Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus (consul 51)

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Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus was a Roman senator and a consul ordinarius for the year 51, as the colleague of the emperor Claudius.[1] His father Orfitus was one of the seven sons of Vistilia, a noblewoman who came from a family which held the praetorship, although some have erroneously stated Servius himself was the husband of Vistilia.[2]

His career is set forth in an inscription found at Lepcis Magna, dated 61/62.[3] The earliest office Servius is recorded as holding was quaestor to the emperor Claudius, and next was urban praetor; both of these are prestigious offices, and he likely owed them to his father's half-brother Publius Suillius Rufus, who was an intimate associate of emperor Claudius. Following his consulate, Servius was inducted into the collegia of Pontifices and the sodales Augustales, likewise socially powerful groups. The highest office mentioned in the inscription from Lepcis Magna is proconsular governor of Africa, indicating he held that office in 62/63.

Our next glimpse of Servius is in Tacitus, who records him proposing in 65 that the months May and June be renamed "Claudius" and "Germanicus" respectively in honor of the emperor Nero, explaining that the execution of the two Junii Torquati had rendered the name "Junius" inauspicious.[4] Frederik Juliaan Vervaet has argued that instead of an act of flattery, Nero and his partisans may have interpreted this proposal as a subtle form of criticism. If so, it would explain the actual motivation for Marcus Aquilius Regulus accusing him in the Senate of being a traitor to Nero the following year.[5] Regardless of the motivation, Orfitus was found guilty and executed.[6]

His grandson, Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus followed in his footsteps and became consul of Rome in the year 110 under the emperor Trajan.


  1. ^ Paul Gallivan, "The Fasti for the Reign of Claudius", Classical Quarterly, 28 (1978), p. 409
  2. ^ Ronald Syme, "Domitius Corbulo", Journal of Roman Studies, 60 (1970), p. 31
  3. ^ Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania, 341
  4. ^ Tacitus, Annales, XIV.12
  5. ^ Vervaet, "A Note on Syme's Chronology of Vistilia's Children", Ancient Society, 30 (2000), pp. 108f
  6. ^ Tacitus, Histories, IV.42.1; Suetonius, Nero, ch. 37; Cassius Dio, 62.27.1

Further reading[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gaius Antistius Vetus,
and Marcus Suillius Nerullinus

as Ordinary consuls
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Succeeded by
Lucius Calventius Vetus Carminius
as Suffect consul