Gaius Annius Anullinus

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Gaius Annius Anullinus (died 4th century) was a Roman senator who was appointed consul in AD 295.


A member of a family which originated in Africa[1] and a pagan, Anullinus’ early career is unknown. A leading figure of Rome’s urban aristocracy,[2] he was possibly the son of the senator Anullinus, who allegedly freed the future emperor Diocletian’s father from slavery.[3] He first appears as the consul posterior alongside Nummius Tuscus in AD 295. From 1 July 302 to 1 July 305, Anullinus was the Proconsular governor of Africa Proconsularis.[4]

During his time there, he implemented the edicts against the Christians as decreed by the emperor Diocletian. He travelled across the province, stopping at towns and holding judicial hearings, and enforcing the letter of the law.[5] He ordered the execution of Felix, Bishop of Tibiuca, who refused to hand over copies of the Christian scriptures over to the authorities.[6][7] He oversaw the execution of the Martyrs of Abitina[8][9] and he also ordered the execution of Crispina of Thagara,[10] after presiding over a trial where she refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods.[11] Anulinus passed sentence on the three virgins of Tuburga,[12] and possibly Perpetua.[13][14]

Ultimately however, he attempted to maintain some balance between convincing the imperial courts of his adherence in enforcing their decrees, and convincing the local population that he was doing his job only to the limited extent that was necessary, and not so zealously that it would impact his ability to govern the province peacefully.[15] Regardless, after the persecutions were over, the monuments and buildings erected by him during his time as governor were purposely defaced by the local Christians.[16]

In AD 306, Anullinus was appointed Praefectus Urbi (Urban Prefect) of Rome a post he held from 19 March 306 through to 27 August 307. Although he was appointed by the emperor Severus, he eventually abandoned Severus and conspired with the Praetorian Prefect and the tribunus fori suarii of the Cohortes urbanae, Lucianus, to install the Roman usurper Maxentius.[17]

Maxentius later appointed Anullinus Urban Prefect for a second time, apparently as an attempt to garner good fortune prior to his upcoming clash against his rival, Constantine I.[18] Anullinus held the post from 27 October through to 29 November 312. He was appointed the day before Maxentius was defeated by Constantine I at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, and greeted Constantine when he entered Rome on his second day as Prefect. Constantine kept him on in the office throughout November.[19]

Under Constantine, he continued his service to the state despite the change in regime. In 313AD he was ordered by the new emperor Constantine to restore the properties of the Catholic church.[20] [21] but continued his persecution of the Donatists.[22] In the lead up to the Council of Arles Anullinus reported on Caecilianus, the bishop of Carthage.[23][24]

Sometime during the reign of Maxentius,[25] Anullinus and 12 other senators each contributed 400,000 sesterces, probably for the construction of a building in Rome.


  • Chastagnol, André, Les Fastes de la Prefecture de Rome au Bas-Empire (1962)
  • Martindale, J. R.; Jones, A. H. M, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I AD 260-395, Cambridge University Press (1971)
  • Rees, Roger, Diocletian And The Tetrarchy (2004)
  • Potter, David, S., The Roman Empire at Bay: AD 180-395 (2004)
  • Shaw, Brent D., Sacred Violence: African Christians and Sectarian Hatred in the Age of Augustine (2011)


  1. ^ Chastagnol, p. 45
  2. ^ Potter, p. 346
  3. ^ Rees, p. 98
  4. ^ Chastagnol, p. 45
  5. ^ Shaw, p. 593
  6. ^ Rees, p. 62
  7. ^ A. D. Lee, Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2015).
  8. ^ Shaw, p. 69
  9. ^ Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, The Age Of Martyrs: Christianity from Diocletian (284) to Constantine (337) (TAN Books, 21 Sep. 2015) 103.
  10. ^ St Crispina at Catholic
  11. ^ Rees, pp. 177-179
  12. ^ Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, The Age Of Martyrs: Christianity from Diocletian (284) to Constantine (337) (TAN Books, 21 Sep. 2015) 109.
  13. ^ J. Armitage Robinson, The Passion of St. Perpetua: together with an appendix containing the original Latin text of the Scillitan Martyrdom (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 3 Sep. 2004) p25.
  14. ^ de Voragine, Jacobus (1995). William Granger Ryan, ed. The golden legend: readings on the saints. Volume II. Princeton UP. pp. 342–43. ISBN 978-0-691-00154-8. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Shaw, p. 503
  16. ^ Shaw, p. 208
  17. ^ Chastagnol, pp. 46-47; Potter, pp. 346-347
  18. ^ Potter, David, The Unity of the Roman Empire in From the Tetrarchs to the Theodosians: Later Roman History and Culture, 284-450 CE (ed. McGill, Scott) (2010), pp. 29-30
  19. ^ Martindale & Jones, p. 79
  20. ^ Rev. Daniel R. Jennings, LETTERS, BOOK 1 (In Chronological Order) .
  21. ^ David M. Gwynn, Christianity in the Later Roman Empire: A Sourcebook(Bloomsbury Publishing, 20 Nov. 2014)p55.
  22. ^ Claude Fleury, Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont, The ecclesiastical history of M. l'abbé Fleury, Volume 1(Printed by T. Wood, for James Crokatt, 1727) p525.
  23. ^ Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Appendices 3-16. pp. 382-431..
  24. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 10.6.4.
  25. ^ Chastagnol, p. 48
Political offices
Preceded by
Flavius Valerius Constantius
Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Nummius Tuscus
Succeeded by
Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus VI
Flavius Valerius Constantius II
Preceded by
Titus Flavius Postumius Titianus
Praefectus urbi of Rome
March 306 – August 307
Succeeded by
Attius Insteius Tertullus
Preceded by
Aradius Rufinus
Praefectus urbi of Rome
October – November 312
Succeeded by
Aradius Rufinus