«by Hugo Thomas Dupuis Whitfield A thesis submitted to the Department of Classics In conformity with the requirements for the Degree of Masters of ...»
alternative technique to express one’s career.81 Aemilius Postumus became a military tribune of the Legio VI Victrix, the same legion as Adgennius Macrinus. He most likely served as a military tribune before completing all the public offices in Nemausus for two reasons: first he would have wanted to complete his military service while he was still young and athletic, and second he would have wanted the added distinction of a military tribuneship in order to attain the quattuorvirship. Both Adgennius Macrinus and Aemilius Postumus may be connected as they both served as military tribunes for the same legion during Vespasian’s reign. Even if this connection can be established, it did not benefit Aemilius Postumus, as the military tribuneship was the culmination of his career. It is also possible that the Legio VI Victrix had a connection with Nemausus, and that it was easier for equestrians to become a military tribune for that legion. Aemilius Postumus’ career places him as a leading figure in Nemausus, with power and influence comparable to that held by both Adgennius Macrinus and Iulius Maximus.
4.5 Marcus Attius Paternus:
The last equestrian to be examined is Marcus Attius Paternus; a single inscription describing his cursus was found at Nemausus but he is presumed to be from Colonia Iulia Augusta Apollinaris Reiorum (modern Riez and henceforth referred to by its modern name).82 The case of Attius Paternus becomes more interesting because Riez is approximately 150 kilometres from Nemausus; in between the two are other prominent towns such as Avennio, 81 Another variant is to illustrate one’s completion of the quattuorvirship, the highest municipal office, implying that he had completed the lower municipal offices.
82 Rivet, n.4, p.243.
34 Arelate and Aquae Sextiae. If he wanted to move to a larger, more prominent town, the abovelisted towns presented such opportunities, but he instead chose Nemausus, an indication of its status within Gallia Narbonensis.
MEMORIAE M(ARCI) ATTI(I) M(ARCI) FIL(II) VOLT(INIA) PATERNI EQUO
PUBLIC(O) HONORATO ITEM DECURIONI COL(ONIAE) APOLLINARE
REIORUM DECURIONI ORNAMENTARIO COL(ONIAE) AUG(USTAE)
NEMAUSI ANNUM XXV AGENTI COELIA SEX(TI) FILIA PATERNA FILIOPIIS(S)IMO To the memory of Marcus Attius Paternus, the son of Marcus, from the Voltinia tribe, honoured with a horse at public expense likewise as decurion of the colony of Riez sacred to Apollo, having lived for twenty-five years as an honorary decurion of the colony of Augustus at Nemausus, Coelia Paterna the daughter of Sextus [did this] for her most devoted son (CIL XII, 3200) Attii is a plebeian gens that can be traced back historically in the Roman Senate to the second century B.C. The cognomen Paternus is very common within the Roman Empire especially in Gallia Narbonensis.83 When translated as a Latin noun, ‘paternus’ can signify either ‘of one’s father’ or ‘ancestral’, meaning that his family was originally from Italy and moved to Gallia Narbonensis. Even though the cognomen Paternus is found almost entirely within the Gallic region of influence, which expanded from western Spain to Britain to the western Danubian area to Cisalpine Gaul, its etymology is not attested in Evans ‘ study on Gaulish personal names, an indication of its Italian origin. What is known about Attius Paternus’ family tree is that Coelia Paterna was his mother and was married to a Marcus Attius. Coelia Paterna’s father would have 83 Yves Burnand, Primores Galliarum: Sénateurs et chevaliers romains originaires de Gaule de la fin de la République au IIIe siècle: I-Méthodologie, (Bruxelles: Éditions Latomus, vol.290, 2005), p.423. The cognomen Paternus is found 468 times throughout the Roman Empire and 114 times in Gallia Narbonensis (24.3%). The cognomen is also heavily attested in Hispania and Gallia Comata (102 and 77 times respectively).
35 presumably been Sextus Coelius Paternus and Attius Paternus took his cognomen from his mother’s side while keeping the same nomen and praenomen as his father.
