Catulus (kăchˈŏləs) [key], family of ancient Rome, of the Lutatian gens. Caius Lutatius Catulus was consul in 242 B.C. He won the great Roman naval victory over Carthage off the Aegates (modern Aegadian Isles) that ended the First Punic War. Quintus Lutatius Catulus, d. 87 B.C., was consul in 102 B.C. His colleague in the consulship was Marius, with whom he went north to oppose a Germanic invasion. He had to retreat before the Cimbri until Marius returned from Gaul. The two then defeated the Cimbri near Vercelli in 101 B.C. He later opposed Marius in the Social War and favored Sulla. Proscribed by the Marians, he either committed suicide or was killed. He was the patron of a literary circle and was himself a writer and a philosopher. Cicero praises his oratory. His son, also Quintus Lutatius Catulus, d. c.60 B.C., was consul in 78 B.C. He opposed the constitutional changes sought by Marcus Lepidus (d. 77 B.C.; see under Lepidus), and when Lepidus led a revolt, Catulus and Pompey defeated him. Catulus was censor in 65 B.C. He was the leader of the archconservative group. He led the minority opposing the conferring of unusual powers on Pompey by the Manilian Law in 66 B.C., and he was one of the bitterest opponents of Julius Caesar.
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