5. C. Memmius
, tribune of the plebs in B. C. 111, was an ardent opponent of the oligarchical party at Rome during the Jugurthine war. His exposure of its venality, incompetence, and traffic with Jugurtha first opened the command of the legions to the incorruptible Metellus Numidicus, and finally to the low-born but able C. Marius, and thus laid the foundation of ultimate victory and triumph. (Sal. Jug. 27
.) Among the nobles impeached by Memmius were L. Calpurnius Bestia [BESTIA, No. 1], and M. Aemilius Scaurus. (Cic. de Orat.
ii. 70, pro Font.
7.) Memmius was slain with bludgeons by the mob of Saturninus and Glaucia, while a candidate for the consulship in B. C. 100. (Cic. in Cat.
4.2; Appian, App. BC 1.32
; Liv. Epit. 69
; Flor. 3.16
.) Sallust (Sal. Jug. 31
) gives a speech of Mremmius which, however, is rather a dramatic than an authentic version of the original, and he had a higher opinion of the tribune's eloquence than Cicero (Cic. Brut. 36
) altogether sanctions.
In the " Life of Terence" (3), ascribed to Suetonius, is preserved a fragment of Memmius's speech "de Se,
"--the defence, probably, at which the judices rejected the evidence of Memmius's enemy M. Aemilius Scaurts (Cic. pro Font.
7), and there is another doubtful fragnent in Priscian (8.4). (Compare Ellendt, Proleg. in Cic. Brut.
Ixi.; Meyer, Fragm. Rom. Orat.
p. 138.) From some forensic witticisms of L. Licinius Crassus [CRASSUS, No. 23], it would appear that Memmius had the by-name of "Mordax." (Cic. de Orat.
2.59.240, 66.267; Quint. Inst.