Chapter, 2023


In: The Tacitus Encyclopedia

Publisher: Wiley

DOI: 10.1002/9781119114567.ch6

Contributors (34)

Gregoratti, Leonardo [1] Cholwell, Emery [2] Berg, Christopher S Den [2] Cogitore, Isabelle [3] Pagán, Victoria Emma [4] Dee, Nicholas [5] Rutledge, Steve [6] Bartera, Salvador [7] Schulz, Verena [8] Roessel, Arnoldus [9] Coleman, Kathleen M. [10] Shannon‐Henderson, Kelly E. [11] Haynes, Holly [12] Luke, Trevor S. [13] Nicols, John [14] Levick, B. M. [15] Levick, B. M. [15] Roessel, Arnoldus [9] Poulsen, Aske Damtoft [16] Rutledge, Steve [6] Senkbeil, Friderike [17] Bartera, Salvador [7] Pimentel, Maria Cristina [18] Luke, Trevor S. [13] Moore, Rosemary [19] Joly, Fábio Duarte [20] Gillespie, Caitlin [21] Joly, Fábio Duarte [20] Fratantuono, Lee [22] Low, Katie [23] Gregoratti, Leonardo [1] Rutledge, Steve [6] Machado, Dominic [24] Pollard, Elizabeth Ann [25]


  1. [1] Durham University
  2. [NORA names: United Kingdom; Europe, Non-EU; OECD]
  3. [2] Amherst College
  4. [NORA names: United States; America, North; OECD]
  5. [3] Grenoble Alpes University
  6. [NORA names: France; Europe, EU; OECD]
  7. [4] University of Florida
  8. [NORA names: United States; America, North; OECD]
  9. [5] Bowling Green State University
  10. [NORA names: United States; America, North; OECD]


