Publius Acilius Attianus

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Publius Acilius Attianus
Allegiance Roman Empire
Years of service ??–119
Rank Praetorian prefect
Commands held Praetorian Guard

Publius Acilius Attianus (1st – 2nd century AD) was a powerful Roman official who played a significant, though obscured, role in the transfer of power from Trajan to Hadrian.

Life[edit]

He was born in Italica, Hispania Baetica, which was also the birthplace of Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, the emperor Hadrian’s father. When Afer died about 86, Attianus and the future Emperor Trajan (another native of Italica) became the ten-year-old Hadrian’s guardians. Otherwise nothing is known of Attianus’s early career, but towards the end of Trajan’s reign he was joint Praetorian Prefect with Servius Sulpicius Similis for colleague. While Similis remained at Rome, Attianus accompanied the Emperor on campaign in the East.

On the death of Trajan[edit]

It is rumoured that Attianus and the Empress Plotina had been lovers, with both being mutually fond of Hadrian their ward, and that this was part of how Hadrian became Emperor: Attianus and Plotina were both present at Trajan’s deathbed at Selinus in Cilicia in August 117, and the two helped secure Hadrian's succession by forging Trajan’s will.[1] Along with Plotina and Matidia, Attianus accompanied Trajan’s body to Seleucia and his ashes to Rome.

During Hadrian's reign[edit]

Early in Hadrian's reign, Attianus counselled the emperor on his accession against various possible opponents, and, according to Hadrian’s lost autobiography, was responsible for the murder of the ‘four consulars’ whose deaths were an early stain on his reign. However, the new emperor resented Attianus’s power, and, in 119, induced him to request to be relieved of the post of Praetorian Prefect. Attianus was given senatorial rank and the ornamenta consularia on his retirement, but nothing more is heard of him past that point.

Nerva–Antonine family tree[edit]

  • (1) = 1st spouse
  • (2) = 2nd spouse (not shown)
  • (3) = 3rd spouse
  • Darker purple indicates Emperor of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty; lighter purple indicates designated imperial heir of said dynasty who never reigned
  • dashed lines indicate adoption; dotted lines indicate love affairs/unmarried relationships
  • small caps = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)


Q. Marcius Barea Soranus
Q. Marcius Barea Sura
Antonia Furnilla
M. Cocceius Nerva
Sergia Plautilla
P. Aelius Hadrianus
Titus
(r. 79-81)
Marcia Furnilla
Marcia
Trajanus Pater
Nerva
(r. 96–98)
Ulpia
Aelius Hadrianus Marullinus
Julia Flavia
Marciana
G. Salonius Matidius
Trajan
(r. 98–117)
Plotina
P. Acilius Attianus
P. Aelius Afer
Paulina Major
L. Julius Ursus Servianus
Lucius Mindius
(2)
Libo Rupilius Frugi
(3)
Matidia
L. Vibius Sabinus
(1)
Antinous
Hadrian (r. 117–138)
Paulina
Minor
Matidia Minor
Suetonius
Sabina
M.
Annius Verus
G. Fuscus Salinator I
Julia Serviana Paulina
Rupilia Faustina
Boionia Procilla
G. Arrius Antoninus
L. Caesennius Paetus
L. Ceionius Commodus
Appia Severa
G. Fuscus Salinator II
Arria Antonia
Arria Fadilla
T. Aurelius Fulvus
L. Caesennius Antoninus
Lucius
Commodus
Fundania Plautia
Ignota Plautia
G. Avidius
Nigrinus
Antoninus Pius
(r. 138–161)
M. Annius Verus
Domitia Lucilla
Fundania
M. Annius Libo
FAUSTINA
Lucius Aelius
Caesar
Avidia Plautia
Cornificia
MARCUS AURELIUS
(r. 161–180)
FAUSTINA Minor
G. Avidius Cassius
Aurelia Fadilla
LUCIUS VERUS
(r. 161–169)
(1)
Ceionia Fabia
Plautius Quintillus
Q. Servilius Pudens
Ceionia Plautia
Cornificia Minor
M. Petronius Sura
COMMODUS
(r. 177–192)
Fadilla
M. Annius Verus Caesar
T. Claudius Pompeianus (2)
Lucilla
M. Plautius Quintillus
Junius Licinius Balbus
Servilia Ceionia
Petronius Antoninus
L. Aurelius Agaclytus
(2)
Aurelia Sabina
L. Antistius Burrus
(1)
Plautius Quintillus
Plautia Servilla
G. Furius Sabinus Timesitheus
Antonia Gordiana
Junius Licinius Balbus
Furia Sabina Tranquillina
GORDIAN III
(r. 238-244)


References[edit]

  1. ^ Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth-E.A. (edd.), Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 1214.