Text #9558"Gaius Antonius Hybrida", in .
Gaius Antonius Hybrida (flourished 1st century BC) was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony.
His military career started as a legate and cavalry commander of Lucius Cornelius Sulla during the Mithridatic Wars. After Sulla’s return to Rome, Hybrida remained in Greece with a force of cavalry. He was supposed to maintain peace and order but ended in plundering the countryside and sacking for his own profit several temples and holy places. It was the rumors of his plundering and atrocities committed on the local population, which included maiming and torture, that earned him the nickname Hybrida (“half-beast”) (Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 213).
In 76 BC, he was prosecuted for his malpractices by the young Julius Caesar, but escaped punishment because he successfully appealed to the people’s tribunes. Years later, in 70 BC, he was removed from the Senate and stripped of senatorial rank by the censors, still on charges due to the atrocities committed in Greece. In spite of his bad reputation, however, he was elected tribune in 71 BC, which meant that he again joined the Senate; then praetor in 66 BC, and finally consul with Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 BC.
For, when Marcus Cicero had become consul with Gaius Antonius, and Mithridates no longer caused any injury to the Romans, but had destroyed himself…
He secretly supported Lucius Sergius Catilina, but Cicero won him to his side by promising him the governorship of the rich province of Macedonia.
This alarm Cicero first sought to allay by getting the province of Macedonia voted to his colleague, while he himself declined the proffered province of Gaul; and by this favour he induced Antonius, like a hired actor, to play the second role to him in defence of their country.
On the outbreak of the Catilinarian conspiracy, Hybrida was obliged as consul to lead an army into Etruria, but handed over the command on the day of battle to Marcus Petreius, on the ground of ill health.
He then went to Macedonia, where he made himself so detested by his oppressive rule and extortions over the people, that he was forced to leave the province. In 59 BC, Hybrida was accused in Rome, by Marcus Caelius Rufus, both of having taken part in the Catilinarian conspiracy and of extortion in his province. It was said that Cicero had agreed with Gaius to share his plunder. Cicero’s defence of Hybrida two years before in view of a proposal for his recall, and also on the occasion of his trial, increased the suspicion. Despite Cicero’s defence, Hybrida was condemned and went into exile at Kefalonia.
The latter, while governor of Macedonia, had inflicted many injuries upon the subject territory as well as upon that which was in alliance with Rome, and had suffered many disasters in return. For after ravaging the possessions of the Dardanians and their neighbours, he did not dare to await their attack, but pretending to retire with his cavalry for some other purpose, took to flight; in this way the enemy surrounded his infantry and forcibly drove them out of the country, even taking away their plunder from them. When he tried the same tactics on the allies in Moesia, he was defeated near the city of the Istrians by the Bastarnian Scythians who came to their aid; and thereupon he ran away. It was not for this conduct, however, that he was accused, but he was indicted for complicity in Catiline’s conspiracy; yet he was convicted on the former charge, so that it was his fate to be found not guilty of the crime for which he was being tried, but to be punished for something of which he was not accused. That was the way he came off. But Cicero, who defended him at this time because Antonius had been his colleague, made a most bitter attack upon Caesar, whom he held responsible for the suit against him, and even went so far as to heap abuse upon him.
He seems to have been recalled by Caesar, since he was present at a meeting of the Roman Senate in 44 BC and was censor in 42 BC.
Hybrida married an unnamed Roman woman. By his wife, he had two daughters:
- Antonia Hybrida Major (Major Latin for the elder) married Roman tribune Lucius Caninius Gallus
- Antonia Hybrida Minor (Minor Latin for the younger) married her first paternal cousin Mark Antony as his second wife
From his daughter’s marriages, he had at least two grandchildren who were a younger Lucius Caninius Gallus and Antonia.
Cicero, In Cat. iii.6, pro Flacco, 38
Plutarch, Cicero, 12
Cassius Dio, xxxvii.39, 40; xxxviii.10
On his trial see article in Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyclopadie.