The gens Sulpicia was one of the most ancient patrician families at Rome, and produced a succession of distinguished men, from the foundation of the Republic to the imperial period. The first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was Servius Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus, in 500 BC, only nine years after the expulsion of the Tarquins, and the last of the name who appears on the consular Fasti was Sextus Sulpicius Tertullus in AD 158. Although originally patrician, the family also possessed plebeian members, some of whom may have been descended from freedmen of the gens.
The Sulpicii made regular use of only four praenomina: Publius, Servius, Quintus, and Gaius. The only other praenomen appearing under the Republic is Marcus, known from the father of Gaius Sulpicius Peticus, five times consul during the fourth century BC. The last of the Sulpicii known to have held the consulship, in the second century, was named Sextus, a praenomen otherwise unknown in this gens.
Branches and cognomina
During the Republic, several branches of the Sulpician gens were identified by numerous cognomina, including Camerinus, Cornutus, Galba, Gallus, Longus, Paterculus, Peticus, Praetextatus, Quirinus, Rufus, and Saverrio. In addition to these cognomina, we meet with some other surnames belonging to freedmen and to other persons under the Empire. On coins we find the surnames Galba, Platorinus, Proclus, and Rufus.
Camerinus was the name of an old patrician family of the Sulpicia gens, which probably derived its name from the ancient town of Cameria or Camerium, in Latium. Many of them bore the agnomen Cornutus, from a Latin adjective meaning "horned". The Camerini frequently held the highest offices in the state in the early times of the Republic; but after 345 BC, when Servius Sulpicius Camerinus Rufus was consul, we do not hear of them again for upwards of four hundred years, till Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus obtained the consulship in AD 9. The family was reckoned one of the noblest in Rome in the early times of the Empire.
The Praetextati appear in the second half of the fifth century BC. The family appears to have been a small one, descended from the Camerini. It probably derived its name from one of several related meanings. Praetextus commonly referred to clothing with a decorative border, and especially to the toga praetexta, a toga with a purple border worn by boys and magistrates. Something veiled or concealed could also be described as praetextatus.
The Sulpicii Longi flourished during the fourth century BC, from the time of the Gallic sack of Rome in 390 to the period of the Samnite Wars. The cognomen Longus may have been bestowed upon the ancestor of this family because he was particularly tall.
The surname Rufus, meaning "red", probably referred to the color of the hair of one of the Sulpicii, and may have begun as a cadet branch of the Camerini, as both cognomina were united in the consul of 345 BC.
The Sulpicii Galli were a family of the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. Their cognomen may refer to a cock, or to a Gaul. The greatest of this family, Gaius Sulpicius Gallus, was a successful general and statesman, as well as an orator and scholar much admired by Cicero.
The Sulpicii Galbae first came to prominence during the Second Punic War, and remained distinguished until the first century AD, when Servius Sulpicius Galba claimed the title of Emperor. The surname may share a common root with the adjective galbinus, a greenish-yellow color, although its exact significance with respect to the Sulpicii is unclear.
- Publius Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus, father of the consul of 500 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius P.f. Camerinus Cornutus, consul in 500 BC.
- Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus, consul in 490 BC, and one of the ambassadors sent to intercede with Coriolanus.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. f. Camerinus Cornutus, father of the consul of 461 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. f. Ser. n. Camerinus Cornutus, consul in 461 BC, and one of the Decemviri of 451.
- Quintus Sulpicius Ser. f. Ser. n. Camerinus Cornutus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 402 and 398 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Q. f. Ser. n. Camerinus, consul suffectus in 393 BC, and tribunus militum consulari potestate in 391.
- Gaius Sulpicius Camerinus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 382, and censor in 380 BC, resigned his office upon the death of his colleague.
- Servius Sulpicius Camerinus Rufus, consul 345 BC.
- Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus, grandfather of the consul of AD 9.
- Quintus Sulpicius Q. f. Camerinus, father of the consul of AD 9.
- Quintus Sulpicius Q. f. Q. n. Camerinus, consul in AD 9.
- Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus Peticus, proconsul of Africa, accused of extortion in AD 59, and shortly afterward put to death by Nero.