Fabius Fabullus was a Roman general during the civil wars of 69 CE . Lucius Fabius Iustus is the addressee of Tacitus' Dialogus de Oratoribus . There Tacitus claims that Iustus frequently asks about the differences between past and present oratory, to which the dialogue is a response. He was suffect consul (102 CE ) and held consular command in Syria (109 CE ). Iustus was also a friend of Pliny the Younger . He was a man of letters known for his successful military and civic career under Trajan . Paullus Fabius Maximus (46 BCE –14 CE , consul in 11 BCE ), a close friend of Augustus throughout his career, accompanies him on a visit to Agrippa Postumus in Planasia in 14 CE. Fabius Priscus (otherwise unknown) was a legate of legion XIIII Geminae in 70 CE. Fabius Valens (d. 69 CE ) was legionary legate of Legion I in Lower Germany in 68–69 CE and under Vitellius suffect consul in fall 69 CE. He was instrumental in Vitellius' bid for imperial power in January 69 CE. Along with his rival Caecina Alienus , Valens helped lead the Vitellians to victory in the war against Otho , but later failed in his efforts to salvage the faltering Vitellian regime. He was executed in Flavian custody. Fabricius Veiento (mid 20s CE –c. 100 CE ) started his long career likely during Claudius ' reign and was a courtier of Nero 's who fell from grace after he was convicted of libel and accepting bribes. He returned to power and was prominent under the Flavians; an influential courtier under Domitian , it is uncertain if he acted as a delator during his tyranny. His role at Domitian's court notwithstanding, he was still friends with and a part of Nerva 's inner circle, despite attacks from Pliny the Younger . Lucius Faenius Rufus (d. 65 CE ) had a distinguished career under Nero : he became prefect of the food supply in 55 CE ( A . 13.22.1) and prefect of the praetorian cohorts with Ofonius Tigellinus in 62 ( A . 14.51.2–3). He was particularly close to Seneca and Agrippina the Younger , with whom Tigellinus accused him of adultery. He joined the Pisonian Conspiracy and was later executed ( A .15.68.1). Fear is the most important emotion in Tacitus' historiographical works. As an irrational force, it determines actions of characters and therefore historical events. Both rulers and subjects are driven by fear. Especially in the Annals , the situation is often depicted as a Macbethian plot: the emperor is afraid of his enemies and consequently spreads terror. Thus, he increases the number of his enemies, consequently increasing also the ground of his fear. Ferentium, or Ferentinum, is a town in southern Etruria roughly 65 km north of Rome near the modern town of Viterbo. It is most notable as the birthplace of Otho ( H . 2.50.1) and Flavius Liberalis, the father of Flavia Domitilla, Vespasian 's wife (Suet. Vesp . 3.1). Fidenae was a town in Latium about five miles north of Rome on the Via Salaria. In 27 CE it suffered a major disaster, recounted in a dramatic and pathos‐laden set piece by Tacitus, when a flimsy wooden amphitheater collapsed, causing thousands of casualties. A nine‐day fire began in Rome on the night of 18–19 July 64 CE , during the principate of Nero , and destroyed large swathes of the city. Tacitus' account ( A . 15.38–44) is the most detailed source of information about this event; while he is cautious in attributing blame to Nero directly, the fire is an important piece of his negative portrait of the emperor. Firmius Catus was a senator whom Tacitus names as a delator in the trial of Scribonius Libo Drusus in 16 CE. The flamen Dialis was one of a group of priests in the pontifical college called flamens, each of whom attended to the cult of a single god. The flamen Dialis was the special priest of Jupiter. Burdensome requirements and restrictions placed upon this priest may have made the post unattractive to ambitious men as Rome's sphere of influence expanded. In Books 3 and 4 of the Annals , Tacitus depicts Tiberius and the Senate wrestling with problems regarding the restrictions and staffing of this priesthood. After considering how Tacitus' own career advancement under the Flavian emperors may have influenced his representation of the dynasty, this entry traces the history of the Flavian emperors from the Julio‐Claudians to the death of Domitian . Titus Flavius Sabinus (1) was the elder brother of the Emperor Vespasian and the more distinguished of the two, commanding a legion as legate in Britain in Claudius' invasion of 43 CE , until Vespasian was selected by Nero in 66 to crush the Jewish rebellion. He was Prefect of the City, was taken prisoner by the followers of Vitellius in 69 CE, and executed by them in the struggle for Rome. Titus Flavius Sabinus (2) was the nephew of Vespasian , son of his elder brother and bore the same name as his father. Suffect consul in 69 CE , he avoided the fate of his father and enjoyed a second term in 72 CE. Flavius Scaevinus (d. 65 CE ) was a senator and one of the leaders of the Pisonian Conspiracy alongside Afranius Quintianus ( A . 15.49.4) . His freedman, Milichus , disclosed the plot to Nero, and, following an inquiry , Scaevinus shortly revealed further details and was executed ( A . 15.56.3, 70.2). Flavus (1) (c. 18 BCE –after 16 CE ) was a nobleman of the Cherusci , the brother of Arminius , and the father of Italicus (1) . He remained loyal to Rome during the Varian disaster in 9 CE (see Teutoburg Forest ) and afterwards fought for the Romans against his brother. Fonteius Agrippa (fl. reign of Tiberius ) was a delator who flourished under Tiberius and was involved in the case of Marcus Scribonius Libo Drusus . Gaius Fonteius Agrippa (?–January 70 CE ) was a Roman senator who was suffect consul (58 CE ) and curator aquarum (66–68 CE ) before attaining the position of proconsular governor in Asia and Moesia (69–70 CE ), where he was killed in battle by the Sarmatians in 70 CE. Fonteius Capito was consular legate of Lower Germany ( Germania ) in 68 CE and arrested the Batavian chiefs Claudius Paulus , whom he executed (on a false charge of rebellion), and Iulius Civilis , whom he sent in chains to Nero ( H . 4.13.1). Capito was murdered in the same year, soon after Galba was made emperor ( H . 1.7.1). In Tacitus' writings, references to food and meals are infrequent at best. We can thus infer that, when Tacitus mentions this subject, there is an underlying literary or ideological objective. From this perspective, we will analyze steps in which Tacitus interprets and evaluates circumstances such as the supplying of the city and the army, the sacredness of the mealtime affected by violence, the poisoning by food or drink, the meal before death as a serene farewell, and death by voluntary or imposed starvation. Polybius employed tyche in his universal history to explain the cause of Rome's rise to world empire. In Greek culture, tyche was a flexible concept that encompassed everything from blind chance to divine providence, and Polybius' use of the term throughout his work was similarly rich and varied. Following in Polybius' footsteps, Rome's historians employed the related but uniquely Roman fortuna , which was no less fertile and malleable. Tacitus adapted this tradition to his history of a world in which emperors have an outsized influence on events, thus resulting in a more biographically shaped historical narrative. Forum Iulii (modern Frejus) was a city on the Adriatic coast in the province of Gallia Narbonensis. Tacitus also refers to this city as Foroiuliensis colonia ( Ag . 4.1). The view of Tacitus on freedmen is similar to that on slaves . He is concerned about examples of freedmen who were loyal or disloyal to their patrons. As for the imperial freedmen, he was not interested in detailing their administrative careers, but he rather focuses on their power, because of their close relationship with the emperors. The freedmen of Agrippina the Younger demonstrate exceptional loyalty and are instrumental in Tacitus' representation of Agrippina's influence. The actions of freedmen provide an index of Agrippina's popularity and authority with the emperor, particularly in the narrative leading up to her death. A peculiar feature of the principate of Claudius was the role played by the so‐called familia Caesaris . With Claudius some freedmen from his household assumed a greater political‐administrative role and even interfered in dynastic rivalries. Pallas, Narcissus , and Callistus are the main names mentioned by Tacitus. The reign of Nero , like that of his predecessor Claudius , was marked by the powerful role of liberti or freedmen in the daily management of the empire. The role of freedmen in Nero's reign extended even to the stage management of his death. The Frisii were a Germanic tribe living near the mouth of the Rhine ( Rhenus ). They came under Roman sway in 12 BCE but resisted Roman rule several times during the first century CE , with mixed results, although their rebellion of 28 CE seems to have been particularly successful. They also joined the revolt of Iulius Civilis in 69–70 CE. In the Annals , aspects of their portrayal contribute to Tacitus' broader picture of Rome under Tiberius and Nero . Gaius Fufius Geminus and Lucius Rubellius Geminus were ordinary consuls in 29 CE. Lucius Fulcinius Trio (c. 10 BCE –35 CE ) was a notorious delator, according to Tacitus, who was involved in the prosecutions against Marcus Scribonius Libo Drusus and Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso . His services as a prosecutor took him to the highest offices, although his involvement with Sejanus appears to have resulted in his suicide . Marcus Furius Camillus (c. 26 BCE –37 CE ; consul 8 CE ) was a Roman senator active during the principates of Augustus and Tiberius. Furius Scribonianus (d. 52 CE ) was exiled, along with his mother Vibia , for consulting with astrologers about the emperor Claudius ' death. Scribonianus died shortly thereafter, either naturally or by poison.


