Pomponia (gens)

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This article is about a Roman gens. For the Renaissance scholar, see Julius Pomponius Laetus.
Etruscan urn containing the ashes of Pomponius Notus

The gens Pomponia was a plebeian family at Rome throughout the period of the Republic and into imperial times. The first of the gens to achieve prominence was Marcus Pomponius, tribune of the plebs in 449 BC; the first who obtained the consulship was Manius Pomponius Matho in 233 BC.[1]

Origin of the gens[edit]

Towards the end of the Republic, the Pomponii claimed to be descended from Pompo, one of the sons of Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, whose image appears on some of their coins. At least four other gentes made such claims; the Aemilii claimed descent from Mamercus; the Calpurnii claimed descent from Calpus, and the Pinarii claimed descent from Pinus, all allegedly sons of Numa; the Marcii, meanwhile, claimed descent from Numa's daughter, the mother of Ancus Marcius, the fourth King of Rome.[1][2][3][4]

Of these it may be mentioned that Mamercus was indeed an ancient praenomen, perhaps of Sabine origin, as the Aemilii claimed to be. Although their claim was likewise ancient, there were several variations of it. Some of the Pinarii originally bore the praenomen Mamercus, although this gens had previously claimed even greater antiquity, dating to pre-Roman times, and Pinus is not otherwise attested as a praenomen. Nor does Calpus appear to have been a praenomen. The tradition asserting that Ancus Marcius was the grandson of Numa was quite old. Ironically, the gens Pompilia, which certainly had grounds to claim a similar descent, does not appear ever to have done so.[5][6]

Pompo, asserted as the name of the ancestor of the Pompilii, does indeed appear to have been an ancient praenomen of Sabine origin. It was the Sabine equivalent of Quintus, a very common name. Numa's father is said to have been named Pompo Pompilius, and it is evident that the nomen Pompilius was itself a patronymic surname based on Pompo. Pomponius appears to be derived from an adjectival form of that name, and the equivalent of the Latin nomen Quinctilius. Thus, it seems probable that the ancestor of the Pomponii was indeed named Pompo, although the claim that he was the son of Numa may be a later addition.[1][7]

An alternative explanation, dating at least to the early 19th century, is that the name might be derived from or connected with an Etruscan root, and that its original form would have been Pumpu or Pumpili. In her History of Etruria, Mrs. Hamilton Gray supposed Pumpu to have been the name of Numa's mother, adopted as a surname according to a tradition common to the Etruscan and Sabine cultures.[8][9]

Praenomina used by the gens[edit]

The Pomponii used a wide variety of praenomina. The principal names were Marcus, Lucius, and Titus. A few of the Pomponii bore the praenomina Quintus, Publius, and Sextus. The illustrious family of the Pomponii Mathones favored Manius, and there are individual instances of Gaius and Gnaeus.[1]

Branches and cognomina of the gens[edit]

In the earliest times, the Pomponii were not distinguished by any surname, and the only family that rose to importance in the time of the Republic bore the surname Matho. On coins we also find the cognomina Molo, Musa, and Rufus, but none of these occur in ancient writers. The other surnames found during the Republic, such as Atticus, were personal cognomina. Numerous surnames appear in imperial times.[1]

Members of the gens[edit]

This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.

Pomponii Rufi[edit]

  • Lucius Pomponius Rufus, grandfather of the consular tribune of 399 BC.
  • Lucius Pomponius L. f. Rufus, father of the consular tribune.
  • Marcus Pomponius L. f. L. n. Rufus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 399 BC.[10][11][12]
  • Quintus Pomponius (L. f. L. n. Rufus), tribunus plebis in 395 BC, opposed a measure to establish a colony at Veii, for which reason he was accused and fined two years later.[13]

Pomponii Mathones[edit]

Other Pomponii of the Republic[edit]

Pomponii of imperial times[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, i. 20.
  3. ^ Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, "Numa", 21.
  4. ^ Herbert A. Grueber, Catalogue of Roman Coins in the British Museum (Republic) (1910). ii. p. 311, no. 733; p. 361, no. 62.
  5. ^ George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897).
  6. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, i. 7, 20, 32.
  7. ^ Michael Grant, Roman Myths (1971), 123, 139.
  8. ^ Karl Otfried Müller, Etrüsker Hypogeum.
  9. ^ Mrs. Hamilton Gray, History of Etruria, Part II (1844).
  10. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, v. 13.
  11. ^ Fasti Capitolini.
  12. ^ T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
  13. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, v. 29.
  14. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iii. 54.
  15. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vii. 4, 5.
  16. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis, iii. 30.
  17. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, v. 4. § 3.
  18. ^ Appianus, History of the Samnite Wars, 2.
  19. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxi. 15.
  20. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxv. 1, 3.
  21. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xlv. 21.
  22. ^ Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Claris Rhetoribus, 1.
  23. ^ Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, xv. 11.
  24. ^ Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, "Gaius Gracchus" 16, 17.
  25. ^ Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History, ii. 6.
  26. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, iv. 7 § 2.
  27. ^ Sextus Aurelius Victor, De Viris Illustribus, 65.
  28. ^ Gaius Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis, vii. 49. s. 48.
  29. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 57, 62, 89, 90, De Oratore, iii. 13.
  30. ^ Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, "Lucullus", 15.
  31. ^ Appianus, Bella Mithridatica, 95.
  32. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, vi. 15.
  33. ^ Quintus Asconius Pedianus, in Cic. Mil., p. 33, ed. Orelli.
  34. ^ Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Civili, iii. 101.
  35. ^ Appianus, Bellum Civile, iv. 45.
  36. ^ Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, ii. 32, 41, vi. 27.
  37. ^ Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Illustribus Grammaticis, 22.
  38. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lvii. 17.
  39. ^ Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, iv. 47, vi. 29.
  40. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lviii. 24.
  41. ^ Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, xiii. 52.
  42. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxvii, 16.
  43. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxix, 5.
  44. ^ Herodianus, History of the Roman Empire, v. 6, 5.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.