Marcia (mother of Trajan)
Marcia came from a noble and politically influential family, the plebeian gens Marcia, which claimed to be descended from the Roman King Ancus Marcius. Marcia was a daughter of the Roman Senator Quintus Marcius Barea Sura and Antonia Furnilla. Quintus Marcius Barea Sura was a friend to future Roman Emperor Vespasian. Her sister Marcia Furnilla was the second wife of future Roman Emperor Titus. Marcia was a maternal aunt to Furnilla’s and Titus’ daughter Julia Flavia or Flavia Julia Titi.
Marcia’s paternal uncle was the Roman Senator Quintus Marcius Barea Soranus, while her paternal cousin was the noble woman Marcia Servilia Sorana. Marcia’s paternal grandfather was Quintus Marcius Barea, who was Suffect Consul in 26 and was twice Proconsul of the Africa Province, while her maternal grandfather could have been Aulus Antonius Rufus, a Suffect Consul either in 44 or 45. The family of Marcia was connected to the opponents of Roman Emperor Nero. In 65 after the failure of the Pisonian conspiracy, her family was disfavored by Nero.
Marcia was born and raised in Rome. During the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54), Marcia married a Spanish Roman general and senator called Marcus Ulpius Traianus. Traianus originally came from Italica (near modern Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica. After Marcia married Traianus, for a time they lived in Italica.
Marcia bore Traianus two children:
- A daughter - Ulpia Marciana (48-112/114), who inherited her second name from her mother’s paternal ancestry. Marciana married Gaius Salonius Matidius Patruinus, who was a wealthy senator and became Praetor. Marciana bore Patruinus a daughter called Salonina Matidia, who was born in 68.
- A son - Marcus Ulpius Traianus, or known as Trajan (53-117). Trajan became and served as a Roman Emperor from 98 until his death in 117. He married a woman called Pompeia Plotina.
Marcia owned clay-bearing estates called the Figlinae Marcianae, which was located in North Italy. When Marcia died, Trajan inherited these estates from his mother. It is unknown if Marcia lived long enough to see Trajan become Emperor.
Around 100, her son Trajan founded a colony in North Africa which was called Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi (modern Timgad, Algeria). Her son named this town in honor of her, her late husband and her daughter. The colony’s name is also a tribute in honoring her family.
Nerva–Antonine family tree