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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (fl. 1st century AD) was a general, statesman and writer of ancient Rome. He is considered to have played a role behind the scenes in the elevation of Vespasian to the throne.


His name shows that he had passed by adoption from the gens Mucia to the gens Licinia.[1] Mucianus was sent by Claudius to Armenia with Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. He was a suffect consul during the reign of Nero, most likely during the years 63 or 64.[2]

Mucianus served as governor of Syria in 67 AD, following the outbreak of the Jewish revolt during the previous year. The future emperor Vespasian had been sent on a special mission to Judaea in 66 AD to put down the revolt. Initially, Mucianus and Vespasian were poorly disposed towards one another, however the feud was resolved by the beginning of 69.[3] After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho, but when the civil war broke out, Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the imperial throne.[1]

It was agreed that Vespasian should stay behind to settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made his way through Asia Minor and Thrace to attack Vitellius.[1] On his way there, he defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after the death of Vitellius, finding Domitian, Vespasian's son, at head of affairs, but until the arrival of Vespasian the real master of Rome was Mucianus.[1]

Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian, whose favor he retained in spite of his arrogance.[1] He is mentioned in the records of the Arval Brethren in the year 70; Mucianus may have been admitted following Vespasian's entrance to Rome, although Ronald Syme admits that he may have been co-opted in absentia by Galba.[4] He was appointed consul (suffect) for the third time in 72.[5] As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian;[1] Syme believes his death happened before 78.[6]


A clever writer and historian, Mucianus collected the speeches and letters of Romans of the older republican period, probably including a corpus of proceedings of the Senate[1] (res gesta senatus). He was also the author of a memoir, chiefly dealing with the natural history and geography of the East, a text often quoted by Pliny[1] as the source of miraculous occurrences.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mucianus, Licinius" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 954.
  2. ^ See Judith B. Ginsberg, "Nero's consular policy", American Journal of Ancient History, 6 (1981), p. 68 n. 55 for a discussion of the year of Mucianus' consulship.
  3. ^ Caldwell, Thomas (2015). The Career of Licinius Mucianus (MA). The University of Melbourne, 96-106. (
  4. ^ Syme, Some Arval Brethren (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), p. 13
  5. ^ Paul Gallivan, "The Fasti for A.D. 70–96", Classical Quarterly, 31 (1981), p. 188. The date of one of his three consulates, possibly the first, is unknown.
  6. ^ Syme, Some Arval Brethren, p. 15
  7. ^ See George Williamson (2005). "Mucianus and a Touch of the Miraculous: Pilgrimage and Tourism in Roman Asia Minor". In Jaś Elsner; Ian Rutherford (eds.). Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brunn, L. (1870). Gaius Licinius Mucianus. Leipzig.
Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Laecanius Bassus,
and Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi

as Suffect consuls
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Quintus Fabius Barbarus Antonius Macer
Succeeded by
Aulus Licinius Nerva Silianus, and
Marcus Julius Vestinus Atticus

as Ordinary consuls
Preceded by
Vespasian II,
and Titus

as Ordinary consuls
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Quintus Petillius Cerialis
Succeeded by
Quintus Julius Cordinus Gaius Rutilius Gallicus,
and ignotus

as Suffect consuls
Preceded by
Vespasian IV,
and Titus II

as Ordinary consuls
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
with Titus Flavius Sabinus II
Succeeded by
Marcus Ulpius Traianus
as Suffect consul