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.
Origin of the gens
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. According to one account, the Ulpii were originally from Tuder, in northern Umbria, where indeed there is evidence of a family of this name. The name itself may be derived from an Umbrian cognate of the Latin word lupus, meaning "wolf."
Members of the gens
- Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, consul suffectus circa AD 70, father of the emperor Trajan.
- Ulpia, aunt of Trajan, married Aelius Marullinus, and was the grandmother of the emperor Hadrian.
- Marcus Ulpius M. f. Trajanus, consul in AD 91; he was subsequently adopted by the emperor Nerva, and was himself emperor from AD 98 to 117.
- Ulpia M. f. Marciana, the sister of Trajan, married Gaius Salonius Matidius Patruinus.
- Ulpius Marcellus, a jurist during the reigns of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
- Ulpius Marcellus, perhaps a son of the jurist, governor of Britannia during the reign of Commodus.
- Ulpius Marcellus, probably the same person as the governor of Britannia, although uncertainties of chronology have led some scholars to believe he had a son of the same name.
- Ulpius Julianus, praefectus praetorio under the emperor Macrinus, he was sent to put down the rebellion of Elagabalus, but was slain by his own troops, in AD 218.
- Ulpia Gordiana, mother of emperor Gordian I, according to the Augustan History.
- Ulpius Crinitus, a general in the army of Valerian, and consul suffectus in AD 257, he adopted Lucius Domitius Aurelianus, emperor from AD 270 to 275.
- Ulpia Severina, wife of the emperor Aurelian, she may have been the natural daughter of Ulpius Crinitus.
- Gaius Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus, one of the "Thirty Tyrants", he rebelled against Postumus and proclaimed himself emperor in AD 269, during the reign of Gallienus, but was slain at Moguntiacum about two months later.
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
- Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxviii. 4, lxix. 1, 3.
- Aelius Spartianus, Hadrian, 1.
- Ronald Syme, Tacitus (1958), p. 792 ff.
- Julian Bennett, Trajan: Optimus Princeps (Routledge, 1997), p. 1.
- Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, lxxviii. 4, 15.
- Herodianus, History of the Roman Empire, v. 4. § 5.
- Julius Capitolinus, Macrinus, 10.
- Flavius Vopiscus, Aurelian, 10-15.
- Trebellius Pollio, Triginta Tyranni, 5.
- Sextus Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus, 33.
- Sextus Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus (attributed), 32.
- Eutropius, Breviarium historiae Romanae, ix. 7.
- Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, vol. vii. pp. 448-450.