Sicinia (gens)

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Sicinius is the nomen of the gens Sicinia, a plebeian family of Rome. Ancient documentation places the name in use during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. This Latin name in its masculine adoptive form evolved into the modern Italian word Sicignano, a town in Salerno and surname dominant in Southern Italy, especially in Campania.

Possible Latin forms include, in the nominative:

  • Sicinius, masculine singular
  • Sicinia, feminine singular
  • Sicinii, masculine plural
  • Siciniae, feminine plural
  • Sicinianus, masculine adoptive
  • Siciniana, feminine adoptive


The gens Sicinia gained great celebrity by their advocacy of the rights of the plebeians in their struggle with the patricians.[1]

Sicinius Coin[edit]

This silver coin was minted in Rome by Quintus Sicinius in 49 BC. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin.

The main use of coin was to pay Rome's soldiers. In the 1st century BC, the wages of a legion were around 1,500,000 denarii, and more when Caesar raised the pay. With around 30 legions in active service in the Empire, this required huge sources of silver.

The second coin is the Q. Sicinius and C. Coponius Denarius. 49 BC. Mint in the east moving with Pompey.

Notable members of the gens Sicinia[edit]

  • Lucius Sicinius Vellutus – In 494 BC, in response to the harsh rule of Appius Claudius Sabinus Regillensis, Sicinius Bellutus lead the plebeians to secede and lead them to Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mountain) and threatened to found a new town. He became the basis for Sicinius Velutus in Shakespeare's Coriolanus
  • Cnaeus Sicinius – tribune of the Plebs, BC 470, when the tribunes are said to have been for the first time elected in the comitia tributa. He and his colleague M. Duilius accused Ap. Claudius before the people, on account of his opposing the agrarian law.
  • Lucius Sicinius Dentatus (514 BC – 450 BC) – was a Roman soldier, Primus pilus and tribune, living in the 5th century BC. The cognomen Dentatus means "born with teeth". He became known as "Roman Achilles". Dentatus was a tribune in 454 BC. He was a champion of the plebeians in their struggle with the patricians. As a military man, Dentatus had fought in 120 battles, received 45 honorable wounds and several civic crowns. According to Pliny the Elder, he won the Grass Crown. After his tribunate he was assassinated for his opposition to the Decemviri.
  • Caius Sicinius – elected tribune of the Plebs after the BC 449 secession of plebeians to the Aventine. The plebs seceded again to force the patricians to adopt the Twelve Tables. Unlike the earlier secret laws which only the priests had access to, these new laws amounted to a written and published legal code. And unlike the earlier non-published laws, the Twelve Tables presented a basic set of laws and rights to the Roman public, as opposed hidden and secret laws which gave no specific rights to the ordinary plebeian Roman. The patricians vehemently opposed it but were nevertheless forced to found a commission headed by a decemvir who in turn announced the Twelve Tables in the Roman Forum. With the announcement of the new laws, the plebs were to a degree freed from injustice and subjectivity during trials. However, they were still obliged to pay slavery debt.
  • Titus Sicinius – tribune of the plebs BC 395, he brought forward a bill for removing part of the Roman people to Veii, and thus making, as it were, two capitals of the republic. Battle of Veii, also known as the Siege of Veii, is a battle of ancient Rome.
  • Lucius Sicinius – Tribune of the Plebs BC 387, brought before the people an agrarian law respecting the ager Pomptinus.
  • Cnaeus Sicinius (a) – was Aedile in BC 185, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the praetorship in the following year, to supply the place of C. Decimius, who had died while in office. He was, however, successful in BC 183, in which year he was elected praetor, and obtained Sardinia as his province. (Liv. xxxix. 39, 45.)
  • Cnaeus Sicinius (a or b), one of the triumvirs for founding a colony at Luna in BC 177. (Liv. xli. 13.)
  • Cnaeus Sicinius (b) – becomes praetor and is sent into Apulia to destroy the locusts which had alighted in Apulia in enormous crowds. On the division of the provinces among the praetors he obtained the jurisdictio inter peregrines. On the breaking out of the war with Perseus, at the beginning of the next year, his imperium was continued, and Macedonia was assigned to him as his province, where he was to remain till his successor arrived. (Liv. xlii. 9,10, 27.)
  • Cnaeus Sicinius (b) – imperium was continued, and Macedonia was assigned to him as his province, where he was to remain till his successor arrived.
  • Caius Sicinius – sent as ambassador, with two colleagues, to the Gauls, in BC 170. (Liv. xliii. 5.)
  • Caius Sicinius, the grandson of Quintus Aulus Pompeius (consul in BC 141) by his daughter Pompeia died in BC 131 before he had held any higher office in the state than the quaestorship, but obtained a place in Cicero's Epistulae ad Brutum (c. 76), as one of the Roman orators.
  • Cnaeus Sicinius or Lucius Sicinius – tribune of the plebs BC 76, was the first magistrate who ventured to attack The Constitutional Reforms of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, which deprived the tribunes of their former power. He abused the leaders of the aristocracy very freely, and especially C. Curio. His only qualification as an orator, says Cicero, was being able to make people laugh. It has been erroneously inferred, from a passage in Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus), that he was murdered by the ruling party. (Cic. Brut. 60 ; Pseudo-Ascon. in Divin. p. 103, ed. Orelli ; Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory. xi. 3. § 129 ; Pint. Crass. 7 ; Sail. Hist. iii. 22 ; Drumann, Geschichte Roms^ vol. iv. p. 385.)
  • Sicinius Pontianus – From the town of Oea (modern-day Tripoli) Pontianus was classmates with Apuleius in Athens. He is known to us in history as being the friend who persuaded Apuleius to marry his mother, Pudentilla, was a very rich widow. Meanwhile Pontianus himself married the daughter of one Herennius Rufinus; he, indignant that Pudentilla's wealth should pass out of the family, instigated his son-in-law, together with a younger brother, Sicinius Pudens, a mere boy, and their paternal uncle, Sicinius Aemilianus, to join him in impeaching Apuleius upon the charge that he had gained the affections of Pudentilla by charms and magic spells. The case was heard at Sabratha, near Tripoli, c. 158 CE, before Claudius Maximus, proconsul of Africa. The accusation itself seems to have been ridiculous, and the spirited and triumphant defence spoken by Apuleius is still extant. This is known as the Apologia (A Discourse on Magic).

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Smith, William (1844). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. 3. p. 814.