«by Hugo Thomas Dupuis Whitfield A thesis submitted to the Department of Classics In conformity with the requirements for the Degree of Masters of ...»
While Maximus Manlianus stands out at first due to his eleven added cognomina, it is his double legateship of both the Legio I Adiutrix and the Legio IIII Flavia, labeled by Syme as ‘anomolous’, that is intriguing.169 His double legateship, his governorship of Pannonia Inferior and his consulship place him within Trajan’s inner circle of advisors. He was thus one of the Roman Empire’s elite senators.
5.7 Lucius Pompeius and Pompeia Plotina:
Lucius Pompeius was the father of Pompeia Plotina, the wife of Trajan. We have no evidence at all of his life, it only being through the inscriptions of his daughter’s freedmen that we can establish his name (CIL VI, 1878). His origin is assumed to be the same as his
just in Rome, but also in that colony, as recorded in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (SHA, Hadr., 12). While this fact is the only evidence that Pompeia Plotina and her father may have been Nemausians, Hadrian would not have randomly erected a basilica in a provincial town without reason shortly after her death. Nemausus was probably her hometown and further to that point, if she was from Nemausus, her parents must have also been from there. As to this Lucius Pompeuis’ rank, we again have no concrete evidence, but the fact that his daughter married the son of a Spanish senator allows this author to strongly suggest that he too was a senator. While little can be said about the influence of a man who is not recorded historically, it should be emphasized that as a member of a very select group whose daughter married a senator who later became an Emperor, his influence was probably substantial enough to be included as one of the more influential provincial senators.
While Lucius Pompeius’ influence is not completely clear, his daughter’s role in Rome is well known through the literary evidence of Dio Cassius, Pliny the Younger and the SHA. As the wife of not just the Emperor but also the Optimus Princeps, she was an integral member of the imperial family. Whether one claims that she greatly influenced policy or decisions or that she meddled in the affairs of the state, she is best known for helping to establish Hadrian as Trajan’s successor.170 The circumstances regarding his adoption by Trajan are suspicious, as the letter that was given to the senate stating Hadrian’s adoption was signed by Plotina and not by the emperor himself (Dio Cass., LXIX, 1).171 The author of the SHA describes Hadrian’s ascension to the 170 There are three occasions where Plotina directly got involved with the affairs of the state. For more in depth discussion of these events see Burns, Jasper, “Great Imperial Women of Rome: Mothers and Wives of the Caesars”, Routledge Press, London, 2007, pp.110-111.
171 Plotina had previously signed letters for Trajan that were presented to the Senate but in this case suspicion arose because Neratius Priscus was thought to be Trajan’s successor (SHA, Hadr., 4).
78 throne as an usurpation on account of Plotina’s meddling and believes that Trajan had chosen Neratius Priscus, a famous jurist and member of Trajan’s imperial council, as his successor (SHA, Hadr., 4). It is important to note that Plotina had much to lose if Neratius Priscus had succeeded Trajan rather than Hadrian, as she had forged a strong relationship with Hadrian because he became a dependent of Trajan at the age of ten after his own father died.172 This author believes that the SHA’s characterization of Plotina’s role in the succession of Trajan is too strongly worded because a persuasive case can be made that Trajan had chosen Hadrian as his successor and that Plotina did not interfere with the sucession.
The relationship between Hadrian and Plotina is exemplified by Dio Cassius who states:
“πολλὰ παῤ ἐ μοῦ αἰ τήσασα οὐ δενὸ σ ἀ πέτυχεν” (Though she asked many things of me (Hadrian), she was rejected in no way) (LXIX, 10). Dio Cassius’ statement demonstrates Hadrian’s respect for Plotina while it also illustrates the power and influence that the empress had acquired following Trajan’s death. The dedication by Hadrian of a basilica in Nemausus following her death in A.D. 122 is another example of their close relationship and respect.
