Gulcacii Gallicani v.c.
I. Avidius Cassius, ut quidam volunt, ex familia Cassiorum fuisse dicitur, per matrem tamen; homine novo2 genitus Avidio Severo, qui ordines duxerat et 2post ad summas dignitates pervenerat. cuius Quadratus in historiis meminit, et quidem graviter, cum illum summum virum et necessarium rei publicae 3adserit et apud ipsum Marcum praevalidum. nam iam eo imperante perisse fatali sorte perhibetur.
4 Hic ergo Cassius ex familia, ut diximus, Cassiorum, qui in curia in C. Iulium3 conspiraverant, oderat tacite principatum nec ferre poterat imperatorium nomen dicebatque esse eo gravius nomen4 imperii, quod non posset e re publica tolli nisi per alterum
Of the Senatorial Order.1
I. Avidius Cassius is said, according to the statements of some, to have belonged to the family of the Cassii, but only on his mother’s side. His father was Avidius Severus,2 the first of the family to hold public office, who at first commanded in the ranks,3 but later attained to the highest honours of the state. Quadratus4 mentions him in his history, and certainly with all respect, for he declares that he was a very distinguished man, both indispensable to the state and influential with Marcus himself; for he succumbed to the decrees of fate, it is said, when Marcus had already begun to rule.
Now Cassius, sprung, as we have said, from the family of the Cassii who conspired against Gaius Julius,5 secretly hated the principate and could not brook even the title of emperor, saying that the name of empire was all the more onerous because an
- 1The honorary title of Vir Clarissimus was regularly borne by senators during the later empire.
- 2In reality his name was C. Avidius Heliodorus. A native of Cyrrhus in Syria (see Dio, lxxi. 22, 2), he was made imperial secretary by Hadrian, and was prefect of Egypt under Antoninus; see C.I.L., iii. 6025 = Dessau, Ins. Sel., 2615. He is probably to be identified with the philosophus Heliodorus, mentioned in Hadr., xvi. 10. The expression novus homo was regularly used, as here, to denote the man who was the first of his family to hold public office.
- 3As chief centurion of a legion, or primus pilus; the expression is regularly used in this sense; see Maxim., iv. 4; Firm., xiv. 2; Prob., iii. 2.
- 4See note to Ver., viii. 4.
- 5i.e. C. Cassius Longinus and C. Cassius Parmensis.