Quinctilius Varus

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Quinctilius Varus
Quinctilius Varus minor.jpg
Quinctilius Varus from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum

Publius Quinctilius Varus Minor (Minor Latin for the younger) also known as Publius Quinctilius Varus the Younger,[1] Varus the Younger,[2] Publius Quinctilius Varus filius[3] and Quinctilius Varus[4] was an Ancient Roman nobleman who lived in the 1st century.

Family background[edit]

Varus was a member of the gens, Quinctilia. He was the only child born to the Roman general and politician Publius Quinctilius Varus from his third wife Claudia Pulchra.[5] Through his mother, Varus was a cousin to the future Roman empress Valeria Messalina;.[6] Claudia Pulchra was the sister of Messallina's father, the short-lived Marcus Valerius Messala Barbatus (died ca. AD 20). Messallina had no brothers, but did have a younger half-brother Faustus Cornelius Sulla,. Varus the younger was a generation removed from the children of Messalina, Claudia Octavia and Britannicus.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Varus was born in Rome between the years 1-6 and was raised in the city. In late AD 6 or 7, his father was appointed to govern and Romanize the newly conquered Germania Inferior across the Rhine. But on Sept. 9, due to his defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest he committed suicide.[7] After the death of his father, his mother never remarried and in 26, Pulchra died in exile as a victim of the treason trials of Sejanus.[8] Varus became wealthy through his parent’s inheritance.[9]

Victim of Treason Trials of Sejanus[edit]

In 27, Varus became another victim from the treason trials of the Palace Guardsman Sejanus.[10] It is not known what Varus was charged with nor to what degree it was provoked.[11][12] He may had been charged with treason or maiestas.[13] His accusers were the celebrated orator Domitius Afer and his cousin Publius Cornelius Dolabella.[14] The outcome of the case is unknown as there is no further mention in the sources, but the absence of his family from history makes it likely that he was later condemned or committed suicide.[15]

Possible survivor of the treason trials of Sejanus & possible career[edit]

A passage from the Seneca the Elder (Controv. i. 3, 10), suggests that Varus may have been acquitted from his trial. According to Seneca the Elder, Varus had somewhat a successful legal career, despite Lucius Cestius Pius taunting Varus with his father’s defeat in the Teutoburg Forest.[16]

Personal life and issue[edit]

Varus was betrothed to his maternal distant cousin Julia Livilla, one of the daughters of Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus, although they did not marry.[17] Varus married a noblewoman called Plautia Laterana, by whom he had a daughter called Quinctilia.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  2. ^ Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  3. ^ McNally, Teutoburg Forest, AD: 9 The Destruction of Varus and His Legions, p.41
  4. ^ Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, p.78
  5. ^ Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  6. ^ Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, p.78
  7. ^ The Correct references here are the Roman authorities: Velleius Paterculus 2.117-24; Florus 2.30; Dio 56.18-24, not a modern author like Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  8. ^ Better to cite Tac. Ann. 4.52, 66 than Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  9. ^ Tac. Ann. 4.66.
  10. ^ Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg, p.65
  11. ^ Seager, Tiberius, p.173
  12. ^ Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, p.36
  13. ^ Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, p.36
  14. ^ Seager, Tiberius, p.173
  15. ^ Seager, Tiberius, p.173; see also Steven H. Rutledge, Imperial Inquisitions: Prosecutors and Informants from Tiberius to Domitian (London: Routledge, 2001), 143-44 for discussion.
  16. ^ Seneca the Elder, Controv, i. 3, 10
  17. ^ Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire
  18. ^ Settipani, Continuité gentilice et continuité sénatoriale dans les familles sénatoriales romaines à l'époque impériale, p.72&223

Sources[edit]

  • J. R. Abdale, Four days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg (Google eBook), Trafford Publishing, 2013
  • M. McNally, Teutoburg Forest, AD: 9 The Destruction of Varus and His Legions, Osprey Publishing, 2011
  • R. Seager, Tiberius (Google eBook), John Wiley & Sons, 2008
  • C. Settipani, Continuité gentilice et continuité sénatoriale dans les familles sénatoriales romaines à l'époque impériale, 2000
  • A. Barrett, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, Yale University Press, 1998