- Quintus Sulpicius Ser. f. Camerinus Praetextatus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 434 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Praetextatus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 377, 376, 370, and 368 BC, sometimes confused with his kinsman, Servius Sulpicius Rufus.
- Sulpicia Praetextata, the wife of Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi, consul in AD 64, is mentioned at the commencement of the reign of Vespasian, AD 70.
- Quintus Sulpicius Peticus, grandfather of the consul of 364 BC.
- Marcus Sulpicius Q. f. Peticus, father of the consul of 364 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius M. f. Q. n. Peticus, censor in 366, consul in 364, 361, 355, 353, and 351 BC, and dictator in 358.
- Quintus Sulpicius Longus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 390 BC, negotiated with Brennus, and persuaded him to leave Rome.
- Servius Sulpicius Q. f. Longus, father of the consul of 337 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius Ser. f. Q. n. Longus, consul in 337, 323, and 314 BC, and dictator in 312, triumphed over the Samnites.
- Servius Sulpicius Rufus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 388, 384, and 383 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Rufus, tribunus plebis in 88 BC, a distinguished orator, and afterwards a partisan of Gaius Marius.
- Quintus Sulpicius Rufus, father of the consul of 51 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Q. f. Rufus, consul in 51 BC, an eminent jurist and contemporary of Cicero.
- Sulpicia, daughter of the consul of 51 BC. Wife of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Cruscellio. Her husband was proscribed by the triumvirs in 43 BC. She followed her husband to Sicilia, against the wishes of her mother, Julia.
- Publius Sulpicius (P. f.) Rufus, praetor in 48 BC, previously a legate of Caesar in Gaul and during his first campaign in Hispania.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. f. Q. n. Rufus, a supporter of Caesar, frequently mentioned by Cicero.
- Sulpicius Rufus, procurator of the public games, was slain by the emperor Claudius because he was privy to the marriage of Silius and Messalina.
- Publius Sulpicius Saverrio, grandfather of the consul of 304 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius P. f. Saverrio, father of the consul of 304 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Ser. f. P. n. Saverrio, consul in 304 and censor in 299 BC, triumphed over the Samnites.
- Publius Sulpicius P. f. Ser. n. Saverrio, consul in 279 BC, during the war against Pyrrhus.
- Quintus Sulpicius Paterculus, grandfather of the consul of 258 BC.
- Quintus Sulpicius Q. f. Paterculus, father of the consul of 258 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius Q. f. Q. n. Paterculus, consul in 258 BC, during the First Punic War, triumphed over the Carthaginians in Sicilia.
- Servius Sulpicius Paterculus, the father of Sulpicia, who dedicated the temple of Venus Verticordia.
- Sulpicia Ser. f., married Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, and thought to be the chastest woman in Rome, selected to dedicate the temple of Venus Verticordia in 113 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Gallus, grandfather of the consul of 243 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius Ser. f. Gallus, father of the consul of 243 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius C. f. Ser. n. Gallus, consul in 243 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius C. f. Gallus, father of the consul of 166 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius C. f. C. n. Gallus, a great scholar; as consul in 166 BC, triumphed over the Ligures.
- Quintus Sulpicius C. f. C. n. Gallus, died at an early age, and his death was borne by his father with great fortitude.
- Galus Sulpicius, suffect consul in 4 BC. Believed to be a descendant of the consul of 166 BC.
- Galus Sulpicius, son of the above. Triumvir monetalis in 5 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Galba, grandfather of the consul of 211 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius P. f. Galba, father of the consul of 211 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Ser. f. P. n. Galba Maximus, consul in 211 and 200 BC, and dictator in 203.
- Servius Sulpicius Galba, curule aedile in 208 BC, and afterwards a pontifex, in the place of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus.
- Gaius Sulpicius Galba, elected pontifex in 201 BC, in place of Titus Manlius Torquatus, but he died as early as 198.
- Servius Sulpicius Galba, praetor urbanus in 187 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius Galba, praetor urbanus in 171 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. f. P. n. Galba, consul in 144 BC, a notable orator, tried for his atrocities against the Lusitani in 150 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. f. Ser. n. Galba, consul in 108 BC.
