Marcus Vinicius (consul 19 BC)

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For other people named Marcus Vinicius, see Marcus Vinicius.

Marcus Vinicius (a.k.a. Vinucius) (deceased post AD 4) was a Roman consul and a prominent general at the service of the first Roman emperor, Augustus (ruled 30 BC – AD 14).[1]


Born the son of a Roman knight at Cales in Regio I (Latium et Campania) of Italia, Vinicius distinguished himself as legatus Augusti pro praetore (governor) of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica in 25 BC, when he led a successful campaign into Germania.[2]

At some point, Vinicius may also have served as governor of the Roman province of Achaea; an inscription from Corinth, dated to 18–12 BC and honoring his fellow-general, and the Emperor's right-hand man, Agrippa, reveals that an administrative division of the city had been named the tribus Vinicia, apparently in Vinicius' honor.[3]

In recognition of his services, Vinicius, the archetypal homo novus, was appointed suffect consul in 19 BC, replacing C. Sentius Saturninus and holding the office together with Q. Lucretius Vespillo.[4]

After his consulship, Vinicius continued to be entrusted with important military commands. Starting in 14 or 13 BC, Vinicius served as governor of Illyricum where he was in charge of the early stages of the Roman conquest of Pannonia (the bellum Pannonicum, 14–9 BC) until Augustus' stepson and future successor as Emperor, Tiberius, assumed overall command.[5] During or shortly after that war, he became the first Roman general to campaign on the far side of the river Danube: he routed an army of Dacians and Bastarnae and subjugated the Celtic tribes of the Hungarian Plain.[6]

Between AD 1 and 4, Vinicius commanded the 5 legions stationed in Germany. His army fought so successfully that he won the ornamenta triumphalia.[7]

Throughout his life, Vinicius seems to have enjoyed a close friendship with the emperor: the historian Suetonius quotes a letter by Augustus in which he talks about playing dice with Vinicius and his fellow homo novus, Publius Silius Nerva.[8]


Vinicius' son Publius was Consul in AD 2, and his grandson and namesake Marcus Vinicius was Consul in 30 and the husband of Julia Livilla, daughter of Germanicus, nephew of Tiberius.



  1. ^ Vogel-Weidemann, Statthalter 311; Syme, Roman Revolution 397. 401
  2. ^ Cassius Dio Roman History 53.26.4; Syme, Roman Revolution 329
  3. ^ AE 1919, 2; doubted by Vogel-Weidemann, Statthalter 310
  4. ^ Monumentum Ancyranum11 (= CIL 3, 774)
  5. ^ Velleius, Roman History, 2, 96, 2; Florus 2, 24; Syme, Roman Revolution 401
  6. ^ Elogium: InscrIt 13.3.91
  7. ^ Velleius, Roman History, 2, 104, 2; Syme, Roman Revolution 401; Vogel-Weidemann, Statthalter 311
  8. ^ Suetonius, Divus Augustus 71.2; Syme, Roman Revolution 376

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Syme, Ronald (1939). The Roman Revolution. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Vogel-Weidemann, Ursula (1982). Die Statthalter von Africa und Asia in den Jahren 14-68 n. Chr.: Eine Untersuchung zum Verhältnis Princeps und Senat. Bonn: Habelt.
Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Sentius Saturninus
Suffect Consul of the Roman Empire
with Quintus Lucretius Vespillo
19 BCE
Succeeded by
Publius Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus