Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Catiline, or Lucius Sergius Catilina, came of high patrician lineage, and in early life attained unenviable fame by his bloodthirsty zeal in carrying out Sulla's proscriptions, and by his reckless profligacy, which did not respect even the Vestal Virgins. In 66 B.C. he aspired to the consulship, but was impeached by P. Clodius Pulcher for extortion during his government in Africa. Thereupon he formed a conspiracy, in which Crassus and Caesar were suspected of complicity, for murdering the consuls and all opponents, and for seizing supreme power. The plan collapsed, but by dint of bribery Catiline was acquitted in the trial for extortion, and again became a candidate for the consulship, having extended and strengthened his plot in the meanwhile. Cicero, by his denunciations, foiled this scheme, and with M. Autronius was elected for the year 63. Informed by Fulvia, Catiline's mistress, of all that was passing in the secret conferences of the conspirators, the new consul succeeded in thoroughly alarming the senate, but really produced no evidence in support of his charges save the statements of Allobrogian envoys, with whom the conspirators had been in correspondence. On the strength of these reports Lentulus, Cethegus, and Statilius were seized and put to death, though Caesar protested against the proceedings as illegal, while Cato as strenuously upheld them. Catiline escaped to his army, but his half-organised forces were unable to cope with the legions under the nominal command of C. Antonius. He was defeated and killed at Faesulae in 62. What we know of his character and policy is derived mainly from his opponents, whose assertions must be received with caution. However worthless he may have been personally, he undoubtedly represented the popular party in its struggle against the aristocracy of Rome, and his parallel may perhaps be found in such restless spirits as the Duc d'Orleans (Egalite, and similar intriguers of the French revolutionary period.