Subrius Flavus

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Subrius Flavus
Born ?
Died 65
Outside the Castra Praetoria, Rome[1]
Allegiance Roman Empire, Gaius Calpurnius Piso
Rank Military tribune

Subrius Flavus was a tribune of the Praetorian Guard who was heavily implicated in the Pisonian conspiracy against the Emperor Nero and was executed in 65CE for his involvement.[2]

Role in the Pisonian Conspiracy[edit]

Emperor Nero on a silver denarius. Flavus first served Nero as tribune then, with Piso, plotted his downfall

As Tribune and a man of military experience, Flavus enjoyed great significance in the plot - along with a few others including Centurion Sulpicius Asper as being "leading lights"[3] as well as being close to Gaius Calpurnius Piso, the figurehead of the conspiracy.

Tacitus observes that the hatred for Nero arrose suddenly when he was watching him perform on stage [4] but failed to attack him in front of the audience because he would not have had a chance to escape.

Tacitus also observes that it was rumoured that, after the success of the conspiracy, Flavus was meant to murder Piso and the empire handed over to Seneca the Younger who was also a co-conspirator because "it mattered not as to the disgrace if a harp-player were removed and a tragic actor succeeded him." For as Nero used to sing to the harp, so did Piso in the dress of a tragedian".[5]

Depiction in Tacitus[edit]

Flavus, like Seneca the Younger, is presented as a bastion of traditional morality by Tacitus, as in the above quote, because of his stand against Nero's excesses. The Classicist Edward Champlin argues that Flavus is one of the few figures in the Annals whom Tacitus eulogises without reserve.[7]


Because of his involvement in the conspiracy, Flavus was condemned to death and beheaded in two strokes in front of a pre-dug pit in 65.[8] The execution was entrusted to a tribune, Veianius Niger.[9]


  1. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.67
  2. ^ Subrius Flavus,
  3. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.49
  4. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.50
  5. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.65
  6. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.67
  7. ^ Edward Champlin, Nero (2005) p.186
  8. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.67
  9. ^ Tacitus, Annals, 15.67