Hortensius, Quintus

, a Roman orator, was the contemporary and rival of Cicero, and so far his senior, that he was an established pleader some time before the appearance of the latter. He pleaded his first cause at the age of nineteen, in the consulship of L. Licinius Crassus, and Q. Mutius Scevola, ninety-four years before the Christian aera, Cicero being then in his twelfth year. This early effort was crowned with great success, and he continued throughout his life a very favourite orator. His enemies, however, represented his action as extravagant, and gave him the name of Hortensia, from a celebrated dancer of that time. He proceeded also in the line of public honours, was military tribune, praetor, and in the year 68 B. C. consul, together with Q. Caecilius Metellus. He was an eminent member of the college of augurs, and was the person who elected Cicero into that body, being sworn to present a man of proper dignity. By him also Cicero was there inaugurated, for which reason, says that author, “it was my duty to regard him as a parent.” He died in the year 49 B. C.“; and Cicero, to whom the news of that event was brought when he was at Rhodes, in his return from Ciiicia, has left a most eloquent eulogy and lamentation upon him, in the opening of his celebrated treatise on orators entitled Brutus.I considered him,“says that | writer,” not, as many supposed, in the light of an adversary, or one who robbed me of any praise, but as a companion and sharer in my glorious labour. It was much more honourable to have such an opponent, than to stand unrivalled; more especially as neither his career was impeded by me, nor mine by him, but each, on the contrary, was always ready to assist the other by communication, advice, and kindness." If, however, Cicero was sincere in his attachment, it was surmised that Hortensius was not, and this is even insinuated in one of the epistles of Cicero. Hortensius amassed great wealth, but lived at the same time in a splendid and liberal manner; and it is said that at his death his cellars were found stocked with 10,000 hogsheads of wine. His orations have all perished; but it was the opinion of Quintillian, that they did not in perusal answer to the fame he obtained by speaking them. Hortensius must have been si^ty-four at the time of his death. 1


Gen. Dict. Cicero’s Orations.