Sextus Varius Marcellus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sextus Varius Marcellus[1] (c.165-c.215[2]) was a Roman aristocrat and politician from the province of Syria.[3]

Family and career[edit]

Little is known on the origins of Marcellus, as he was born and raised in the ancient Greek city of Apamea in Syria.[4] Marcellus was a Roman citizen from the Equestian order.[5]

Marcellus had a long, distinguished political career[6] in which he had various responsible[7] tasks to do. He was present at the Secular Games in Rome in 204.[8] From 200 to 205, like Gaius Julius Avitus Alexianus,[9][10] Marcellus didn’t serve in a Roman military nor political position, probably due to Roman emperor Lucius Septimius Severus’ hostilities from the Praetorian prefect Gaius Fulvius Plautianus.[11][12] When Plautianus was killed in 205, the career of Marcellus had changed.[13]

From 205 at least until 207, Marcellus was promoted in becoming a Procurator for the Roman aqueducts[14] in Rome, as this position was usually given to a Roman of Senatorial rank, not from the Equestrian class. As a beginner into a Roman political career, Marcellus was paid about 100,000 sesterces per year.[15]

Marcellus proved his worth and capabilities in his position to Lucius Septimius Severus and his family. The emperor in 208 promoted him as Procurator of Roman Britain and in this position, he was responsible in gathering taxes for Rome. He was earning 200,000 sesterces in this role.[16] He was promoted again, by the emperor in generally managing the finances of Roman Britain; was now in charge of the private finances of the emperor and earning 300,000 sesterces.[17]

In 211 after the death of Lucius Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Publius Septimius Geta succeeded their father on the Roman throne. Caracalla recalled Marcellus from Roman Britain to Rome and promoted him to the roles of Praefectus urbi and Praetorian prefect in which he briefly took over the positions.[18] He was later admitted into the Roman Senate with the rank of a former Praetor and almost immediately, Marcellus became Prefect of the military treasury.[19] He was later became a Roman governor of Numidia, either dying in Numidia or immediately after his return to Rome. Although he missed out, Marcellus was in reached in serving a Roman consulship. Marcellus in his political career served in some very significant positions, but unfortunately died before his merits were rewarded.[20]

Marriage and children[edit]

Marcellus married the Syrian Roman noblewoman Julia Soaemias Bassiana being the first daughter of the powerful Syrian nobles Julia Maesa and Gaius Julius Avitus Alexianus.[21] The maternal aunt of Soaemias was the Roman empress Julia Domna; her maternal uncle-in-marriage was the Roman emperor Lucius Septimius Severus; her maternal cousins were the Roman emperors Caracalla and Publius Septimius Geta and was the maternal aunt of the Roman emperor Alexander Severus.[22] Through marriage, Marcellus was a relation to the Severan dynasty of the Roman Empire and the Royal family of Emesa, Syria.

Their marriage may have taken place in 192 or 194[23] even perhaps around 200.[24] Marcellus and Soaemias’ marriage may have occurred to strengthened Lucius Septimius Severus’ position in the Roman East and owed his political career to his wife.[25]

Soaemias bore Marcellus bore the following children who were born and raised in Rome:

  • An unnamed child,[26] who was their first son and child. The first son was named after the unnamed father of Marcellus[27]
  • Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus,[28] who became the Severan Roman emperor Elagabalus[29] who from 218 until 222[30]

Archaeological evidence[edit]

Inscriptional evidence has survived on Marcellus. After his death in c.215 his wife Julia Soaemias Bassiana and their two sons, dedicated to him a tombstone which was found in Velletri, not far from Rome.[31] The tombstone has two preserved bilingual inscriptions[32] in Latin and Greek, which was first published at Rome in 1765.[33] The inscriptions reveals his political career, his various titles, designations and distinctions he received.[34] The tombstone of Marcellus is known to scholars as CIL 10.6569 which can be found in the Octagonal Court in the Vatican Museums and reads:

To Sextus Varius Marcellus
procurator centenarius of the water supply, procurator ducenarius of Britain, procurator
trecenarius of the private purse, acting as praetorian prefect and praefectus urbi,
senator, prefect of the military treasury, commander of the Third legion Augusta,
governor of Numidia,
has Julia Soaemias Bassiana, daughter of Gaius, with her sons,
[dedicated this] to her husband and dearest father.

Marcellus was known in dedicating an inscription to Bel in Vasio (Vaison) in Gaul.[35] The bilingual inscription which is in Greek and Latin on an altar, dedicated by him is honoring Bel in remembrance of the oracles given to him in Apamea.[36]

Posthumous honor[edit]

The Thermal Bath Thermae Varianae also known as the Baths of Varius located in Rome was named in honor of Marcellus and his second son. Their namesake baths were bestowed upon the place, by the Legio XIII Gemina.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hazel, Who's Who in the Roman World, p.153
  2. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  3. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  4. ^ Levick, Julia Domna: Syrian Empress, p.147
  5. ^ Bunson, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p.346
  6. ^ Bunson, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p.346
  7. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  8. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  9. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  10. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor, p.223
  11. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor, p.223
  12. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  13. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  14. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  15. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  16. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  17. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  18. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  19. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  20. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  21. ^ Bunson, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p.153
  22. ^ Julia Soaemias’ article at Livius org
  23. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  24. ^ Millar, The Roman Near East: 31 BC-AD 337, p.119
  25. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  26. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor, p.p.217&222-223
  27. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  28. ^ Prado, The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction?, p.231
  29. ^ Bunson, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p.346
  30. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor
  31. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  32. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  33. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  34. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at Livius.org
  35. ^ Boiy, Late Achaemenid and Hellenistic Babylon, p.307
  36. ^ Boiy, Late Achaemenid and Hellenistic Babylon, p.307
  37. ^ Sextus Varius Marcellus’ article at ancient library

Sources[edit]