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Caecina

CAECINA, the name of a distinguished Etruscan family of Volaterrae. Graves have been discovered belonging to the family, whose name is still preserved in the river and hamlet of Cecina.

Aulus Caecina, son of Aulus Caecina who was defended by Cicero (69 B.C.) in a speech still extant, took the side of Pompey in the civil wars, and published a violent tirade against Caesar, for which he was banished. He recanted in a work called Querelae, and by the intercession of his friends, above all, of Cicero, obtained pardon from Caesar. Caecina was regarded as an important authority on the Etruscan system of divination (Etrusca Disciplina), which he endeavoured to place on a scientific footing by harmonizing its theories with the doctrines of the Stoics. Considerable fragments of his work (dealing with lightning) are to be found in Seneca (Naturales Quaestiones, ii. 31-49). Caecina was on intimate terms with Cicero, who speaks of him as a gifted and eloquent man and was no doubt considerably indebted to him in his own treatise De Divinatione. Some of their correspondence is preserved in Cicero's letters (Ad Fam. vi. 5-8; see also ix. and xiii. 66).

Aulus Caecina Alienus, Roman general, was quaestor of Baetica in Spain (A.D. 68). On the death of Nero, he attached himself to Galba, who appointed him to the command of a legion in upper Germany. Having been prosecuted for embezzling public money, Caecina went over to Vitellius, who sent him with a large army into Italy. Caecina crossed the Alps, but was defeated near Cremona by Suetonius Paulinus, the chief general of Otho. Subsequently, in conjunction with Fabius Valens, Caecina defeated Otho at the decisive battle of Bedriacum (Betriacum). The incapacity of Vitellius tempted Vespasian to take up arms against him. Caecina, who had been entrusted with the repression of the revolt, turned traitor, and tried to persuade his army to go over to Vespasian, but was thrown into chains by the soldiers. After the overthrow of Vitellius, he was released, and taken into favour by the new emperor. But he could not remain loyal to any one. In 79 he was implicated in a conspiracy against Vespasian, and was put to death by order of Titus. Caecina is described by Tacitus as a man of handsome presence and boundless ambition, a gifted orator and a great favourite with the soldiers.

Tacitus, Histories, i. 53, 61, 67-70, ii. 20-25, 41-44, iii. 13; Dio Cassius lxv. 10-14, lxvi. 16; Plutarch, Otho, 7; Suetonius, Titus, 6; Zonaras xi. 17.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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