Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47)

Last updated

Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus (d. December 20, AD 69) was a Roman politician and soldier. A native of Reate, he was the elder son of Titus Flavius Sabinus and Vespasia Polla, and brother of the Emperor Vespasian.



Sabinus is first mentioned in the reign of Claudius, in AD 45, when he served as a legate under Aulus Plautius in Britain, along with his brother, Vespasian. [1] He afterwards governed Moesia for seven years. Sabinus was consul suffectus with Gnaeus Hosidius Geta in AD 47, [lower-roman 1] [2] and was praefectus urbi for the last eleven years of Nero's reign. Upon the ascension of Galba in the year 68, he was replaced as urban prefect by Aulus Ducenius Geminus. [3] However, with the death of Galba, and ascension of Otho in January of 69, Sabinus was reinstated. [4] Sabinus may have been part of the Pisonian conspiracy against Nero, but if so he was never arrested. [5]

Sabinus was an important supporter of his brother; when Vespasian found himself in financial difficulties while governor of Africa, Sabinus lent him the money to continue, although he did demand a mortgage of Vespasian's house and land in return for this assistance. [6] After the death of Otho, Sabinus directed the urban cohorts to swear allegiance to Vitellius, evidently an attempt to preclude further bloodshed. At the same time, the consul Titus Flavius Sabinus, Sabinus' son, directed his troops in northern Italy to submit to the generals of Vitellius. Sabinus continued to retain the dignity of praefectus urbi under Vitellius. [7] [8]

Soon afterward, the legions in the East declared for Vespasian, who then advanced toward Rome, supported by Marcus Antonius Primus. After Vitellius' troops were defeated, the emperor, despairing of success, offered to surrender the empire into the hands of Sabinus, until his brother arrived. However, Vitellius' German soldiers refused this arrangement, and Sabinus was besieged in the Capitol, together with his family members, one of whom was his nephew Domitian. The capitol was burnt by Vitellius' forces, and in the confusion Sabinus' family made their escape, but Sabinus himself was captured and dragged before the emperor, who attempted in vain to save him from the fury of the soldiers. Sabinus was brutally murdered, and his remains thrown down the Gemonian Steps, where the corpses of malefactors and criminals were exposed and disgraced before being thrown into the Tiber river. When the generals of Vespasian obtained possession of the city, Sabinus was interred with the honour of a censor's funeral. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]


Tacitus describes Sabinus as being fair-minded and honest, though prone to be overly gregarious. His failure to hold the well-fortified capitol during the final days of the civil war is attributed to his moderation, lack of enterprise and reluctance to take Roman lives. [14]


Sabinus' wife is not clearly identified in any ancient sources. Some scholars of early Christianity have asserted that she was Plautia or Plautilla, the daughter of Aulus Plautius and Pomponia Graecina, possibly an early Christian convert, and that the Plautilla who traditionally lent her veil to Saint Paul was Sabinus' daughter. [15] An alternative identification of Sabinus' wife has been proposed by Christian Settipani, who suggests that she was a sister of Marcus Arrecinus Clemens. [16]

An inscription attests to a daughter for Sabinus: Flavia Sabina, who was the wife of Lucius Caesennius Paetus consul in 61. [17] Gavin Townend has identified two sons for Sabinus: Titus Flavius Sabinus and Gnaeus Arulenus Caelius Sabinus, both suffect consuls in the year 69, [18] a thesis that has come to be accepted by other scholars. [19]

See also


    Related Research Articles

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Vitellius</span> 8th Roman emperor in AD 69

    Aulus Vitellius was Roman emperor for eight months, from 19 April to 20 December AD 69. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Vitellius was the first to add the honorific cognomen Germanicus to his name instead of Caesar upon his accession. Like his direct predecessor, Otho, Vitellius attempted to rally public support to his cause by honoring and imitating Nero who remained widely popular in the empire.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Vespasian</span> 9th Roman emperor from 69 to 79.

    Vespasian was a Roman emperor who reigned from AD 69 to 79. The fourth and last emperor who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors, he founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for 27 years. His fiscal reforms and consolidation of the empire generated political stability and a vast Roman building program.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">AD 69</span> Calendar year

    AD 69 (LXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Rufinus. The denomination AD 69 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">60s</span> Seventh decade of the first century AD

    The 60s decade ran from January 1, AD 60, to December 31, AD 69.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Titus</span> 10th Roman emperor from AD 79 to 81

    Titus Caesar Vespasianus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Petronia gens</span> Ancient Roman family

    The gens Petronia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. This gens claimed an ancient lineage, as a Petronius Sabinus is mentioned in the time of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Roman kings, but few Petronii are mentioned in the time of the Republic. They are frequently encountered under the Empire, holding numerous consulships, and eventually obtaining the Empire itself during the brief reign of Petronius Maximus in AD 455.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Aulus Plautius</span> 1st century AD Roman politician and general, provincial governor and suffect consul

    Aulus Plautius was a Roman politician and general of the mid-1st century. He began the Roman conquest of Britain in 43, and became the first governor of the new province, serving from 43 to 46 CE.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Flavian dynasty</span> Roman imperial dynasty (r. AD 69–96)

    The Flavian dynasty ruled the Roman Empire between AD 69 and 96, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on 20 December. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Flavia gens</span> Roman families

    The gens Flavia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Its members are first mentioned during the last three centuries of the Republic. The first of the Flavii to achieve prominence was Marcus Flavius, tribune of the plebs in 327 and 323 BC; however, no Flavius attained the consulship until Gaius Flavius Fimbria in 104 BC. The gens became illustrious during the first century AD, when the family of the Flavii Sabini claimed the imperial dignity.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Triaria</span>

    Triaria (1st-century) was a Roman woman, the second wife of Lucius Vitellius the Younger.

