Quinctilia (gens)

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The gens Quinctilia, also written Quintilia, was a patrician family at Rome, dating from the earliest period of Roman history, and continuing well into imperial times. Despite its great antiquity, the gens never attained much historical importance. The only member who obtained the consulship under the Republic was Sextus Quinctilius Varus in 453 BC. The gens produced numerous praetors and other magistrates, but did not obtain the consulship again for over four hundred years.[1]

Origin of the gens[edit]

The nomen Quinctilius is a patronymic surname, based on the praenomen Quintus, meaning "fifth". Quinctilius is the correct orthography, but Quintilius is also quite common. The gens Quinctia is derived from the same praenomen. It was not unusual for multiple nomina to be derived from a common source; the Sabine name Pompo is the Oscan equivalent of Quintus, and gave rise to the gentes Pompilia and Pomponia.

According to legend, the Quinctilii predated the founding of Rome. When the brothers Romulus and Remus had restored their grandfather, Numitor, to the throne of Alba Longa, they set out to establish a new city in the hills overlooking the Tiber. They offered up sacrifices in the cave of the Lupercal at the base of the Palatine Hill, which rite became the origin of the religious festival of the Lupercalia. The followers of Romulus were called the Quinctilii or Quinctiliani, while those of Remus were the Fabii or Fabiani.

In historic times, the two colleges of priests, known as Luperci, who carried out the sacred rituals of the Lupercalia, were known by these names, suggesting that in the earliest times, the gentes Quinctilia and Fabia superintended these rites as a sacrum gentilicum. Another example of such responsibilities concerned the Pinarii and the Potitii, who maintained the worship of Hercules. Such sacred rites were gradually transferred to the state, or opened to the Roman populus; a well-known legend attributed the destruction of the Potitii to the abandonment of their religious office. In later times the privilege of the Lupercalia had ceased to be confined to the Fabii and the Quinctilii.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Praenomina used by the gens[edit]

The principal names used by the Quinctilii were Publius and Sextus. A few of the Quinctilii bore the praenomina Lucius, Marcus, and Titus. Although the name must have been used by one of their ancestors, none of the Quinctilii known to history were named Quintus.[1][9]

Branches and cognomina of the gens[edit]

The only family-name of the Quinctilii under the Republic is Varus, a common surname meaning "bent, crooked," or "knock-kneed." Other cognomina are found in imperial times.[1][10][11]

Members of the gens[edit]

This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.

Quinctilii Vari[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. ^ Publius Ovidius Naso, Fasti, ii. 361 et seq., 375 et seq..
  3. ^ Sextus Aurelius Victor, De Origo Gentis Romanae (attributed), 22.
  4. ^ Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, "Romulus", 22, "Caesar", 61.
  5. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, ii. 2. § 9.
  6. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippicae, ii. 34, xiii. 15, Pro Caelio, 26.
  7. ^ Sextus Aurelius Propertius, Elegies, iv. 26.
  8. ^ Sextus Pompeius Festus, epitome of Marcus Verrius Flaccus De Verborum Significatu, s. vv. Quinctiliani Luperci, Fabiani.
  9. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft.
  10. ^ D.P. Simpson, Cassell's Latin & English Dictionary (1963).
  11. ^ Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Satirae, i. 3. 47.
  12. ^ a b c Fasti Capitolini.
  13. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, ii. 32.
  14. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, x. 53.
  15. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, v. 1.
  16. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, viii. 18.
  17. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxix. 38, xxx. 1, 18.
  18. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxx. 18.
  19. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxix. 31, 38.
  20. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xliv. 18.
  21. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xlv. 44.
  22. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Quinctio, 17, Pro Cluentio, 19.
  23. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Post Reditum in Senatu, 9.
  24. ^ Hieronymus, in Euseb. Chron. 189. 1.
  25. ^ Weichert, De L. Varii et Cassii Parmensis Vita, p. 121 ff.
  26. ^ Estré, Horatiana Prosopographeia, p. 202 ff.
  27. ^ Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, iv. 52, 66.
  28. ^ Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Controversiae, 4.
  29. ^ Settipani, Continuité gentilice et continuité sénatoriale dans les familles sénatoriales romaines à l'époque impériale, p.72&223
  30. ^ Philipp von Stosch, Gemmae Antiquae Caelatae (1724), no. 57.
  31. ^ Domenico Agostino Bracci, Commentaria de Antiquis Sculptoribus, pl. 100.
  32. ^ John Spilsbury, A Collection of Fifty Prints from Antique Gems, no. 27.
  33. ^ Digesta seu Pandectae, 38. tit. 2. s. 16. § 4.
  34. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxii. 5.
  35. ^ a b Aelius Lampridius, Commodus, 4.
  36. ^ Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, ii. 1. § 11.
  37. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxii. 6.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.