Gaius Rubellius Blandus
Gaius Rubellius Blandus was a Roman senator who lived during the Principate. Blandus was the grandson of Rubellius Blandus of Tibur, a member of the Equestrian class, who was the first Roman to teach rhetoric. He was suffect consul from August to December AD 18 with Marcus Vipstanus Gallus as his colleague. In AD 33, he married Julia Livia, granddaughter of the Roman emperor Tiberius.
As the first member of his family to be admitted to the Senate, Blandus is considered a homo novus, which repeatedly had a negative effect on his career. His cursus honorum is documented in several inscriptions found in North Africa. Blandus began his career with the singular honor of being quaestor in service to the emperor Augustus; two more of the traditional Republican magistracies followed, plebeian tribune and praetor. Two years after he served as suffect consul, he was involved with the prosecution of Aemilia Lepida, putting forward a motion in the senate to outlaw her which carried.
The primary sources disagree when Blandus was admitted to the prestigious College of Pontiffs, whether it was before or after his consulate; one inscription lists it before, while two list it afterwards. Hoffman notes Blandus "probably received the priesthood late because of his low birth." Despite his background, Blandus achieved what came to be the pinnacle of a successful senatorial career, proconsular governor of Africa in 35/36. Upon returning to Rome, Blandus was selected as one of four members of a commission to assess damage a fire had caused in Rome earlier that year.
Marriages and Family
In the year 33 he married Julia Livia, one of the princesses of the Imperial house. Despite the fact that Blandus had been suffect consul in 18, the match was considered a social disaster; Tacitus includes the event in a list of "the many sorrows which saddened Rome", which otherwise consisted of deaths of different prominent people. Ronald Syme identifies the historian's reaction as "the tone and sentiments of a man enslaved to the standards of class and rank." Julia was the daughter of Livilla and Drusus Julius Caesar, and the granddaughter of Emperor Tiberius.
The marriage produced at least two children: a boy, Rubellius Plautus, who was considered as a rival to Emperor Nero, and a girl, Rubellia Bassa. Two further children are uncertain: a single inscription refers to a Rubellius Drusus, who died before his third birthday, while Juvenal implies the existence of another son, also named Gaius Rubellius Blandus.
- Alison E. Cooley, The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy (Cambridge: University Press, 2012), p. 459
- IRT 269, 330, 331
- Tacitus, Annales, III.23
- Martha W. Hoffman Lewis, The Official Priests of Rome under the Julio-Claudians (Rome: American Academy, 1955), p. 33
- Tacitus, Annales, VI.45
- Tacitus, Annales, VI.27
- Syme, Tacitus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), p. 562
- CIL VI, 16057
- Satire, VIII.39
Lucius Seius Tubero,
and Livineius Regulus
as Suffect consuls
| Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Marcus Vipstanus Gallus
Marcus Junius Silanus Torquatus,
and Lucius Norbanus Balbus
as Ordinary consuls