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Marcus Cornelius Cethegus (d. 196 BC), was a Roman Republican consul and censor during the Second Punic War, best known as a political ally of his kinsman Scipio Africanus.

Political career

He was chosen curule aedile, 213 BC, apparently with his young kinsman Scipio Africanus as his colleague, although Scipio was under-age (the usual age being the mid-thirties).

In 211 BC, as praetor, he had charge of Apulia; later, he was sent to Sicily, where he proved a successful administrator. In 209 BC, before he had been consul, he was elected censor with Publius Sempronius Tuditanus. During their censorship, Cethegus disagreed with his colleague about which senator should be elected Princeps Senatus; Tuditanus had the right of choice and chose Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucoses Cunctator, while Cethegus wanted the most senior censor Titus Manlius Torquatus to be the Princeps Senatus. (Source: Livy's History)

In 204 BC, he was elected consul, possibly to aid his kinsman Scipio, then in Africa. In 203 BC he was proconsul in Italia Superior, where, in conjunction with the praetor Publius Quintilius Varus, he gained a hard-won victory over Mago Barca, Hannibal's brother, in Insubrian territory, and obliged him to leave Italy.

Other roles

Cethegus was a priest, and his death in 196 BC was reported by Livy in connection with his replacement.

He had a great reputation as an orator, and is characterized by Ennius as the quintessence of persuasiveness (suadae medulla). Horace (Ars Poet. 50; Epistles, ii.2.117) calls him an authority on the use of Latin words.

Sources

  • Ennius.
  • Horace. Ars Poet. 50; Epistles, ii.2.117
  • Livy xxv.2, 41, xxvii.II, xxix.ii, xxx.18.
Preceded by
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and Publius Licinius Crassus Dives
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Publius Sempronius Tuditanus
204 BC
Succeeded by
Gnaeus Servilius Caepio and Gaius Servilius Geminus
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