The family tree of Lutatii

Q. Lutatius Catulus (cos 102) and his son Q. Lutatius Catulus (cos 78) were both very influental politicians of the late Roman republic.

Lutatii belong into group of new families thar rose into prominence during the Punic War era. First ever Lutatius as consul was C. Lutatius Catulus at 242 and his brother Q. Lutatius Cerco followed him next year 241. It is interesting to note that elder son was Gaius and younger Quintus. Gaius’ son became consul at 220, but Quintus’ sons failed to gain highest positions. Thus we have only one Lutatius Cerco as consul ever.

We know nothing about male liniage of the consul of 102. Hoewer we know that his son was styled Q. Lutatius Q.f. Q.n. Catulus, meaning that father of the consul of 102 was Quintus. And it is safe to assume that he was Lutatius Catulus too. This grandfater Q. Lutatius Catulus clearly wasn’t of consular rank, otherwise we would have his name in the survived lists of consuls. We also know that he was married with one Popillia. Again it is quite safe to assume that this Popillia was of Popillii Leanates.

We know also about the generations of Lutatii Cerci that consul of 241 was grandfather of one Cn. Lutatius Cerco, who in turn was a father of another Cn. Lutatius Cerco and grandfater of Q. Lutatius Cerco who was a quaestor at year 90.

I propose here that father of consul of 102 was either first or second child of consul 220. Number of generations is adequate at both Cerco and Catulus lines of Lutatii to support this. Also Consul of 220 was C. Lutatius Catulus and father of consul of 102 was Q. Lutatius Catulus. So it might have been that eldest son of consul of 220 had been Gaius or it might have been that he had followed the example of his father, that Quintus was the elder and Gaius was the younger son. In any case I have included this hypothetical filiation in the following chart of the Lutatii. I have also included some other family relations into the chart. It is possible that the father of the consul of 102 was a son of brother of the consul of 220. But I think that it is not probable that he would be a generation or family line further from the consul of 220, because it seems that there were no other family lines of Lutatii than original Cerci and Catuli and there shouldn’t been room for extra generation between them. We also have no information that consul of 220 would have had a brother. That is why I think it is reasonable to assume that Q. Lutatius Catulus was a son of consul of 220.

The family tree of gens Lutatia. Lutatius Catulus and Lutatius Cerco are the main lines.

The family tree of gens Lutatia. Lutatius Catulus and Lutatius Cerco are the main lines.

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When even marriage contracts won’t help

Year 91. After years of prosperity and economical boom Rome and other Italian cities are rich and powerful. In fact the Italian cities have become so strong that they start to seek better deals with Rome, there’s even talk about granting a Roman citizenship to Italian people.

Rome has had its share of growth pains too: riches from trade and wars, influx of slaves and new citizens, need for agrarian reform and evermore fiercer political competition in the small elite of the citystate. Some 30 years earlier the brothers Gracchi had tried to solve problems already evident then by measures that benefitted mostly the poor part of the population. Their efforts were met with disapproval from the ruling nobility. The same fate waited for infamous tribune Saturninus and his allies.

The senatorial side had its champion too: M. Livius Drusus. His agenda was to change the balance of power firmly into senate side. His laws brought senators back into court juries and doubled the number of senators. He also started a land reform and lowered the price of grain thus gaining the support from poorer population added to senators and equesterians. Up to this point his plans were succeeded.

However, his next move was to become his downfall. He proposed to grant citizenship for the Italic allies of Rome. This was so unpopular that Drusus lost practically all his political support and his previous laws were declared null over technicalities. He was assassinated and this in turn brought about a rebellion against Rome amongst the Italian allied cities and started very bloody Social War that lasted 3 years.

These events are also interesting because of the political and family relationships of the two of the major figures: Drusus and one of his main opponents, Q. Servilius Caepio, who was praetor at the same year 91 as Drusus as tribune presented his laws. The two man were very closely linked by marriages.

Livius Servilius

Marriage arrangements between Drusus and Caepio.

Drusus´ sister Livia Drusa was married to Caepio. Also their daughter Servilia Caepionis was married to Drusus himself after her marriage with Q. Lutatius Catulus (cos 102) had ended when Caepio´s father Q. Servilius Caepio (cos 106) went into exile. It is also possible, perhaps even probable, that Servilia was in fact a daughter of elder Caepio, but in any case the Drusus and Caepio younger were closely tied with inter-family marriages.

