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Servius Sulpicius Rufus

Born: c. 106 BC
Died: 43 BC
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Pagan
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Politician

Nationality: Ancient Rome
Executive summary: Roman orator and jurist

Servius Sulpicius Rufus, surnamed Lemonia from the tribe to which he belonged, Roman orator and jurist. He studied rhetoric with Cicero, and accompanied him to Rhodes in 78 BC. Finding that he would never be able to rival his teacher he gave up rhetoric for law. In 63 he was a candidate for the consulship, but was defeated by L. Licinius Murena, whom he subsequently accused of bribery; in 51 he was successful. In the Civil War, after considerable hesitation, he threw in his lot with Julius Caesar, who made him proconsul of Achaea in 46. He died in 43 while on a mission from the senate to Mark Antony at Mutina. He was accorded a public funeral, and a statue was erected to his memory in front of the Rostra. Two excellent specimens of Sulpicius's style are preserved in Cicero (Ad. Fam. IV, 5 and 12). Quintilian speaks of three orations by Sulpicius as still in existence; one of these was the speech against Murena, another Pro or Contra Aufidium, of whom nothing is known. He is also said to have been a writer of erotic poems. It is as a jurist, however, that Sulpicius was chiefly distinguished. Be left behind him a large number of treatises, and he is often quoted in the Digest, although direct extracts are not found. His chief characteristics were lucidity, an intimate acquaintaince with the principles of civil and natural law, and an unrivalled power of expression.

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