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Good article Sejanus has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 20, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
August 16, 2009 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article


"To Sejanus personally, Agrippina's sons Nero, Drusus and Gaius Caligula were considered a direct threat to his power.[29]" This cant be right. Nero is the son of Agrippina younger, not of A. elder and no brother of Caligula.German.Knowitall (talk) 23:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Agrippina the Elder also had a son called Nero, usually referred to as Nero Caesar. The wikilink in this article mistakenly points to emperor Nero, but it should be Nero (son of Germanicus). Regards. --Steerpike (talk) 00:22, 16 July 2009 (UTC)


I'm posting a note made by someone else in the history pages of the Tiberius Article, so they don't become lost. "AD 30. The claim about Livilla’s daughter being betrothed to Sejanus is shaky (pace PIR „636 Iulia”). Cf. R.Seager, Tiberius (London 1972), 213 note 6.)"Wjhonson 03:44, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Could you possible quote him from that passage? I'm slightly confused to who Sejanus was engaged then in 31. The current text says Livilla, but I find no mention of this in any of the ancient authors. Cassius Dio is the only one who says he was betrothed to Julia. Where does this contradict Tacitus? Or why is it considered unlikely? --Steerpike 21:40, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Dio Cassius (58.3.9) says: "After exalting Sejanus to a high pinnacle of glory and making him a member of his family by his alliance with Julia, the daughter of Drusus, Tiberius later killed him." However in footnote 33 to the second chapter of his book "Caligula", Anthony A. Barrett says, "Dio 58.3.9 (epitome) must be mistaken in saying that it was to Livilla's daughter Julia that Sejanus was betrothed. See Seager, 213. n.6."

I haven't read Seager, but it certainly makes sense that Sejanus was betrothed to Livilla rather than her daughter. He was already Livilla's lover and had requested permission to marry her in AD 25. Marrying Livilla would have given him control over her son and Tiberius's presumed heir Gemellus, while there would have been less advantages in marrying Tiberius's granddaughter. According to the opening of Chap.8 of Tacitus's "Annals", at the time of his execution he was Tiberius's son-in-law - I'm not quite sure what that means, but if he was married to Livilla, he would have been the husband of Tiberius's daughter-in-law. Anna Lowenstein (talk) 14:38, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Death of Apicata[edit]

I'm posting a note made by someone else in the history pages of the Tiberius Article, so they don't become lost. "Fall of Sejanus and Livilla. For date of Apicata's death, Ehrenberg and Jones, Documents p.42. Cf Tacitus Annales IV.11 (Eudemus and Lygdus)"Wjhonson 03:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


Sejanus is the shortest unambiguous name for this individual. There were other Romans named Sejanus, but IMO this one is significantly more well-known than others.

As well, Aelius Sejanus is a strange hybrid between the shortest variant (Sejanus) and his full name (Lucius Aelius Sejanus).

See also Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ancient Romans). --Saforrest June 29, 2005 21:15 (UTC)

Fine by me. "Aelius Sejanus" would be the right choice if there were famous Sejani in other gentes, but this seems not to be the case. Stan 29 June 2005 23:05 (UTC)
Support. Make Aelius Sejanus a redirect. --Jpbrenna 1 July 2005 05:49 (UTC)
Make it so. Hajor 2 July 2005 06:16 (UTC)
It's done. Talrias (t | e | c) 02:02, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Chronology of AD 31[edit]

Crucial evidence for the chronology of the massacre of Sejanus' family is provided by the Fasti Ostienses (V.Ehrenberg & A.H.M.Jones, Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Augustus and Tiberius [2nd ed.Oxford 1955):

"XV k.Nov.Seianus s[trang.] VIIII k.Nov. Strabo [Seiani] f. strang. VII k.No[v. Apicata] Seiani se occidi[t......] Dec. Capito Aelia[nus et] Iunilla Seiani [in Gem.] iacuerunt"

I.e Sejanus was strangled on 18 October, Strabo was strangled on the 24th, and Apicata killed herself on the 26th. The two younger ones seem to have died between 14 November and 13 December ("Dec."). Livilla's death seems to have predated theirs, since when Tacitus' narrative resumes in Book VI, she is already dead while Capito and Iunilla are still alive.

Dio is mistaken in saying that all the children were already dead when Apicata committed suicide. ('His wife ... on learning that her children were dead, and after seeing their bodies on the Stairway, ... withdrew and composed a statement about the death of Drusus, directed against Livilla, his wife, who had been the cause of a quarrel between herself and her husband, resulting in their separation; then, after sending this document to Tiberius, she committed suicide.')