The honorary inscription of Attius Paternus offers clues into his life. It is believed that he was originally from Riez, but would have then moved to Nemausus. He is a decurion of both Riez and Nemausus although he is a proper decurion in Riez, but only an honorary one at Nemausus (decurio ornamentarius). His honorary decurion suggests that he did not fulfill the conditions to be a decurion of the highest degree in Nemausus and therefore would corroborate the theory that he moved to Nemausus later in his life.84 It is assumed that he was given the status of Nemausian decurion because he had achieved the same rank in Riez.
Attius Paternus’ connection to Riez also stems from the inscription CIL XII, 357, which states the gens Coelia and indicates a possible connection between Riez and Coelia Paterna, his mother. If his mother was from Riez and he had attained the rank of Decurion in that town then the question becomes: why did he move to Nemausus? A plausible answer is the natural pull to a larger, more important town where municipal civic offices offer greater prestige. Another alternative is that his father, Marcus Attius, was from Nemausus and that Attius Paternus wanted to establish himself in a greater political center while at the same time connecting himself to his father’s birthplace.
The inscription does not indicate Attius Paternus’ cursus beyond his admission to the equestrian order and his status as decurion in both provincial towns. He had been recently honored with the presentation of the knight’s horse by the emperor, an equo publico honorato.
This is an example of the social mobility that was possible within the Roman Empire. The inscription does indicate, however, that Paternus lived in Nemausus for twenty-five years after
account of his lack of appointments and while this is possible, it is more likely that he lived past his twenty-fifth year, as he was a decurion in both Riez and Nemausus.
Other inscriptions bearing the careers of equestrians have been discovered at Nemausus but have remained unknown due to their condition or the lack of information that could link any individual with Nemausus. There is one exception to this statement: Gaius Fulvius Lupus Servilianus. He was a Nemausian equestrian who became adlected into the senatorial order, and his career will be discussed in the following chapter even though the majority of his appointments were in the equestrian cursus. As discussed previously, only the Voltinia tribe is mentioned, and due to the lack of other useful information, no further determination of the individuals’ origin can be established. The other problem that arises is the fact that inscriptions found near Nemausus describe individuals who have no known connection with the town; they therefore cannot be used in a prosopographical study of the area.
Although it is difficult to draw conclusions about the importance of Nemausus on the basis of the five equestrians studied here, their careers are representative of the careers of knights from other colonies, and conclusions regarding their role in Nemausus, Gallia Narbonensis, and the Roman Empire will be discussed below.
The equestrians from Nemausus are clearly not the most illustrious group in the Roman Empire because, as mentioned throughout this chapter, none of them achieved the highest available offices. Stratification within the equestrian order explains why Nemausian equestrian families were unable to attain these illustrious and prestigious offices. Provincial elites did not
would find it difficult, if not impossible, to be appointed to the highest offices within the order.85 During the struggle of the orders the consulship was opened to the plebeian order, but still it remained very difficult for a plebeian to achieve this rank, as witnessed by the rarity of the term novus homo, which designated this achievement.
It has been established that Nemausian equestrians were not prominent men within the empire. This does not automatically translate into a lack of prominence within Nemausus itself and quite possibly Gallia Narbonensis. While senators were busy serving their posts throughout the empire, the equestrians remained in Nemausus and were its local leaders. While some equestrians may have desired to attain the highest prefectures in Rome, others were undoubtedly content with their roles in Nemausus as its chief magistrates.
The number of offices available to equestrians was very limited when compared to the body of individuals who would be vying for them (approximately 700 offices for the tens of thousands of equestrians). The argument that Nemausian equestrians, when compared to equestrians living in Rome, were in a disadvantageous position because of their provincial status may seem logical at first, but Nemausian senators have yet to be evaluated and this argument may unravel following their examination in the next chapter.
Nemausian equestrians did not have a significant impact throughout the Roman Empire in the early Principate as they only held minor offices such as the military tribune or the prefect of the workmen. The sons of Nemausian equestrians would be expected to further their family’s name by attaining more illustrious appointments. At the moment, there is evidence for a possible 85 The stratification of the equestrian order was due in part to its expansion during the early Principate.
