Marcus Lollius

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This article is about the Roman military officer. For his son, see Marcus Lollius (suffect consul). For other people known as Lollius, see Lollia (gens).

Marcus Lollius[1] perhaps with the cognomen Paulinus[2] (c. 55 BC-2) was a Roman politician, military officer and supporter of the first Roman emperor Augustus.[1]

Family background[edit]

Lollius was a member of the plebeian gens Lollia.[3] His father was Marcus Lollius,[4] and his mother was perhaps called Paulina. Little is known of his family and early life. It is likely that he was a homo novus or a new man[5] of politics in the late Roman Republic and early Imperial era.

Early political career[edit]

Lollius has been assumed to be the "Marcus" referred to in Appian's Civil Wars.[6] Appian recounts that Lollius was a legate of Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, who after the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC had been proscribed. Lollius hid himself as a slave and was purchased by a "Barbula" (assumed to be Quintus Aemilius Lepidus), before his identity was revealed by a friend to Lepidus in Rome. Lepidus went to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa who interceded on Lepidus' behalf with Octavian, who then ensured that the name of Lollius was removed from the proscription lists.

Lollius fought in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, where Lollius interceded before Octavian on behalf of Lepidus, who had been captured while fighting for Mark Antony.[7] As Lollius joined Octavian and as upward Roman mobility depended on patronage, there is a possibility that Lollius and Augustus were close friends before Augustus had eliminated his rivals.[5]

Roman governor of Galatia[edit]

Lollius either served in a political position as a quaestor, aedile, tribune or praetor before being appointed by Augustus as a Roman governor of a province. His first known office was his governorship of Galatia in Anatolia in 25 BC. For Augustus to appoint him as a governor, Lollius must had proven himself as a capable politician.[5] Lollius was the first Roman governor of Galatia in 25 BC.[8] Introducing Roman government and incorporating a new province into the Roman Empire was an important and difficult task for Lollius. Galatia was previously ruled as a kingdom, and their last king, Amyntas, had died. After the death of Amyntas, Lollius travelled from Rome to the Roman East to serve as a governor there and to follow the request of Augustus for integrating Galatia into the Roman Empire.[5]

Although the task was difficult and against the wishes of the population in the province, Lollius proved himself to be a successful governor there. He was able to train Amynta's army and incorporate them into the Roman army, with the Galatian Legion becoming a part of the Legio XXII Deiotariana. He also founded a Roman colony in Galatia which showcased Roman civilization, all without causing any violence to erupt in the province.[5]


When Lollius' time as governor had finished, he returned to Rome and was elected consul in 21 BC.[8] He served his consulship alongside his old friend Quintus Aemilius Lepidus. His consulship is mentioned in an inscription which he dedicated to himself and Lepidus in 21 BC. The inscription is located on the eastern arch of the southern face of the Pons Fabricius in Rome.[9]

The inscription reads in Latin:

"Marcus Lollius, son of Marcus, and Quintus Lepidus, son of Marcus,
"Consuls, approved this in accordance with a decree of the Senate."[9]

Lollius and Lepidus had dedicated this inscription as repairs were carried out to the bridge.[10] We only know about his consulship from the inscription, as little is known about his time as Consul. This inscription can be seen here. Lollius was the first person from the gens Lollia to obtain a consulship.[3]

Remaining political career[edit]

In 19/18 BC, Augustus appointed Lollius as a Roman governor again, this time to the province of Macedonia.[5][1] During his governorship, Lollius defeated a Thracian tribe called the Bersi, as known from a fragment inscription found in Philippi, Greece.[5]

In 17/16 BC Lollius was appointed by Augustus as Roman governor of Gaul.[1] During his governorship, he was responsible for several legions who guarded the Rhine river.[5] His legions were defeated by the Germanic tribes the Sicambri, Tencteri and Usipetes, who had crossed the Rhine.[11] The military defeat that Lollius suffered, known as the clades Lolliana, is coupled by Suetonius with the disaster of Publius Quinctilius Varus, but it was disgraceful rather than dangerous. Augustus dispatched his step-son Tiberius to rectify the situation and to regain the captured standard of the Legio V Macedonica.[1] On the arrival of Tiberius, the Germanic tribes retired beyond the Rhine.[2] Although the political and military career of Lollius suffered, and he never again was appointed as commander of an army, he remained on friendly terms with Augustus.[5]

The Horrea Lolliana was either built by Lollius or his son of the same name. It is known from the inscriptions that refer to them, and also from their plan in the Severan Marble Plan of Rome. It seems that the family of Lollius had long trade connections, and his family's name is found among the Italian merchants on the Greek island of Delos in the Hellenistic period.[12]

Lollius in 2/1 BC was appointed by Augustus as a tutor to his adopted son and grandson Gaius Caesar on his mission to the Roman East and to learn about government.[5][1] Among the officers who escorted them were the historian Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Roman Senator Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, and the future Praetorian prefect Lucius Aelius Sejanus.[5]

