dinsdag 2 maart 2010

Sextus Julius Frontinus

Sex.Julius Frontinus, author of the famous work on the aquaducts of Rome, was, we may infer from his praetorship in 70, born around the year 35.

After holding the prestigious praetorship of the City he became consulsuffectus in 73. In the following year he was dispatched as Legatus Aug.pro praetore to the province of Britain where he subdued the Silures, a powerful and – from a Roman point of view – warlike tribe of Wales. In 78 he returned to Rome and may have written his lost treatise on ‘The art of war’ soon hereafter.
As proconsul of Asia he governed this province in 82/83 (according to W.Eck 86/87). After his return to Rome he may have started to write his ‘Strategemata’ (according to Gundermann he wrote this work between the years 84 and 96.)
At some time in the early eighties he was coopted into the college of Augurs which greatly enhanced his status and political influence.
In 97 he was appointed to the post of water commissioner (Curator Aquarum), the office whose management gives him probably his best title to eminence, and during the tenure of this he wrote ‘De aquis urbis Romae’’, his famous work on the aquaducts of Rome. He proved himself to be a faithful civil servant with a sharp eye to the public service and a frugal use of the public funds.
On February 20th, A.D. 98 he was given the honour of the suffectconsulship as colleague to the Emperor Traianus as consul II, replacing Domitianus, and the extraordinary honour of consul ordinarius III in A.D.100, again with Traianus as his colleague. Frontinus passed away in 104 and was succeeded in his Augurate by Pliny Minor.

Sex.Julius Frontinus was the father of Julia Frontina, married to Q.Sosius Senecio, consul II, in 107; grandfather of Sosia Polla, married to Pompeius Falco, consul 108; great-grandfather of Q.Pompeius Sosius Priscus, consul 149; great-great-grandfather of Pompeia Sosia Falconilla, married to M.Pontius Laelianus, consul ord. 163, and of Q.Pompeius Senecio Priscus, consul 169, married to Ceionia Fabia, daughter of L.Ceionius Commodus = L.Aelius Caesar.

See. Plin.ep.4.8, 3 (augur, pr.urb., d. 103/4); 5.1,5; 9.19,1; Plin.Pan.61/62,2 (electus a senatu); Tac.hist.4.39, 2; Agr.17 (in Britain.)
Frontinus’ ‘Strategemata’, 4.3,14 (war against Julius Civilis in Gallia)
Ditto 1.102 (cur. Aq.); Martial.10.48, 20,58 (cossuff.98)
See also R.Syme in Gnomon 29 (1957) p.518 sq.; Tacitus p. 642, 657, 790

According to W. Eck and Pangerl in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 2003, Frontinus has been also Legatus legionis in Germania inferior.
This based on the finding near Oppenheim in Germany of an inscription dedicated by Julia Frontina, presumably the daughter of Julius Frontinus, and a second inscription found near Vetera Castra (Xanthen) is dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva in recognition of the recovery from illness of Sextus Julius Frontinus, and there is also a lead pipe, said to have been found near the modern Via Tiburtina (Leading from Rome to Tibur (Tivoli), inscribed SEXT. IULI FRONTINI.

The tomb of Paris the actor.

Traveller, who treads the Flaminian Way,
don’t pass this noble marble by.
the wit of the Nile, the city’s delight,
grace and art, and pleasure and play,
the worth and grief of the Roman stage,
and every Venus, and every Cupid,
here in Paris’s tomb, together, buried, lie.

Martialis, book XI:13.

Macrobius: Anecdotes about Julia, daughter of Augustus

Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius was a Roman grammarian and neoplatonic philosopher during the reign of Honorius and Arcadius (395-423)

The most important of his works is the Saturnalia, containing an account of the discussions held at the house of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus (praetorian prefect from May 21 - Sept. 9, A.D. 384) during the holiday of the Saturnalia starting on December 17. It was written by the author for the benefit of his son Eustathius (or Eustachius)

In his second book, chapter five, Macrobius relates a number of anecdotes concerning the Roman Emperor Augustus and his daughter Julia:

I. She (Julia Aug.f.) came one day into her father’s presence wearing a somewhat immodest dress. Augustus was shocked but said nothing. On the next day, to his delight, she wore a different kind of dress and greeted him with studied demureness. Although the day before he had repressed his feelings, he was now unable to contain his pleasure and said:” This dress is much more becoming in the daughter of Augustus.” But Julia had an excuse ready and replied:” Yes, for today I am dressed to meet my father’s eyes, yesterday it was for my husband’s.”

II.At a display of gladiators the contrast between Livia’s suite and Julia’s had caught the eye, for the former was attended by a number of grown-up men of distinction but the latter was seated surrounded by young people of the fast set. Her father sent Julia a letter of advice, bidding her mark the difference between the behaviour of the two chief ladies of Rome, to which she wrote this neat reply:” These friends of mine will be old men too, when I am old.”

III.Her hair began to go grey at an early age, and she used secretly to pull the grey hairs out. One day her maids were surprised by the unexpected arrival of her father, who pretended not to see the grey hairs on her women’s dresses and talked for some time on other matters. Then, turning the conversation to the subject of age, he asked her whether she would prefer eventually to be grey or bald. She replied that for her part she would rather be grey. “Why, then,” said her father, thus rebuking her deceit, “ are these women of yours in such a hurry to make you bald?”

IV.To a seriousminded friend who was seeking to persuade her that she would be better advised to order her life to conform to her father’s simple tastes she replied:” He forgets that he is Caesar, but I remember that I am Caesar’s daughter.”

