The gens Anicia was a plebeian family at Rome, mentioned first towards the end of the fourth century BC. The first of the Anicii to achieve prominence under the Republic was Lucius Anicius Gallus, who conducted the war against the Illyrii during the Third Macedonian War, in 168 BC.
Branches and cognomina
The only major branch of the family during the Republic used the cognomen Gallus, which may refer to a cock, or to a Gaul. The surname Praenestinus, found in earlier times, may indicate that the family originated at the city of Praeneste. It was probably a personal cognomen, as it does not appear in later times.
From the reign of Diocletian to the final extinction of the Western empire, that name shone with a lustre which was not eclipsed, in the public estimation, by the majesty of the Imperial purple. The several branches, to whom it was communicated, united, by marriage or inheritance, the wealth and titles of the Annian, the Petronian, and the Olybrian houses; and in each generation the number of consulships was multiplied by an hereditary claim. The Anician family excelled in faith and in riches: they were the first of the Roman senate who embraced Christianity; and it is probable that Anicius Julian, who was afterwards consul and praefect of the city, atoned for his attachment to the party of Maxentius, by the readiness with which he accepted the religion of Constantine.
Their ample patrimony was increased by the industry of Probus, the chief of the Anician family; who shared with Gratian the honors of the consulship, and exercised, four times, the high office of Praetorian praefect. His immense estates were scattered over the wide extent of the Roman world; and though the public might suspect or disapprove the methods by which they had been acquired, the generosity and magnificence of that fortunate statesman deserved the gratitude of his clients, and the admiration of strangers. Such was the respect entertained for his memory, that the two sons of Probus, in their earliest youth, and at the request of the senate, were associated in the consular dignity; a memorable distinction, without example, in the annals of Rome.
"The marbles of the Anician palace," were used as a proverbial expression of opulence and splendor; but the nobles and senators of Rome aspired, in due gradation, to imitate that illustrious family.
A branch of the family transferred to the Eastern Roman Empire, establishing itself in Constantinople (where Anicia Juliana, daughter of Western Emperor Anicius Olybrius, was a patron of the arts) and rising in prestige: the scholar and philosopher Boëthius was a member of this family, as was Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius, the last person other than the Emperor himself to hold the office of consul, in 541. In the West, on the other side, the Anicii were supporters of the independence of the Western Empire from the Eastern one; they were, therefore, supporters of the Ostrogothic kings of Italy, and such celebrated by the king Theodahad.
Anicii of the Republic
- Quintus Anicius Praenestinus, curule aedile in 304 BC
- Marcus Anicius Gallus, grandfather of the praetor of 168 BC
- Lucius Anicius Gallus, father of the praetor of 168 BC
- Lucius Anicius L. f. M. n. Gallus, praetor in 168 BC, during the Macedonian War, triumphed over Gentius, king of Illyria.
- Lucius Anicius Gallus, father of the consul of 160 BC
- Lucius Anicius L. f. L. n. Gallus, consul in 160 BC
- Gnaeus Anicius, a legate of Lucius Aemilius Paullus in 168 BC, during the Third Macedonian War.
- Titus Anicius, commissioned by Cicero to purchase a house in the suburbs for him.
- Gaius Anicius, a senator, and a friend and neighbor of Cicero, who gave him a letter of introduction to Quintus Cornificius in Africa.
- Quintus Anicius Faustus, consul in AD 198.
- Sextus Anicius Faustus Paulinus, consul in AD 298.
- Amnius Anicius Julianus, consul in 322.
- Sextus Anicius Faustus Paulinus, consul in AD 325.
- Amnius Anicius Paulinus, consul in AD 334.
- Anicius Auchenius Bassus, praefectus urbi of Rome in AD 382 and 383.
- Tyrrenia Anicia Juliana, the daughter of Auchenius Bassus, married Quintus Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius, consul in AD 379.
- Anicia Faltonia Proba, a poet, who married Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus, consul in AD 371.
- Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus, poet, governor and senator, was consul in AD 377.
- Anicius Hermogenianus Olybrius, consul in AD 395.
- Anicius Probinus, consul with his brother Hermogenianus Olybrius in AD 395.
- Anicius Petronius Probus, consul in AD 406.
- Anicia Proba, daughter of Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus.
- Demetrias, daughter of Hermogenianus.
- Anicius Auchenius Bassus, consul in AD 408.
- Aurelius Anicius Symmachus, praefectus urbi of Rome, AD 418–420.
- Anicius Auchenius Bassus, consul in AD 431.
- Petronius Maximus, consul in AD 433 and 443, was proclaimed emperor in 455.
- Anicius Probus, mentioned as a vir illustris in AD 459.
- Anicius Olybrius, proclaimed emperor in AD 472.
- Anicia Juliana, the daughter of Olybrius.
- Flavius Anicius Olybrius Iunior, consul in AD 491.
- Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, consul in AD 510, an eminent scholar and philosopher.
- Symmachus, son of Boëthius, was consul in AD 522, with his brother, the younger Boëthius.
- Boëthius, son of the elder Boëthius, was consul with his brother, Symmachus, in AD 522.
- Anicius Maximus, consul in AD 523.
- Anicius Olybrius, consul in AD 526.
- Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius, consul in AD 541, was the last person other than the Byzantine emperor to hold this title.
- Anicius Gregorius, later Pope Gregory I, praefectus urbi of Rome circa AD 573, served as Pope from 590 to 604.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
- Thomas Robert Shannon Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
- Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 31 
- Carmelo Capizzi, Anicia Giuliana, la committente (c. 463-c. 528), Jaca Book, 1997, ISBN 88-16-43504-6, pp. 18-19.
- T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita xliv. 46.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem iii. 1. § 7.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem ii. 19, Epistulae ad Familiares vii. 26, xii. 21.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.