Upon entering Rome, as empress, Plotina said: “τοιαύτη μέντοι ἐ νταῦ θα ἐ σέρχομαι οἲ α καὶ ἐ ξελθεῖ ν βούλομαι.” (I enter here such a woman as I would wish to be when I depart) (Dio. Cass., LXVIII, 5). Dio Cassius believes that Plotina carried herself in such a manner that allowed her to fulfill this brave statement (LXVIII, 5). Although he does not allude to any specific examples he states that: “καὶ οὕ τω γε ἑ αυτὴ ν διὰ πάσης τῆ σ ἀ ρχῆ σ διήγαγεν ὥστε μηδεμίαν ἐ πηγοριαν σχεῖ ν” (She conducted herself during the entire reign in such a manner as to incur criticism in no way) (Dio Cass., LXVIII, 5). Pliny, on the other hand, describes her modest attire and hairstyle as examples of her austere lifestyle (Plin., Pan., 83). Even though
Nemausian senators in Rome perhaps felt her influence during the beginning of the second century A.D. While Plotina was empress Nemausus had its highest number of senators in Rome. These included: Lucius Aemilius Honoratus, Titus Iulius Maximus Manlianus, Domitius Tullus and the future emperor Antoninus Pius. This author suggests that she played a role in the success of these Nemausian senators, helping them advance their careers. The most obvious case is Aemilius Honoratus who was appointed earlier than was accustomed to according to the established laws. Trajan had the power to circumvent these laws and, at Plotina’s urging, he obliged and appointed Aemilius Honoratus to the offices discussed above (pp.64-69). Maximus Manlianus was granted a dual legateship, Domitius Tullus received two consulships and Antoninus Pius climbed the senatorial ranks to reach the consulship in A.D. 120 while Plotina was the leading female figure in the Roman Empire. Plotina’s role in their careers is inferred by the fact that all four Nemausian senators achieved the highest offices in the cursus during Trajan’s reign. A correlation can be inferred between Plotina becoming empress and the abundance of influential Nemausian senators in Rome. Without Plotina, these Nemausian senators may not have attained the same level of prominence in their political and military careers.
5.8 Antoninus Pius Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Antoninus Pius was the grandson of our Nemausian senator Titus Aurelius Fulvus, twice consul and Prefect of the City. He was born at Lanuvium in Latium in A.D. 86, his parents being Titus Aurelius Fulvus, consul in A.D. 89, and Arria Fadilla,
grandparents raised him as a result of his father’s untimely death (SHA, Ant. Pius, 1). He married Annia Galeria Faustina (Faustina the Elder) who was the daughter of Marcus Annius Verus, a Spanish senator from Ucubi (SHA, Ant. Pius, 1; Marc., 1).173 She bore him two sons and two daughters, one of whom, Annia Galeria Faustina (Faustina the Younger), was betrothed to Marcus Aurelius, Antoninus Pius’ successor. Marcus Aurelius was the son of Marcus Annius Verus the Younger and Domitia Lucilla; she was the great-granddaughter of Domitius Afer (see stemma on p.58) (SHA, Ant. Pius, 1).
Antoninus Pius’ ascension as Roman Emperor was similar to that of Tiberius, as both men were initially passed over as successors but eventually became the princeps following untimely deaths.174 Originally Hadrian had selected Lucius Aelius Verus as his successor but he died in A.D. 138 (SHA, Ant. Pius, 4; Hadr., 23). Being advanced in his years and with his health deteriorating, Hadrian wanted his succession to be predetermined, as he did not want a repeat of the events of A.D. 69 when Rome’s generals fought for control of the empire. As a result, Hadrian, after having weighted his options carefully, offered Antoninus Pius the opportunity to become his adopted son and successor. Antoninus Pius was well qualified to become Emperor, as he was one of four men of consular rank chosen to govern Italy during the reign of Hadrian (SHA, Ant. Pius, 3). He served his first consulship in A.D. 120 and then completed his proconsulship of Asia from A.D. 133-136, and afterwards was included in Hadrian’s inner council as one of his trusted advisors (SHA, Ant. Pius, 3).175 Antoninus Pius’ previous 173 The elder Marcus Annius Verus attained the consulship three times (COS 97, II 121, III 126), a rare feat for a senator and an illustration of his standing in Rome.
174 Augustus finally chose Tiberius after the deaths of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and his grandsons Lucius and Gaius Caesar.
175 Liebenam, n.110, p.20.
81 accomplishments made him an ideal candidate for Hadrian who, when proposing to adopt him, allowed him time to decide if he wanted the responsibilities that came with such an honour (SHA, Ant. Pius, 4). Antoninus Pius also had to take into account the fact that his adoption by Hadrian included the proviso that he would have to adopt Marcus Antoninus (henceforth referred to as Marcus Aurelius), his nephew, and Lucius Ceionius Commodus (henceforth referred to as Lucius Verus), the son of the above Lucius Aelius Verus as his successors (SHA, Ant. Pius, 4).