Adriatic coast, Agrippa, Agrippina, Annals, Arminius, Army, Asia, Augustus, BCE, Book 3, Britain, Callistus, Camillus, Ce, Civilis, Claudius, College, Court, Dialogus, Domitian, Drusus, Dynasty, Emperor Vespasian, Empire, Etruria, Familia Caesaris, Farewell, Flavian emperors, Flavians, Fortuna, Freedman, Galba, Gallia Narbonensis, General, Germanic tribes, Germany, God, Greek culture, Imperial freedman, Julio-Claudians, Jupiter, Latium, Liberti, Moesia, Narcissus, Nero, Nero's reign, Oratoribus, Otho, PISO, Pallas, Paulus, Pliny, Polybius, Principate, Providence, Province, Rhine, Roman general, Roman rule, Roman senators, Romans, Rome, Rome's rise, Salaria, Sarmatian, Sejanus, Senate, Seneca, Syria, Tacitus, Tacitus' account, Tacitus's Dialogus, Tiberius, Trajan, Tyche, Vespasian, Via Salaria, Vitellius, Viterbo, Younger, account, action, actions of characters, addressee, administrative careers, adultery, advancement, alienus, ambitious men, amphitheatre, aspects, astrologers, attacks, authorities, battle, bid, birthplace, blame, blind chance, bribes, broader picture, brothers, capito, career, career advancement, cases, casualties, catus, cause, century CE, chain, chance, character, circle, circumstances, city, civil war, close friends, close relationship, coast, cohort, colonias, command, concept, conspiracy, consuls, contributes, courtiers, cult, culture, custody, daily management, death, death of Domitian, detail, detailed sources, dialogue, differences, disasters, distinguished career, drinks, dynastic rivalry, efforts, elder brother, emotions, emperor, enemies, entry, events, example, fate, fathers, fear, features, fire, first century CE, flavus, flexible concept, followers, food, food supply, footsteps, force, friends, further details, geminus, governor, grace, ground, group, groups of priests, high office, historians, historical events, historical narrative, historiographical works, history, households, ideological objectives, imperial power, important emotion, important piece, index, influence, information, inner circle, inquiry, invasion, involvement, irrational forces, italicus, large swathes, leaders, legate, legion, letter, libel, long career, loyalty, main names, major disasters, man of letters, management, maximus, meal, mealtimes, men, miles, military, mixed results, modern town, mouth, name, narbonensis, narratives, negative portrait, nephew, night, noblemen, number, objective, office, oratory, outsized influence, own career advancement, part, past, patrons, peculiar features, perspective, picture, pieces, plots, poisoning, poisons, popularity, portrait, position, post, power, powerful role, prefect, priesthood, priests, principate of Augustus, priscus, prisoners, problem, prosecution, prosecutors, rebellion, reference, regime, reign, reign of Nero, relationship, representation, requirements, response, restriction, results, revolt, rise, rivalry, role, rufus, rulers, rules, sacredness, same name, same year, second term, senators, services, set pieces, single god, situation, slaves, son, source, southern Etruria, sphere, staffing, stage management, starvation, step, struggle, subjects, successful military, suffect consul, suicide, supply, supplying, swathes, sway, terms, terror, thousands, thousands of casualties, time, town, tradition, trials, tribes, trios, tyranny, universal history, use, valens, victory, view, violence, visits, war, wives, work, world, world empire, writing, years