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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:05 AM   #11

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Lucius Fabius Cilo

Roman senator and general, c. 150 - early 3rd Century AD


Lucius Fabius Cilo was born in the Roman province of Hispanica during the reign of Antoninus Pius - probably right around 150 AD. His family name would suggest that he was of Italian, rather than Romanzied Celtiberian stock. Nothing is known of his early life or his family. Presumably he would have held some minor military posts in the 170s AD - perhaps seeing service in the Marcomannic Wars.

Fabius Cilo's career took off in the 180s. He held at least two legionary commands during this decade - serving as the legate of the XI Flavia Firma Legion in Germania, and the III Gallica Legion in Syria. His term as the legate of the Third Gallica seems to have ended in 192, and he immediately traveled to Rome where he was elected a consul suffect. for 193. He was probably only about forty, but had already reached the high-point of his political career.

Fabius Cilo earned the trust and affection of Pertinax and Septimius Severus in 193; Severus made him one of his generals for his war against Pescennius Niger. Fabius Cilo spearheaded the Severan invasion of the Balkans, but suffered a painful reverse of fortune at Perinthus. He lost neither his life nor his high standing in Severus' sight, however; in 194 he was made the governor of Bithynia.

Fabius Cilo retired from the governorship of Bithynia at some point in the late 190s; upon his return to Rome Severus gave him a large mansion on the Aventine. In 203 Cilo was the Urban Prefect of Rome, the next year he was elected to the consulate. After this, history loses track of him until 211 AD, when Severus' sons Antoninus "Caracalla" and Geta took the throne together. Cilo attempted to make peace between the hateful brothers, but to no avail. Geta was murdered, and Cilo nearly was as well. Antoninus' soldiers botched up the attempt to kill Cilo, and themselves were put to death for their failure. Fabius Cilo presumably fled Rome, perhaps returning to Hispania in retirement.

Fabius Cilo's personal life and traits are very poorly known. He had a decorated military and political career so it is safe to assume that he was a talented individual. The fact that Severus made him guardian to Antoninus, and mediator between Antoninus and Geta, implies that he was viewed as a highly loyal and trustworthy person. In the short months of his reign, Pertinax had also shown great reliance on this seemingly genuine and unambitious man. His full name, Lucius Fabius Cilo Septiminus Catinius Acilianus Lepidus Fulcinianus, is a further indicator of his long career and the many patrons and friends he had.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:18 AM   #12

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Gaius Messius Quintus Decius


The successor of Philip I The Arab was born in Pannonia Inferior – modern day Serbia - to a provincial family between 190 and 201. His wife, Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla, belonged to an ancient Italian family that had attained senatorial status. They had two sons, the elder called Herennius Etruscus and the younger known to history as Hostilian. He was governor of Moesia Inferior – modern day Ukraine – from 234-8, indication that he achieved a senatorial rank early in his career.


He was made Urban Prefect during Philip's reign and was a suffect consul in 249 when the emperor gave him the responsibility of restoring order among the legions of Moesia Inferior after the rebellions of Pacatianus and Jotapianus. Decius expressed the opinion that neither pretender was a fit man to rule Rome, and assumed that their own troops would solve the problem by killing them. Decius turned out to be correct.


Philip was uneasy about the disloyalty among the Illyrian legions and sent a reluctant Decius to take over. Decius was a gifted diplomat and seemed like a sensible choice, but for Philip it was a dangerous blunder. He soon had the mutinous troops back in line, ensured their loyalty by arranging for their salary arrears to be paid and then led them successfully against the Goths on the lower Danube. Impressed by their new commander, the soldiers proclaimed Decius emperor.


Decius had done nothing to create the situation and even wrote to Philip offering to return to Rome and give up the insignia the troops had imposed on him. But Philip, distrusting his sincerity, left Rome under arms, compelling Decius to detach a sufficiently large force and march towards Italy. The two armies met outside Verona. Although outnumbered, Decius and the Illiryan troops defeated Philip.


The senate confirmed his position and in turn Decius assumed the name Trajan, showing that Philip's faith in his diplomatic skills was not misplaced. By this time Trajan's status as the greatest emperor since Augustus was firmly established, and his adoption of the name was guaranteed to endear Decius to both the troops – especially those of the Illyrian provinces Trajan had commanded – and the senators because of Trajan's reputation as a civil administrator. This was shrewd propaganda.


One of his more important innovations was the creation of an office that resembled that of a censor. It's purpose was not only to appeal to the senators and their republican dreams, but also to provide Decius with a powerful representative in Rome whenever he was called to the frontier. The man Decius appointed to the new office was Publius Licinius Valerianus (Valerian).