V.To certain persons who knew of her infidelities and were expressing surprise at her children’s likeness to her husband Agrippa, since she was so free with her favours, she said:” Passengers are never allowed on board until the hold is full.”

maandag 1 maart 2010

Aulus Gellius’ Attic Nights, XIII. 14,1

The augurs of the Roman people who wrote books On the Auspices have defined the meaning of pomerium in the following terms:
“The pomerium is the space within the rural district designated by the augurs along the whole circuit of the city without the walls, marked off by fixed bounds and forming the limit of the city auspices.”
(That is to say, the pomerium separated the ager Romanus, or country district, from the city. The auspices could be taken only within the pomerium. When a furrow was drawn and the earth turned inward to mark the line of the city walls, the furrow represented the pomerium).
Now, the most ancient pomerium, which was established by Romulus, was bounded by the foot of the Palatine hill. But that pomerium, as the republic grew, was extended several times and included many lofty hills. Moreover, whoever had increased the domain of the Roman people by land taken from an enemy had the right to enlarge the pomerium.

Aulus Gellius’ Noctium Atticarum,XIII. 14,1

Cornelia, wife of Paullus Aemilius Lepidus the Censor, here described as speaking from her grave. (abridged).

Cease, Paullus 1, importuning my tomb with tears; the gate of darkness is not opened to any prayers. What help was there in my marriage to Paullus, in the triumphs of my ancestors, in such illustrious offspring that are witnesses to my fame!    
The Fates 2 were no less cruel to Cornelia 3, and I am but a handfull of dust…
If ancestral trophies have ever brought fame and glory to anyone, our statues bespeak ancestors at Numantia 4, a second line gives equal share to the Libones 5 on my mother’s side, and my house is upheld on both sides by their own achievements.
Later, when my girl’s attire gave way to marriage, another kind of ribbon caught up and bound my hair. I was joined to your bed, Paullus, destined to leave it thus: read it on this stone, she was wedded to one alone.
I call to witness the ashes of my ancestors, revered by you, O Rome…
Cornelia never tarnished such spoils of war…
Nay, even in that great house hers was a role to be emulated. My life was never altered, it is wholly without reproach.
I have lived with distinction between the torch of marriage and the torch of death. Nature gave me laws derived from blood, not to be virtuous through pressure of fear or criticism… Nor have I shamed you, my sweet mother Scribonia. 6.
What would you have wished changed in me except my fate? I am praised by my mother’s tears and the laments of the city, and my ashes are covered also by the grief of Caesar 7.
He is saddened because I lived as a worthy half-sister to his daughter 8, and we saw tears come from a god.
And yet, I deserved the dress of honour that is the mark of a fertile woman, nor was I snatched away from a sterile house. You, Lepidus 9, and you, Paullus 10, are my solace after death. My eyes were closed in your bosom.

We have also seen my brother 11 in the curule chair twice, and I, his sister, was snatched away in the happy time when he was consul. And, you, my daughter 12, born to be the token of your father’s censorship, be sure you imitate me and have but one husband.

And, my children, support the house with a line.
I am ready for the boat of death to sail, now that I have so many who will prolong my deeds. This is the highest reward of a woman, her triumph, that common talk praises her in death after a life well lived. And now to you, Paullus, I comment our children, our mutual pledges, this concern of mine still breathes, burned even into my ashes. Father, play the part of a mother’s role; the host of all my children must be the burden of your shoulders. When you kiss them as they weep, add the kisses of their mother. The whole house has begun to be your burden now. And if you are going to weep, do it far away from their eyes. When they come, cheat their kisses with dry cheeks…

Propertius. Elegies. Book IV, no.XI. (Abridged)

1.Lucius Aemilius Paullus Lepidus, consul in 34 B.C. and censor in 22 B.C.
Paullus, married again with Marcella the Younger, who was a widow since 12 B.C., and the daughter of C. Claudius Marcellus, consul 50 B.C., and of Octavia the Younger, sister of Augustus.

2. The Fates: The Three Goddesses, The Parcae, The Three Sisters.
The three Fates were born of Erebus and Night. Clothed in white, they spin,
measure out, and sever the thread of each human life. Clotho spins the thread.
Lachesis measures it. Atropos wields the shears.

3. Cornelia, born about 50-46 B.C., died in 16 B.C., her father was P.Cornelius
Scipio, consulsuffectus in 35 B.C. Cornelia was the second wife of Paullus Aemilius Lepidus, the censor.

4.The victory of P.Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (An ancestor of Cornelia) over
Numantia in Spain in 133 B.C.

5. Libones: The ancestors of Cornelia, a branch of the Scribonii, the senatorial family.

6. Scribonia, the mother of Cornelia, who later married to Augustus and bore him his only child, Julia. When Julia was banished in A.D.2, Scribonia voluntarily stayed with her until Julia’s death in A.D.16.

7.Augustus: Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew C.Octavius, whom he adopted as his son.

8. Julia, daughter of Augustus and Scribonia, half-sister of Cornelia.

9.M.Aemilius Lepidus, consul 6. Born 30/29 B.C., died A.D.33.(Tac.ann.VI.27,4)

10. L.Aemilius Lepidus, consul 1. Born about 28 B.C., died A.D.13/14.

11.Publius Cornelius Scipio, brother of Cornelia, consul in 16 B.C.

12. Aemilia Lepida, born in 22 B.C. Nothing else is known about her.