Lucius Appuleius Saturninus

Lucius Appuleius Saturninus

Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (d. December, 100 BC) was a Roman demagogue and tribune; he was a political ally of Gaius Marius, and his downfall caused a great deal of political embarrassment for Marius, who recused himself from public life until he returned to take command in the Social War of 91 to 88 BC.


As "quaestor" (104 BC) he superintended the importation of corn at Ostia, but had been removed by the Roman Senate (an unusual proceeding), and replaced by Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, one of the chief members of the "Optimates". He does not appear to have been charged with incapacity or mismanagement, and the standard view is that injustice of his dismissal drove him into the arms of the "Populares".

First Tribuneship

In 103 BC he was elected tribune. He entered into an agreement with Gaius Marius, and in order to gain the favour of his soldiers proposed that each of his veterans should receive an allotment of 100 iugera of land in the Roman province of Africa. He was also chiefly instrumental in securing the election of Marius to his fourth consulship (102 BC).

An opportunity of retaliating on the "Nobiles" was afforded him by the arrival (101 BC) of ambassadors from Mithridates VI of Pontus, with large sums of money for bribing the Senate; compromising revelations were made by Saturninus, who insulted the ambassadors. He was brought to trial for violating the law of nations, and only escaped conviction by an "ad misericordiam" appeal to the people. To the first tribunate of Saturninus is probably to be assigned his law on "majestas", the exact provisions of which are unknown, but its object was probably to strengthen the power of the tribunes and the "Populares"; it dealt with the "minuta majestas" (diminished authority) of the Roman people, that is, with all acts tending to impair the integrity of the Commonwealth, being thus more comprehensive than the modern word "treason."

One of the chief objects of Saturninus's hatred was Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who, when censor, endeavoured to remove Saturninus from the Senate on the ground of immorality, but his colleague refused to assent. In order to ingratiate himself with the people, who still cherished the memory of the Gracchi, Saturninus took about with him Lucius Equitius, a paid freedman, who gave himself out to be the son of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Sempronia sister of the dead Gracchi, refused to acknowledge her alleged nephew.

econd Tribuneship

Marius, on his return to Rome after his victory over the Cimbri, finding himself isolated in the senate, entered into a compact with Saturninus and his ally Gaius Servilius Glaucia, and the three formed a kind of triumvirate, supported by the veterans of Marius and the needy rabble. By the aid of bribery and assassination Marius was elected (100 BC) consul for the sixth time, Glaucia "praetor", and Saturninus tribune for the second time. Saturninus now brought forward an agrarian law, an extension of the African law already alluded to. It was proposed that all the land north of the Padus (Po) lately in possession of the Cimbri, including that of the independent Celtic tribes which had been temporarily occupied by them, should be held available for distribution among the veterans of Marius. This was problematic, since the land was already the property of the provincials who had been dispossessed by the Cimbri.

Colonies were to be founded in Sicilia, Achaea and Macedonia, on the purchase of which the "Tolosan gold," the temple treasures embezzled by Quintus Servilius Caepio (consul in 106), was to be employed. Further, Italians were to be admitted to these colonies, and as they were to be burgess colonies, the right of the Italians to equality with the Romans was thereby partially recognized. This part of the bill was resented by many citizens, who were unwilling to allow others to share their privileges.

A clause provided that, within 5 days after the passing of the law, every senator should take an oath to observe it, under penalty of being expelled from the senate and heavily fined. All the senators subsequently took the oath except Metellus Numidicus, who went into exile. Saturninus also brought in a bill, the object of which was to gain the support of the rabble by supplying corn at a nominal price. The quaestor Quintus Servilius Caepio declared that the treasury could not stand the strain, and Saturninus' own colleagues interposed their veto. Saturninus ordered the voting to continue, and Caepio dispersed the meeting by violence. The Senate declared the proceedings null and void, because thunder had been heard; Saturninus replied that the Senate had better remain quiet; otherwise the thunder might be followed by hail. The bills ("leges Appuleiae") were finally passed by the aid of the Marian veterans.

Downfall and death

Marius, finding himself overshadowed by his colleagues and compromised by their excesses, thought seriously of breaking with them, and Saturninus and Glaucia saw that their only hope of safety lay in their retention of office. Saturninus was elected tribune for the third time for the year beginning December 10, 100, and Glaucia, although at the time praetor and therefore not eligible until after the lapse of 2 years, was a candidate for the consulship. Marcus Antonius Orator was elected without opposition; the other "Optimate" candidate, Gaius Memmius, who seemed to have the better chance of success, was beaten to death by the hired agents of Saturninus and Glaucia, while the voting was actually going on.

