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Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius
Held Office: 81 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: North Italy
Obverse: Diademed head of Pietas right; stork below chin
Reverse: Elephant advancing left, wearing bell around neck; In exergue: "Q•C•M•P•I"
Reference: RSC Caecilia 43, RCVM 301, Crawford 374/1
Weight: 3.8 gms
Diameter: 17.5 mm
Comment: The issuer strikes as imperator in northern Italy where he was campaigning on behalf of Sulla against Carrinas, Norbanus and Carbo. The following year he was to be the dictator's colleague in the consulship.

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (c. 130 BC - 63 BC)

Metellus Pius was the son of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who was consul in 109 BC. He accompanied his father to Numidia during the Jugurthine War, returning to Rome in 107 BC, when his father was forcibly recalled by the actions of Gaius Marius. In 100 BC, after his father was banished as a result of the political manoeuvrings of Gaius Marius and Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, Metellus Pius launched a campaign to have his father brought back from exile. His petitioning in 99 BC to this effect resulted in a law which allowed his father to return. As a result of his actions, he was given the nickname "Pius" for the constancy with which he fought for his father's political rehabilitation and return to Rome.

At the outbreak of the Social War Metellus Pius was a legate in late 89 BC, probably of the consul Pompeius Strabo, where he won some battles against the Marsi. As a result of these victories, he was elected Praetor in the following year (88 BC) and was involved in enrolling Italian allies as new citizens before returning to the war where he harassed the territory around Apulia, captured the town of Venusia, and defeated the leading Italian leader, Quintus Poppaedius Silo.

In 87 BC, Metellus Pius' command was extended, with his appointment as Propraetor, responsible for continuing the war against Samnium. Later that year, a dispute between the two consuls Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Gnaeus Octavius erupted. They met up with the exiled Marius and laid siege to Rome. The Senate, fearing that they may need additional troops and commanders, ordered Metellus Pius to negotiate a peace with the Samnites.

Marching to Rome, he made camp at the Alban Hills, accompanied by Publius Licinius Crassus. Here he met up with Gnaeus Octavius, who had abandoned Rome, but both men soon fell out with each other. The Senate then asked him to negotiate with Cinna on their behalf. However, with Cinna's occupation of Rome and the executions initiated by Gaius Marius, Metellus Pius decided to abandon Rome and head to North Africa.

Metellus Pius arrived in Africa in early 86 BC and started to raise an army with the intent of joining Lucius Cornelius Sulla who had been the principal opponent of Cinna and Marius. He acted as proconsular governor of the province, but this was unrecognized by Cinna and his regime at Rome. In 84 BC the Marians at Rome sent out their own governor, Gaius Fabius Hadrianus who drove out Metellus Pius who fled to Numidia.

By 83 BC, Sulla had returned from the east and was marching slowly to Rome for his confrontation with the Marian regime. Metellus Pius was the first to meet him along the Via Appia, bringing new troops with him. By July 83 BC, the Senate, under the direction of the consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, declared Metellus Pius a public enemy. In 82 BC, Sulla was victorious and rewarded his faithful subordinates, of whom Metellus Pius was one of the best. Finally in 80 BC, he was appointed consul alongside Sulla.

Sometime during his consulship, Quintus Sertorius, an opponent of Sulla, established himself in Spain and began a rebellion against the Senate. The governor of Hispania Ulterior was defeated and decided to send Metellus Pius once his term as consul had ended to take charge of the war. From the start, it was clear that Metellus Pius was no match for Sertorius, suffering repeated defeats through Sertorius' use of guerrilla tactics. After an unsuccessful push towards the Tagus in 79 BC, and suffering a defeat by Sertorius at Lacobriga in 78 BC, Pius was forced to ask for help from the governor of Gallia Transalpina, but he was defeated by Sertorius' legate and unable to help. The end result was that an exhausted Pius was pushed out of his province of Hispania Ulterior.

From the start, it was clear that Metellus Pius was no match for Sertorius, suffering repeated defeats through Sertorius' use of guerrilla tactics. His legate Thorius, dispatched to come to the assistance of the governor of Hispania Citerior, Marcus Domitus Calvinus, was defeated by Sertorius (79 BC). After his unsuccessful push towards the Tagus in 79 BC, and suffering a defeat by Sertorius at Lacobriga in 78 BC, Pius was forced to ask for help from the governor of Gallia Transalpina, but he was defeated by Sertorius' legate and unable to help. The end result was that an exhausted Pius was pushed out of his province of Hispania Ulterior.

The Senate in late 77 BC, decided to send Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus together with another army to give Pius what assistance he could. Both men worked well together, but were hard pressed to win any encounter with Sertorius.

With Pompey's arrival in 76 BC, Sertorius turned his attention to him, freeing Metellus Pius to campaign against Sertorius' subordinates. Pius managed to defeat Hirtuleius, Sertorius' quaestor before aiding Pompey to defeat Sertorius at Saguntum. Other successes followed until he celebrated a triumph together with Pompey on December 30, 71 BC.

Pius died around 63 BC, the year that Julius Caesar replaced him as Pontifex Maximus.

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