- Gaius Sulpicius Ser. f. Ser. n. Galba, quaestor in 120 BC, and a pontifex, condemned by the lex Mamilia of 110 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Galba, appointed one of the judges in the case of Verres, in 70 BC, afterwards a pontifex and augur.
- Servius Sulpicius Ser. n. Galba, praetor urbanus in 54 BC, and a friend of Caesar, but perhaps also one of the conspirators against him.
- Sulpicius Ser. f. Galba, a minor historian, and grandfather of the emperor Galba; he held the praetorship, but the year is uncertain.
- Gaius Sulpicius Ser. n. Galba, consul in AD 22, father of the emperor.
- Gaius Sulpicius C. f. Galba, brother of the emperor.
- Servius Sulpicius C. f. Galba, consul in 33, and emperor in AD 69.
- Sulpicia, the mother-in-law of Spurius Postumius Albinus, consul in 186 BC.
- Publius Sulpicius Quirinus, censor in 42 and consul suffectus in 36 BC.
- Servius Sulpicius, mentioned by Quintus Horatius Flaccus as an author of love-poems.
- Sulpicia, a poet, perhaps the daughter of Servius Sulpicius Rufus.
- Publius Sulpicius Quirinus, also called Quirinius, consul in 12 BC, and later governor of Syria.
- Sulpicius Flavus, a companion of the emperor Claudius, whom he assisted in the composition of his historical works.
- Sulpicius Asper, a centurion, and one of the conspirators against Nero, discovered and put to death in AD 66.
- Sulpicius Florus, an infantryman granted Roman citizenship under the emperor Galba, who later participated in the emperor's overthrow.
- Sulpicius Blitho, a source cited by the biographer Cornelius Nepos.
- Sulpicia, a poet, praised by Martial, who probably lived toward the close of the 1st century.
- Sulpicia Lepidina, the wife of Flavius Cerealis, prefect of a cohort at Vindolanda in Britannia, circa AD 103.
- Sulpicius Apollinaris, a grammarian, and a friend and contemporary of Aulus Gellius during the later 2nd century.
- Sextus Sulpicius Tertullus, consul in AD 158.
- Sulpicia Memmia, one of the three wives of Alexander Severus. Her father was a man of consular rank; her grandfather's name was Catulus.
- Sulpicia Dryantilla, daughter of Sulpicius Pollio and wife of Roman usurper Regalianus during the Crisis of the Third Century. Received the title of Augusta. Possibly killed with her husband in 260.
- Sulpicius Lupercus Servastus, a Latin poet, of whom nothing is known except his elegy, De Cupiditate, and a Sapphic ode, De Vetustate.
- Sulpicius Severus, an ecclesiastical historian of the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
- T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1952).
- D.P. Simpson, Cassell's Latin & English Dictionary (1963).
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, ii. 19.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, v. 52, 55, 57, vi. 20.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 16.
- Joannes Zonaras, Epitome Historiarum, vii. 13.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, vii. 68, viii. 22.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 22, 27.
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xv. 41.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vii. 28.
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xvi. 66.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, xiii. 52.
- Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxiii. 18.
- Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Epistulae, v. 3.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 23.
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xii. 53.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 32-34, 36, 38.
- Barthold Georg Niebuhr, History of Rome, iii. pp. 2, 3.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Historiae, iv. 42.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 4, 18, 21.
- Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, vi. 7. § 3.
- Appianus, Bellum Civile, iv. 39.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Murena, 26, 27, Epistulae ad Atticum, ix. 18, 19, x. 14, Epistulae ad Familiares, iv. 2, Philippicae, ix. 5.
- Fasti Capitolini.
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, Fragmenta Vaticana’’, p. 60, ed. Dinsdorf.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xlv. 44.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Oratore, i. 53, Brutus, 23, Laelius de Amicitia, 2, 6, Epistulae ad Familiares, iv. 6.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxx. 39, xxxii. 7.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xlii. 28, 31.
- Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Vita Caesarum, Galba, 3.
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxix. 11-13.
- Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Vita Caesarum, Claudius, 4, 41.
- Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Annales, xv. 49, 50, 68.
- Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxii. 24.
- Aelius Lampridius, Alexander Severus, c. 20.
- Johann Christian Wernsdorf, Poetae Latini Minores, iii. p. 235 ff., 408.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.