Quintus Hortensius Hortalus

(b. 114 bc)

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(b. 114 bc),

was one of the foremost Roman orators. He served in the Social War, became prominent during Sulla's absence from Rome, joined him in time, and dominated the courts in 70, using a florid ‘Asianic’ style, and resorting to shameless bribery. Defeated by Cicero in the Verres case, despite his best efforts at legal trickery and intimidation, he was consul 69 and remained an eminent speaker and defender of the optimates. He opposed Pompey's special commands, but joined Cicero in several causes célèbres, with Cicero always speaking last. Like his friend Licinius Lucullus, he gradually withdrew from politics into cultivated luxury. (Cicero puts him among the aristocrats solely concerned about their fishponds; see fishing.) He died in 49. Cicero always distrusted him, but incurred a heavy moral obligation when Hortensius sponsored him for the augurate (see augurs). After Hortensius' death he amply repaid it in his rhetorical and philosophical works, esp. in Brutus and even more in Hortensius, where, with Cicero, he is the chief speaker.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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