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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 63 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LAENAS, the name of a plebeian family in ancient Rome, notorious for cruelty and arrogance. The two most famous of the name' are: GAIL'S PoPILLIus LAENAS, consul in 172 B.C. He was sent to Greece in 174 to allay the general disaffection, but met with little success. He took part in the war against Perseus, king of Macedonia (Livy xliii. 17, 22). When Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, invaded Egypt, Laenas was sent to arrest his progress. Meeting him near Alexandria, he handed him the decree of the senate, demanding the evacuation of Egypt. Antiochus having asked time for consideration, Laenas drew a circle round him with his staff, and told him he must give an answer before he stepped out of it. Antiochus thereupon submitted (Livy xlv. 12; Polybius xxix. 11; Cicero, Philippica, viii. 8; Vell. Pat. i. 1o). PuBL1us PoPILL1us LAENAS, son of the preceding. When consul in 132 B.C. he incurred the hatred of the democrats by his harsh measures as head of a special commission appointed to take measures against the accomplices of Tiberius Gracchus. In 123 Gaius Gracchus brought in a bill prohibiting all such commissions, and declared that, in accordance with the old laws of appeal, a magistrate who pronounced sentence of death ' The name is said by Cicero to be derived from laena, the sacerdotal cloak carried by Marcus Popillius (consul 359) when he went to the forum to quell a popular rising.-LAETUS 63 against a citizen, without the people's assent, should be guilty of high treason. It is not known whether the bill contained a retrospective clause against Laenas, but he left Rome and sentence of banishment from Italy was pronounced against him. After the restoration of the aristocracy the enactments against him were cancelled, and he was recalled (12r). See Cicero, Brutus, 25. 34, and De domo sua, 31; Vell. Pat. ii. 7; Plutarch, C. Gracchus, 4.
End of Article: LAENAS
LAER (or LAAR), PIETER VAN (1613-c. 1675)

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