Tiberius Claudius Balbillus Modestus (AD 3-79), more commonly known as Tiberius Claudius Balbilus, was a distinguished Ancient Roman scholar, politician and a court astrologer to the Roman emperors Claudius, Nero and Vespasian. : Τιβέριος Κλαύδιος Βαλβίλλος ΜόδεστοςTivérios Klávdios Valvíllos Módestos.in the 1st century. Other forms of his name include the Latin forms Tiberius Claudius Balbillus, Barbillus, Babilus, Balbillus and Balbillus the Wise, Greek forms include Greek
It is assumed that the birthplace of Balbilus was Alexandria in Roman Egypt.Balbilus was a Roman Egyptian nobleman mostly of Greek but partly of Armenian and Median descent. Balbilus was the son and the younger child born to Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus and princess Aka of the Kingdom of Commagene. Thrasyllus was a grammarian, literary commentator, and court astrologer who became the personal friend of the Roman emperor Tiberius.
Balbilus had one known sibling, an elder unnamed sister,who married the Eques Lucius Ennius. Through her, Balbilus was the maternal uncle of Ennia Thrasylla who married the Praetorian prefect of the Praetorian Guard Naevius Sutorius Macro and perhaps, Lucius Ennius who was the father of Lucius Ennius Ferox, a Roman soldier who served during the reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian from 69 until 79. Although Balbilus was born and raised in Egypt, he was of the Roman equestrian order. Balbilus was a friend of Tiberius’ nephew, Claudius, whom Balbilus knew from when they were children and had met at his father's house.
A surviving Papyrus found in Theogonis in Egypt, dated August 26 AD 34, mentions Balbilus as one of the owners of a bathhouse located in the city and the Papyrus mentions the Lease of the Bathhouse and taxation paid from its revenue.At some date in the reign of Caligula, Balbilus left Rome and returned to Alexandria.
With the start of the reign of Claudius, the political career of Balbilus began.Following the assassination of Caligula January AD 41, Balbilus returned to Rome to support Claudius. Balbilus accompanied Claudius on his expedition to Britain in 43, serving as a military tribune in Legio XX Valeria Victrix and as the Commander of the Military Engineers, thus being of the first Greek people to be in Britain. When Claudius with the Roman Legions returned from Britain to Rome, Balbilus was awarded a crown of honor.
According to Suetonius, Claudius rewarded Balbilus a Hasta Pura and perhaps a corona aurea during the Triumph to celebrate the conquest of Britain in 44.As Balbilus was a part of his retinue, it seems likely that his awards, as much as his military rank, were honorary.
Balbilus was one of the highest ranking Equestrian Magistrateswho served in Rome. After Balbilus returned to Rome from the Roman conquest of Britain, he received an important post in Egypt. While in Alexandria, Balbilus was appointed High Priest at the Temple of Hermes and Director of the Library, he split his time between Alexandria and Rome. Sometime later he served as a Procurator of the Asia province.
In October 54, Claudius died and was succeeded by Nero as Roman emperor. Under Nero, Balbilus was appointed Prefect of Egypt where he served from 55 until 59.After his prefecture ended in Egypt, Balbilus continued to live in Alexandria.
Balbilus succeeded to his father's skill in astrology.He was a leading astrologer of his time in Rome. He remained in Rome during Claudius’ reign as his advisor, after he had passed an edict expelling all astrologers from the city and foretold an eclipse which fell on one of the emperor's birthdays.
During the reign of Nero 54 til 68, Balbilus served as an astrological adviser to him and his mother,Agrippina the Younger. A comet had passed across the sky in either 60 or 64, signalling the death of a great personage. Balbilus tried to calm Nero's fears by noting that the usual solution was to murder prominent citizens, thus appeasing the Gods and Nero agreed, killing many nobles. As Balbilus proved to be a distinct (and wily) astrologer, he avoided the fatal end of many astrologers under Nero.
