Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex


Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex

Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex (died 82 BCE), the son of Publius Mucius Scaevola (consul in 133 BC and also Pontifex Maximus) was a politician of the Roman Republic and an important early authority on Roman law. He is credited with founding the study of law as a systematic discipline. He was nephew and son of two men elected Pontifex Maximus, and would himself be elected chief priest of Rome. Unfortunately, he was also the first Roman Pontifex Maximus to be murdered publicly, and that too in Rome in the Temple of the Vestals, signifying a total breakdown of all historical norms and religious taboos in the Republic.fact|date=April 2008

Political career

Scaevola was elected tribune in 106 BCE, aedile in 104 BCE, and consul in 95 BCE. As consul, together with his relative Lucius Licinius Crassus he had a law (the "Lex Licinia Mucia") passed in the senate in that denied Roman citizenship to certain groups within the Roman sphere of influence ("Italians" and "Latins"). The passage of this law was one of the major contributing factors to the Social War.

Scaevola was next made governor of Asia, a position in which he became renowned for his harsh treatment of corrupt tax collectors and for publishing an edict that later became a standard model for provincial administration. He proved so popular that the people he governed instituted a festival day (the "dies Mucia") in his honour.

Returning to Rome, he was made pontifex maximus, and took the opportunity to more strictly regulate the priestly colleges, and to ensure that traditional rituals were properly observed.

Scaevola was the author of a treatise on civil law ("Jus civile primus constituit generatim in libros decem et octo redigendo") that spanned 18 volumes, compiling and systematising legislation and precedents. He also wrote a short legal handbook (ο̉ροι, or simply "Liber Singularis") containing a glossary of terms and an outline of basic principles. Four short sections of this latter work were incorporated by Justinian I into his "Pandectae", but nothing of the rest of his works is extant today. Speeches by Scaevola extant in ancient times were praised by Cicero.

Death

Scaevola was killed in the civil unrest surrounding the power struggle between Sulla and Gaius Marius the Younger in 82 BC. Refusing to side with the Marians, he was pursued by them and killed in the temple of the Vestals and his body thrown into the Tiber. A previous attempt had been made on his life in 86 BCE.

Family

Scaevola was twice married, to two women named Licinia. By his first wife, who was noted for her beauty, but whom he divorced after her adultery with another consul, he had a daughter Mucia Tertia, who was wife of Pompey the Great and mother of his three surviving children. By his granddaughter Pompeia (wife of Faustus Cornelius Sulla, eldest surviving son of the Dictator), Scaevola had illustrious descendants living well into the first and possibly second century BC.


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