Despite these close ties Drusus found a great political enemy in Caepio. I have already written more about these two friends and their fates, but I think it is noteworthy that sometimes even the most carefully managed marriage contracts and other arrangements were not enough to gurantee the stability of political alliances in the Roman politics. Individuals had still free will according which to act and make their decisions.

How to survive in Rome

Let’s examine the family connections of the consuls of the year 177: C. Claudius Pulcher & Ti. Sempronius Gracchus.

Gracchus (consul of 177 and 163) was married to Cornelia Africana, a daughter of P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus (consul of 205 and 194) and Aemilia Paulla. This Cornelia Africana was politically probably the most interesting daughter of Roman nobility of her era. Her parents were both from the most influental consular families. Furthermore, Cornelia’s uncle was L. Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (consul of 182 and 168).

This uncle Paullus Macedonicus had two sons. First one was adopted into family of Fabii Maximi: Q. Fabius Maximus Aemilianus (consul of 145). The second one was adopted by P. Cornelius Scipio (praetor of 174): P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus (consul of 147 and 134). This P. Cornelius Scipio, who adopted him, was Cornelia Africana’s brother, i.e. son of Scipio Africanus. Evidently the family ties between Cornelii Scipiones and Aemilii Paulli were very tight.

However, the ties were to become even more tighter. Adopted Scipio Aemilianus Africanus was to marry Sempronia, who was a daughter of Cornelia Africana with Ti. Sempronius Gracchus.

The other children of the consul 177 Gracchus, named as Gaius and Tiberius, were also to marry into important ruling families.

Younger Gaius married with Licinia Crassa, who as a daughter of P. Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus (consul of 131) and Claudia (the daughter of C. Claudius Pulcher, consul of 177). The grandparents of this Licinia Crassa from paternal side were P. Mucius Scaevola (consul of 175) and Licinia. We know very little of this elder Licinia, but we know that her grandfather was C. Licinius Varus (consul of 236) and that her brothers were C. Licinius Crassus (consul of 168) and P. Licinius Crassus (consul of 171). This Publius was to become also adoptive father of her son, above mentioned Crassus Dives Mucianus. Note that these were far from being only familiy ties between Mucii Scaevolae and Licinii Crassi: I have written before about the consuls of 95.

But added to the alliance of the Scaevolae and Crassi, there is very interesting similarity between the sons of Cornelia Africana and Gracchus (consul of 177). As said above, younger Gaius married Licinia, who was a grand daughter of Claudius Pulcher (consul of 177), i.e. his father’s consular colleague. Elder Tiberius in his turn married Claudia, who was daughter of Ap. Claudius Pulcher (consul of 143). This Appius was the son of the above mentioned C. Claudius Pulcher (consul of 177). So both Gracchus’ sons were to marry grand childrens of his consular colleague!

Here is a simplified diagram of the above mentioned family ties between Sempronii Gracchi, Claudii Pulchri, Cornelii Scipiones, Aemilii Paulli, Mucii Scaevolae and Licinii Crassi.

Family ties between Sempronii Gracchi, Claudii Pulchri, Cornelii Scipiones, Aemilii Paulli, Mucii Scaevolae and Licinii Crassi.

Family ties between Sempronii Gracchi, Claudii Pulchri, Cornelii Scipiones, Aemilii Paulli, Mucii Scaevolae and Licinii Crassi. Click for larger image.

From these ties we can see how tight group the highest Roman nobility was. We have here the consuls of following years: 194, 182, 177, 175, 171, 168, 163, 147, 145, 143, 134 and 131. That is over 10 % of the Roman consuls between years 194 and 131, all in this closely tied selection. When counting all the consulships from these families from this period of 63 years, we see that over 19 % of all consulships are taken by the members of these families, that is about one fifth. Longest period when no one from these families was a consul is 7 years from 154 to 148.

Considering all other elected offices of the Roman state, which one had to be elected into before being elected into consul, it is safe to assume that that every year during this period some members of these families were serving as elected officials. Favours and returned favours must have been everyday occurrances. When we consider that also the offices of the Roman religion were part of the political system, and that the members of these families were also active in being selected into religious offices, the amount and importance of these contacts between these families grows evermore higher.

It is long known that marriages and adoptions were integral part of the Roman politics, but one really grasps the importance of them when one considers the system from the perspective of the survival of the family in the political system. There were no lone wolves in the Roman republic, one belonged into family. I have illustrated this by selecting the consuls of one year, and kept the listing of family ties in the minimum here for clarity. Still what we have discovered here, by mere scratching of surface, is complicated system of family alliances and contacts.