Retrieved from ""

Sejanus' agenda 23-31[edit]

Sejanus’ agenda i) to conceal his adulterous relationship with Livilla

ii) to avoid being killed by Drusus, who made no secret of his hatred of Sejanus (Tac.Ann.4.3 and 4.7) and who might well have put him to death had he succeeded Tiberius (the most cogent argument for Drusus having been murdered)

iii) to maximise the advantage of his intimacy with Livilla

a) by presenting himself as the protector and guardian of Tiberius Gemellus (note in the letter purportedly written by him to Tiberius, where he refers to the need for Tiberius’ family “to be secured against the unjust displeasure of Agrippina (Ann.4.39)”

b) by intermarrying with the ruling house: there was Livilla and her daughter, there was Gemellus, there was Claudius’ children etc. Sejanus had three children, and Sejanus’ daughter Junilla had been betrothed to Claudius’ son (Ann.3.29, Suet.Claud.27, Dio 58.11.5)

c) that he wished personally to marry Livilla’s daughter is possible but less likely (arguments in Seager, Tiberius p.213 note 6)

d) obtain all the powers once accorded by Augustus to Agrippa. Then he could marginalise Tiberius, exploit his near-stranglehold of access to Tiberius, confine Tiberius to his villa etc. and wait for him to die of old age.

Probably he wished to become Tiberius’ effective heir, but he was too smart to realise that someone of his Equestrian background could be emperor, pace Juvenal (Sat.x. 74ff.). The Senate would not have tolerated Sejanus as princeps, nor would the provincial armies. (For all the arguments, see Seager, Tiberius,

There is also a radical but unlikely hypothesis (cited in OCD [1970] 970B) that Sejanus “planned to strike at the principate”. He could not be emperor himself. But if the obvious candidates were eliminated (i.e. Drusus and the sons of Germanicus), then then he could appeal to popular sentiment at Rome, using his extensive network of friends to override the Senate. This hypothesis is supported by one crucial piece of evidence, an open letter written by Tiberius, rebuking some electoral institution in Rome: in AD 31, unknown to Tiberius, Sejanus had organised a highly irregular electoral meeting on the Aventine (normally the place was the Campus Martius). The Aventine had long populist associations. (Ehrenberg and Jones 53 = ILS 6044: “...improbae comitiae [q]uae fuerunt in Aventino, ubi [Sei]anus cos. factus est...”) See generally R.Seager, Tiberius (London: Eyre Methuen 1972)

81 190 70 164

Macro situation[edit]

Hi, Sorry but for me, Macro (Quintus Naevius Cordus Sertorius Macro) was an offcier, not the vigile prefect. The prefect was Laco (Graecinius Laco). If somebody else can confirm, we should update the page.

Macro was vigile prefect sometime before Laco took the position. This has been confirmed by inscriptional evidence. --Steerpike 17:44, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Attributes Motives without citing sources[edit]

This article seem to attribute a lot of motives to Sejanus without citing sources. Without sources to confirm motives, the article should be re-written to simply state facts. 10:46, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I've tried to reference as much of the text as possible now, including motives and speculation on his plans. --Steerpike 22:27, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Statues of Sejanus?[edit]

This site displays a picture which is allegedly a bust of Sejanus, but it contains no source information. Can anyone positively identify this bust? Any other pictures related to Sejanus are also welcome. I doubt however that any statues of his survived his damnatio memoriae. --Steerpike 22:26, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

GA on hold[edit]

I have reviewed this article according to the requirements of the GA criteria. Address the following issues and I will pass the article:

  1. Expand the lead, for this size article it should be about two or three paragraphs per WP:LEAD.
  2. "He served as Prefect of the Praetorian Guard" Is Prefect supposed to be capitalized? When I go to the article it used in lower-case form throughout the article. Correct if necessary.
  3. "Sejanus was born in 20 BC at Volsinii, in Etruria," Change to "Volsinii, Etruria".
  4. Add a wikilink for Tacitus in the second paragraph of the Family section since he is referred to for the majority of the sourcing.
  5. "A statue had been erected in his honor in the Theatre of Pompey.[10] and in the Senate his followers were advanced with public offices and governorships." Either remove the period or split into two sentences.
  6. "With her as an accomplice Drusus was slowly poisoned and died of seemingly natural causes on September 13 23." Add a comma after 13. Do the same for "On October 18 31,"
  7. "As Cassius Dio describes" Add a wikilink for his name.
  8. "Hardest hit were those families with political ties to the Julians." Reword the beginning of the sentence and add an inline citation for the information.
  9. "With the exception of Velleius Paterculus, ancient historians have been universally condemning on Sejanus," Reword to "of Sejanus".
  10. "Sejanus whose two volume The Roman History" Add a hyphen between "two volume".
  11. "Writing only a few years later, Philo, a leading figure in Alexandria's Jewish community, remembered Sejanus as "desiring to destroy our nation"." Either expand on this sentence or incorporate it into another section as single sentences shouldn't stand alone.
  12. In the "Sejanus in later literature" section, combine the statements into a single paragraph.

