(Lucius Sergius Catilina)108–62 BC
|CICERO DENOUNCING CATILINE, MACCARI|
Catiline is renowned for his involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the government of Rome and
seize power by force. His conspiracy was not carried out however, because it was discovered by
Cicero. Catiline himself first appears in history as one of Sulla's henchmen. He is said to have
slain his own brother-in-law, as well as others. He is accused of many other outrages as well, but
of course, his history has been recorded mostly by his enemies. He held various public offices
including quaestor, praetor, and governor of Africa before failing in his first attempt to run for
consul in 65 B.C. He was so incensed at the circumstances of this loss that he plotted to kill the
new consuls. However, his scheme was never carried out, and he was acquitted when brought to trial
on extortion charges. He ran again for consul two years later and lost to Cicero. This time he
planned a much more extensive conspiracy, which included many high level Romans, and the collection
of money for hiring soldiers. This plot was uncovered by Cicero, however, who made well-supported
accusations against Catiline and many of his conspirators on the Senate floor. Given that the plot,
if carried out, would have plunged the city into civil war, the populace was very grateful to have
been spared such an ordeal. Several of the chief conspirators were immediately put to death, but
Catiline himself escaped, only to perish a month later in an altercation outside of Rome. The
problems with the republican government remained, however, and three years later, Pompey, Cicero,
and Crassus formed the first triumvirate, effectively taking over the government, but without bloodshed.
Key events during the life of Catiline:
||Partisan of Sulla during the proscriptions. Slew his own brother-in-law.
||Governor of Africa.
||Accused of plotting to murder the consuls, but acquitted.
||Ran for consul, but was defeated by Cicero. His plan to seize the consulship by force was uncovered by Cicero.
||Co-conspirators condemned and executed. Catiline held out for a month, but then fell in battle.
||Orator. Leader of aristocratic party. Put down Catiline conspiracy. Well known writer.
||Violent enemy of Cicero. Populist rabble-rouser and demagogue.
||Very wealthy general. Fought Spartacus. Formed triumvirate with Pompey and Caesar.
||Influential Roman who was charged as a co-conspirator with Catiline.