Thursday, 1 June 2017

Two More Romans in Myndos circa 80 BC

During the search for information into Cassius’ time at Myndos I came across a reference to two more Romans residing in the city, Lucius Magius and Lucius Fannius.

L. Magius & L. Fannius, who were later to be declared enemies of the state by the Senate, had fought with Gaius Flavius Fimbria in the 1st Mithridian War. Following Fimbria’s death in 85 BC they sided with Mithridates before aligning themselves with Sulla.

At what point they moved to Myndos is unclear but they were living there circa 80 BC and are named in In Verrem Cicero’s trial of Gaius Verres (Cic. Ver. 2.1.86 – 88) which took place in Rome 10 years later.

Miletus had a fleet of 10 ships which were gifted or funded by Rome on the understanding that, when required, they could be called into service by the republic.

Verres, a legate in the service of Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella governor of Cillicia, had requested a ship from the Milesian fleet to escort him to Myndos. In Cicero’s account “They immediately gave him a light vessel, a beautiful one of its class, splendidly adorned and armed”. On his arrival Verres sold the ship to Magius and Fannius, dismissing the Milesian captain and crew, directing them to return to Miletus by foot.

Cicero summing up the theft says:

 “O ye immortal gods! the incredible avarice, the unheard-of audacity of such a proceeding! Did you dare to sell a ship of the Roman fleet, which the city of Miletus had assigned to you to attend upon you?”

Magius’ and Fannius’ date of departure from Myndos is not recorded; however by 76 BC they were delivering letters from Mithridates to Quintus Sertorius in Italy, an action which resulted in the senate declaring them enemies of the state and issuing an order for them to be apprehended. They avoided capture, delivered Mithridates’ letters and were later documented sailing between Sertorius’ naval base at Dianium to Sinope in Portus to deliver Sertorius’ reply.

In the C. D Yonge translation on Perseus Tuft, Gaius Verres is referred to as Caius Verres but other sources use Gaius or Gaius (Caius).

The Yonge translation also refers to Lucius Magius’ partner as Lucius Rabius, most other sources I’ve seen name him as Lucius Fannius

M. Tullius Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, literally translated by C. D. Yonge. London. George Bell & Sons. 1903. Perseus Digital Library