In the summer of 250 there was barbarian activity on the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Dacius was succesful in Raetia – roughly modern Switerland – and Pannonia and so was his eldest son Herennius near Moguntiacum – modern Mainz. In the fierce winter that followed, the Goths crossed the frozen Danube and entered Moesia. They split their force into two powerful armies. One attempted to storm Novae – modern Svishtov, Bulgaria – but was driven off by Trebonianus Gallus. The two Gothic armies then moved south, one to besiege Nicopolis, the other Philippopolis.


Decius and Herennius were able to relieve Nicopolis, but Philippopolis fell and was sacked. The emperor and his son pursued the Goths around the region and engaged their forces at Abrittus, sixty miles north of Nicopolis. After initial successes in battle, Decius was undone by the treachery of Trebonianus Gallus, who knowingly signalled the emperor forwards into marsh land, where the soldiers became bogged down and were easily slaughtered by the enemy. The bodies of Decius and Herennius were never recovered. Of all the short-reigning emperors of the first half of the period of military anarchy, Decius had ruled best and most wisely.


Decius enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the first Roman emperor to be killed fighting a foreign enemy.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:43 AM   #13

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Excellent post Caracalla!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #14

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Cartimandua (sometimes mispelt Cartismandua)

British queen and Roman client, mid-late 1st Century AD


Cartimandua was the Queen (specifically described as a regina by Tacitus) of the Brigantes, a powerful and war-like Celtic tribe residing in what is now northern England. Nothing is known about her early life or how she came to be queen. Considering seperation from her husband later in life did not significantly affect her control of the tribe, it can be deduced that she was either born or elected to the rulership of the Brigantes.

By the year 50 AD (and possibly as early as 43), Cartimandua was known as a staunch ally of Rome. The Brigantes were a numerous people and had both pro and anti-Roman factions, but the pro-Roman faction under Cartimandua was dominant in the 50s. In 51 AD Caratacos, the leader of southern British resistance to Rome, fled in exile to the land of the Brigantes. When Cartimandua found out, she had him arrested and handed over to the Romans.

Cartimandua's husband was named Venutios. He was a noted war-chief with anti-Roman sympathies. Their marriage was a stormy one and culminated in Cartimandua's adultery, taking Venutios' own charioteer Vellocatos as a lover. Favoring his charioteer as a lover over himself must have been an enormous blow to Venutios' reputation in the tribe. He subsequently took up leadership of the anti-Roman faction of the tribe, and gathered allies from tribes that had not submitted. They managed to dethrone Cartimandua, but were defeated in battle with the IX Hispana Legion, whose legate then put Cartimandua back on her throne. Such a revolt happened a second time, in 69 AD as civil anarchy prevented Roman forces from engaging in tribal disputes. Cartimandua again lost her throne, but did not regain it; her subsequent fate is unknown. The Brigantes were known as implacable enemies of Rome for the next century.

Tacitus portrayed Cartimandua as a fickle, promiscuous, and treacherous personality. Her betrayal of Caratacos and her own husband would suggest that there was some truth to this, but it was Roman custom to portray female leaders in a negative light. The concept of a female chief commanding warriors was repulsive to Roman sensibilities, but was apparently fairly common in Britain - Cartimandua was a contemporary of the famous Boudica. Her name is Celtic for "Shapely Pony", possibly a reference to her physical traits or personality.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #15

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Great thread. I'm learning about a lot of interesting personalities I have never heard of before. And some of them women too!

Thanks Salah.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:21 AM   #16

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Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus 210 BC - 150Bc

The Sempronians were an ancient plebeian family. The Gracchan branch of Tiberius Sempronius had fought with distinction in the Hannibalic war. This Sempronius Gracchus was born about 210 BC. He had served with Lucius Scipio, brother of Scipio Africanus, against the Selucid king Antiochus III, beginning a lifelong association with the Scipios. Although Sempronius claimed to be the enemy of Scipio Africanus, he helped Scipio to the best of his ability in 187 BC when Cato and his minions hounded the Scipios to trial.

Sempronius Gracchus became aedile in 182 BC. The office required heavy expenditure on building and games, and Sempronius was not rich. He squeezed the money from clients and subject people so effectively that the senate afterwards restricted the amount that aediles should spend. The upwardly mobile Sempronius then became Praetor in 180 BC. Given his experience in Asia Minor, he might have hoped for a posting there. Instead, his command was against the Celtiberians in Hispania. Sempronius competently pacified this region of hardy warriors. He claimed the surrender of some 300 towns. Sempronius next stunned the Spaniards, accustomed to Roman greed and treachery, by establishing a peace so equitable that it lasted 25 years.

After triumphing in 177 BC, Sempronius became consul. His patrician colleague, Gaius Claudius Pulcher, soon became a close family ally and his daughter, Claudia, later married Sempronius' son Tiberius. Sempronia, Sempronius' daughter, married Scipio Aemilianus, thus consolidating another dynastic alliance.

