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Hadrian and Italica

  • Ronald Syme (a1)


Italica in the province of Baetica is the ‘patria’ of the Aelii. Hadrian duly bears the tribe of that municipium, the ‘Sergia’. However, the place of a man's birth is not always the same as the legal ‘origo’ of his family. A child may see the light of day somewhere else, according to the rank and occupation of his parent. The consular historian, probably Narbonensian by his ‘patria’, might have been born at Augusta Treverorum or Colonia Claudia: a Cornelius Tacitus is on record as imperial procurator in Belgica and the Germanies. Or, for that matter, Claudius Caesar. That infant was born at Lugdunum, a Roman colonia. Seneca, by a double denigration, labels him a ‘Gallus germanus’.



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1 Pliny, NH VII, 76.

2 Seneca, , Apocol. 6, 1.

3 Thus the data about Marcus, born on 26th April, 121 and Commodus, born on 31st August, 161. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of L. Ceionius Commodus ‘quinto decimo aetatis anno’ (Marcus 4, 5): that is, 135/6. He was adopted by Pius octo decimo aetatis anno (5, 6): that is, in 138, subsequent to 26th April. For the data in Commodus I, 10 and 2, 9, see PIR 2, A 1482.

4 For the testimonia, PIR1, V 575. Eutropius (VIII, 5, 2) and Victor (Epit. 13, 14) indicate 53. But Dio's statement about the age of Trajan at his accession (LXVIII 6, 3) points to 55—if not 56.

5 Holzapfel, L., Klio XVII (1920), 92.

6 That is how the item is represented by Stein in PIR2, A 184. Perhaps by inadvertence. He gives no sign that he is proposing or adopting an emendation in the text of the HA.

7 Gellius XVI, 13, 4.

8 Ann. VI, 15, 1.

9 Eutropius VIII, 6, 1.

10 Thus Kornemann, E., Kaiser Hadrian und der letzte grosse Historiker von Rom (1905), 72 ff.; Weber, W., Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Kaisers Hadrianus (1907), 14. Their arguments have been influential; and Stein in his registering of the ancient testimonia seems to incline that way (PIR 2, A 184).

11 Otherwise, for all that one could know, Hadrian, born at Rome in 76, might have been taken to Italica in infancy, coming back to Rome before 85. The biographer curtails and omits.

12 Deduced from Dio LXVII, 11, 6 (under 90 or 91). For deaths of senators in the years 90–93 see Tacitus (1958), 69.

13 Pliny, Epp, VII, 33, 4 ff.

14 His career is revealed by AE 1950, 66 (Mactar); IRT 545 (Lepcis). Another quaestor about this time was T. Julius Maximus (ILS 1016), a close coeval of Bruttius Praesens.

15 ILS 308.

16 Hadr. 2, 2 ff., supplemented by ILS 308.

17 ILS 1061, cf. 1029.

18 cf. JRS XVIII (1928), 47 f. It must be repeated that there is no direct and positive evidence about the province to which II Adjutrix belonged at this time.

19 That is, the successor of Cn. Pompeius Longinus (suff. 90), attested for Moesia Superior in 93, for Pannonia early in 98 (CIL XVI, 39; 42). For Moesia Inferior the diploma of January, 97 (41), has ‘sub Iulio Mar]’. That is, L. Julius Marinus, presumed suffectus in 93. Predecessor not known.

20 Weber, W., CAH XI (1936), 325: ‘the ocean, the plain, now luxuriant, now sunstricken, and the sluggish river of the south-western edge of the empire left their mark on his family and his childhood.’.

21 ILS 318.

22 Tacitus (1958), 602.

23 Dio LXIX, 10, 1. He accepted an honorary magistracy there—as in so many cities throughout the world (Hadr. 19, 1).

24 For these and other details see the model work of Garcia, A. y Bellido, , Colonia Aelia Augusta Italica (1960), 77 ff.

25 Pliny, NH III, 11.

26 Tacitus (1958), 620.

27 As suggested by Groag, PIR 2, C 1241. But there is a chance that his ‘patria’ is Dalmatian, cf. Gnomon XXXI (1959), 513. Observe also Hadrian's friend A. Platorius Nepos (suff. 119), who has the tribe ‘Sergia’ (ILS 1052). Perhaps from Italica or Corduba, cf. Tacitus (1958), 785.

