Ulpia (gens)

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M. Ulpius Trajanus
in the Glyptothek, Munich

The gens Ulpia was a Roman family that rose to prominence during the 1st century AD. The gens is best known from the emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, who reigned from AD 98 to 117. The Thirtieth Legion took its name, Ulpia, in his honor.[1]

Origin of the gens[edit]

The ancestors of the Ulpii were Roman colonists in Hispania. Little is known of them except that they were connected with a family of the Aelii, who had also settled in Hispania; Trajan's aunt was the grandmother of the emperor Hadrian.[2][3][4] According to one account, the Ulpii were originally from Tuder, in southern Umbria, where indeed there is evidence of a family of this name.[5] The name itself may be derived from an Umbrian cognate of the Latin word lupus, meaning "wolf."[5]

Members of the gens[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxviii. 4, lxix. 1, 3.
  3. ^ Aelius Spartianus, Hadrian, 1.
  4. ^ a b c d Ronald Syme, Tacitus (1958), p. 792 ff.
  5. ^ a b Julian Bennett, Trajan: Optimus Princeps (Routledge, 1997), p. 1.
  6. ^ Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxviii. 4, 15.
  7. ^ Herodianus, History of the Roman Empire, v. 4. § 5.
  8. ^ Julius Capitolinus, Macrinus, 10.
  9. ^ Flavius Vopiscus, Aurelian, 10-15.
  10. ^ Trebellius Pollio, Triginta Tyranni, 5.
  11. ^ Sextus Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus, 33.
  12. ^ Sextus Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus (attributed), 32.
  13. ^ Eutropius, Breviarium historiae Romanae, ix. 7.
  14. ^ Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, vol. vii. pp. 448-450.