During the reign of Roman emperor Vespasian from 69 until 79, Balbilus returned to Rome from Alexandria. In Rome, Balbilus served as an Astrologer to Vespasian
Balbilus was a learned man.Seneca the Younger describes him as ‘an excellent man of most rare learning in every branch of studies’. He wrote an astrology treatise, titled Astrologumena, of which only fragments have survived. The book was addressed to Hermogenes.
The identity of the wife of Balbilus is unknown; most probably she was a Greek noblewoman from the aristocracy of the Roman Near East. There is a possibility that the wife of Balbilus may have been royalty, possibly Commagenian.By his wife Balbilus had a daughter called Claudia Capitolina. Claudia Capitolina is his only known child. The nomen Claudia she inherited from her father's family while the Cognomen Capitolina, she may have inherited from her mother's family.
In 64, Capitolina married her second paternal cousin the Prince from Commagene, Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus IV of Commagene,and his sister-wife, Queen Iotapa. Capitolina bore Epiphanes one son, called Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos and one daughter, called Julia Balbilla.
Balbilus has two further namesakes the Emesene Priests of the cult of El-Gebal in Rome, Tiberius Julius Balbillus and his relative, Titus Julius Balbilluswho lived in the second half of the 2nd century and the first half of the 3rd century. Like Balbilus, both were descendants of the King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, through Balbilus’ maternal uncle Iotapa who married into the Emesani dynasty.
Although Balbilus died in 79, he may have died in June of that year around the same time that Vespasian did.In his later years Balbilus lived in Ephesus. Vespasian granted privileges to him and his city of Ephesus because of his proficiency in the art.
As Vespasian thought very highly of him and favored him to the extent, that he dedicated and allowed Ephesians to institute games held in his honor.The games held in his honor became a sporting festival called the Balbillean Games. Named after him, the event was held at Ephesus from 79 well into the 3rd century. An inscription in Ephesus honors Balbilus and his daughter.
Balbilus is honored by his granddaughter Julia Balbilla in two epigrams in Aeolic Greek which is dated in 130. The two epigrams are a part of four epigrams recorded which are inscribed and are preserved on lower parts on one of the Colossi of Memnon. The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues built by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III (flourished 14th century BC), to stand guard at the entrance of Amenhotep's memorial temple. Balbilla had travelled to Egypt and was the escort to the Roman emperor Hadrian with his wife, Vibia Sabina in the country. The inscriptions that Balbilla commissioned commemorated their visit to the country.
Balbilla by inscribing her name on the Colossi of Memnon, she is acknowledging and making reference to her royal and aristocratic descent. In the last two lines of the second epigram, she honors her family including Balbilus:
For my parents were noble, and my grandfathers,
The wise Balbillus and Antiochus the king.
The fourth and final epigram, Balbilla dedicates to her parents and grandfathers. This epigram is dedicated also to her noble and aristocratic blood. In the epigram, Balbilla mentions that Balbilus has royal lineage.
For pious were my parents and grandfathers: Balbillus the Wise and King
Antiochus; Balbillus, the father of my mother of royal blood and king
Antiochus, the father of my father. From their line I too draw my noble
blood, and these verses are mine, pious Balbilla.
Gaius Julius Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the last king of Commagene, reigned between 38–72 as a client king to the Roman Empire. The epithet "Epiphanes" means "the Glorious".
Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellen was king of the Greco-Iranian Kingdom of Commagene and the most famous king of that kingdom.
The gens Claudia, sometimes written Clodia, was one of the most prominent patrician houses at Rome. The gens traced its origin to the earliest days of the Roman Republic. The first of the Claudii to obtain the consulship was Appius Claudius Sabinus Regillensis, in 495 BC, and from that time its members frequently held the highest offices of the state, both under the Republic and in imperial times.
