Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius

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Consular diptych of Albinus Basilius

Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius was a high official of the Eastern Roman Empire and the last consul of Roman history, holding the office in 541.

Biography[edit]

His origins are unknown, although its name suggests it belonged to an aristocratic Roman families of Decii and of the Anicii: it is likely that he was the grandson of the consul of 480, Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius, and perhaps he was the son of the consul of 493, Albinus.

On 1 January 541 he took the consulate in Constantinople without colleague. The consular diptych of Albinus Basilius lists his titles at the time of the consulate: vir inlustris, comes domesticorum, patricius and ordinary consul.

When the King of the Ostrogoths Totila overcame the Byzantine defences and entered the city in December 546, Basilius, along with Rufius Petronius Nicomachus Cethegus, the president of the Senate, and Decius fled Rome with general Bessas.[1] According to the Liber Pontificalis, Basilius and Cethegus reached Constantinople where the Emperor Justinian consoled them "and enriched them as befitted Roman consuls."[2]

A consular diptych bearing the name "Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius" was first proposed to refer to him by Filippo Buonarroti in 1716. This identification was generally accepted until 1896 when H. Graeven argued it belonged to Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius, the western consul of 480, based on stylistic arguments. More recently Alan Cameron and Diane Schauer have defended Buonarotti's identification.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Procopius, De Bellus VII.20.18. Translated by H.B. Dewing, Procopius (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1979), vol. 4 p. 329
  2. ^ Raymond Davis, translator, The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), p. 58.
  3. ^ Cameron and Schauer, "The Last Consul: Basilius and His Diptych", Journal of Roman Studies, 72 (1982), pp. 126-145

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
Fl. Mar. Petrus Theodorus Valentinus Rusticius Boraides Germanus Iustinus
Consul of the Roman Empire
541
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Iustinus Augustus in 566