Lepidus (lĕpˈĭdəs) [key], family of the ancient Roman patrician gens Aemilia. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, d. 152 B.C., was a consul in 187 and 175 B.C., a censor in 179 B.C., and pontifex maximus [high priest] from 180 B.C. He served with distinction in the war with Antiochus III of Syria. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, d. 77 B.C., was praetor of Sicily (81 B.C.). As consul (78 B.C.), he was bitterly opposed to the senatorial leader Catulus (d. c.60 B.C.). When Lepidus was ostensibly on his way to his proconsulship in Gaul, he raised an army in N Italy. Pompey and Catulus defeated him, and he fled from Italy. His son, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, d. 13 B.C., was praetor (49 B.C.) and consul (46 B.C.) with Caesar. He was appointed to Narbonese Gaul and Hither Spain. He supported Antony, who joined him in Gaul after the defeat at Mutina (modern Modena) in 43 B.C. They formed the Second Triumvirate with Octavian (Augustus). After the battle of Philippi (42 B.C.), Lepidus received the governorship of Africa, whence he returned (36 B.C.) to conquer Sicily. Octavian suspected him of trying to keep Sicily for himself and deprived him of his offices, except that of pontifex maximus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Lepidus from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Rome: Biographies