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Lepidus (Marcus)

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Marcus Lepidus, the most celebrated of his name and race, is that triumvir whose weakness was as fatal to the republic as the sanguinary disposition of his colleagues. Octavian and Mark Antony. The year of his birth is unknown, but in the civil wars he is found following Caesar 's party and his colleague in the Consulate, 46 B.C. The year following he was appointed Master of the Horse to the dictator [Julius Caesar], at whose death he contrived to obtain the vacant office of Pontifex Maximus.

Entrusted by the senate with the government of Transalpine Gaul, he, through perfidy or the most inconsiderate fear, soon after gave up his legions to Mark Antony and Octavian, by whom he was at the same time admitted into that political association on which the second Triumvirate was formed, in the year 43 B.C., and took the honours of a triumph for his previous successes in Spain.
   In recompense of his nefarious share in the proscriptive horrors that ensued, Lepidus had Spain and Gallia Narbonensis assigned to him in the division of the provinces; elected consul for the second time (iterum) 42 B.C., he had the care of Italy whilst his brother-triumvirs were engaged in war with Brutus. Having answered the purposes of his more astute colleagues, the legions he commanded were seduced from him by the blandishments of Octavian, who, having depriving him of his triumvirship (36 B.C.), still allowed him to pass the remainder of his life in tranquil obscurity at Circaeum, on the shores of Latium, where he died (13 B.C.) despised for his indolence of character and total want of the talents necessary to sustain that leading part in the trajic drama of the times to which the selfishness of his ambition had induced him to aspire.

  The gold coins of this triumvir are of the highest rarity; the silver also rare, especially those with the head of Octavian, and those without the head of Mark Antony, on the reverse. On these he is styled M LEP IMP IIIVIR R P C. Marcus Lepidus Imperator Triumvir. Rei Publicae Constituendae.

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