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5. L. Plautius Plancus, brother of the three preceding, was adopted by a L. Plautius, and therefore took his praenomen as well as nomen, but retained his original cognomen, as was the case with Metellus Scipio [METELLUS, No. 22], and Pupius Piso. [PISO, No. 18.] Before his adoption his praenomen was Caius, and hence he is called by Valerius Maximus C. Plautius Plancus. He was included in the proscription of the triumvirs, B. C. 43, with the consent of his brother Lucius [No. 2]. He concealed himself in the neigourhood of Salernum; but the perfumes which he used and his refined mode of living betrayed his lurking-place to his pursuers, and to save his slaves, who were being tortured to death because they would not betray him, he voluntarily surrendered himself to his executioners. (Plin. Nat. 13.3. s. 5; V. Max. 6.8.5; Appian, App. BC 4.12 ; Vell. 2.67.) The following coin, which bears the legends L. PLAVTIVS PLANCVS, must have been struck by this Plancus, as no other Plautius is mentioned with this cognomen. This coin, representing on the obverse a mask, and on the reverse Aurora leading four horses, refers to a circumstance which happened in the censorship of C. Plautius Venox, who filled this office with Ap. Claudius Caecus in B. C. 312 It is related that the tibicines having qarrelled with the censor Ap. Claudius left Rome and went to Tibur; but as the people felt the loss o them, the other censor, Plautius, had them placed in wggons one sight when they were drunk, and cornveyed to Rome, where they arrived early next morning; and, that they might not be recognized by the magistrates, he caused their faces to be covered with masks, The tale is related at length by Ovid (Ov. Fast. 6.651), and the following lines in particular throws light upon the subject of the coin:--

"Jamque per Esquilias Romanam intraverat urbem,
Et MANE in moedio plaustra fuere foro.
PLAUTIUS, ut possent specie numneroque senatumi Fallere, personis imperat ora tegi."

(Comp. Eckhel, vol. v. p. 276, &c.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 4.3.12
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 13.3
    • Ovid, Fasti, 6
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 6.8.5
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