Suffect consul ad 43, of obscure origin and alleged by some to be the son of a gladiator, entered the senate and won the praetorship, with the support of Tiberius, who considered that he was ‘his own parent’ (Tac. Ann. 11. 21). Commander of the Upper Rhine army in 47, he employed his troops with digging for silver in the territory of the Mattiaci and was rewarded with the ornamenta triumphalia (insignia borne by a victorious general in his triumphal procession). Later, as an old man, he was proconsul of Africa, fulfilling a prediction made to him in his humble beginnings (Tac. Ann. 11. 21; Plin. Ep. 7. 27. 2), and died in office. In Tacitus's obituary he is an unamiable novus homo (first man of his family to reach the consulship); the view that he was identical with Quintus Curtius Rufus, the historian of Alexander the Great, now holds the field. (See next entry.)
Barbara M. Levick
Subjects: Classical Studies.