Sempronius campaigned in Sardinia in his consular year, pacifying the island in two quick and ruthless campaigns. He took so many Sardinian slaves that the market was saturated.

A list to commemorate Sempronius Gracchus' military campaigns existed in a temple near Rome's Forum Boarium for later generations to see. Meanwhile, his campaigns had become political. He was censor, with Claudius Pulcher again, in 169 BC. The pair severely pruned the roll of equestrians and reined back the tendency of the publicani to operate through bribes and backhanders. Sempronius bought the grounds where the house of Scipio Africanus had once stood, added some neighbouring properties, and constructed the Basilica Sempronia, a lasting contribution to the city's architecture.

When Sempronius and Claudius left office they were attacked by a vindictive host of people who had suffered from their reforms. The battle was fought in the courts and on the Rostra. Sempronius refused to abandon his former collegue, although Sempronius was popular with the people, and Claudius, like many Claudians, was not.

Sempronius Gracchus was consul again in 163 BC, a term of office made most famous when he left it. Sempronius disapproved of his successors and a few weeks after they had taken office, he “remembered” omitting part of the ritual of transferring the consulship, so forcing his luckless successors to resign for fresh elections.

Sempronius finally returned to Asia Minor in a series of semi-official embassies in which he cultivated the friendship and support of the wealthy monarchs of the area. After Sempronius' death, a Ptolemy of Egypt offered to marry his widow Cornelia, on the strength of his relationship with her husband.

Though as ruthless as most Roman aristocrats, Sempronius was also honest and fair. Sempronius the politician left a huge stock of political capital for his sons. How they spent that patrimony has been controversial ever since.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #17

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Another very worthy addition Caracalla!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #18

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Aureolus

Roman general and rebel leader, c. 230 - 268 AD


Aureolus was born in the Roman province of Dacia, probably sometime in the 220s or 230s AD. There are very few reliable sources on him, but they do suggest that this obscure figure lived an interesting life. Aureolus was apparently of native Dacian (rather than Roman) stock; from early childhood he showed great aptitude as a horseman. Nothing is known of his family; no wife or descendants are mentioned.

In the late 250s or early 260s Aureolus - who was serving as a legionary in one of the Danube legions - was made a equestrian groom in the service of Emperor Gallienus. Over the course of the 260s Gallienus came to rely very heavily on Aureolus, finding the quick and devious turnings of the Dacian horseman's mind a useful asset in his plot and revolt-ridden Empire. Aureolus was made the Master of Horse - one of the most influential military positions in the Empire. In this capacity he defeated no less than three imperial usurpers - Ingenuus and the Macriani.

In the mid-260s Aureolus and Gallienus jointly led a campaign against the breakaway Gallic Empire of Postumus. Aureolus botched up the campaign (deliberately, according to our sources, because he sought Postumus' favor) and Gallienus took away his command of the cavalry. Aureolus was serving as the governor of Rhaetia in 267 AD when Gallienus embarked on a campaign in the Balkans. Aureolus revolted, taking Mediolanum as his capital and holding control over the Alps and much of northern Italy. Our sources claim that Aureolus revolted not out of personal ambition, but out of bitterness towards the Emperor - who several years before had withdrawn soldiers from the Dacian frontier, thus allowing Aureolus' homeland to be pillaged by Goths.

Aureolus began to mint coins bearing Postumus' name and portrait in Mediolanum, in the hopes that Postumus would ally with him against Gallienus. Postumus did not sympathize with Aureolus, however, leaving the latter to his own devices. Aureolus began to mint his own coins and probably officially took the Imperial titles - just in time to face an invasion by Gallienus and his army, in the summer of 268 AD. Aureolus was defeated and subsequently besieged in Mediolanum. During this Siege, Gallienus was murdered by his officers Aurelius Claudius, Aurelianus, and the Praetorian prefect Heraclianus; Claudius usurped the purple. Shortly after the murder, Aureolus surrendered. Emperor Claudius was inclined to spare him, but he was murdered by the Praetorians.

Aureolus, so we are told, was a very intelligent and cunning man. He was a brilliant cavalry commander, and also seems to have been a haughty and headstrong individual. His few surviving coins depict a fairly young and handsome man with short hair and a clean-shaven face. His name could be a mispelling or alternative spelling of "Aurelius", or it could be a distinct personal name drawn from the same Latin root word "aureus" - "gold".
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Old December 13th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #19

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


I'm getting lapped. Don't rename the thread yet, I'll have some stuff tonight.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #20

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Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
I'm getting lapped. Don't rename the thread yet, I'll have some stuff tonight.
You philhellenes will have a lot of writing to do to outnumber all these Romans
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