Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus

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Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (138 CE - 182 CE) was a Roman Senator and the nephew of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was involved in an unsuccessful plot to assassinate his cousin the Emperor Commodus, which led to his execution afterwards.

Offices Quadratus Annianus held included legate to the proconsul of Africa, and consul ordinarius in 167 with the emperor Lucius Aurelius Verus.[1]


Quadratus Annianus was the son of Marcus Aurelius’ sister, Annia Cornificia Faustina and a Roman Senator. Ronald Syme identifies him with one of the suffect consuls in 146, recorded in the Fasti Ostienses as Gaius Annianus Verus, but having the full name of Gaius Ummidius Quadratus Annianus Verus. He was descended from one of the leading aristocratic and political influential families in Rome and was a direct descendant of the late suffect consul Gaius Ummidius Durmius Quadratus, one time suffect consul.[2] Through his mother, Quadratus Annianus was a member and a relative to the ruling Nerva–Antonine dynasty of the Roman Empire. His sister was Ummidia Cornificia Faustina.

His mother had died sometime between 152 and 158. At her death, Quadratus Annianus and Cornificia Faustina divided their mother’s property making them both very wealthy.[3] After his mother’s death, Quadratus assumed a mistress and lover, a Greek Freedwoman called Marcia. Marcia later became a mistress to the Roman emperor Commodus.

Following his consulship, Quadratus adopted the first son of the Ponian Greek Roman Senator and philosopher Gnaeus Claudius Severus, and the adopted man assumed the name Marcus Claudius Ummidius Quadratus. The reason why Quadratus adopted Gnaeus Claudius Severus’ first son is unknown.

When Marcus Aurelius had died in 180, his maternal cousin Commodus succeeded his father. Commodus’ sister Lucilla was not happy living as a quiet, private citizen in Rome and became jealous of her brother and her sister-in-law. Further, she became very concerned at the unstable behavior of Commodus.

In 182, Lucilla, her daughter Plautia, her nephew-in-marriage and with the help of Quadratus, his adopted son and Cornificia Faustina planned to assassinate Commodus and replace him with Lucilla and her second husband, the consul Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus. Quadratus, his adopted son and his sister were involved in Lucilla’s plot because they may have had a dynastic dispute with Commodus. Another reason that Quadratus was involved in this plot is because Quadratus and Lucilla may have been lovers.

Lucilla’s nephew-in-marriage, Quintianus, burst from his place of hiding with a dagger, trying to stab Commodus. He said to him "Here is the dagger the senate sends to you", giving away his intentions before he had the chance to act. The guards were faster than he was, and overpowered Quintianus. The conspirators were soon revealed; the emperor ordered the deaths of Quadratus Annianus, his adopted son and Quintianus. Commodus may have confiscated Quadratus Annianus’ property and fortune. Lucilla, her daughter, and Cornificia Faustina were banished to the Italian island of Capri. Later that year the Emperor sent a centurion to Capri to execute the three women.

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  1. ^ Syme, "The Ummidii", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 17 (1968), pp. 99-102
  2. ^ Syme, "The Ummidii", pp. 98f
  3. ^ Sigrid Mratschek-Halfmann, Divites et praepotentes. Reichtum und soziale Stellung in der Literatur der Prinzipatszeit (Dissertation, Historia Einzelschriften, Bd. 70). Steiner, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-515-05973-3, p. 110
Political offices
Preceded by
Quintus Servilius Pudens,
and Lucius Fufidius Pollio
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Lucius Verus
Succeeded by
Lucius Venuleius Apronianus Octavius Priscus II,
and Lucius Sergius Paullus II