The gens Sextia was a plebeian family at Rome, from the time of the early Republic and continuing into imperial times. The most famous member of the gens was Lucius Sextius Lateranus, who as tribune of the plebs from 376 to 367 BC, prevented the election of the annual magistrates, until the passage of the lex Licinia Sextia, otherwise known as the "Licinian Rogations," in the latter year. This law, brought forward by Sextius and his colleague, Gaius Licinius Calvus, opened the consulship to the plebeians, and in the following year Sextius was elected the first plebeian consul. Despite the antiquity of the family, only one other member obtained the consulship during the time of the Republic. Their name occurs more often in the consular fasti under the Empire.
Origin of the gens
The nomen Sextius is a patronymic surname, derived from the praenomen Sextus, meaning "sixth", which must have belonged to the ancestor of the gens. It is frequently confounded with that of the patrician gens Sestia, and in fact the two families may originally have been the same; however, Roman authors considered them distinct gentes. The plebeian gens Sextilia was derived from the same praenomen.
Praenomina used by the gens
The Sextii used a variety of praenomina, including Marcus, Gaius, Lucius, Publius, Quintus, and Titus, all of which were very common throughout Roman history. There are early examples of Sextus, the praenomen that gave the family its name, and perhaps also of Numerius. Some of the Sextii also used the praenomen Vibius, a name that was also used by the patrician Sestii, suggesting that the two gentes may indeed have shared a common origin.
Branches and cognomina of the gens
Members of the gens
- Marcus Sextius, tribunus plebis in 414 BC, proposed that a colony should be sent to Bolae.
- Marcus Sextius Sabinus, plebeian aedile in 203 BC, and praetor in the following year, obtained Gaul as his province.
- Sextius, quaestor of the consul Lucius Calpurnius Bestia in Numidia, in 111 BC.
- Publius Sextius, praetor designatus in 100 BC, was accused of bribery by Titus Junius, and condemned.
- Sextius, proximus lictor of Verres in Sicily, and his favorite executioner.
- Publius Sextius Baculus, a primus pilus in Caesar's army in Gaul, who distinguished himself on many occasions by his great bravery.
- Titus Sextius, one of Caesar's legates in Gaul, he subsequently held the province of Africa in the place of the triumvirs, until the government was given to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, in 40 BC.
- Sextius Naso, one of the conspirators against Caesar in 44 BC.
- Quintus Sextius, conspired against Quintus Cassius Longinus, governor of Hispania Ulterior, in 48 BC. After the conspiracy was suppressed, Sextius purchased his life from Cassius in exchange for a large sum of money.
- Quintus Sextius, a Stoic philosopher during the time of Caesar; his works were admired by the younger Seneca.
- Sextius Niger, a physician during the early Empire, and author of a pharmacological work.
- Sextius Paconianus, one of the agents of Sejanus, who was imprisoned after his master's downfall in AD 31, and subsequently strangled for having written some libellous verses against the emperor.
- Sextia, the wife of Mamercus Aemilius Scaurus; they took their own lives after Scaurus was accused of majestas in AD 34.
- Titus Sextius Africanus, was discouraged by Agrippina from marrying Junia Silana, the widow of Gaius Silius; in AD 62 he took the census in the provinces of Gaul.
- Sextia, the mother-in-law of Lucius Antistius Vetus; they were put to death by the emperor Nero in AD 65.
- Titus Sextius Cornelius Africanus, consul in AD 112 with the emperor Trajan.
- Sextia, the daughter of Titus Sextius Cornelius Africanus, who married Appius Claudius Pulcher, a suffect consul of the 2nd century.
- Numerius Sextius Lateranus, grandfather of the tribune.
- Sextus Sextius N. f. Lateranus, father of the tribune.
- Lucius Sextius Sex. f. N. n. Lateranus, tribunus plebis with Gaius Licinius Calvus from 376 to 367 BC, succeeded in passing the lex Licinia Sextia, opening the consulship to the plebeians; in 366 he became the first plebeian consul.
- Titus Sextius Magius Lateranus, consul in AD 94.
- Titus Sextius Lateranus, consul in AD 154.
- Titus Sextius Magius Lateranus consul in AD 197.
- Gaius Sextius Calvinus, grandfather of the consul.
- Gaius Sextius C. f. Calvinus, father of the consul.
- Gaius Sextius C. f. C. n. Calvinus, consul in 124 BC, and afterwards assigned the administration of Gaul. He conquered the Salluvii, and founded the colony of Aquae Sextiae.
- Gaius Sextius Calvinus, an orator, and friend of Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo; he had only one eye.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 34-42.
- Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 49.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxx. 26, 27.
- Gaius Sallustius Crispus, Jugurthine War, 29.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 48.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, In Verrem, iii. 67, v. 45, 54.
- Gaius Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, ii. 25, iii. 5, vi. 38.
- Appianus, Bellum Civile, ii. 113.
- Aulus Hirtius, De Bello Alexandrino, 55.
- Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, ix. 4. § 2. Valerius Maximus calls him Marcus Silius.
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, 64, 73, 98, De Ira, iii. 36.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, vi. 3, 4, 39.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, vi. 29.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, xiii. 19, xiv. 46.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, xvi. 10, 11.
- Fasti Capitolini.
- Sextius' praenomen is uncertain. His grandson's filiation in the Capitoline Fasti is given as Sex. f. N. n. Sex. tin. Lateran. Some scholars interpret Sex. tin. as an additional cognomen, Sextinus, while others suggest that the inscription should be read Sexti n. see T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
- Mennen, Power and Status of the Roman Empire, AD 193-284
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita Epitome, 61.
- Strabo, Geographica, iv. p. 180.
- Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History, i. 15.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 34.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Oratore, ii. 60, 61.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1867). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.