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16. L. Aemilius Paullus, M. F. Q. N., was a son of No. 13, and a brother of M. Lepidus, the triumvir. (Vell. 2.67.) His surname Paullus instead of Lepidus has led many to suppose that he was only an adopted brother of the triumvir; but Drumann has shown that Paullus was own brother of the triumvir. (Drumann's Rom, vol. i. p. 5.) The surname of Paullus was probably given him by his father in honour of the celebrated Aemilius Paullus, the conqueror of Macedonia, which he might do with the less scruple, as Paullus appears to have left no descendants bearing his name. Lepidus might therefore naturally desire that this family should be, as it were, again revived by one of his sons; and to show the more honour to the name, he gave it to his eldest son; for that L. Paullus was older than his brother the triumvir appears almost certain from the respective dates at which they attained the offices of the state. Some writers have supposed that the triumvir must have been the elder from his bearing the praenomen of his father; but since Lucius was the praenomen of the conqueror of Macedonia, we can easily understand why the father should depart on this occasion from the usual Roman practice of giving his own praenomen to his eldest son.

Since Aemilius Paullus undoubtedly belonged to the family of the Lepidi, and not to that of the Paulli, he is inserted in this place and not under PAULLUS.

Aemilius Paullus did not follow the example of his father, but commenced his public career by warmly supporting the aristocratical party. His first public act was the accusation of Catiline in B. C. 63, according to the Lex Plantia de vi, an act which Cicero praised as one of great service to the state, and on account of which Paullus incurred the hatred of the popular party. He must then have been quite a young man, for he was not quaestor till three years afterwards; and it was during his quaestorship in Macedonia, in B. C. 59, under the propraetor C. Octavius, that he was accused by L. Vettius as one of the persons privy to the pretended conspiracy against the life of Pompey. He is mentioned in B. C. 57 as exerting himself to obtain the recall of Cicero from banishment.

In his aedileship, B. C. 55, Paullus restored one of the ancient basilica in the middle of the forum, and likewise commenced a new one of extraordinary size and splendour. (Cic. Att. 4.16.) Respecting these basilicae, which have given rise to considerable dispute, a few remarks are made below, where a coin is given representing one of them.

In B. C. 53, Paullus obtained the praetorship, but not until the month of July, in consequence of the disturbances at Rome, which prevented the elections taking place till that month. He was chosen consul for the year B. C. 50, along with M. Claudius Marcellus, as one of the most determined enemies of Caesar. But he grievously disappointed the hopes of the aristocrats who had raised him to the consulship, for Caesar gained him over to his side by a bribe of 1500 talents, which he is said to have expended on the completion of his basilica. By accepting this bribe he lost the confidence of all parties, and accordingly seems to have taken no part in the civil war between Pompey and Caesar. After the murder of the latter, in B. C. 44, Paullus joined the senatorial party; and he was one of the senators who declared M. Lepidus a public enemy, on the 30th of June, B. C. 43, on account of his having joined Antony; and, accordingly, when the triumvirate was formed in the autumn of the same year, his name was set down first in the proscription list by his own brother. The soldiers, however, who were appointed to kill him, allowed him to escape, probably with the connivance of his brother. He passed over to Brutus in Asia, and after the death of the latter repaired to Miletus. Here he remained, and refused to go to Rome, although he was pardoned by the triumvirs. As he is not mentioned again, he probably died soon afterwards. (Sal. Cat. 31; Schol. Bob. in Vatin. p. 320, ed. Orelli; Cic. in Vatin. 10, ad Att. 2.24, ad Qu. Fr. 2.4, pro Mil. 9, ad Att. 6.1, 3, ad Fam. 8.4, 8, 10, 11, 15.12, 3; Appian, App. BC 2.26; D. C. 40.43, 63; Suet. Jul. 29; Plut. Caes. 29, Pomp. 58; Liv. Epit. 120 ; Appian, App. BC 4.12, 37; D. C. 47.6 ; Veil. Pat. 2.67.)

The preceding coin contains on the obverse the head of Vesta, and on the reverse the Basilica Aemilia.

It has been already seen that Cicero says (ad Att. 4.16) that Aemilius Paullus restored a basilica in the forum, and also commenced a new one. The former must have been the same as the one originally built by the censors M. Aemilius Lepidus and M. Fulvius Nobilior, in B. C. 179. As M. Fulvius seems to have had the principal share in its construction (Liv. 40.51), it was generally called the Fulvia basilica (Plut. Caes. 29), sometimes the Aemilia et Fulvia (Varr L. L. 6.2), but after the restoration by Aemilius Paullus, it was always called the Basilica Paulli or Aemilia. The restoration of this basilica was almost completed in B. C. 54, the year in which Cicero (l.c.) was writing. But the question where the new one was built is a very difficult one to answer. Most modern writers have supposed that the two basilicae were built by the side of one another side the forum; but this seems hardly possible to have been the case, since we never find mention of more than one basilica Aemilia or Paulli in all the ancient writers. (Tac. Ann. 3.72; Plin. Nat. 36.15, 24; Stat. Silv. 1.1. 29; Plut. Caes. 29, Galb. 26; D. C. 49.42, 54.24; Appian, App. BC 2.26.) Becker, therefore, supposes (Handb. der Rom. Alterthümer, vol. i. pp. 301-306) that the new building, which Paullus commenced, was the same as the one afterwards called the Basilica Julia, more especially as Paullus is expressly said to have received money from Caesar for the erection of one of these basilica. Cicero's letter (l.c.) certainly speaks as if the new basilica were to be built by Paullus at Caesar's expense; and it may therefore be that the statement of Appian (App. BC 2.26) and Plutarch (Plut. Caes. 29), that Paullus was bribed by Caesar in his consulship with a sum of 1500 talents, and that he expended this upon the basilica Aemilia, is not quite correct. The mistake, however, is a very natural one; for though the 1500 talents, might have been appropriated to the erection of the new basilica, subsequent writers would naturally suppose that the money had been expended upon the building which bore the name of Aemilius Paullus in their own time. For a further discussion of this subject, which hardly belongs to the present work, the reader is referred to Becker (l.c.

The basilica Aemilia in the forum was rebuilt at his own expense by Paullus Aemilius Lepidus [No. 19], the son of the present article, and dedicated in his consulship, B. C. 34 (D. C. 49.42). It was burnt down twenty years afterwards, B. C. 14, by a fire, which also destroyed the temple of Vesta, and was rebuilt nominally by Paullus Lepidus, but in reality by Augustus and the friends of Paullus (D. C. 54.24). The new building was a most magnificent one; its columns of Phrygian marble were especially celebrated (Plin. Nat. 36.15, 24). It was again repaired by Lepidus [No. 23] in the reign of Tiberius, A. D. 22 (Tac. Ann. 3.72).

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hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (12):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.16
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.4.26
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 4.3.12
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 4.6.37
    • Tacitus, Annales, 3.72
    • Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, 31
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 29
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.15
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.24
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 51
    • Plutarch, Caesar, 29
    • Statius, Silvae, 1.1
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