Quintus Pompeius Falco

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Quintus Pompeius Falco (c. 70 - after 140) was a Roman senator of the early 2nd century AD. He was governor of several provinces, most notably Britannia, where he hosted a visit to the province by the Emperor Hadrian in the last year. Falco achieved the rank of suffect consul for the nundinium of September-December 108 with Marcus Titius Lustricus Bruttianus.

His complete name was Quintus Roscius Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullius Pius Julius Eurycles Herculanus Pompeius Falco, an example of polyonymy.


Werner Eck has shown that Falco was the son of Sextus Pompeius Falco and Clodia P.f. Falconilla, as well as identifying a brother, Quintus Pompeius Pr[iscus].[1]

An inscription recovered from Hierapolis ad Pyramum provides details of Falco's career in imperial service.[2] He started as a member of one of the groups that comprise the vingtiviri, the decemviri stlitibus judicandis. A letter from Pliny the Younger (Ep. 1.23) to Falco written in 97 helps fix the date his tribunate, and makes it likely Falco was born c. 70. His career was undistinguished until he was put in command of the Legio V Macedonica during the First Dacian War (101-2). After this he was made governor of Lycia et Pamphylia, and then ("unusually" notes Anthony Birley) Judea. His consulship followed not long after. He may have held the office in absentia.[3]

Upon his return to Rome, Falco became curator of the via Traiana then, after a few years without employment, he served as governor of Moesia Inferior, where he is attested in 116 and 117. His appointment came soon after; Birley opines that it "must have been one of Hadrian's first acts."[4]

It was in 122 that Hadrian decreed numerous reforms in Britannia and also ordered the construction of Hadrian's Wall. Before this, in 118, Falco suppressed an uprising thought to have involved the Brigantes and Selgovae, Brythonic tribes of northern Britannia and southern Caledonia, although it may have resulted from foreign invasion.

An inscription from Jarrow and commemorative coins issued in 119 attest to his supposed success although a reference by the orator Fronto to many soldiers being killed in Britannia under Hadrian's rule has been suggested as indicating that the victory was hard-won. However, Fronto may have been referring to a different conflict.

After his tenure as governor, Falco was successful in his further career by becoming proconsul of Asia in 123/124. He is last heard of in a letter by the young Marcus Aurelius to Fronto, likely written in 143, recalling a visit to Falco's estate three years prior.[5]


Falco married Sosia Polla, the daughter of Quintus Sosius Senecio twice consul (cos. 99, 107), and the granddaughter of Sextus Iulius Frontinus also a three-time consul (cos. 97, 98, 100).[6] He is known to have had at least one son, Quintus Pompeius Sosius Priscus, consul in 149.


  1. ^ Eck, "Senatorische Familien der Kaiserzeit in der Provinz Sizilien", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 113 (1996), pp. 109-128
  2. ^ CIL III, 12117
  3. ^ Birley, The Fasti of Roman Britain, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 98f
  4. ^ Birley, The Fasti, p. 99
  5. ^ Birley, The Fasti, p. 100
  6. ^ Ronald Syme, "Ummidius Quadratus, Capax Imperii", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 83 (1979), p. 295
Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Appius Bradua
Roman governors of Britain
Succeeded by
Aulus Platorius Nepos