Fabricius, Caius

, sirnamed Luscinus, an illustrious Roman, was much and justly celebrated for his inflexible integrity, and contempt of riches. He was twice consul, first in the year before Christ 282, when he obtained a triumph for his victories over the Samnites, Lucani, and Bruttii. Two years after this, Pyrrhus invaded Italy; and, after the defeat of the Romans near Tarentum, Fabricius was sent to that monarch to treat of the ransom and exchange of prisoners, on which occasion he manifested a, noble contempt of every endeavour that could be made, in any shape, to shake his fidelity, and excited the admiration of Pyrrhus. His second consulship was in the year 273, | when, his refined generosity yet further secured the esteem of the royal enemy, whom he informed of the treacherous design of his physician to give him poison. According to some authors, he again triumphed this year over the allies of Pyrrhus. It was remarked, that when the comitia were held for the ensuing consuls, Cornelius Rufinus, a man of notorious avarice, and detested by Fabricius for that vice, but an excellent general, obtained the consulship chiefly by his interest. Being asked the reason of this unexpected proceeding, he said, “In times of danger it is better that the public purse should be plundered, than the state betrayed to the enemy.” But when he became censor in the year 275, he proved his fixed dislike to that man’s character, by removing him from the senate, for possessing an unlawful amount of silver plate. The war with Pyrrhus was then concluded. St. Evremond, with the contemptible sneer of a man who has no conception of disinterested virtue, insinuates that his poverty was ambitious, and his severity envious; but it is not for a French Epicurean to judge the motives of a Fabricius. His frugality and poverty became almost proverbial; and Virgil has characterized him in very few words:

— — — "parvoque potentem


The state paid a glorious tribute to his memory by portioning his daughters after his death. 1

1 Plutarch in Pyrrhus. Gen. Dict. Roman Hist.