Balbus. I. Lucius Cornelius (Major), a Roman consul, born in Gades (Cadiz) in the 1st century B. C. He served in the Sertorian war, after which Roman citizenship was conferred on his family. Shortly afterward he removed to Rome. He accompanied Caesar into Spain in 61, and into Gaul in 58, and was appointed prafectus fabrum to his legions. During the Gallic wars he spent much time at Rome, where he managed Ca?sar's private property, and acted as agent for the sale of spoils taken from the enemy. In 56 his foes and those of the triumvirs charged him with having assumed illegally the privileges of a Roman citizen; but he won the trial, owing to his defence by Pompey, Crassus, and especially by Cicero. Balbus did not bear arms against the Pompeians in the civil wars, but remained at Rome working in the interest of Caesar, and finally succeeding in gaining Cicero for the dictator's cause. On the assassination of Caesar Balbus retired to his country seat, where he remained until the arrival of Octavius in Italy. He then hastened to Naples to meet the latter, whom he accompanied to Rome, and who appointed him aedile, praetor, and in 40 consul, he being supposed to have been the first adopted citizen who filled that office. In his will he bequeathed 20 denarii to every Roman citizen.
He wrote a diary of the most eventful occurrences in his own and Caesar's life, and provided for the continuation of the "Commentaries on the Gallic War." Four of his letters to Cicero are extant. II. Lucius Cornelius (Minor), a nephew of the preceding, born in Gades. After the outbreak of the civil war he made ineffectual attempts to detach the consul L. Cornelius Lentulus, an intimate friend of his family, from his allegiance to Pompey. Balbus attended Caesar throughout all the campaigns of this period, and after their termination was appointed pontiff. While quaestor to Asinius Pollio in Further Spain in 44 and 43 B. C. he greatly enlarged and improved his native city. But his quaestorship was marked by fraud and oppression, and he ultimately fled to Africa (43), and 20 years afterward reappeared as proconsul of Africa. While holding this office he gained a victory over the Garamantes, which procured him the honor of a triumph in Rome, the first ever enjoyed by an adopted citizen. Balbus, like his uncle, amassed a large fortune.
He built a theatre at Rome, and was a favorite of Augustus. III. Qnintns Lucilius, a Roman philosopher, of the earlier half of the 1st century B. C, whom Cicero compared to the best Greek philosophers, and made the expositor of stoical opinions in his dialogue De Natura Deorum. IV. Latins Octavius, a Roman jurist, probably brother of the preceding, and one of those who were executed by order of the triumvirs Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus. V. Titus Ampins, a Roman tribune, who in 63 B. C. sought to obtain for Pompey the honor of wearing a laurel crown and all the insignia of a triumph at the Circensian and other games, in consideration of his Asiatic victories. He was next an unsuccessful candidate for the aedileship, though sustained by Pompey. In 59 he was praetor, and in 58 governor of Cilicia. On the outbreak of the civil war he joined the Pompeians. After the overthrow of his party at Pharsalia he was banished, but the mediation of Cicero put an end to his exile. He wrote a work on contemporary events, an extract of which is given in Suetonius.