Gaius Silius

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Gaius Silius Aulus Caecina Largus[1][2] (died 24 AD) was a Roman general and politician who became consul in 13 AD.

Biography[edit]

Born Aulus Caecina Largus, upon his adoption by Publius Silius Nerva he took the unusual step of adding his adoptive praenomen and nomen to his birth name, instead of the usual tradition of taking the adoptive names and then adding the suffix -anus to his birth nomen to form a new cognomen.[3] In 13 AD, Silius was elected consul alongside Lucius Munatius Plancus. At the end of his tenure in office, he was appointed imperial legate of Germania Superior, under the overall command of Germanicus, and was the officer in charge of the four upper Rhine legions which did not mutiny upon the death of the emperor Augustus.[4][5] Once the mutiny was suppressed, Silius continued to serve loyally under Germanicus, participating in the Roman retaliation campaign (from 14-16 AD) against a Germanic alliance in the aftermath of the disaster at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. His successes earned him an honorary triumph in 15 AD.[6]

In 16 AD, Germanicus sent Silius against the Chatti with 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, defeating them in the process.,[7] after which Tiberius appointed him as a taxation auditor in Gaul.[dubious ] He continued in his role as governor of Upper Germany until 21 AD,[8] during which he put down a revolt in Gaul when a faction of Treveri, led by Julius Florus and allied with the Aeduan Julius Sacrovir, led a rebellion of Gaulish debtors against the Romans in 21 AD.[9] With two legions Silius defeated Sacrovir’s rebel forces (numbering 40,000) twelve miles outside of Augustodunum.[10]

Upon his return to Rome in 21 AD, Silius was soon caught in the political machinations at court as part of Germanicus’s faction.[11] Through Silius’s wife, Sosia Galla, the couple had become friends with Tiberius’ daughter-in-law Agrippina the Elder. Due to their friendship with Agrippina they became innocent victims of Sejanus' treason trials.[12] In the Senate, Silius was accused by the consul Lucius Visellius Varro of being complicit in Sacrovir’s revolt, and of misappropriating money from the provincial government in Gaul. Refusing to submit a plea or to defend himself, he declared that had he not personally kept the legions on the Rhine from avenging the murder of Germanicus, Tiberius would have lost his position as Princeps.[13] Faced with false witnesses swearing that he had robbed the Gallic provinces, Silius committed suicide in 24 AD, and afterwards Galla was exiled.[14] Galla's property was confiscated by the Senate and a portion was given to her children.[15]

Silius had at least one son, also named Gaius Silius.


Political offices
Preceded by
Germanicus Iulius Caesar and Gaius Fonteius Capito
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Lucius Munatius Plancus
13 AD
Succeeded by
Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Appuleius

Sources[edit]

  • Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol III (1849).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ronald Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy (1986), pg. 97. n.21 and 22.
  2. ^ Velleius Paterculus, J. C. Yardley, Anthony A. Barrett, The Roman History: From Romulus and the Foundation of Rome to the Reign of the Emperor Tiberius (2011), pg. 147, n.411
  3. ^ Ronald Syme; Birley, Richard Roman Papers, Vol IV (1988), pg. 171
  4. ^ Christopher Burnand, Tacitus and the Principate: From Augustus to Domitian (2011), pg. 56
  5. ^ Pat Southern, The Roman army: a social and institutional history (2007), pg. 294
  6. ^ Smith, pg. 823
  7. ^ Ludwig Heinrich Dyck, The Roman Barbarian Wars: The Era of Roman Conquest (2011), pg. 256
  8. ^ Stephen Dando-Collins, Blood of the Caesars: how the murder of Germanicus led to the fall of Rome, (2008), pg. 96
  9. ^ Tacitus, Annales III:40-42.
  10. ^ David F. Burg, A world history of tax rebellions: an encyclopedia of tax rebels, revolts, and riots from antiquity to the present (2004), pg. 25
  11. ^ Smith, pg. 823
  12. ^ Jasper Burns, Great women of Imperial Rome: mothers and wives of the Caesars (2007), pgs. 51-52
  13. ^ Stephen Dando-Collins, Blood of the Caesars: how the murder of Germanicus led to the fall of Rome, (2008), pg. 97
  14. ^ Smith, pg. 823
  15. ^ Jasper Burns, Great women of Imperial Rome: mothers and wives of the Caesars (2007), pg. 52