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Last seen on: NY Times Crossword 14 Feb 20, Friday
Random information on the term “ORCA”:
Quintus Valerius Orca (fl. 50s–40s BC) was a Roman praetor, a governor of the Roman province of Africa, and a commanding officer under Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompeius Magnus and the senatorial elite. The main sources for Orca’s life are letters written to him by Cicero and passages in Caesar’s Bellum Civile.
Orca is generally regarded as the son of Quintus Valerius Soranus, a partisan of Gaius Marius who was executed during the Sullan proscriptions of 82 BC, allegedly for violating a religious prohibition against revealing the secret name of Rome. The family came from the municipality of Sora, near Cicero’s native Arpinum. Cicero refers to the Valerii Sorani as his friends and neighbors.
Next to nothing is known of Orca’s early career. As praetor in 57 BC, he actively supported Cicero’s return from exile, and in 56, while governor in Africa, he was the recipient of two letters of recommendation from Cicero. Orca and Cicero had close enough relations that they had agreed upon the use of a sign or symbol to mark their correspondence as authentic and trustworthy. Orca then disappears from the historical record for several years. The length of his term in Africa is undetermined; the next known governor, P. Attius Varus, was there in 52 and probably earlier. It has been conjectured, though the dating of his governorship might argue to the contrary, that he was among those attending the conference held April 56 BC in Luca by Julius Caesar, Pompeius Magnus, and Marcus Crassus; in the company of a number of supporters the three worked out the strategic political alliance that led to the extension of Caesar’s command in Gaul and the joint election of Pompey and Crassus to their second consulship.