In 139 BC when Marcus Hortensius Rufus was born already having some of his red hair he was almost immediately fatherless. His father Hortensius fell as one of the legates in the battle of Chaeronea. Soon after his family had to be taken by his relatives Quintilii from his mothers side as there was not really men to look after the household. Fortunately the man Numidus Quintilius Avitus who adopted him and his brother to the family seemed not to be able getting his own children and so made Marcus his sole heir. Being now adopted father for Marcus and biological father for his mother Quintilia it was clear that this was not what Quintilia had in mind when she went back to her parents begging for help. In 123 BC when Marcus was 16 years old she tried to murder him and take the whole heirdom for herself. Fortunately she was caught and judged for her actions. Penalty for this crime was death by execution. Censor who had issued the punishment by the will of the Jury allowed Marcus himself to act as an executioner, maybe for his perverted violent satisfaction or just knowing that the crowd loved a good tragedy.
Year after these events Marcus sought wisdom in the writings of the Greeks and traveled around the Republic and it's lands. Quintilii family was rich and well thought of and thus made it easy for him to visit the academies and study in them for a time. After four years in 121 BC he returned to Rome as an lawyer and teacher. For being a student of other philosophers such as Titus Lucretius Carus he was well learned in the art thinking and pondering. In 102 BC he had gained some recognition as orator and was counted as one of the educated he had the honor to serve as Quaestor and after that as senator and regular assistant to the Censor himself. Now after two years he had established his political career and was known to be one who holds Roman values and traditions he started to have ambitions of his own. They were not seen clearly, but they were there. It is sure that this man was to carve his name into the Republic so that when you talk about Roman past, you cannot speak of it without meantioning Marcus Quintilius Rufus .