Quintns Hortensius, a Roman orator, born in 114 B.C., died in 50. At the age of 19 he made a speech in the forum, and gained the applause of the orators Crassus and Scaevola. He joined the side of Sulla in the civil war, and afterward was a constant supporter of the aristocratic party. When Cicero first came to the forum Hortensius was called the rex judi-ciorum. Though professionally rivals, they seem to have lived on friendly terms; and in the beginning of the Be Claris Oratoribus, Cicero pays an eloquent tribute to the memory of Hortensius. When obliged to leave the city on account of the impeachment of Clodius, however, Cicero was bitter against the supposed duplicity of Hortensius, and it was not till some time after his return that he was convinced of the injustice of his suspicion. In 81 Hortensius was made quaestor; in 75, aedile; in 72, praotor; and in 69, consul, with Q. Cecilius Metellus. The year before his consulship occurred the trial of Verres, in which the two rival orators were opposed. After his consulship, Hortensius took an active part against Pompey, opposing the Gabinian law, which gave Pompey the control of the Mediterranean sea, and the Manilian law, which transferred to his command the army against Mithridates. Cicero subsequently joined the same party, and we find them pleading often in common.
They defended together C. Rabi-rius, L. Muraena, and P. Sulla. Ten years before his death Hortensius withdrew from public life. He had acquired great wealth, and owned villas at Tusculum, Bauli, and Laurentum.