A distinguished plebeian family of the Caecilia gens at Rome. (1) L. Caecilius Metellus, consul B.C. 251, carried on the war in Sicily against the Carthaginians. In the following year he gained a great victory at Panormus over Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian general. The elephants which he took in this battle were exhibited in his [p. 1038]
triumph at Rome. Metellus was consul a second time in 249, and was elected pontifex maximus in 243, and held this dignity for twenty-two years. He must, therefore, have died shortly before the [figure in text: Coin of Caecilius Metellus, referring to the Battle of Panormus.] commencement of the Second Punic War. In 241 he rescued the Palladium when the Temple of Vesta was on fire, but lost his sight in consequence. He was dictator in 224 for the purpose of holding the comitia.
(2) Q. Caecilius Metellus, son of the preceding, was plebeian aedile B.C. 209; curule aedile 208; served in the army of the consul Claudius Nero 207, and was one of the legates sent to Rome to convey the joyful news of the defeat and death of Hasdrubal; and was consul with L. Veturius Philo, 206.In his consulship he and his colleague carried on the war against Hannibal in Bruttium, where he remained as proconsul during the following year. In 205 he was dictator for the purpose of holding the comitia. Metellus survived the Second Punic War many years, and was employed in several public commissions.
(3) Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedoncus, son of the last, was praetor in B.C. 148, and carried on war in Macedonia against the usurper Andriscus, whom he defeated and took prisoner. He next turned his arms against the Achaeans, whom he defeated at the beginning of 146. On his return to Rome in 146, he triumphed, and received the surname of Macedonicus. Metellus was consul in 143, and received the province of Nearer Spain, where he carried on the war with success for two years against the Celtiberi. He was succeeded by Q. Pompeius in 141. Metellus was censor 131. He died 115, full of years and honours. He is frequently quoted by the ancient writers as an extraordinary instance of human felicity. He had filled all the highest offices of the State with reputation and glory, and was carried to the funeral pile by four sons, three of whom had obtained the consulship in his lifetime, while the fourth was a candidate for the office at the time of his death.
(4) L. Caecilius Metellus Calvus, brother of the last, consul B.C. 142.
(5) Q. Caecilius Metellus Balearcus, eldest son of No. 3 was consul B.C. 123, when he subdued the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands, and received in consequence the surname of Balearicus. He was censor B.C. 120.
(6) L. Caecilius Metellus Diademtus, second son of No. 3, has been frequently confounded with Metellus Dalmaticus, consul B.C. 119. Metellus Diadematus received the latter name from his wearing for a long time a bandage round his forehead, in consequence of an ulcer. He was consul B.C. 117.
(7) M. Caecilius Metellus, third son of No. 3, was consul B.C. 115, the year in which his father died. In 114 he was sent into Sardinia as proconsul, and suppressed an insurrection in the island, in consequence of which he obtained a triumph in B.C. 113 on the same day as his brother Caprarius.
(8) C. Caecilius Metellus Caprarius, fourth son of No. 3. The origin of his surname is quite uncertain. He was consul B.C. 113, and carried on war in Macedonia against the Thracians, whom he subdued. He obtained a triumph in consequence in the same year and on the same day with his brother Marcus. He was censor B.C. 102 with his cousin Metellus Numidicus.
(9) L. Caecilius Metellus Dalmatcus, elder son of No. 4, and frequently confounded, as has been already remarked, with Diadematus, was consul B.C. 119, when he subdued the Dalmatians, and obtained in consequence the surname Dalmaticus. He was censor with Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus in 115; and he was also pontifex maximus. He was alive in 100, when he is mentioned as one of the senators of high rank who took up arms against Saturninus.
(10) Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidcus, younger son of No. 4, was one of the most distinguished members of his family. The character of Metellus stood very high among his contemporaries; in an age of growing corruption, his personal integrity remained unsullied; and he was distinguished for his abilities in war and peace. He was one of the chief leaders of the aristocratic party at Rome. He was consul B.C. 109, and carried on the war against Iugurtha in Numidia with great success. (See Iugurtha.) He remained in Numidia during the following year as proconsul; but as he was unable to bring the war to a conclusion, his legate C. Marius industriously circulated reports in the camp and the city that Metellus designedly protracted the war for the purpose of continuing in the command. These rumours had the desired effect. Marius was raised to the consulship, Numidia was assigned to him as his province, and Metellus saw the credit of finishing the war snatched from his grasp. (See Marius.) On his return to Rome in 107 he was received with the greatest honour. He celebrated a splendid triumph, and received the surname of Numidicus. In 102 he was censor with his cousin Metellus Caprarius. In 100 the tribune Saturninus and Marius resolved to ruin Metellus. Saturninus proposed an agrarian law, to which he added the clause that the Senate should swear obedience to it within five days after its enactment, and that whosoever should refuse to do so should be expelled from the Senate and pay a heavy fine. Metellus refused to take the oath, and was therefore expelled from the Senate; but Saturninus, not content with this, brought forward a bill to punish him with exile. The friends of Metellus were ready to take up arms in his defence; but Metellus quitted the city and retired to Rhodes, where he bore his misfortune with great calmness. He was, however, recalled to Rome in the following year (99) on the proposition of the tribune Q. Calidius. The orations of Metellus are spoken of with praise by Cicero, and they continued to be read with admiration in the time of Fronto.
