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Aemilius Paullus

L. Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, 2nd century B.C. Roman general.


L. Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus was the son of the Lucius Aemilius Paullus who was killed at the battle of Cannae (216 B.C.). He served as aedile in 192, and became a knowledgeable augur at a time when the position of augur was sought only for the honour it bestowed. He was praetor in 191 and was sent to Further Spain. As consul for 181, he conquered the Ligurians, who were proving a nuisance as pirates, but left their towns intact so that they could act as bulwark between the Romans and the Gauls. Aemilius Paullus was consul for the second time in 168 and was sent to fight Perseus of Macedonia, who had already defeated Publius Licinius and Hostilius. In a short campaign of 15 days, Aemilius defeated Perseus at Pydna, near Mount Olympus on 22 June 168 (dated by a lunar eclipse the night before the battle). Before returning to Rome, he followed the senate's orders and embarked on a swift campaign of intimidation in Epirus by looting and slaughter. He was censor in 164, and died in 160. Despite the great wealth his conquests brought Rome, Aemilius Paullus left barely enough to repay his wife's dowry when he died.

By his first marriage, Aemilius Paullus had two sons and two daughters. After his divorce, he put his sons out for adoption: the elder was adopted by Q. Fabius Maximus Cunctator and became Q. Fabius Maximus Aemilianus, the younger by the son of Scipio Africanus to become P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus. One daughter married M. Porcius Cato Licinianus (the son of Cato the Elder), the other married Q. Aelius Tubero. These two sons and two sons-in-law fought under Aemilius at Pydna. He had two sons by his second marriage. The elder was 14 when he died five days before the triumph Aemilius was awarded for his conquest of Macedon; the younger died three days after the triumph, when he was 12.

Sources for Aemilius Paullus: Livy books 37 and 44-45.
Plutarch's biography of Aemilius Paullus
Plutarch compares Aemilius Paullus with Timoleon
Both Livy and Plutarch used Polybius, who knew Aemilius personally, as a source. Unfortunately we only have fragments of Polybius' history at this point.

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