Altogether the article is well-sourced, has plenty of images, and covers the topic well. Address the above issues within seven days and I'll pass the article. If you have any questions or when you are done, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. --Nehrams2020 21:53, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your time. I've crossed out the stuff I've fixed so far. The rest should be done by tomorrow. --Steerpike 23:51, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
All points addressed. --Steerpike 22:35, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

GA passed[edit]

I have passed this article according to the requirements of the GA criteria. I made a few minor changes before doing so, but good job on addressing all of the above issues. Ensure that the article maintains its high quality by making sure that all new information is properly sourced. Keep improving the article and consider getting a peer review to see how you can improve it further. I hope that you continue to improve articles to GA status on Wikipedia, it takes a lot of work, research, and dedication to improve an article to this level. Keep up the good work and happy editing! --Nehrams2020 22:48, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I listed the article at WP:GA under "Historical figures - heads of state and heads of government". If you think there is a more appropriate area for the article, feel free to move it. --Nehrams2020 22:52, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

In Star Trek novel[edit]

There is a Star Trek: The Next Generation paperback novel (I forget the name) that ties together a few loose ends in Star Trek continuity. In one episode of the Original Series, the Enterprise happens upon a planet, almost identical to Earth, where the Roman Empire never fell. This novel claims the divergence in history for that Roman Empire's survival was a successful coup by that world's Sejanus. In the novel, that world was given a Galaxy-class starship by the Federation, manned completely by citizens of their Rome. The captain claimed descent from Sejanus. The captain was depicted, in the cover art for the paperback, as a young (not bald) Patrick Stewart in Roman uniform. This struck me as odd, until I realized that in the PBS miniseries, I Claudius, Patrick Stewart played Sejanus. Too trivial and convoluted for the article, but perfect for the Talk page. --BlueNight (talk) 21:07, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Amusing. Although I assume Stewart wore a wig for I, Claudius. His wiki biography claims he lost most of his hair by age 19. --Steerpike (talk) 10:54, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

What is the truth?[edit]

About Sejanus:

The remaining children of Sejanus, Capito Aelianus and Junilla were executed in December of that year.[2][55] According to ancient historians, because there was no precedent for the capital punishment of a virgin, Junilla was raped before her execution, with the rope around her neck.[51][55] Their bodies were likewise thrown down the Gemonian stairs.......

About Lucius Antonius (grandson of Mark Antony):

Lucius married in his later life to Junilla. Junilla was the daughter of the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus. Together they had a son and a daughter. Their son, Marcus Antonius Primus, was born in 32, and their daughter Antonia Postuma was born posthumously in 34.....

What is the truth, what is historical fact? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:54, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus mentions the rape and murder of Junilla, but I don't know what his source was. (talk) 03:18, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Who is Aelius Gallus?[edit]

Apparently he was the adopted father of Sejanus. But the article on Quintus Aelius Tubero states that Aelia Patina (wife of Claudius) was his adopted sister. Seeing that her father was Sextus Aelius Catus (why isn't it Tubero Catus?), apparently Tubero's son, how could Patina be his adopted sister? This leads me to wonder if Tubero is her maternal grandfather and Patina's mother is Tubero's child and Sejanus is his adopted nephew (maybe Gallus was Tubero's brother and his name is _______ Aelius Tubero Gallus). Could someone assist in resolving this? I am the Blood 04:32, 5 June 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Blood3 (talkcontribs)


I don't know if anyone wants to add this in (that's why I'm putting it here). Diana Wallis's historical fiction Claudia mentions Sejanus as being a powerful figure and seemed to imply that he constantly interference with Claudia Procula's life--to the point of delaying her honeymoon (such as it was) with Pontius Pilatus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Praetorian guard[edit]

Most of the section so named has very little to do with Sejanus and hardly counts as his 'legacy'. I propose merging it with the article dedicated to the Praetorian guard by the end of this month. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 11:47, 8 March 2014 (UTC)


Sejanus is dead. Therefore, everything written about him is in the past tense. I came across this sentence, "By the end of 31, he would be arrested.." (boldface mine) which is, I think, past pluperfect. This is most common in genealogies where someone is touting the future accomplishments (not arrests!) of some ancestor. I changed it to past tense to match. This was reverted. WP:TENSE allows present tense for fiction. But WP:MOS, in whatever form, wants tense to match.