28 Tacitus (1958), 603 ff.

29 Dio LXIX, 10, 1.

30 Weber, W., Untersuchungen, etc. (1907), 116: ‘aus Abneigung gegen die spiessbürgerlichen Lands-leute.’

31 Martial XII, praef: ‘accedit his municipalium robigo dentium et iudici loco livor, et unus et alter mali: in pusillo loco multi.’

32 Gellius XVI, 13, 4.

33 E. Hohl (Teubner, 1927). The only change from H. Peter's text (1884) was to print ‘prudenter caute <que>’ instead of ‘prudenter <et> caute’. D. Magie (Loeb, 1930), retained Peter's reading.

34 Lécrivain, Ch., Mélanges Boissier (1903), 334: ‘Hadrien donna pleine satisfaction aux Italici (c'est à dire aux citoyens d'origine italienne) et pourvut prudemment et soigneusement aux intérêts des autres (des Espagnols de droit latin).’

35 Rostovtzeff, , SEHR2 (1957), 574. cf. 591 and 694.

36 There is perhaps a hint of this notion in Weber, W., Untersuchungen, etc. (1907), 115: ‘die Rolle, welche die “Italici” spielen, ist nicht frei erfunden. Sie entspricht der Gesinnung Hadrians gegen seine Geburtsstadt.’ See also Tacitus (1958), 247, where the passage is described as corrupt.

37 Pro Deiotaro 35; Ad fam. XIII, 73, 2.

38 Ann. III, 12, 4. Compare Claudius threatening to exhibit ὀργὴν δικαίαν (P. Land. 1912, Col. 4, 79 ff.).

39 G. Forni, Il Reclutamento delle Legioni da Augusto a Diocleziano (1953).

40 G. Forni, o.c. 179 f.; 188 f. The figures cited in the present paper admit only legionaries certified by domicilium. That is not the whole picture.

41 ILS 3469 (Tarraco.)

42 CIL XIII, 6853 f.; 6858; 6865; 7506. It is not certain whether this Nertobriga is the town near Bilbilis in Tarraconensis or its homonym in the back country of Baetica towards the Lusitanian border.

43 G. Forni, o.c. 226 f.

44 ILS 1100 (cf. 1094).

45 ILS 1057. Iteration in the legionary command is not normal.

46 For a longer survival of IX Hispana, however, observe the vigorous arguments of E. Ritterling, P–W XII, 1668 f; Birley, E., Roman Britain and the Roman Army (1953), 20 ff. The latter scholar suggests that there was severe fighting in Britain c. 130.

47 ILS 2726.

48 ILS 1076. It is here supposed that Neratius' command ‘ad d[e]ducendas vex[i]llationes in Syriam ob/[b]ellum [Par]thicum’ falls at the beginning of Pius' reign, not near the end. The latter date was assumed by Ritterling, P–W XII, 1296; 1766.

49 ILS 1064.

50 CIL VIII, 18084 f., cf. Rev. ét. anc. XXXVIII (1936), 185.

51 The citations of Marius Maximus in the HA are generally trivial and anecdotal—and do not lend support to the view that he was the main source of the earlier Vitae.

52 Unger: ‘<Nervae> Tra<ia>nique’; Baehrens : ‘Tra<iani Hadria>nique’.

53 Supported by the same verb, ‘consuluit’, as in Hadr. 12, 4.

54 Rostovtzeff, , SEHR 2 (1957), 89.

55 Suetonius, , Divus Iulius 79, 3.

56 Ann. XI, 24, 3.

57 ILS 1098; AE 1956, 123.

58 Mann, J. G., Hermes XCI (1963), 483 ff.

59 Rostovtzeff, , SEHR 2 (1957), 591: ‘I must however insist that “Italica adlectio” means compulsory enlistment of those who had the status of “Italians” not only in North Italy but especially in Gaul and Spain.’ cf. also 694.

60 Ritterling, P–W XII, 1300. Followed by G. Forni o.c. 56.

61 There is another, and peculiar, meaning of ‘adlectio’ in the Late Empire, namely exemption from holding the praetorship. See J. Schmidt, P–W I, 368; Jones, A. H. M., The Later Roman Empire 284–602 (1964), 541.

62 Thus G. Forni, condemning also Hadr. 12, 4, says ‘mi pare che nessun senso si possa ricavare dagli oscuri e mal compendiati passi della Hist. Aug.’ (o.c. 55 f.). He goes on to register the names of a number of scholars who were not so prudent.

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