Who is Bestia?

Bestia is the name of a family in ancient Rome, of which the following were the most distinguished.

1. Lucius Calpurnius Bestia, tribune of the people in 121 BC, consul in 111. Having been appointed to the command of the operations against Jugurtha, he at first carried on the campaign energetically, but soon, having been heavily bribed, concluded a disgraceful peace. On his return to Rome he was brought to trial for his conduct and condemned, in spite of the efforts of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus who, though formerly his legate and alleged to be equally guilty himself, was one of the judges - apparently Scaurus defended him extremely eloquently during the proceedings, but then turned round and voted to condemn him.

He may be the same man as, or the father of, the Bestia who encouraged the Italians in their revolt, and went into exile to avoid punishment under the law of Q. Varius, whereby those who had secretly or openly aided the Italian allies against Rome were to be brought to trial. Both Cicero and Sallust express a high opinion of Bestia's abilities, but his love of money demoralized him. He is mentioned in a Carthaginian inscription as one of a board of three, perhaps an agricultural commission.

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on July 23, 2013


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