This produced a complete revulsion of public feeling. The senate met on the following day, declared Saturninus and Glaucia public enemies, and called upon Marius to defend the State. Marius had no alternative but to obey. Saturninus, defeated in a pitched battle in the Roman Forum (December 10), took refuge with his followers in the Capitol, where, the water supply having been cut off, they were forced to capitulate. Marius, having assured them that their lives would be spared, removed them to the "Curia Hostilia", intending to proceed against them according to law. But the more impetuous members of the aristocratic party climbed onto the roof, stripped off the tiles, and stoned Saturninus and many others to death. Glaucia, who had escaped into a house, was dragged out and killed.


His daughter Appuleia married well despite the family disgrace, and was mother of two consuls, including the triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Another descendant Sextus Appuleius (consul 29 BC) was consul in 29 BC, and his son Sextus Appuleius (consul in 14 BC) married (as her third husband) Claudia Marcella Major, a niece of Augustus, in or after 2 BC (when her second husband Iullus Antonius died). Their daughter was Appuleia Varilla living in 17 AD. The Marcus Appuleius who was consul in 20 BC may have been another descendant.


Appian, "Bell. civ." i. 28-33; Diod. Sic. xxxvi 12; Plutarch, "Marius", 28-30; Livy, "Epit." 69; "Florus" iii. 16; "Vell. Pat." ii. 12; "Auctor ad Herennium" i. 21; Aurelius Victor, "De viris illustribus", 73; Orosius v. 17; Cicero, "Pro Balbo", 21, 48, "Brutus", 62, "De oratore", ii. 49, "De haruspicum responsis", 19, "Pro Sestio", "Pro Rabirio", passim; Mommsen, "Hist. of Rome" (Eng. trans.), bk. iv. ch. 6; G Long, "Decline of the Roman Republic", ii. ch. 10; E. Klebs in Pauly-Wissowa's "Realencyclopädie", ii. 1 (1896).



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lucius Appuleius Saturninus — Münze des Lucius Appuleius Saturninus aus dem Jahr 104. Vorderseite: Roma mit Helm. Rückseite: Saturnus, der eine Quadriga lenkt Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (* um 138 v. Chr.; † 10. Dezember 100 v. Chr.) war ein römischer Volkstribun und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lucius Appuleius Saturninus — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saturninus. Lucius Appuleius Saturninus est un homme politique et démagogue romain de la fin du IIe siècle av. J.‑C. Ce fut un des partisans de Marius. Il fut élu trois fois tribun de la plèbe… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Saturninus, Lucius Appuleius — died 100 BC Roman politician. From 104 he opposed the Senate, which objected to his extremist liberal positions. As tribune (103) he supported Rome s proletariat by reducing the price of grain, assigning land grants to veterans, and setting up a… …   Universalium

  • Saturninus — war ein römisches Cognomen, das in zahlreichen Familien verwendet wurde. Zu den bekannten Namensträgern gehören: Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, der römischer Volkstribun, Demagoge und Popularen Politiker. (* um 138 v. Chr.; † 10. Dezember …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Saturninus — may refer to:* Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (died 100 BC), demagogue * Lucius Antonius Saturninus (79), provincial governor and rebel against Domitian * Julius Saturninus (279), provincial governor and rebel against Probus * Saturninus (253 268),… …   Wikipedia

  • Lucius Caecilius Metellus Diadematus — [Cognomen derived from at some point having used a bandage to cover a wound on his head. (Cfr. F. Noel, in Dictionaire Historique ... )] (Lucius Caecilius Q. f. Q. n. Metellus Diadematus) was the second son of Quintus Caecilius Metellus… …   Wikipedia

  • Lucius — (Luzius) war ein römischer Vorname (praenomen), der selten auch als Familienname (nomen gentile) und Beinamen (cognomen) verwendet wurde. Er wurde meistens nur mit der Abkürzung L. wiedergegeben. Der Name leitet sich vermutlich von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lucius Iulius Caesar (Konsul 90 v. Chr.) — Lucius Iulius Caesar (* um 135 v. Chr.; † 87 v. Chr.) war ein Politiker der späten römischen Republik und ein Verwandter des späteren Diktators Gaius Iulius Caesar. Er kämpfte im Bundesgenossenkrieg und versuchte, Roms Verbündete durch die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lucius Julius Caesar III — Lucius Julius Caesar (known with the numeral III ; c. 135 BC ndash;87 BC) was a son of Lucius Julius Caesar (II), and elder brother to Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus. Lucius was involved in the downfall of tribune of Lucius Appuleius… …   Wikipedia

  • Lucius marcius philippus (consul en -91) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Lucius Marcius Philippus. Lucius Marcius Philippus est un homme politique de la Rome antique. Il a deux fils, Lucius Marcius Philippus et adopte Gellius Publicola. En 104 av. J. C., il est tribun de la plèbe, il… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.