Paullus Fabius Maximus

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Paullus Fabius Maximus (died AD 14) was a member of the Augustan aristocracy toward the end of the first century BC. He was consul in 11 BC, and a confidant of the emperor.


Fabius was the elder son of Quintus Fabius Maximus, one of Caesar's legates during the Civil War, whom Caesar appointed consul suffectus on October 1, 45 BC.[1] He was named after his ancestor, Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus.[2] The elder Fabius died on the last day of his consulship, December 31, leaving Paullus, his younger brother, Africanus Fabius Maximus, and a sister, Fabia Paullina.[1]

Political career[edit]

Fabius' first known post was that of quaestor, in which capacity he served under Augustus during the emperor's travels through the eastern provinces from 22 to 19 BC.[3] In 11 BC, Fabius was consul with Quintus Aelius Tubero, probably the jurist, and a former partisan of Pompeius during the Civil War. After his consulship, he served as proconsul of Asia; the exact period of his administration is uncertain, with some sources favouring 10 to 9 BC, others 9 to 8, and still others as 6 to 5.[4][5][6] During this time, he minted a number of coins bearing his image.[7] [2] In 3 BC, Fabius was legate of Hispania Tarraconensis.[8][9][10][11][12]

During Fabius' administration of Asia, the provincial council decreed a competition to find a unique honour for the emperor. The winner was to receive a crown from the province. The proconsul himself submitted the winning proposal: a new calendar for the province, wherein the new year would start on September 23, Augustus' birthday.[13]

Personal life[edit]

At some time between 20 and 10 BC, Fabius married Marcia, daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus, consul in 56 BC. Her mother, Atia, was an aunt of Augustus, making Marcia the emperor's cousin.[14][15] They had at least one son, Paullus Fabius Persicus, who was probably born in 2 or 1 BC. The younger Fabius was consul in AD 34, with Lucius Vitellius, father of the emperor Aulus Vitellius.[16] The elder Fabius and Marcia may also have been the parents of Fabia Numantina, although she may have been the daughter of Paullus' brother, Africanus.[17]

Fabius was a member of the Arval Brethren, an ancient college of priests that had dwindled into obscurity before Augustus chose to revive its importance as a means of demonstrating his piety and devotion to Roman traditions.[18] Fabius was later succeeded in this priestly office by his son.[19][16]

The poet Juvenal described Fabius as a generous patron of poetry.[20] He was named in one of Horace's poems, written in 13 BC, and one of Horace's odes hints at him.[21] Fabius was also the recipient of a wedding song composed by Ovid.[22] While in exile, Ovid wrote to Paullus.[23]

Writing many years later, the historian Tacitus reported that Fabius had accompanied the emperor on a secret visit to the emperor's last surviving grandson, Agrippa Postumus, in AD 13. Postumus had been exiled in AD 9, perhaps at the instigation of his stepmother, the empress Livia Drusilla. According to Tacitus, Augustus and his grandson were reconciled, although the latter was not recalled from exile before the emperor's death in AD 14. Supposedly, Fabius discussed the visit with his wife, who informed the empress. Tacitus reported that Fabius' death in the summer of AD 14 was said to be either directly or indirectly the result of Augustus' anger at this betrayal of trust.[24] However, both the truth and accuracy of this story have been questioned by modern historians.[25][26]

See also[edit]

Fabia (gens)


  1. ^ a b Ronald Syme, Augustan Aristocracy (1989), p. 403.
  2. ^ Syme, Augustan Aristocracy, pp. 75, 419, 420.
  3. ^ IG II2. 4130; Athens [1]
  4. ^ Syme, Augustan Aristocracy, p. 405.
  5. ^ K. M. T. Atkinson, "The Governors of the Province Asia in the Reign of Augustus", Historia 7 (1958), pp. 300–330.
  6. ^ B. A. Buxton & R. Hannah, "OGIS 458, the Augustan Calendar, and the Succession", in C. Deroux (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History XII (Brussels, 2005), pp. 290–306.
  7. ^ Jocelyn Toynbee, Roman Historical Portraits (1978), pp. 74 ff.
  8. ^ ILS 8895; Bracara
  9. ^ AE 1974, 392; Bracara
  10. ^ AE 1993, 01030; Lucus Augusti
  11. ^ CIL 02, 02581; Lucus Augusti
  12. ^ Syme, Augustan Aristocracy, pp. 407, 408.
  13. ^ Steven J. Friesen, Imperial Cults and the Apolocalypse of John (2001), pp. 32-5
  14. ^ Ronald Syme, Augustan Aristocracy (1989), pp. 153, 403.
  15. ^ ILS 8811; Paphos
  16. ^ a b Syme, Augustan Aristocracy, p. 416.
  17. ^ Syme, Augustan Aristocracy, pp. 417–418.
  18. ^ CIL VI. 2023 = ILS 5026; Rome
  19. ^ AE 1947, 52; Rome
  20. ^ Juvenal, Satires vii. 95.
  21. ^ Horace, Odes iv. 1.
  22. ^ Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto i. 2. § 131.
  23. ^ Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto i. 2; iii. 1.
  24. ^ Tacitus, Annals i. 5.
  25. ^ Syme, Augustan Aristocracy (1989), p. 414.
  26. ^ Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto iv. 6.


  • Syme, Ronald; Augustan Aristocracy (Oxford University Press, 1989)
  • Toynbee, Jocelyn M.C; Roman Historical Portraits (Cornell University Press, 1978)
  • Friesen, Steven J.; Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John (Oxford University Press US, 2001)
  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
  • Inscriptiones Graecae (IG)
  • Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (ILS), (Berlin 1892-1916)
  • L'Année Epigraphique (AE)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Valerius Messalla Appianus,
and Publius Sulpicius Quirinius
Consul of the Roman Empire
11 BC
with Quintus Aelius Tubero
Succeeded by
Africanus Fabius Maximus,
and Iullus Antonius