Tiberius Julius Alexander was an equestrian governor and general in the Roman Empire. Born into a wealthy Jewish family of Alexandria but abandoning or neglecting the Jewish religion, he rose to become procurator of Judea under Claudius. While Prefect of Egypt (66–69), he employed his legions against the Alexandrian Jews in a brutal response to ethnic violence, and was instrumental in the Emperor Vespasian's rise to power. In 70, he participated in the Siege of Jerusalem as Titus' second-in-command. He became the most powerful Jew of his age, and is ranked as one of the most prominent Jews in military history.
Tiberius Claudius Nero, often known as Tiberius Nero and Nero was a politician who lived in the last century of the Roman Republic. He was the first husband of Livia, but was forced to divorce her in 38 BC so that she could marry the future emperor Augustus. Nero was the father of the second Roman emperor Tiberius,, and Roman general Nero Claudius Drusus. He was also the paternal grandfather of Emperor Claudius, General Germanicus, and Consul Drusus Julius Caesar, paternal great-grandfather of Emperor Caligula and Empresses Agrippina the Younger and Claudia Octavia and maternal great-great-grandfather of Emperor Nero.
Claudia may refer to:
Thrasyllus of Mendes, also known as Thrasyllus of Alexandria and by his Roman citizenship name Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus, was an Egyptian Greek grammarian and literary commentator. Thrasyllus was an astrologer and a personal friend of the Roman emperor Tiberius, as mentioned in the Annals by Tacitus and The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius.
Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos or Philopappus, was a Prince of the Kingdom of Commagene who lived in the Roman Empire during the 1st century and 2nd century. He was one of the most prominent Greeks in the Empire.
Hellenistic astrology is a tradition of horoscopic astrology that was developed and practiced in the late Hellenistic period in and around the Mediterranean region, especially in Egypt. The texts and technical terminology of this tradition of astrology were largely written in Greek. The tradition originated sometime around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE, and then was practiced until the 6th or 7th century CE. This type of astrology is commonly referred to as "Hellenistic astrology" because it was developed in the late Hellenistic period, although it continued to be practiced for several centuries after the end of what historians usually classify as the Hellenistic era.
The Kingdom of Commagene was an ancient Greco-Iranian kingdom ruled by a Hellenized branch of the Iranian Orontid dynasty. The kingdom was located in and around the ancient city of Samosata, which served as its capital. The Iron Age name of Samosata, Kummuh, probably gives its name to Commagene.
Julia Balbilla was a Roman noble woman and poet. Whilst in Thebes, touring Egypt as part of the imperial court of Hadrian, she inscribed three epigrams which have survived.
Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes, also known as Julius Archelaus Epiphanes; Epiphanes; Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes or simply known as Gaius was an influential prince of the Kingdom of Commagene, who lived in the 1st century.
Claudia Capitolina was an Egyptian Greek woman who lived in the Roman Empire, in the 1st century and possibly in the 2nd century. She was a Princess of Commagene by marriage to Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes.
Marcus Junius Rufus was a Roman eques who lived in the 1st century. A member of the ancient Junius (gens), is best known for being praefectus or governor of Roman Egypt from 94 to 98.
Aka II of Commagene also known as Aka II or Aka was a Princess from the Kingdom of Commagene who lived in the second half of the 1st century BC & first half of the 1st century.
Lucius Junius Caesennius Paetus was a Roman senator, and member of the gens Caesennia and Junia, who held several offices in the emperor's service. He was consul ordinarius for the year 61 as the colleague of Publius Petronius Turpilianus. Judith Ginsburg notes this made him the first novus homo to reach the ordinary consulship since Quintus Veranius 12 years before.
Lucius Ennius was a Roman Eques who lived in the second half of the 1st century BC and first half of the 1st century.
Ennia Thrasylla, also known as Ennia Naeva or Ennia Naevia, Ennia the wife of Macro, Ennia and Eunia was a Roman noblewoman who lived in the 1st century in the Roman Empire.
Julia Iotapa, or simply Iotapa, daughter of King Antiochus III of Commagene, was Queen of Commagene, consort of her King brother Antiochus IV.
Lucius Lusius Geta
| Prefect of Egypt |
Lucius Julius Vestinus