(11) Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos, son of Balearicus and grandson of Macedonicus, appears to have received the surname of Nepos because he was the eldest grandson of the latter. Metellus Nepos exerted himself in obtaining the recall of his kinsman Metellus Numidicus from banishment in B.C. 99, and was consul in 98 with T. Didius. In this year the two consuls carried the lex Caecilia Didia.
(12) Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, son of Numidicus, received the surname of Pius on account of the love which he displayed for his father when he besought the people to recall him from banishment in B.C. 99. He was praetor B.C. 89, and was one of the commanders in the Marsic or Social War. He was still in [p. 1039]
arms in 87, prosecuting the war against the Samnites, when Marius landed in Italy and joined the consul Cinna. The Senate, in alarm, summoned Metellus to Rome; but as he was unable to defend the city against Marius and Cinna , he crossed over to Africa. After remaining in Africa three years, he returned to Italy and joined Sulla , who also returned to Italy in 83. In the war which followed against the Marian party, Metellus was one of the most successful of Sulla 's generals, and gained several important victories both in Umbria and in Cisalpine Gaul. In 80 Metellus was consul with Sulla himself; and in the following year (79) he went as proconsul into Spain, in order to prosecute the war against Sertorius, who adhered to the Marian party. Here he remained for the next eight years, and found it so difficult to obtain any advantages over Sertorius that the Senate sent Pompey to his assistance with proconsular power and another army. Sertorius, however, was a match for them both, and would probably have continued to defy all the efforts of Metellus and Pompey if he had not been murdered by Perperna and his friends in 72. (See Sertorius.) Metellus was pontifex maximus, and, as he was succeeded in this dignity by Iulius Caesar in 63, he must have died either in this year or at the end of the preceding.
(13) Q Caecilius Metellus Celer, elder son of Nepos. In B.C. 66 he served as legate in the army of Pompey in Asia; and was praetor in 63, the year in which Cicero was consul. During his year of office he afforded warm and efficient support to the aristocratic party. He prevented the condemnation of C. Rabirius by removing the military flag from the Ianiculum. He coperated with Cicero in opposing the schemes of Catiline; and, when the latter left the city to make war upon the Republic, Metellus had the charge of the Picentine and Senonian districts. By blocking up the passes he prevented Catiline from crossing the Apennines and penetrating into Gaul, and thus compelled him to turn round and face Antoninus, who was marching against him from Etruria. In the following year, 62, Metellus went with the title of proconsul into the province of Cisalpine Gaul, which Cicero had relinquished because he was unwilling to leave the city. In 60 Metellus was consul with L. Afranius, and opposed all the efforts of his colleague to obtain the ratification of Pompey's acts in Asia and an assignment of lands for his soldiers. He died in 59, and it was suspected that he had been poisoned by his wife Clodia, with whom he lived on the most unhappy terms, and who was a woman of the utmost profligacy.
(14) Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos, younger son of the elder Nepos (No. 11). He served as legate of Pompey in the war against the pirates and in Asia from B.C. 67 to 64. He returned to Rome in 63 in order to become a candidate for the tribunate, that he might thereby favour the views of Pompey. His election was opposed by the aristocracy, but without success. His year of office was a stormy one. One of his first acts in entering upon his office on the 10th of December, 63, was a violent attack upon Cicero. He maintained that the man who had condemned Roman citizens without a hearing ought not to be heard himself, and accordingly prevented Cicero from addressing the people on the last day of his consulship, and only allowed him to take the usual oath, whereupon Cicero swore that he had saved the State. In the following year (62) Metellus brought forward a bill to summon Pompey, with his army, to Rome, in order to restore peace; but on the day on which the bill was to be read, the two parties came to open blows; and Metellus was obliged to take to flight. He repaired to Pompey, with whom he returned to Rome in 61. He was praetor in 60, and consul in 57 with P. Lentulus Spinther. Notwithstanding his previous enmity with Cicero, he did not oppose his recall from exile. In 56 Metellus administered the province of Nearer Spain, where he carried on war against the Vaccaei. He died in 55. Metellus did not adhere strictly to the political principles of his family. He did not support the aristocracy, like his brother; nor, on the other hand, can he be said to have been the leader of the democracy. He was rather the faithful henchman of Pompey, opposing or supporting Cicero as his master required.
(15) L. Caecilius Metellus Cretcus, tribune of the people in B.C. 49 and a supporter of the aristocracy. At the outbreak of the Civil War he did not leave the city when Pompey fled, but remained and opposed Caesar, who demanded possession of the sacred treasury. Metellus yielded only on compulsion ( Caes., Pomp.; B. C. i. 33).