Sons of equestrians would usually not begin their careers at the bottom of the food-chain and in turn it was easier for them to reach the highest offices.
38 familial connection between the equestrian Sextus Iulius Maximus and a Nemausian senator, Titus Iulius Maximus. The theory on their possible familial connection will be discussed in the following chapter. Besides this, Nemausian equestrians’ sons either did not pursue a political career or their inscriptions remain unfound. This lack of continuity makes it difficult to provide a true determination of each individual equestrian’s influence within the province and the Roman Empire. Besides Attius Lucanus, who became a senior military official, Nemausian equestrians did not reach the most prestigious offices within the order, such as the praefectus vigiles or the praefectus Aegypti. It is important to remember that producing illustrious equestrians does not make a provincial town one of the most important and influential within the Roman Empire. If Nemausus had many illustrious equestrians, it would help to conclude that it was an important town within the empire but equestrians alone cannot make Nemausus important; senators and connections to the imperial family can.
The senatorial class, as previously mentioned, was the most exclusive and prestigious order of Roman society. It is on account of the number of senators who attained the highest possible offices in the senatorial cursus from Nemausus that it became one of the most important towns during the early Principate. The senators will be evaluated individually and chronologically, beginning with Cn. Domitius Afer.
5.1 Gnaeus Domitius Afer:
Gnaeus Domitius Afer is known to the modern world solely through ancient texts, as no epigraphical evidence attests to his existence. Although he became one of the most prominent senators of his day (pp.42-45), only one source makes a reference to his origin, that being Jerome who, writing in the late fourth-early fifth centuries A.D., stated that he was from Nemausus (Jer., Chron., 2062). While that sole reference makes the case of his origin not very stable, there are two other facts that help to corroborate Jerome’s assertion. The first is his name Gnaeus Domitius, as this would place him as a client of the Domitii Ahenobarbii, a prominent Roman family whose origin can be traced back to the early days of the Roman Republic. The Ahenobarbii’s relationship with Transalpine Gaul, later Gallia Narbonensis, began in 121 B.C.
when Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus defeated the Allobroges and the Arverni, who were led by King Bituitus, an act that ensured the incorporation of the whole region into the Roman Empire.
As a result Domitius Ahenobarbus and his family gradually acquired a sizable clientele who displayed their loyalty by adopting their patron’s name. This practice was customary and is one
conquest of the region.86 The second piece of evidence is Afer’s relationship to Sextus Curvius whose Nemausian origin will be further discussed below.
5.1.1 Sextus Curvius:
Two pieces of evidence suggest a Nemausian origin for Sextus Curvius. One inscription
that was found in Rome bears his name:
SEX(TO) CURVIO SEX(TO) F(ILIO) VOL(TINIA) TULLO Sextus Curvius Tullus, son of Sextus, of the Voltinia tribe (CIL VI, 16671) The Voltinia tribe is the only mention of Sextus Curvius’ origin, a broad designation that cannot on its own establish him as Nemausian, as stated by Burnand.87 Curvius’ Nemausian origin is based on two facts. The first is the rarity of the nomen Curvius, which is identified only once throughout Gallia Narbonensis by an inscription found in Narbo Martius (CIL XII, 4756). The second is a connection between Sextus Curvius and Domitius Afer. Afer prosecuted Sextus Curvius and then adopted his two sons (Plin., Ep., 8.18); Gnaeus Domitius Afer Titius Marcellus Curvius Tullus (PIR2 D 167) and Gnaeus Domitius Afer Curvius Lucanus (PIR2 D 152) whose careers will be discussed shortly. Knowing the cost of adoption, he would not have carried through with it if a pre-existing relationship did not exist between the two families. This theory counters Burnand’s statement that a lack of documentation must leave Curvius’ origin as “très incertaine”.88 Alföldy, on the other hand, believes that Sextus Curvius is Nemausian and that his sons were also from the provincial town. He also believes that Sextus Curvius Silvinus, who was 86 The nomen Iulius’ popularity is also due to Augustus’ extended reign as well as the influence of his wife, Livia, after she was adopted into the Julian family following Augustus’ death.
87 Burnand, n.27, p.698.
88 Burnand, n.27, p.698.