Marcus Claudius Marcellus (consul 51 BC)

Marcus Claudius Marcellus was a member of the plebeian gens Claudia of the branch cognomitated Marcellus and a Roman politician.

Marcellus was elected curule aedile in 56 BC. In 52 BC he was elected consul, together with Servius Sulpicius Rufus, for the following year. During his consulship Marcellus proved himself to be a zealous partisan of Pompey and the optimates, and urged the Senate to extreme measures against Julius Caesar, managing to establish that the subject of recalling Caesar should be discussed on 1 March of the following year. He also considered the Lex Vitinia invalid, removing Roman citizenship from citizens of Comum, and caused a senator of Comum, who happened to be in Rome, to be scourged, a punishment Roman citizens were exempted from under the Lex Porcia.[1]

Upon the start of the civil war, Marcellus fled Rome with the optimates and joined the Republican Grand Army in Epirus. After the Battle of Pharsalus, Marcellus abandoned opposition to Caesar, and withdrew in an honorable exile to Mytilene, where he was left unmolested by Caesar. His cousin Gaius Claudius Marcellus petitioned the dictator for clemency, as did Cicero in his Pro Marcello. This was granted near the close of 46 BC, though Marcellus did not start out for Rome until the middle of 45 BC.[2] En route near Athens he was murdered by one of his own attendants, P. Magius Chilo,[3] an event that some attributed to Caesar, but Cicero suggested was almost certainly caused by a dispute between Magius and Marcellus.[2][4]

Marcellus was the son of another Marcus Claudius Marcellus, aedile curulis in 91 BC; the brother of Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, consul in 49 BC and the cousin of Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor, consul in 50 BC.


  1. Hardy, Ernest G. (1924). Some Problems in Roman History: 143-4.
  2. Abbott, Frank F. (1909). Commentary on Selected Letters of Cicero. 4.12
  3. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, iv. 12.
  4. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum,13.10.

Further reading

  • Hardy, Ernest G. (1924) Some Problems in Roman History
Preceded by
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Servius Sulpicius Rufus
51 BC
Succeeded by
Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor
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