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

3. L.CorneliusCinna, L. F. L. N., son of No. 2. When very young he joined M. Lepidus in overthrowing the constitution of Sulla (B. C. 78); and on the defeat and death of Lepidus in Sardinia,

he went with M. Perperna to join Sertorius in Spain. (Suet. Jul. 5; Plut. Sert. 15.) Caesar, his brother-in-law, wishing to make use of him against the party of the senate, procured his recall from exile. But his father had been proscribed by Sulla, and young Cinna was by the laws of proscription unable to hold office, till Caesar, when dictator, had them repealed. He was not elected praetor till B. C. 44. By that time he had become discontented with Caesar's government; and though he would not join the conspirators, he approved of their act. And so great was the rage of the mob against him, that notwithstanding he was praetor, they nearly murdered him; nay, they did murder Helvius Cinna, tribune of the plebs, whom they mistook for the praetor, though he was at the time walking in Caesar's funeral procession. (Plut. Brut. 18, Caes. 68; Suet. Jul. 52, 85, &c.; V. Max. 9.9.1.) Cicero praises him for not taking any province (Philipp. 3.10); but it may be doubted whether the conspirators gave him the choice, for the praetor does not seem to have been a very disinterested person. He married a daughter of Pompeius Magnus.