When all the men arrived in the Roman East, embassies were sent to Lollius, instead of Gaius Caesar, whom they completely ignored. Lollius' relations with Gaius Caesar started to deteriorate when they had visited Tiberius, who was living in voluntary exile on the Greek island of Rhodes.[5] Lollius had poisoned Gaius Caesar's mind against Tiberius, whom Lollius had hated since 16 BC.[1] Gaius Caesar seems to have insulted his uncle Tiberius, and Lollius was held responsible for the incident.[5]

As Lollius and Gaius Caesar continued their tour of the Roman East, they started to quarrel. Lollius fell out of favor with Gaius Caesar[13] into disgrace as he was accused of receiving bribes from the Parthian King Phraates.[1] As Gaius Caesar denounced Lollius to Augustus, Lollius to avoid punishment from the imperial family either poisoned himself,[2] committed suicide[1][13] or died from natural causes.[5]


Lollius amassed a huge fortune that he plundered from the Roman provinces that he ruled.[1] The Roman historian Pliny the Elder describes him unfavourably,[13] calling him a hypocrite who cared for nothing but amassing wealth. Marcus Velleius Paterculus describes him as greedy and corrupt, as Paterculus was a partisan of Tiberius.[1]

Despite the fact Lollius was a capable Roman statesman, who had an unfavorable reputation among some, he was favored by others. Lollius was a personal friend of the Roman poet Horace.[5] Horace called Lollius a reliable man and praised the fact that he was above avarice, the usual sin of Roman governors. Horace dedicates Ode 4.9, 34-44 to Lollius, addressing him with ambiguous praise.[1][13] Some years after the death of Lollius, Tiberius criticized him in the Roman Senate. The huge fortune that Lollius had was later inherited by his granddaughter Lollia Paulina.[1]

Family and issue[edit]

Lollius married a Roman noblewoman called Valeria, a sister of the Roman Senator Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus.[4][a]

Valeria bore Lollius the following children:

Archaeological evidence[edit]

Between 2005 and 2006, professors and archaeologists from the University of Cologne, Germany, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, participated in archaeological studies and restorations of Roman antiquities in Sagalassos, Turkey.[16][17] Among their various finds was an inscribed cylindrical base for a colossal statue representing Lollius. On the statue base there is an honorific Greek inscription stating, "Marcus Lollius is honored by the demos [people of Sagalassos] as their patronus [patron]." This means Lollius must have brought privileges to the city, perhaps such as intervention in the extension of its territory, solving territorial disputes with neighboring cities or estates, or special contacts with the emperor.[17]

Another find connected with the statue base found at Sagalassos are two foot fragments that may have belonged to a statue of Lollius which belonged to a colossal statue from the reign of Augustus. The ancient boots which are identified as "lion boots" or mulleus were embroidered, buckled on the outside and strapped in the inside. These boots were made from leather, in particular from cat skin. These boots represented a symbol of power and were considered as a royal shoe ware. These items found are possibly dated about 1 BC, when Lollius and Gaius Caesar visited the Roman East. As Gaius Caesar at this time was honored in many cities, it seems that Lollius was also an honored personality in this region. The original monument of Lollius was ca. 5 meters tall, and his statue was placed in one of the most important locations in Sagalassos. The remains of Lollius' statue are now on display at Burdur Museum in Turkey.[16]


  1. ^ Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus was the son of the literary patron, consul Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus and a brother of the consul Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus. Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus was adopted into the Aurelii Cottae. In Tacitus' Annals (Part Two Claudius & Nero: Chapter 10 - The Mother of Nero (XII)), the historian mentions Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus as a great-uncle to Lollia Paulina.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hazel, Who's Who in the Roman World, p.171
  2. ^ a b c Marcus Lollius no. 5 article at ancient library
  3. ^ a b Lollia Gens article at ancient library
  4. ^ a b c Genealogy of M. Lollius by D.C. O'Driscoll
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Marcus Lollius' article at
  6. ^ Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Vol II, p.365
  7. ^ Appian, Civil Wars, 4:49
  8. ^ a b Furneaux, Cornelii Taciti Annalium, Libri V, VI, XI, XII: With Introduction and Notes Abridged from the Larger Work, p.68
  9. ^ a b Lansford, The Latin Inscriptions of Rome: A Walking Guide, p.p.456-457
  10. ^ Lansford, The Latin Inscriptions of Rome: A Walking Guide, p.457
  11. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 1.10
  12. ^ a b Rickman, Roman Granaries and Store Buildings, p.164
  13. ^ a b c d Furneaux, Cornelii Taciti Annalium, Libri V, VI, XI, XII: With Introduction and Notes Abridged from the Larger Work, p.69
  14. ^ Horace, Horace Epistles Book I, p.79
  15. ^ Ferry, The Epistles of Horace, Book I, p.xxi
  16. ^ a b Archaeology's Interactive Dig – Interactive Dig Sagalassos – Sculptural Studies Report 1: 2006, by Marc Waelkens
  17. ^ a b Archaeology's Interactive Dig – Interactive Dig Sagalassos – Recording Report 3: Epigraphical Studies, 2006, by Marc Waelkens


Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Claudius Marcellus Aeserninus,
and Lucius Arruntius the Elder
Consul of the Roman Empire
21 BC
with Quintus Aemilius Lepidus
Succeeded by
Marcus Appuleius,
and Publius Silius Nerva