Possible Imperial ancestry
It has been theorized that her mother was Julia (daughter of Julius Caesar Drusus and Livilla), which would make Bassa the great-granddaughter of Tiberius; however, this lineage is uncertain because her father, Gaius Rubellius Blandus married Julia when he around 55, which makes an earlier marriage likely (possibly to a Laecania Bassa), and Rubellia Bassa may have been the daughter of Blandus by this theorized earlier marriage.
Bassa had at least one sibling, a (?half)brother named Gaius Rubellius Plautus, who was one of the nearest heirs of the blood of Augustus (being the grandson of Drusus Caesar, who was an adopted grandson of Augustus). Plautus was forced to kill himself in 62 and his wife Antistia Pollitta and children were executed four years later (perhaps because the children were direct descendants of previous Roman Emperors.
Marriage and possible descendants
Rubellia Bassa married Octavius Laenas, maternal uncle of the future emperor Nerva. Ronald Syme claims that Sergius Octavius Laenas Pontianus, consul in 131 under Emperor Hadrian, set up a dedication to his grandmother, "[Rub]elliae / [Bla]ndi f(iliae) Bassae / Octavi Laenatis / Sergius Octavius / Laenas Pontianus / aviae optimae ".
This obscure link is perhaps a continuation of the Julio-Claudian bloodline. A descendant of Sergius Octavianus Laenas Pontianus, Sergia Paulla, daughter of a certain Lucius Sergius Paullus, was married into the famous Gallo-Roman aristocrat family Anici. So, through this family, the bloodline can be traced to Adelphius, Bishop of Limoges, and his wife and cousin Anicia Itallica, with this branch continuing to the Caroligian Dynasty, since Clotilde of Metz, grandmother of Charles Martel, was a great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Adelphius. Another branch of Anici family may link the bloodline to the Western Roman Emperor Anicius Olybrius and to the Heraclian Dynasty of Byzentine Emperors. However the relation of Olybrius and the branch of Anici family descendant of Rubellia Bassa is disputed, because the name of his parents can't be known for sure.
- CIL 14, 02610
- Syme: Tacitus, Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 627-8
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