Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 16 BC)

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Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (c. 49 BC – 25 AD) was the son and only child of consul Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Aemilia Lepida. His mother was a paternal relative of the triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. His paternal grandmother was Porcia Catonis (sister to Cato the Younger).[1]

As a young man Lucius was a renowned and devoted charioteer, perhaps to the point of obsession.[2] He was betrothed in 36 BC, at the meeting of Octavian and Mark Antony at Tarentum, to Antonia Major, the daughter of the latter by Octavia. He was aedile in 22 BC and consul in 16 BC. After his consulship, he served as governor of Africa from 13/12 BC. He was later probably the successor of Tiberius in Germania, where he commanded the Roman army and crossed the Elbe, during which he set up an altar to Augustus, and penetrated further into the country than any of his predecessors had done.[3] He also built a walkway, called the pontes longi, over the marshes between the Rhine River and the Ems River. In 15 AD a battle fought on this walkway. For these achievements he received the insignia of a triumph. He died in 25.[4]

Suetonius described him as "arrogant, cruel, notorious and extravagant,"[5] and records numerous instances of his disrespect, to censor Lucius Munatius Plancus, to a proconsul of Africa, to a legate of Illyricum.[2] In his praetorship and consulship he brought Roman equites and married women on the stage to perform in pantomimes, which rankled because in Rome acting was considered to be low-class. He exhibited shows of wild beasts in every quarter of the city, and his gladiatorial combats were conducted with such excessive bloodshed that Augustus was obliged to put some restraint upon them.[6][7]

He had three children with Antonia Major: Domitia Lepida the Elder, born c. 8 BC; Domitia Lepida, born c. 3 BC and mother of the Empress Valeria Messalina; and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (cos. AD 32), born c. 1 BC, who was the biological father of the Emperor Nero.[8]


  1. ^ Smith, William (1867), "Ahenobarbus (9), Lucius Domitius", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, p. 86
  2. ^ a b Syme, Ronald (1996), "Domitus Ahenobarbus, Lucius (2)", in Hornblower, Simon (ed.), Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 4.44
  4. ^ Tac. Ann. 4.44.
  5. ^ Suetonius, Nero 4
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, liv. 59
  7. ^ Marcus Velleius Paterculus, ii. 72
  8. ^ Gaius Stern, Women, Children, and Senators on the Ara Pacis Augustae Chapter 6 (Berk. Diss. 2006).
Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Furnius, and
Gaius Junius Silanus
Consul of the Roman Empire
16 BC
with Publius Cornelius Scipio
Succeeded by
Marcus Livius Drusus Libo,
and Lucius Calpurnius Piso