CARBO, the name of a Roman plebeian family of the gens Papiria. The following are the most important members in Roman history: -
1. Gaius Papirius Carbo, statesman and orator. He was associated with C. Gracchus in carrying out the provisions of the agrarian law of Tiberius Gracchus (see Gracchus). When tribune of the people (131 b.c.) he carried a law extending voting by ballot to the enactment and repeal of laws; another proposal, that the tribunes should be allowed to become candidates for the same office in the year immediately following, was defeated by the younger Scipio Africanus. Carbo was suspected of having been concerned in the sudden death of Scipio (129), if not his actual murderer. He subsequently went over to the optimates, and (when consul in 120) successfully defended Lucius Opimius, the murderer of Gaius Gracchus, when he was impeached for the murder of citizens without a trial, and even went so far as to say that Gracchus had been justly slain. But the optimates did not trust Carbo. He was impeached by Licinius Crassus on a similar charge, and, feeling that he had nothing to hope for from the optimates and that his condemnation was certain, he committed suicide.
See Livy, Epit. 59; Appian, Bell. Civ. i. 18: Vell. Pat. ii. 4; Val. Max. iii. 7. 6; A.H.J. Greenidge, History of Rome (1904).
2. His son, Gaius Papirius Carbo, surnamed Arvina, was a staunch supporter of the aristocracy, and was put to death by the Marian party in 82. He is known chiefly for the law (Plautia Papiria) carried by him and M. Plautius Silvanus when tribunes of the people in 90 (or 89), whereby the Roman franchise was offered to every Italian ally domiciled in Italy at the time when the law was enacted, provided he made application personally within sixty days to the praetor at Rome (see Rome: History, II. "The Republic," Period C.). The object of the law was to conciliate the states at war with Rome and to secure the loyalty of the federate states. Like his father, Carbo was an orator of distinction.
See Cicero, Pro Archia, 4; Vell. Pat. ii. 26; Appian, Bell. Civ. i. 88.
3. Gnaeus Papirius Carbo (c.130-82 b.c.), nephew of (1). He was a strong supporter of the Marian party, and took part in the blockade of Rome (87). In 85 he was chosen by Cinna as his colleague in the consulship, and extensive preparations were made for carrying on war in Greece against Sulla, who had announced his intention of returning to Italy. Cinna and Carbo declared themselves consuls for the following year, and large bodies of troops were transported across the Adriatic; but when Cinna was murdered by his own soldiers, who refused to engage in civil war, Carbo was obliged to bring them back. In 82 Carbo, then consul for the third time with the younger Marius, fought an indecisive engagement with Sulla near Clusium, but was defeated with great loss in an attack on the camp of Sulla's general, Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius [see under Metellus (6)] near Faventia. Although he still had a large army and the Samnites remained faithful to him, Carbo was so disheartened by his failure to relieve Praeneste, where the younger Marius had taken refuge, that he decided to leave Italy. He first fled to Africa, thence to the island of Cossyra (Pentellaria), where he was arrested, taken in chains before Pompey at Lilybaeum and put to death.
See Appian, Bell. Civ. i. 67-98; Livy, Epit. 79, 84, 88, 89; Plutarch, Pompey, 5, 6, 10, and Sulla, 28; Cicero, ad Fam. ix. 21; Eutropius, v. 8, 9; Orosius, v. 20; Valerius Maximus, v. 3. 5, ix. 13. 2; art. Sulla, L. Cornelius.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)