Lucius Antonius Saturninus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lucius Antonius Saturninus
Died89 AD
AllegianceRoman Empire
Years of service76 AD–89 AD
Commands heldLegio XXI Rapax
Legio XIV Gemina
Other workRoman Consul in 82 AD

Lucius Antonius Saturninus was a Roman senator and general during the reign of Vespasian and his sons. While governor of the province called Germania Superior, motivated by a personal grudge against Emperor Domitian, he led a rebellion known as the Revolt of Saturninus, involving the legions Legio XIV Gemina and Legio XXI Rapax, camped in Moguntiacum (Mainz).


Due to the fact Saturninus was subjected to a damnatio memoriae following his defeat and death, it is difficult to reconstruct his life before his revolt. Ronald Syme has offered a possible cursus honorum for Saturninus, based on inscriptions with erasures of the relevant dates.[1] The earliest is a proconsular governorship in Macedonia, dated to about 76, then a possible governorship in Judea from possibly 78 to 81; the governorship of Judea was paired with command of Legio X Fretensis. First proposed by Bartolomeo Borghesi, but later accepted by Syme and others, was a nundinium as suffect consul in either 82 or 83.[2] In 87 he was governor of Germania Superior.[3]

Revolt of Saturninus[edit]

In January 89, Saturninus led a revolt. He expected his Germanic allies to cross the Rhine to support him, but were prevented by a sudden thaw of the river, and the revolt was quickly put down by Domitian's generals Lucius Appius Maximus Norbanus and the future emperor Trajan. Afterwards, Norbanus burned Saturninus' letters in an attempt to avoid implicating others. However, Domitian had numerous others executed with Saturninus, displaying their heads on the rostra at Rome. The Legio XXI was sent to Pannonia, and Domitian passed a law prohibiting two legions from sharing the same camp.[4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Syme, Ronald (1978). "Antonius Saturninus". Journal of Roman Studies. 68: 12–21. doi:10.2307/299623. JSTOR 299623. Subscription required.
  2. ^ Paul Gallivan ("The Fasti for A. D. 70-96", Classical Quarterly, 31 (1981), p. 211) argues that his consulship ought to be dated to 83; however, Werner Eck ("Epigraphische Untersuchungen zu Konsuln und Senatoren des 1.-3. Jh. n. Chr.", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 37 (1980), pp. 51-60) argues for 82. Further discussion can be found in the articles listed by Edward Dabrowa, Legio X Fretensis: A Prosopographical Study of its Officers (I-III c. A.D.) (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1993), p. 32 n. 88
  3. ^ Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum, "Domitian", 6.2
  4. ^ Suetonius, "Domitian" 6.2, 7.3
  5. ^ Dio Cassius, "Roman History, 11.1-2".
  6. ^ "Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus". Retrieved 3 December 2013.