Marcus Claudius Marcellus (General)

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Marcus Claudius Marcellus (* around 268 BC; † 208 BC near Venusia ) was one of the Roman generals in the Second Punic War , conqueror of Syracuse and multiple consul .

According to Poseidonios , he was the first in his family to wear the cognomen Marcellus, which is not the case.

Marcellus fought in Sicily against Hamilkar Barkas and as consul in 222 BC. BC (together with Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus ) in Gaul against the Insubrians , where he won the spolia opima for the third and last time in Roman history by killing the opposing leader Viridomarus or Virdumarus in a duel.

In 216 BC After the defeat of Cannae , he took command of the remains of the army in Canusium and saved Nola and southern Campania , although he did not succeed in preventing Capua from overflowing to Hannibal . After a suffect consulate in 215 BC He was in the year 214 BC. As consul in Sicily during the uprising of Syracuse; he stormed Leontini and besieged Syracuse, where he failed for the time being, not least because of the fate of Archimedes . Which is why he came to the conclusion in the meantime: "We should finally stop arguing with the mathematician." But "an order is an order", the siege continued despite great losses (on the Roman side).

After two years of siege, he gradually forced his way into the city and conquered it despite considerable Punic reinforcements. He spared the lives of the inhabitants, but brought their art treasures to Rome, the first appearance of a later customary practice of spoils of war .

Again consul in 210 BC. BC, with the help of Roman partisans, he took Salapia in Apulia , which had revolted against Hannibal, and had the Numidian garrison killed. As proconsul in 209 BC He attacked Hannibal near Venusia , but withdrew to the city after a desperate battle. Accused of poor leadership skills, he was forced to leave the troops and return to Rome to defend himself.

In his fifth and last consulate in 208 BC He and his fellow consul Titus Quinctius Crispinus were unexpectedly attacked during an exploration near Venusia, in which Marcellus was killed.


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  1. ^ In Plutarch , Marcellus 1.
  2. Polybios 2, 34; Titus Livius , epitoma 20; Properz 4, 10, 39-41.