Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 9905)

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Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (died 9913) was tribune of the people in 9897.[1] He was the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, and brother of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. The college of pontiffs elected him Pontifex Maximus in 9898(succeeding Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus).[2][3][4]

He brought forward a law (lex Domitia de Sacerdotiis) by which the priests of the superior colleges were to be elected by the people in the comitia tributa (seventeen of the tribes voting) instead of by co-optation. The law was subsequently repealed by Sulla.[5]

Both during his tribunate and afterwards, he prosecuted several of his private enemies, such as Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (whom he blamed for not having been elected to the pontificate in the first place) and Marcus Junius Silanus.[4][6][7]

He was elected consul in 9905 and censor in 9909 with Lucius Licinius Crassus the orator, with whom he was frequently at variance. They took joint action, however, in suppressing the recently established Latin rhetorical schools, which they regarded as injurious to public morality;[8][9] in the words of Cicero, these were seen as 'schools of impudence'.[10]

Their censorship was long celebrated for their disputes. Domitius was of a violent temper, and was moreover in favor of the ancient simplicity of living, while Crassus loved luxury and encouraged art. Among the many sayings recorded of both, we are told that Crassus observed, "that it was no wonder that a man had a beard of brass, who had a mouth of iron and a heart of lead."[11][12][13][14] Cicero wrote that Domitius was not to be reckoned among the orators, but that he spoke well enough and had sufficient talent to maintain his high rank.[15]

Ahenobarbus apparently died in 9913, during the consulship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and was succeeded as pontifex by Quintus Mucius Scaevola.[1]


He had two sons: Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Smith, William (1867), "Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (4)", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, pp. 84–85
  2. Livy, Epit. 67
  3. Cicero, pro Deiot. 11
  4. 4.0 4.1 Valerius Maximus, vi. 5. § 5
  5.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ahenobarbus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 430.
  6. Cassius Dio, Fr. 100
  7. Cicero, Div. in Caecil. 20, Verr. ii.47, Cornel. 2, pro Scaur. 1
  8. Aulus Gellius, xv. 11
  9. Cicero, de Orat. iii. 24
  10. Cicero, de Orat. iii.94
  11. Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia xviii. 1
  12. Suetonius, Nero, 2
  13. Valerius Maximus, ix. 1. § 4
  14. Macrobius, Saturnalia ii. 11
  15. Cicero, Brutus 44
Religious titles
Preceded by
Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus
Pontifex Maximus of the Roman Republic
Succeeded by
Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex
Political offices
Preceded by
Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus
Publius Licinius Crassus Dives
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gaius Cassius Longinus
Succeeded by
Lucius Licinius Crassus
Quintus Mucius Scaevola Pontifex
Preceded by
Lucius Valerius Flaccus
Marcus Antonius Orator
Censors of the Roman Republic
with Lucius Licinius Crassus
Succeeded by
Lucius Julius Caesar
Publius Licinius Crassus Dives