Antoninus Pius accepted the offer and following Hadrian’s death in 138, he became sole ruler of the Roman Empire.
One of Antoninus Pius’ first actions as emperor was to compel the senate to declare his adoptive father a divus and have him buried in his own mausoleum in Rome (known today as the Castel Sant’ Angelo) (SHA, Ant. Pius, 5). It was then that Antoninus Pius received the name that he is now remembered as: ‘Pius’ (SHA, Ant. Pius, 5). While the author of the SHA provides five different reasons why Antoninus Pius received his surname, according to Birley, the most logical reason was due to his unremitting effort in having his adoptive father deified along with all of his acts ratified (including his own adoption) (SHA, Ant. Pius, 2).176 Antoninus Pius’ loyalty to Hadrian is also illustrated by the fact that he did not remove any men who previously had been appointed by Hadrian. Three years into his reign, his wife, Annia Galeria Faustina, suddenly died and due to Antoninus Pius’ established relationship with the senate, she was honoured with the title of Augusta (SHA, Ant. Pius, 6). Six years later, in A.D. 147, Antoninus Pius would celebrate the 900th anniversary of Rome’s foundation with pomp and splendour.
Small rebellions and revolts occurred frequently throughout Antoninus Pius’ twenty-two year reign. His legate, Quintus Lollius Urbicus, defeated the Britons in the northern section of
another wall, one of turf, which was further north than Hadrian’s Wall to fend off further disturbances (SHA, Ant. Pius, 5).177 In the northern coast of Africa, from Carthage to the Atlantic Ocean, marauders and brigands destabilized the region. Rome dispatched Titus Varius Clemens to defeat the brigands who had built a stronghold in Mauretania Tingitana (Paus., 8,43).178 Near the end of his reign, revolts in Dacia were sternly defeated and provoked the reorganization of the province into three separate entities known as: Dacia Apulensis, Dacia Porolissensis and Dacia Malvensis.179 As stated in the SHA, smaller rebellions also occurred in Egypt, Achaea and Judaea (Ant. Pius, 5). Many rebellions and revolts did take place during Antoninus Pius’ reign but were not major uprisings that required the movement of legions and the emperor’s presence on the frontier. The one blemish to Antoninus Pius’ military policy is that he failed to strengthen and reinforce the northern frontier along the Danube and although serious rebellions were averted, it would be his successor, Marcus Aurelius, who would suffer the consequences.
Antoninus Pius’ attachment to Nemausus can be seen in his improvement of the roads in Gallia Narbonensis.180 Existing roads were improved and new roads were built in order to provide better communication with the province and also to allow a greater flow of goods, thus improving the area’s economy. They were not built or improved with the Roman army as its main beneficiary because Roman legions already were stationed on the borders.
When Antoninus Pius felt that his end was near he called together his prefects and close friends and told them that Marcus Aurelius would be his successor (SHA, Ant. Pius, 12).
Antoninus Pius had grown closer and closer to Marcus Aurelius as the years had passed, which 177 Septimius Severus would later replace the turf with stone making it a more defensible position.
178 E.E. Bryant, The Reign of Antoninus Pius, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1895), pp.69-71.
179 Michael Grant, The Antonines: The Roman Empire in Transition, (London:Routledge Press, 1994), p.20.
180 Bryant, n.178, pp.54-55.
83 was due in part to the fact that Marcus only left his side twice in a span of twenty-three years (SHA, Marc., 7). Antoninus Pius died on March 7th, A.D. 161 at Lorium (Eutr., 8.8). Following his death, according to the author of the SHA: “Decreti etiam sunt omnes honores qui optimis principibus ante delati sunt.” (All the honours were decreed for him, which had been previously granted to the very best emperors) (SHA, Ant. Pius, 12). The senate, without any opposition, deified Antoninus Pius, an indication of the relationship he had established with it (SHA, Ant.
Pius, 12). As the second longest ruler of the Roman Empire, Antoninus Pius ensured that Rome’s borders were defended and allowed the empire to prosper under his watch.