained the consulship, with L. Furius Purpureo, B. C. 196. (Id. 33.24; Fast. Capit.) His great object was to obtain the renewal or continuation of the Macedonian war, to which an end had just been put by Flamininus; but this was frustrated by the people, who ratified the peace which the latter had concluded with Philip; and Marcellus was compelled to content himself with the conduct of the war in Cisalpine Gaul. Here he at first met with a defeat from the Boians, but this was soon compensated by a brilliant victory over the Insubrians, and the conquest of the important town of Comum. Besides this, in conjunction with his colleague, Purpureo, he obtained some advantages over the Boians and Ligurians: and on his return to Rome was, by unanimous consent, honoured with a triumph. (Liv. 33.25
; Plb. 18.25
In the same year he was appointed pontifex, in the room of C. Sempronius Tuditanus. (Liv. 33.42
.) In B. C. 193 he again served in Cisalpine Gaul as one of the lieutenants of the consul L. Cornelius Merula, and took part in the great victory he obtained over the Boians. (Id. 35.5, 8.) In B. C. 189 he obtained the censorship in conjunction with T. Flamininus, an honour which was enhanced in this instance by the number of distinguished competitors over whom they obtained the preference. Their census was marked by the first admission of the people of Formiae, Fundi, and Arpinum, to the full rights of Roman citizens. (Liv. 37.58
.) From this time we hear no more of him till his death, in B. C. 177. (Id. 41.13.)