Lucius Licinius Lucullus

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Lucius Licinius Lucullus (German also Lukullus or Lukull ; * 117 BC , † 56 BC ) was a Roman senator and general. He dressed in 74 BC The consulate . After conquering the kingdom of Pontus in Asia Minor , he was nicknamed Ponticus . However, he was best known for his wealth and his grandiose dining.



He was a grandson of the consul of the same name from 151 BC. His mother was Caecilia Metella Calva , sister of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus and Lucius Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus , father of Caecilia Metella Dalmatica , Sulla's penultimate wife.

Military and political career

Lucullus' career began as a military tribune under Sulla during the Confederate War . As quaestor he supported 88 BC. Chr. Sulla's March on Rome. He then supported Sulla in the First Mithridatic War by building a fleet that defeated Mithridates' Admiral Neoptolemus . On Sulla's instructions, he let Mithridates , whom the popular army under Gaius Flavius ​​Fimbria included in Pitane , deliberately escape across the sea. After the peace agreement with Mithridates, Lucullus stayed in the province of Asia to collect the taxes. According to Plutarch , he tried to reduce the burden on the population.

Lucullus returned in 80 BC. Back to Rome and became a curular aedile in the following year together with his brother Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus and as early as 78 BC. With a special dispensation praetor . He was then from 77 to 75 BC. As a propaetor in Africa.

After his return, Lucullus was 74 BC. Together with Marcus Aurelius Cotta , an uncle of Gaius Iulius Caesar , consul . That year, Mithridates VI occupied . Bithynia . In Asia there were revolts against the oppressive Roman taxes. As acting consul, Cotta was charged with the suppression, while Lucullus (with the help of the influential Senator Publius Cornelius Cethegus ) received Cilicia as proconsulate .

He led the Roman army in the Third Mithridatic War (74-64 BC) initially successfully through Asia Minor , came to the aid of the beleaguered Cotta and defeated the enemy fleet. Bithynia became a Roman province. Although Lucullus avoided a direct clash with Mithridates because he feared his superior cavalry, he managed to push his opponent back to Pontus . Mithridates fled in 72 BC. To his son-in-law, King Tigranes II of Armenia . Instead of pursuing Mithridates, Lucullus conquered the kingdom of Pontus and ruled the province of Asia. Only then did he take to the field against Tigranes and defeat him and Mithridates in the battle of Artaxata on October 6, 68 BC. Chr.

An army mutiny instigated by his brother-in-law Publius Clodius Pulcher prevented him from continuing the campaign. Lucullus was recalled by the Senate and 66 BC. In the Lex Manilia replaced by Pompey . He returned to Rome, where he lived until 63 BC. BC had to wait for his triumph at the gates of the city . From the great fortunes he had captured during the entire campaign, for example with the conquest of Tigranokertas , the capital of the Kingdom of Armenia, he built several magnificent villas in the vicinity of Rome and a palace on the Palatine Hill . However, his plan to reform the predatory Roman administration in Asia resulted in him becoming very unpopular among the Publicani in Rome.

Private life

Lucullus was married to Clodia, the youngest sister of Publius Clodius Pulcher , from whom he was married in 66 BC. Chr. Divorced again, probably more for political reasons than because of the alleged incestuous relationship with her brother. He later married Servilia, a younger sister or niece of Servilia Caepionis and Cato . He had a son from her.

After Sulla's death he became the guardian of his children Faustus and Cornelia Fausta .

He imported the first cherries from the Pontic city of Giresun , which then spread to Britain within 120 years. Lucullus had got to know the Persian garden art in the conquered cities and had extensive gardens and villas decorated with precious sculptures laid out in Rome and Naples .

He was best known for his lavish dining. Even today one speaks of "epicurean delights" or a "epicurean meal". The sweet “Lukullus” ( cold dog ) is also named after him. However, Lucullus was not a mindless glutton, but a gourmet - also philosophically educated - who loved to represent and opened his extensive library to those interested.

It is not known where Lucullus is buried. Plutarch noted that the people had envisaged a funeral on Campus Martius , but that his brother Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus wanted him to be buried in Tusculum . One looks in vain for a sepulchral building discussed in this context, as it is unknown which option was taken. The assumption that his grave was located in the gardens of Lucullus in the easternmost field of Mars, on the Pincio and near the Via Flaminia , was also not confirmed.


During excavations during the expansion of the Hertziana library in Rome in May 2007, a nymphaeum belonging to the famous gardens of Lucullus was discovered.



Overview representations

  • Michèle Ducos: Lucullus (Lucius Licinius). In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques. Volume 4, CNRS Éditions, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-271-06386-8 , pp. 191-194
  • Wolfgang Will : Licinius Lucullus, Lucius. In: The New Pauly (DNP). Volume 7, Metzler, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-476-01477-0 , Sp. 166-168.


  • Federica Fontana: Sepulcrum: L. Licinius Lucullus. In: Eva Margareta Steinby (Ed.): Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae . Volume 4: P-S. Quasar, Rome 1999, ISBN 88-7140-135-2 , pp. 291-292.
  • Arthur Keaveney : Lucullus. A life. Routledge, London et al. 1992, ISBN 0-415-03219-9
  • Christoph Lundgreen : Lucullus and the political culture of the Roman Republic. Competition and distinction between generals, gourmets and fish pond owners. In: Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp , Hans Beck : Losers and dropouts in the 'competition among those present'. Agonality in the political culture of ancient Rome. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-515-12179-8 , pp. 81–126.
  • Jules van Ooteghem: Lucius Licinius Lucullus (= Académie Royale de Belgique. Mémoire de la Classe des Lettres. Collection in-8. Sér. 2, Vol. 53, 4, ISSN  0378-7893 ). Académie Royale de Belgique, Bruxelles 1959.
  • Günter Schütz: L. Licinius Lucullus. Studies of the early years of a nobilis (117–75 BC). 1994, (Regensburg, University, dissertation, 1994).
  • Manuel Tröster: Themes, Character, and Politics in Plutarch's "Life of Lucullus". The Construction of a Roman Aristocrat (= Historia. Individual writings . 201). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-09124-4 (also: Trier, University, dissertation, 2006).

Web links


  1. ^ Plutarch, Lucullus , 4, 1 .
  2. ^ T. Robert S. Broughton : The Magistrates Of The Roman Republic. Volume 3: Supplement (= Philological Monographs. Vol. 15, Part 3). Scholars Press, Atlanta GA 1986, ISBN 0-89130-811-3 , pp. 121 f.
  3. ^ Plutarch, Lucullus 6 .
  4. ^ So Plutarch, Lucullus 38,1 ; Cato minor 24.3 ; 29.3; 54.1.
  5. Cicero , de finibus 3,2,8 . Now Ann-Cathrin Harder's question: The family relationships of Servilia, wife of L. Licinius Lucullus: sister or niece of Cato Uticensis? In: Historia . Vol. 56, No. 4, 2007, pp. 453-461, JSTOR 25598408 .
  6. Pliny , naturalis historia 15.102 .
  7. Plutarch, Lucullus , 43, 3 .
  8. ^ Sv Fontana: Sepulcrum: L. Licinius Lucullus. In: Steinby (ed.): Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae. Volume 4. 1999, pp. 291-292.
  9. Nymphaeum of Lucullus. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007 ; accessed on March 9, 2018 .