A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

8. C.CorneliusCethegus, one of Catiline's crew. His profligate character shewed itself in early youth (Cic. pro Sull. 25); the heavy debts he had contracted made him ready for any desperate political attempt; and before he was old enough to be aedile, he had leagued himself with Catiline. (B. C. 63.) When his chief left Rome, after Cicero's first speech, Cethegus staid behind under the orders of Lentulus. His charge was to murder the leading senators. But the tardiness of Lentulus prevented anything being done. Cethegus was arrested and condemned to death with the other conspirators, the evidence against him being the swords and daggers which he had collected in his house, and the letter under his hand and seal which he had given to the Allobrogian ambassadors. Cethegus was a bold, rash, enterprising man (manus vesana Cethegi, Lucan, 2.543; comp. Cic. in Cat. 4.6); and if the chief part, after

Catiline's departure, had fallen to him instead of Lentulus, it is more than possible that Rome would have been fired and pillaged, and her best citizens murdered. (Sal. Cat. 17, 46_50, 55; Cic. in Cat. 3.3, 5-7, pro Sull. 6, 25, &c., post Red. in Sen. 4, pro Domo, 24; Appian, App. BC 2.2_5, &c., 15.)