1. C. Norbanus
, was tribune of the plebs, B. C. 95, when he accused Q. Servilius Caepio of majestas, because he had robbed the temple of Tolosa in his consulship, B. C. 106, and had by his rashness and imprudence occasioned the defeat and destruction of the Roman army by the Cimbri, in the following year (B. C. 105).
The senate, to whom Caepio had by a lex restored the judicia in his consulship, but of which they had been again deprived two years afterwards, made the greatest efforts to obtain his acquittal; but, notwithstanding these exertions, and the powerful advocacy of the great orator L. Crassus, who was then consul, he was condemned by the people, and went into exile at Smyrna.
The disturbances, however, which took place at his trial, afforded the enemies of Norbanus a fair pretext for his accusation; and in the following year (B. C. 94), he was accordingly accused of majestas under the lex Appuleia.
The accusation was conducted by P. Sulpicius Rufus ; and the defence by the celebrated orator M. Antonius, under whom Norbanus had formerly served as quaestor, and who gives in the De Oratore
of Cicero a very interesting account of the line of argument which he adopted on the occasion. Norbanus .was acquitted. (Cic. de Orat. ii.
48, 49, 3.21, 25, 39, 40, Orat. Part.
30; V. Max. 8.5.2
; Meyer, Fragm. Rom. Orator
p. 287, &c., 2d ed.)
In B. C. 90 or 89, Norbanus was praetor in Sicily during the Social or Marsic war, but no attempt at insurrection occurred in the island. (Cic. Ver. 5.4
, comp. 3.49.) In B. C. 88 he came to the assistance of the town of Rhegium, which was very nearly falling into the hands of the Samnites, who, taking advantage of the civil commotions at Rome, had formed the design of invading Sicily. (Diod. Eclog.
xxxvii. p. 540, ed. Wesseling.
The text of Diodorus has Γάϊος Ὀρβανός
for which we ought undoubtedly to read with Wesseling, Γαϊος Νορβανός
In the civil wars Norbanus espoused the Marian party, and was consul in B. C. 83 with Scipio .Asiaticus.
In this year Sulla crossed over from Greece to Italy, and marched from Brundisium into Campania, where Norbanus was waiting for him, on the Vulturnus at the foot of Mount Tifata, not far from Capua. Sulla at first sent deputies to Norbanus under the pretext of treating respecting a peace, but evidently with the design of tampering with his troops; bat they could not effect their purpose, and returned to Sulla after being insulted and maltreated by the other side. Thereupon a general engagement ensued, the issue of which was not long doubtful; the raw levies of Norbanus were unable to resist the first charge of Sulla's veterans, and fled in all directions, and it was not till they reached the walls of Capua that Norbanus was able to rally them again. Six or seven thousand of his men fell in this battle, while Sulla's loss is said to have been only seventy. Appian, contrary to all the other authorities, places this battle near Canusium in Apulia, but it is not improbable, as Druimann has conjectured (Geschichte Röms,
vol. ii. p. 459), that he wrote Casilinum, a town on the Vulturnus.
In the following year, B. C. 82, Norbanus joined the consul Carbo in Cisalpine Gaul, but their united forces were entirely defeated by Metellus Pius. [METELLUS, No. 19.] This may be said to have given the death-blow to the Marian party in Italy. Desertion from their ranks rapidly followed, and Albinovanus, who had been entrusted with the command of Ariminum, invited Norbanus and his principal officers to a banquet. Norbanus suspected treachery, and declined the invitation; the rest accepted it and were murdered. Norbanus succeeded in making his escape from Italy, and fled to Rhodes; but his person having been demanded by Sulla, he killed himself in the middle of the market-place, while the Rhodians were consulting whether they should obey the commands of the dictator. (Appian, App. BC 1.82
; Liv. Epit. 85
; Vell. 2.25
; Plut. Sull. 27
; Oros. 5.20
; Flor. 3.21.18