    Titus Flavius Sabinus was a Roman senator who was active in the first century AD. He was twice consul suffectus, first in the nundinium of April through June of 69 with his brother Gnaeus Arulenus Caelius Sabinus, and again in May and June of 72 as the colleague of Gaius Licinius Mucianus.

    Cornelius Fuscus was a Roman general who fought campaigns under the Emperors of the Flavian dynasty. He first distinguished himself as one of Vespasian's most ardent supporters during the civil war of 69 AD, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Vespasian's son Domitian employed Fuscus as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, a post he held from 81 until his death.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Galeria Fundana</span> Wife of Roman emperor Vitellius

    Galeria Fundana was a Roman empress, the second wife of Roman emperor Vitellius.

    The gens Vitellia was a family of ancient Rome, which rose from obscurity in imperial times, and briefly held the Empire itself in AD 69. The first of this gens to obtain the consulship was Aulus Vitellius, uncle of the emperor Vitellius, in AD 32.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Vibia gens</span> Family in ancient Rome

    The gens Vibia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Although individuals named Vibius appear in history during the time of the Second Punic War, no members of this gens are found at Rome until the final century of the Republic. The first of the Vibii to obtain the consulship was Gaius Vibius Pansa in 43 BC, and from then until imperial times the Vibii regularly filled the highest offices of the Roman state. The emperors Trebonianus Gallus and Volusianus each claimed descent from the family.

    The gens Caecinia was a plebeian family of Etruscan origin at ancient Rome. Members of this gens are first mentioned in the time of Cicero, and they remained prominent through the first century of the Empire, before fading into obscurity in the time of the Flavian emperors. A family of this name rose to prominence once more at the beginning of the fifth century.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Maria gens</span> Family in ancient Rome

    The gens Maria was a plebeian family of Rome. Its most celebrated member was Gaius Marius, one of the greatest generals of antiquity, and seven times consul.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Plautia gens</span> Ancient Roman family

    The gens Plautia, sometimes written Plotia, was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Members of this gens first appear in history in the middle of the fourth century BC, when Gaius Plautius Proculus obtained the consulship soon after that magistracy was opened to the plebeian order by the lex Licinia Sextia. Little is heard of the Plautii from the period of the Samnite Wars down to the late second century BC, but from then to imperial times they regularly held the consulship and other offices of importance. In the first century AD, the emperor Claudius, whose first wife was a member of this family, granted patrician status to one branch of the Plautii.

    The gens Rubria was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Members of this gens are first mentioned in the time of the Gracchi, but they did not rise to prominence until imperial times. The first of the Rubrii to obtain the consulship was Rubrius Gallus, some time before AD 68.

    <span class="mw-page-title-main">Vitellia (daughter of emperor Vitellius)</span> Daughter of 1st century Roman emperor Vitellius

    Vitellia was a Roman noblewoman, who was the daughter of the emperor Aulus Vitellius and was married to the Roman senator Decimus Valerius Asiaticus. A fictionalised Vitellia is a central character in the opera La clemenza di Tito by Mozart.


    1. Cassius Dio, lx. 20.
    2. "Novità sui fasti consolari", pp. 45–74.
    3. Tacitus, Historiae, i. 14.
    4. Tacitus, Historiae i. 46.
    5. Maier, pp. 393–414.
    6. Tacitus, Publius. The Histories. Penguin. p. 163. ISBN   978-0-140-44964-8.
    7. Plutarch, "The Life of Otho", 5.
    8. Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, iv. 10. § 3, iv. 11. § 4.
    9. Tacitus, Historiae, ii. 55, iii. 64–74, iv. 47.
    10. Cassius Dio, lxv. 17.
    11. Suetonius, "The Life of Vespasian", 1, "The Life of Vitellius", 15.
    12. Eutropius, vii. 12.
    13. Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus, 8.
    14. Tacitus, Historiae, iii 75.
    15. "Saint Cæcilia and Roman Society", pp. 314, 315.
    16. Settipani, Continuité gentilice.
    17. CIL XIV, 2830 = ILS 995.
    18. Gavin Townend, "Some Flavian Connections", Journal of Roman Studies , 51 (1961), pp. 55f
    19. For example, Brian W. Jones, The Emperor Domitian (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 45


    Political offices
    Preceded byas Suffect consuls Roman consul
    47 (suffect)
    with Gnaeus Hosidius Geta
    Succeeded byas Suffect consul