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MURENA, the name of a Roman plebeian family from Lanuvium, belonging to the Licinian gens, said to be derived from the fondness of one of the family for lampreys (murenae) . The principal members of the family were Lucius Licinius Murena, who was defeated by Mithradates in Asia in 81 B.C., and his son Lucius Licinius Murena, who was defended by Cicero in 62 B.C. against a charge of bribery (Cic. Pro Murena). The son was for several years legate of Lucius Licinius Lucullus in the third Mithradatic War. In 65 he was praetor and made himself popular by the magnificence of the games provided by him. As administrator of Transalpine Gaul after his praetorship he gained the goodwill of both provincials and Romans by his impartiality. In 62 he was elected consul, but before entering upon office he was accused of bribery by Servius Sulpicius,an unsuccessful competitor, supported by Marcus Porcius Cato the younger and Servius Sulpicius Rufus, a famous jurist and son of the accuser. Murena was defended by Marcus Licinius Crassus (afterwards triumvir), Quintus Hortensius and Cicero, and acquitted, although it seems probable that he was guilty. During his consulship he passed a law {lex Junta Licinia) which enforced more strictly the provision of the lex Caecilia Didia that laws sjjould be promulgated three nundinae before they were proposed to the comitia, and further enacted that, in order to prevent forgery, a copy of every proposed statute should be deposited before witnesses in the aerarium.

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

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