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Old February 25th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #1

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Wondering about Sosius Senecio


Plutarch addresses Sosius Senecio throughout his Lives but I'm having difficulty tracking down anything useful on the man. Is there any decent surviving information about him or is all that we know about him that he was consul a couple of times?

(Before I posted, my forum search keywords were "Sosius Senecio", "Senecio" and "Sosius". Wasn't sure what else to search under so if I made a glaring error, I apologize.)

Thanks, everyone.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #2

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Not much
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome - Anthony Everitt - Google Books

The Emperor Domitian - Brian Jones - Google Books
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Old February 25th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #3

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Not much
That's what I assumed.

Thanks for the links, however. At least I just now learned he had a wife (Julia Frontina), so that's something.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #4

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If you type his name into google books, you can find his son and grandaughter as well. His son in particular held quite a few positions within the empire.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:19 AM   #5
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The prosopography of the consular elite of the Trajanus' period has been reconstructed largely through careful apigraphical research, in the case of QSS also through the literary references within the works of his consular peer Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Minor (a couple of letters and Trajanus' Panegyricum) and the romanized Boeotian Mr. Know-it-all Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus of Chaeronea (several philosophical dialogues and the introduction of three Parallel Lives).

Possibly pf eastern origin ["Cilician?"] Quintus Sossius Senecio was a senior marshall of Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, already under the latter's orders while Trajanus was still a mere general, serving as a tribune commanding the Legio I Minervia in Germania Inferior for DCCCL AUC / 97-98 AD; having distinguished himself enough in the Rhin campaigns, he was rewarded with his first ordinary consulship for 99 AD together with the Italian Aulus Cornelius Palma Frontoniananus, serving just some months.

He was already the son-in-law of Sextus Iulius Frontinus, the famous strategist and author of hidraulics works, distinguished as commander in Britannia under the Flavians and rewarded by Trajanus with his exceptional three consulships.

Quintus Sossius Senecio served in both Dacian wars, in the expedition of 105-106, probably as legatus pro praetore without a specific provincial command,and he distinguished enough for being rewarded with a second ordinary consulship for 107 AD, together with his peer marshall and close friend Lucius Licinius Sura.
Together with other senior marshalls both friends were presumably depicted in some images of the famous Column of Trajan.

The old dictionary of William Smith reported two additional suffect consulships for Sossius in 98 & 102 AD, both times together with his friend Sura; but such magistratures don't seem to be confirmed by recent prosopography and should probably be considered a mistake until proven otherwise.

Sossius was clearly deeply involved in the contemporary Hellenic culture, particularly Platonist philosophy; his references within LM Plutarchus' works have been extremely valuable for the dating and study of the latter's works.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #6

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The prosopography of the consular elite of the Trajanus' period has been reconstructed largely through careful apigraphical research, in the case of QSS also through the literary references within the works of his consular peer Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Minor (a couple of letters and Trajanus' Panegyricum) and the romanized Boeotian Mr. Know-it-all Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus of Chaeronea (several philosophical dialogues and the introduction of three Parallel Lives).
Thank you so much. I can see how it would a fun, but full time job hunting down each piece of information to form a clearer picture of many of the less well known ancient lives.

It's too bad we don't know the exact reason why Plutarch addressed QSS in his Lives; I'd like to imagine there is quite a story behind that reasoning.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Thank you so much. I can see how it would a fun, but full time job hunting down each piece of information to form a clearer picture of many of the less well known ancient lives.

It's too bad we don't know the exact reason why Plutarch addressed QSS in his Lives; I'd like to imagine there is quite a story behind that reasoning.
It is not known even why exactly LM Plutarchus wrote these exemplary biographies, even if the author himself left several explicit hints.
The Bioi Paralleloi were double biographies of a Hellene and a Roman figures (usually in that order) with a final comparison (synkrisis) as whole individual books.

LM PLutarchus was primarily a philosopher (more specifically an eclectic Middle Platonist) and particularly an ethicist.
The main explicit goal of these biographies was ostensibly the improvement of the personal lives of his readers from the study of the good and bad exemplary actions of some notable historical figures.
However, their redaction would suggest these books (especially the earlier ones) were also intended to be kind of an introduction to the Roman ways for the new generations of Romanized Hellenes like LM Plutarchus himself.

In this scenario, the explicit opening dedication to one of the most powerful members of the ruling elite of the Empire and close personal friend of Trajanus himself would suggest a deliberate strong marketing promotion among the philhellenic Roman high class.

It is known that some of these books are currently lost, painfully including the first one of the series, the Parallel Lives of Epaminondas and Scipio Africanus (probably Major).
Several modern authors consider that such book probably began with a general introduction of the series, presumably including an explanation of the author's purposes and also an opening general dedication to Quintus Sossius Senecio.

Two of the three extant dedicatories to Plutarchus' powerful friend are found in explicitly numbered books (the fifth and the twelfth ones of the series) so it seems quite likely that these were review numbers, where the original project was somewhat modified, and the author was punctually informing his loyal readers.
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