Sempronia (gens)

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Gaius Sempronius Gracchus addressing the Concilium Plebis

The gens Sempronia was a Roman family of great antiquity. It included both patrician and plebeian branches. The first of the Sempronii to obtain the consulship was Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, in 497 BC, the twelfth year of the Republic. The patrician Sempronii frequently obtained the highest offices of the state in the early centuries of the Republic, but they were eclipsed by the plebeian families of the gens at the end of the 4th century BC. The glory of the Sempronia gens is confined to the Republican period. Very few persons of this name, and none of them of any importance, are mentioned under the Empire.[1]

Praenomina used by the gens[edit]

The praenomina favored by the patrician Sempronii were Aulus, Lucius, and Gaius. The plebeian families of the gens used the praenomina Gaius, Publius, Tiberius, and Marcus. The Sempronii Tuditani used Marcus, Gaius, and Publius, while their contemporaries, the Sempronii Gracchi, used Tiberius, Gaius, and Publius. Some families, including the Sempronii Rutili and Sempronii Muscae, used the praenomen Titus instead of Tiberius.[1]

Branches and cognomina of the gens[edit]

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum

The Sempronii were divided into many families, of which those bearing the surname Atratinus were undoubtedly patrician; but all of the others appear to have been plebeian. Their names were Asellio, Blaesus, Densus, Gracchus, Longus, Musca, Pitio, Rufus, Rutilus, Sophus, and Tuditanus. Of these, only Atratinus, Gracchus, and Pitio occur on coins.[1]

Atratinus is derived from atratus, meaning "clad in black". The Atratini were patricians, and were distinguished in the early history of the Republic; but after the year 380 BC, no member of the family is mentioned till 34 BC.[1][2]

Sophus, "a wise man", was the name of a plebeian family of the Sempronii, which flourished during the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. Blaesus, "one who stammers", was the name of a plebeian family which first rose to prominence during the First Punic War. Tuditanus, the name of a family appearing in the second half of the 3rd century BC, was supposed by the philologist Ateius, to have originally been given to one of the Sempronii because he had a head like a tudes, or mallet.[1][3]

Longus was a common surname, which probably originally referred to a person who was quite tall, although it could also mean "tedious". The family bearing this cognomen appeared at the beginning of the Second Punic War. Rutilus meaning "reddish", may have referred to the color of a person's hair. It was the surname of a family which first appears early in the 2nd century BC. A later family of the Sempronii bore the cognomen Rufus, or "red", suggesting a connection with the Sempronii Rutili. The surname Musca refers to a fly, a nickname that might arise from a person's height, or perhaps his persistence.[1][2]

The most illustrious family of the Sempronii bore the cognomen Gracchus. This family furnished the Republic with two distinguished generals, as well as the brothers Tiberius and Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, commonly known as the Gracchi, who fell as martyrs to the cause of the plebeians, while attempting to implement vital land reform legislation. The family afterward fell into obscurity, but still existed in imperial times.[1]

Members of the gens[edit]

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

Sempronii Atratini[edit]

Sempronii Sophi[edit]

Sempronii Blaesi[edit]

Sempronii Tuditani[edit]

Sempronii Gracchi[edit]

Sempronii Longi[edit]

Sempronii Rutili et Rufi[edit]

  • Gaius Sempronius Rutilus, tribunus plebis in 189 BC, with his colleague, Publius Sempronius Gracchus, prosecuted Manius Acilius Glabrio, the consul of 191.[30]
  • Titus Sempronius Rutilus, the stepfather of Publius Aebutius, whom he disliked. His wife, Duronia, was indirectly responsible for the discovery of the Bacchanalia at Rome in 186 BC.[34]
  • Sempronius Rutilus, one of Caesar's legates in Gaul.[35]
  • Gaius Sempronius Rufus, a friend of Cicero, accused by Marcus Tuccius in 51 BC.[36][37]
  • Sempronius Rufus, a friend of the younger Gaius Plinius.[38]
  • Titus Sempronius Rufus, consul suffectus in AD 113.
  • Sempronius Rufus, a eunuch from Hispania, who had committed various crimes, but had great influence over the emperor Caracalla.[39]

Sempronii Muscae[edit]

  • Titus Sempronius Musca, one of five commissioners appointed to settle the disputes between the Pisani and the Lunenses, in 168 BC.[40]
  • Aulus Sempronius Musca, mentioned along with his brother, Marcus, by Cicero in De Oratore.[41]
  • Marcus Sempronius Musca, mentioned along with his brother, Aulus, by Cicero in De Oratore.[41]
  • Sempronius Musca, scourged Gaius Gellius to death after detecting him in the act of adultery with his wife.[42]
  • (Sempronius) Musca, mentioned by Cicero in 45 BC, apparently a freedman or steward of Titus Pomponius Atticus.[43]

Others[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. ^ a b D.P. Simpson, Cassell's Latin & English Dictionary (1963).
  3. ^ Sextus Pompeius Festus, epitome of Marcus Verrius Flaccus De Verborum Significatu, p. 352, ed. Müller.
  4. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 7.
  5. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, xi. 61.
  6. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xii. 32.
  7. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, xi. 62, 63.
  8. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 7, 8.
  9. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, ix. 21.
  10. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 35, 44, 47.
  11. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xii. 81, xiii. 9.
  12. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 28.
  13. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, xlix. 39.
  14. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Caelio, 1, 3, 7.
  15. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxii. 31.
  16. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxvi. 2, xxvii. 5.
  17. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxvi. 39, 40.
  18. ^ Fasti Capitolini.
  19. ^ Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, xvii. 21.
  20. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 18, Tusculanae Quaestiones, i. 1, Cato Maior de Senectute, 14.
  21. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxvi. 48.
  22. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxii. 27, 28, xxxiii. 25, 42.
  23. ^ Appianus, Hispanica, 39.
  24. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxv. 7, xxxvii. 47, 50, xxxxix. 23, 32, 40, 46, xli. 21.
  25. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, xiii. 6. § 4, 33. § 3.
  26. ^ T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
  27. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippicae, iii. 6, Academica Priora, ii. 28.
  28. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, vii. 8. § 1.
  29. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xli. 26.
  30. ^ a b Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxvii. 57.
  31. ^ Sextus Pompeius Festus, epitome of Marcus Verrius Flaccus De Verborum Significatu, s. v. penatores.
  32. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xli. 21
  33. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxix. 32, 38.
  34. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxix 9, 11, 19.
  35. ^ Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, vii. 90.
  36. ^ Marcus Caelius Rufus, Epistulae ad Familiares, viii. 8.
  37. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, vi. 2. § 10, Epistulae ad Familiares, 22, 25, 29.
  38. ^ Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Epistulae, iv. 22.
  39. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxvii. 17.
  40. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xlv. 13.
  41. ^ a b Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Oratore, ii. 60.
  42. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, vi. 1. § 13.
  43. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, xii. 40.
  44. ^ Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Historiae, i. 43.
  45. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxiv. 6.
  46. ^ Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Galba, 26.

 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. 

References[edit]