English II Honors
9 May 2013
The Life and History of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus: Triumvir and Patrician
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus V was born in 89 B.C to Roman consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus IV and Appuleia Saturninus, Daughter of Quaestor Lucius Appuleius Saturninus. Very little is known about the early years of Lepidus V, although it can be inferred that his upbringing revolved around the political aspects of Rome, considering his father’s role in the senate, and grandfather’s involvement in the social war of 91 B.C
Lepidus V began his course of offices as a Praetor at the age of 40. During this time he assumed temporary leadership of Rome while Caesar and Pompey met in Greece to do battle. When Caesar returned victorious three years later in 46 B.C, Lepidus V was awarded with the consulship. He continued to work as one of Caesar’s most avid supporters for the next two years, until February of 44 B.C when Caesar was voted Dictator for life by the consulate. Caesar then appointed Lepidus V as Magister Equitum or “Master of the Horse” making him the second most important man in Rome.
Unfortunately, the powerful unity between Lepidus V and Caesar faced an abrupt demise. Upon Caesar’s death, Lepidus V was effectively removed from his position as Magister Equitum, although he kept his consulship. Gaius Cassius Longinus, the main conspirator in the assassination of Caesar voted to kill Lepidus V as well, but was prevented from doing so by Marcus Junius Brutus, who argued that two killings could no longer be justified as a political coup.
After the assassination, the remaining members of the senate worked to keep the peace in Rome. The death of Caesar had greatly upset the middle and lower classes, to the extent of riots and public violence. In a thirst for power, Mark Antony and Lepidus V worked together in secret to turn the Plebeians against the Republic and the Liberatores. This eventually led to the Liberator’s Civil War in 42 B.C....