[1] The loss of both consuls was a major blow to Roman morale, as the Republic had lost its two senior military commanders in a single battle, while the formidable Carthaginian army was still at large in Italy. According to Suetonius, this put Agrippa at odds with Marcellus, and is the reason why Agrippa traveled away from Rome to Mytilene in 23 BC.[1]. [4], He was betrothed to Pompeia, the daughter of Sextus Pompey, in 39 BC at the peace of Misenum where Octavian and Sextus Pompey agreed to a truce. For a third time, Marcellus defended Nola from Hannibal and even captured the small but significant town of Casilinum. That year, an illness was spreading in Rome which afflicted both Augustus and Marcellus. In 209 BC, Marcellus was named as a proconsul and retained control of his army. "The Tradition of the Spolia Opima: M. Claudius Marcellus and Augustus". His decisive victories in Sicily were of history-altering proportions, while his campaigns in Italy itself gave Hannibal himself pause and reinvigorated the Roman Senate. Marcellus gained the most prestigious award a Roman general could earn, the spolia opima, for killing the Gallic military leader and king Viridomarus in hand-to-hand combat in 222 BC at the Battle of Clastidium. In this way, Marcellus publicized the winning of the spolia opima and turned it into a legend. The young Marcellus died. Marcus Claudius Marcellus (42–23 BC) was the eldest son of Gaius Claudius Marcellus and Octavia Minor, sister of Augustus (then known as Octavius). [3] This battlefield was the stage for Marcellus’ confrontation with the Gallic king, Viridomarus, which cemented his place in history. The Theater is an impressive structure even today after centuries of reuse. [5], Following his victory at Syracuse, Marcellus remained in Sicily, where he defeated more Carthaginian and rebel foes. Marcus Claudius Marcellus' winning of the spolia opima earned him great fame in his lifetime. Although the battle at Nola was rather unimportant in regards to the Second Punic War as a whole, the victory was “important from its moral effect, as the first check, however slight, that Hannibal had yet received.”[2]. [6] Plutarch writes that the Romans rampaged through the city, taking much of the plunder and artwork they could find. Only two others in Roman history, Romulus, the founder of Rome, and Aulus Cornelius Cossus, were allegedly honored with this prize. Marcus Claudius Marcellus . Plutarch’s biography, the "Life of Marcellus," in Parallel Lives focuses on Marcellus’ military campaigns and political life, and largely skips over his earlier life before 225,[1] although Plutarch supplies some general information about Marcellus’ youth. Flower, Harriet I. When Hannibal heard of Marcellus' death he travelled to see the body, allowed Marcellus a proper funeral, and even sent the ashes back to Marcellus’ son in a silver urn with a golden wreath. [1] In his youth, Marcellus quickly distinguished himself as an ambitious warrior, known for his skill in hand-to-hand combat. Then, in 215 BC, Marcellus was summoned to Rome by the Dictator Marcus Junius Pera, who wanted to consult with him about the future conduct of the war. At this point, part of the Carthaginian army began to make a move for the city of Nola. Marcellus was said by Poseidonius to have been the first in his family to take on the cognomen of Marcellus; yet there are genealogical records of his family line tracing the cognomen all the way back to 331 BC. 2.34 does not at all mention the spolia opima in relation to Marcellus. Marcus Claudius Marcellus Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. [2], The final period of Marcus Claudius Marcellus’ life began with his fourth election to Roman consul in 210 BC. He then declared war against the Romans after the Carthaginian victory at the Battle of Cannae. Updates? Furthermore, he is noted for having conquered the fortified city of Syracuse in a protracted siege during which Archimedes, the fa… Prior to Marcellus, the spolia opima was not of special importance in the minds of Romans because it had happened only twice before, if at all. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Marcus Claudius Marcellus , five times elected as consul of the Roman Republic, was an important Roman military leader during the Gallic War of 225 BC and the Second Punic War. [2] During the fighting, Archimedes was killed, an act Marcellus regretted. On his return to Rome, Marcellus did not receive the triumphal honours that would be expected for such a feat, as his political enemies objected that he had not fully eradicated the threats in Sicily. Regardless, the emperor was soon restored to health by an Antonius Musa and began grooming Marcellus for the monarchy. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Dio reports that his contemporaries blamed her because Marcellus was favored above her son Tiberius. The important city of Agrigentum was still under Carthaginian control, though there was now little the Carthaginian leadership could do to support it, as the campaigns against the Romans in Spain and Italy now took precedence. Augustus caught it earlier in the year, while Marcellus caught it later in the year, after the emperor had already recovered. Agrippa left Rome to supervise the eastern provinces as the political climate in Rome became heated. [2] He had two younger sisters: Claudia Marcella Major and Claudia Marcella Minor. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marcus-Claudius-Marcellus-Roman-official-died-23-BC. Around the same time that he became an aedile, Marcellus was also awarded the position of augur, which Plutarch describes as being an interpreter of omens. Flower, Harriet I., "The Tradition of the Spolia Opima: M. Claudius Marcellus and Augustus", This page was last edited on 22 November 2020, at 18:26. Octavia built a library in his honour, while Augustus named a theatre after him, the remains of which were standing in the 21st century. He was the only close male relative of Augustus, and his death nearly broke the illusion of a restored republic. Upon arrival, Marcellus found the island in disarray. Marcus Claudius Marcellus re-emerged onto both the political and military scene during the Second Punic War, in which he took part in important battles. . [2] Unfortunately, as Marcellus and his men were preparing to ship to Sicily, his army was recalled to Rome owing to the devastating losses at Cannae, one of the worst defeats in Roman history. After his father's death in 40 BC his mother was married to Marc Antony when Antony and her brother were the most powerful men in the Roman world. (Attrition warfare as a strategy against Hannibal was originally pioneered by Marcellus's friend, Fabius Maximus, who was given the (originally derogatory) nickname "Cunctator", or "the delayer".)