Lucius Publilius Celsus

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Lucius Publilius Celsus (executed 118) was a Roman senator as well as a confidant of the emperor Trajan. He was consul twice: the first time as suffect consul for the nundinium May-August 102 as the colleague of Titus Didius Secundus;[1] the second time as ordinary consul for the year 113 with Gaius Clodius Crispinus as his colleague.[2]

Dio Cassius records the fact that Celsus was one of three men the emperor Trajan honored during their lives with statues, the other two men being Aulus Cornelius Palma Frontonianus and Quintus Sosius Senecio,[3] which attests to his importance. Upon the death of Trajan, his power and influence was such that Trajan's successor, Hadrian, felt threatened and had him executed along with Cornelius Palma in 118;[4] the account in the Augustan History adds two more men to those Hadrian ordered executed, Lusius Quietus and Gaius Avidius Nigrinus.[5] Although the Augustan History states that the four men had been united in a conspiracy against Hadrian,[5] John D. Grainger suggests the men may have been executed because they were inconvenient.[6]

Despite the evident importance of Celsus in Trajan's court, little more than these facts are known about him. Ronald Syme opines that the statue and other known details imply he held a consular military command.[7]


  1. ^ Attested by AE 2013, 650
  2. ^ W. Eck, G. Paci, and E. P. Serenelli, "Per una nuova edizione dei Fasti Potentini," Picus 23 (2003), pp. 51-108.
  3. ^ Dio, 68.16.2
  4. ^ Dio 69.2.5
  5. ^ a b Vita Hadrianus, 7.2
  6. ^ Grainger, Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96-99 (London: Routledge, 2004), pp. 127f
  7. ^ Syme, Tacitus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), p. 648
Political offices
Preceded by
Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus II,
and Lucius Fabius Justus

as Suffect consuls
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Titus Didius Secundus
Succeeded by
Lucius Antonius Albus,
and Marcus Junius Homullus

as Suffect consuls
Preceded by
Gaius Claudius Severus,
and Titus Settidius Firmus

as Suffect consuls
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Gaius Clodius Crispinus
Succeeded by
Servius Cornelius Dolabella Metilianus Pompeius Marcellus
as Suffect consul