We relate the narrative in chronological order, and don't "anticipate" future events as we might is we were writing fiction or pov article. What happens, happened at the time. Not in their future. Usually, this saves words as well, not having to relate the same event twice: once "in their future" and again, when it happens. Student7 (talk) 13:10, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

I am amazed you should mistake a reflexive future for the pluperfect tense. The second paragraph of the Denunciation section begins by surveying what Sejanus had in mind 'through years of crafty intrigues and indispensable service to the emperor' and contrasts it with what will be the outcome later in 31. However, the details of his downfall are related more fully in the following section, and the bulk of this section concerns itself with the means that bring it about. If you are unable to recognise tenses, or to appreciate how they can be used to vary narration, I suggest you confine yourself to the Simple English Wikipedia. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 16:21, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Please. Be WP:CIVIL.
I agree that pluperfect does not accurately describe the mismatched tense with the tense standard throughout the article. But the tense by any other name still appears mismatched.
Note that in the article Battle_of_Kwajalein#Gilbert_and_Marshall_Islands_campaign, the words "would be expendable" make a statement about strategy which hadn't really been officially announced yet. So it seems to be useful (and accurate) there.
BTW. The article on future tense does not appear to support the statement on "reflexive future". Nor is there a separate article on Reflexive future. Student7 (talk) 21:14, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

The terminology of descriptive grammar has changed over the years. 'Reflexive future' is a Latin term; I'd also identify its use as subjunctive mood since the passage (which I didn't write myself, by the way) is contrasting aspiration with eventual outcome - as I explained. This is in line with a passage in the WP:Tense article to which you pointed: 'As with normal articles, establish context', which is what is happening. The section is not about the downfall of Sejanus, which is described in the following section, but about the means that brought it about. It is necessary to establish the context in which this happens. Please address this question and not some (mis)application of imagined guidelines. I say 'imagined' since I couldn't even find the word 'tense' in WP:MOS. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 09:45, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Terminology for years[edit]

While in historical circles I can believe this may be quite normal and unremarkable, I'm pretty sure for a lot of readers it's hard to parse a sentence like

Upon the accession of Tiberius in 14 Sejanus was appointed prefect....

Who is "Tiberius in 14"? Or where is "14 Sejanus"? Is that a street address?

I think the article would be a lot more readable if all the one and two-digit years were qualified with "AD". I don't care whether it's "AD 14" or "14 AD", but of course it should be consistent throughout the article.

(As an aside, there was an old Wikipedia convention whereby all articles about years from AD 1 on were at the bare number. That didn't really work all that well, and has been changed. I think 1 through 10 go to the article about the number, 11 through 29 go to disambiguation pages, and 30 through 99 are redirects to articles with "AD" in front of them. 100 is again a disambig; 101 and up from there follow the old convention. I could have some details wrong, but the basic idea is that one- and two-digit numbers are not intuitive to most people as years, without AD or CE. Given that this article uses AD/BC, I think all years should be qualified with one of them.) --Trovatore (talk) 07:45, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

I went ahead and did it. I also standardized on "AD xx" rather than "xx AD". I left "the 20s" alone, and another one where it said "the year such-and-such", because "the year" seemed sufficient without the "AD". Proofreading would be welcome. --Trovatore (talk) 07:58, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Sejanus as praetor[edit]

First, this was a very unusual achievement: praetor was one of the offices of the cursus honorum, & no more than 16 were appointed in a given year during Tiberius' reign. Considering that in any given year there were 20 quaestors -- the office that qualified one to become a praetor -- competition for this office was very marked. Add to this that Sejanus was an equites, & not a senator, & you have an extraordinary situation; a lot of senatorial noses were put out of joint by this promotion. In fact, I suspect this may have been illegal under the rules of the Republic &/or Augustus, although according to the source I'm following here (Richard Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome [Princeton, 1984], p. 11), equites could stand for the Republican magistracies of vigintvirate, quaestor, plebeian tribune & even praetor. Talbot does admit equites ran most often for the office of quaestor, apparently intending to thus enter the senatorial rank, & then have their sons eventually compete for consul. He also notes that Sejanus was not adlected into the Senate as ex-praetor, since this office would be "inadequate, not to say insulting" to a praetorian prefect.

In short, there is a significant infringement on class, if not political, boundaries here, & this article simply breezes over it. Explaining its significance also helps to explain the mechanisms of Sejanus' downfall. -- llywrch (talk) 18:11, 6 June 2017 (UTC)