Metellus, a Roman plebeian family of the Caeeilia gens. The following are its most distinguished members.
Lucius Csecilius, commander against the Carthaginians in the first Punic war, defeated Ilasdrubal in 250 B. C, and was honored with a triumph. He was twice consul, once dictator for the purpose of holding the comitia, and pontifex maximus during the last 22 years of his life. He lost his Bight while rescuing the Palladium from fire, and died about 220.
Quintus Csecilius, son of the preceding, served successively as plebeian aedile, curule aedile, consul, proconsul, and dictator for the purpose of holding the comitia, II.- fought in the second Punic war against Ilasdrubal in Spain, and against Hannibal in Bruttium, and survived the final victory over the Carthaginians many years.
Qnintns Camillas Metellus Macedonicns, son of the preceding, commanded as prretor in Macedonia, where he defeated and made prisoner the usurper Andriscus (148), fought successfully against the Achaians (146), and as consul against the Celtiberians in Spain. He was censor in 131, died in 115, and was carried to the funeral pile by three sons who had officiated as consuls, and a fourth who was candidate for the same dignity. The first, second, and fourth were afterward distinguished by the surnames of Balearicus (from the conquest of the Balearic isles), Diadematus, and Ca-prarius.
Lucius Csecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, nephew of the preceding, officiated as consul, censor, and pontifex maximus, received his surname from his victories over the Dalmatians in 119, and was active against Satur-ninus 19 years later.
Quintus Csecilius Metellus Numidicus, brother of the preceding, commanded as consul in 109, and as proconsul in the following year, against Jugurtha in Nu-midia, but had the mortification to see the fruit of his victories, the honor of a final triumph over the enemy, snatched from his hands by Marius, his legate, who supplanted him in the opinion of the Roman people, and was elected consul to succeed him in command. He was, however, allowed a triumphal entry into Rome (107), and subsequently elected censor (102). Two years later Marius concerted with the tribune Saturninus a scheme to destroy the influence of Metellus, who was regarded as the foremost leader of the aristocratic party. Saturninus moved and carried through an agrarian law, with an additional enactment requiring the senators to take an oath of fidelity to the same, under penalty of being expelled the senate. Metellus remained faithful to his convictions, suffering with calm resignation not only expulsion from the senate, but banishment from Rome. He retired to Rhodes, whence he was recalled in the following year.
His orations are praised by Cicero, and were still admired in the time of the An-tonines.
Quintus Csecilius Metellus Pius, son of the preceding, received his surname from his filial efforts to bring about the recall of his father from exile. He commanded in the social wax, tried in vain to save Rome from Marius and Cinna in 87, crossed over to Africa, and subsequently fought against the Marian party in Umbria, Cisalpine Gaul, and Spain, where his efforts proved insufficient against Sertorius. He was consul with Sulla in 80, and died while pontifex maximus, being succeeded by Julius Caesar (63).
Quintus Csecilius Metellus Celer, great-grandson of Metellus Macedonicns, served as legate under Pom-pey in Asia, and as praetor in Italy in the year of Cicero's consulship (63), with whom lie actively cooperated against Catiline and his followers. On the outbreak of the war, being intrusted with the command in Picenum and the Senonian district in upper Italy, he greatly contributed to the defeat of Catiline by blocking up the passes of the Apennines, and thus compelling him to face the army of Antonius, Cicero's colleague. In 62 he was sent as proconsul to Cisalpine Gaul, in 60 officiated as consul with Afranius (opposing the schemes of Pompey, who was better served by his colleague as well as by his younger brother Nepos), and died in the following year, it was suspected from poison administered by his profligate wife Clodia.
Qnintus Csecilius Metellus Pins Scipio, the adopted son of Metellus Pius. (See Scipio.) IX. Qnintus Caecilius Metellus Cretiens, received his surname from the conquest of Crete, whither he was sent as consul in 69, and whence he returned in 66, but was prevented by his political opponents from celebrating a triumph till after the defeat of Catiline, during whose agitation he had prevented an insurrection of the slaves in Apulia.