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Marcus Coelius Rufus, a Roman orator, born 82 B.C. He was a man of great gifts, but dissolute life, as even his advocate Cicero was forced to admit in the speech which he made in his defence. He belonged originally to the party of the optimates; but on the outbreak of the Civil War, attached himself to Caesar; then, thinking himself slighted by the latter, he tried, during his praetorship, to stir up disorder in Rome. He was deprived of his office by the senate, fled from Rome, and, in the year 48 B.C., attempted to excite a rising in Lower Italy, in which he met with a violent death. According to Cicero, his strong point as an orator was his power of haranguing the people; in the courts he shone mostly when on the side of the prosecution. His style was, if Cicero may be believed, brilliant, dignified, and witty. Several of his letters to Cicero are preserved in the eighth book of Cicero's Epistuloe ad Familiares. They constitute an important contribution to the history of the time.
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