Marcus Lollius Paulinus Decimus Valerius Asiaticus Saturninus

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Marcus Lollius Paulinus[1] Decimus Valerius Asiaticus Saturninus (69/70 – after 134) was a prominent[2] Roman Senator who was a powerful figure in the second half of the 1st century and first half of the 2nd century.[3]

Family background and early life[edit]

Saturninus was of Allobrogian and Roman ancestry. He was the son of the Decimus Valerius Asiaticus[3] by his wife Vitellia,[4] the daughter of the Roman emperor Vitellius from his wife Galeria Fundana.[4] His father served as a Legatus of Gallia Belgica,[3] he later became the Roman governor of that province[4] in the reign of the emperor Nero.[5] The father of Saturninus, became powerful through wealth and the skilful exploitation of imperial patronage.[5]

The family of his father were originally from Vienna,[4] Gallia Narbonensis. Saturninus was a direct descendant of the consul, Roman Senator Decimus Valerius Asiaticus[2] and his wife Lollia Saturnina,[6] whose younger sister Lollia Paulina was a Roman empress and the third wife of the Roman emperor Caligula.[7] Saturninus was a grandson[3][8] to Decimus Valerius Asiaticus and Lollia Saturnina. The name of Saturninus reveals paternally he is related to the Valeria, and Lollia gens.

Despite the presence of Lollii Paulini on his mother's side, Olli Salomies argues that "surely the collocation of his names points to the conclusion that they are due to a (testamentary) adoption; the adopting parent may, of course, well have been a relative of the grandmother, since ... adoptive sons and fathers were in fact often closely related."[6]

When Vespasian became Roman emperor in second half of 69, Asiaticus was appointment for a consulship in 70.[4] Before he could serve his consulship in early 70, Asiaticus died.[9] Asiaticus was survived by Vitellia and their son.[3] Later in 70, Vespasian arranged Vitellia to remarry another unnamed groom.[9] Her second marriage was a splendid match for her and Vespasian provided for her, the dowry and clothing.[9] Although he was born in Vienna, he was raised in Rome. Little is known about his early life.

Political career[edit]

An inscription from Tivoli provides the outline of his cursus honorum.[10] Saturninus started his political career in the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian, as one of the tresviri monetalis, the most prestigious of the four boards that comprise the vigintiviri; assignment to this board was usually allocated to Patricians or individuals favored by the emperor. The next honors listed on the inscription are membership in the Salii Collinus and being elected as one of the Pontiffs, which apparently came when he was in his twenties. Then at the age of 25, he held the republican magistrate of quaestor, being selected as one of the pair allocated to attend to the emperor; the duties of these quaestors included reading the Emperor's speeches to the Senate.[11] The inscription breaks off where it mentions his appointment as praetor, which usually happened at the age of 30. Saturninus served as a suffect consul in 94.[12]

Saturninus served as a Proconsul of Asia in 108 to 109.[13] From the years 124 til 134, he served as a Praefectus urbi in Rome.[2] In 125, he held the fasces again, this time as consul ordinarius.[2] During his political career in the first half of the second century, he was friends with the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian.

Marriage and Issue[edit]

Saturninus married Valeria Catulla Messallina who came from a family of consular rank.[14] Messallina bore Asiaticus a son called Decimus Valerius Taurus Catullus Messallinus Asiaticus.[14]


  1. ^ Or Paullinus
  2. ^ a b c d Josephus, Death of an Emperor, p. 72
  3. ^ a b c d e Bowman, The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 10, p. 217
  4. ^ a b c d e Morgan, 69 AD: The Year of Four Emperors, p. 149
  5. ^ a b Wightman, Gallia Belgica, p. 61
  6. ^ a b Olli Salomies, Adoptive and Polyonymous Nomenclature in the Roman Empire (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1992), p. 35
  7. ^ Freisenbruch, The First Ladies of Rome: The Women Behind the Caesars, p.131
  8. ^ P.J. Sijpesteijn, "Another οὐσια of D. Valerius Asiaticus in Egypt", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 79 (1989), p. 196
  9. ^ a b c Epilogue: The Fall of the Vitellii - Vitellia?, daughter
  10. ^ CIL XIV, 4240
  11. ^ Anthony R. Birley, The Fasti of Roman Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), p. 15
  12. ^ Paul Gallivan, "The Fasti for A. D. 70-96", Classical Quarterly, 31 (1981), p. 191
  13. ^ Werner Eck, "Jahres- und Provinzialfasten der senatorischen Statthalter von 69/70 bis 138/139", Chiron, 12 (1982), pp. 346f
  14. ^ a b Skinner, A Companion to Catullus (Google eBook)


  • Epilogue: The Fall of the Vitellii - Vitellia?, daughter
  • Prosopographia Imperii Romani, L 320
  • E.M. Wightman, Gallia Belgica, University of California Press, 1985
  • Flavius Josephus, Death of an Emperor, University of Exeter Press, 1991
  • A.K. Bowman, E. Champlin & A. Lintott, The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 10, Cambridge University Press, 1996
  • Biographischer Index der Antike (Google eBook), Walter de Gruyter, 2001
  • B. Jones, The Emperor Domitian (Google eBook), Routledge, 2002
  • Gwynn Morgan, 69 AD: The Year of Four Emperors, Oxford University Press, 2005
  • M.B. Skinner, A Companion to Catullus (Google eBook), John Wiley & Sons, 2010
  • A. Freisenbruch, The First Ladies of Rome: The Women Behind the Caesars (Google eBook), Random House, 2011