Scipiones et Laelii

One of the most proverbial multi-generation alliances is between Scipiones and Laelii. The elder Scipio and elder Laelius were very close allies both in war and politics. Scipio was naturally the leading party with the history, resources and connections of the Cornelii Scipiones. However, Scipio’s career could hardly have been possible without the support of men like C. Laelius, whom Scipio raised into consulship at 190. This was a standard procedure: more weighty statesman raises his friend into consulship and thus gurantees his own power too.

However, what makes this pair a lot more interesting are their off-spring. Scipio’s son adopted the son of extremely influental Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, and this adopted son we know as Scipio the younger. C. Laelius had a son, C. Laelius the younger, who became as close ally of Scipio the younger as his father had been for elder Scipio. And again, younger Scipio raised the younger Laelius into consulship for 140.

And to add further interest, the alliance between Scipiones and Laelii was not sealed by marriages. This is interesting. Usually such strong ties would also include a marriage or two. There certainly would have been candidates of right age at both side, so we must look for another explanations, of which there actually are a number of:

1) There simply wasn’t need for Scipiones to the Laelii more closely with them – the success of Laelii was hugely dependent on the support of Scipiones. The Laelii would probably welcomed a marriage, but on the other hand the alliance with Scipiones being strong, that left the Laelii free to make arrangements with other families.

2) The arrogance of Scipiones: Scipiones of any generation were not actually known for their modesty and restrain in showing their importance. Marriage with low-born Laelii would have gone against Scipiones pride, they after all married with families like Aemilii Paulli.

3) Peculiar Scipionic trait of keeping it together in the family. The daughter of elder Scipio married a Scipio Nasica, a relative of her father rather than left family line and fortune to scatter about. This wasn’t only intra-family marriage within Scipiones. Probably the main idea was to protect and collect the considerable family fortune into one hands.

4) There was more to be gain by keeping potential enemies closer than current friends.

Whatever the reason was, the family-ties of Laelii seem to omit the connection with the Scipiones totally: a healthy reminder of the multitude of tactics the Roman families used to survive.

Scipiones et Laelii

2 x Laelia + 2 x Mucia + 2 x Licinia

This is very interesting 3-generation long pair of daughters. The younger Laelius had two daughters. Laelia minor married consul C. Fannius and elder Laelia married Q. Mucius Scaevola augur, consul of 117. So the daughters of younger Laelius both were married into consular level families, which if of course straight from the Roman nobility playbook. Scaevola was also a close ally of younger Scipio as was Fannius too. Scipionic circle in this case obviously meant wedding ring!

The elder Laelia and Scaevola had again two daughters, elder of which married a son of consular Acilius Glabrio (and their son became consul too at 67). The younger Mucia married L. Licinius Crassus orator, consul of 95, who also allied with Scaevolae and what was left of the Scipionic circle. This younger Mucia finally too had two daughters with Licinius Crassus, the younger of which married the son of Marius, who became consul at 82. The elder Licinia Crassa married with no other than Scipio Nasica Serapio, whose grandmother was the daughter of the elder Scipio. So now finally after 4 generations the Scipio and Laelius -lines were united by matrilinear side!

These generations of Laelia major, Mucia minor and Licinia Crassae were also close to Cicero, as Cicero studied as young boy/man in the Scaevola and Crassus households. Cicero also included C. Laelius Sapiens in numerous of his writings. Cicero also mentions that the Laeliae and Muciae were particularly well known for the purity of their Latin.

All in all these three generations of sister-pairs gives a very interesting glimpse into the life of the Roman nobility and to the tactics and importance of the marriages. One is tempted to see here greater family community and transformation of political ties into network of extended family.

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Licinia who was banned to mourn for her husband

When a certain Quintus Antyllius was beaten to death by angry crowd in 121, a chain of events, that left its mark to the Roman history forever, was set loose. This Antyllius was an attendant of L. Opimius, consul of the year, and his killers were supporters of C. Gracchus and M. Fulvius Flaccus. This murder, that Gracchus actually did not approve, was a needed pretext for Opimius to get a senatus consultum ultimum, an emergency degree of the Senate to defend the republic – also establishing this very dangerous political tool for future years to be used as ultimate measure in internal power struggles.

L. Opimius got the Senate to arm itself and to command all members of the equesterians to arm themselves along with two slaves each and to assemble next morning. At this point there was no turning back from the road of violence. Fulvius and his supporters armed themselves for the morning meeting from the spoils of Fulvius’ Gallic battles, but C. Gracchus refused both to wear armour and to arm himself with anything else than a dagger.

When Gracchus was leaving his home, his wife Licinia begged him not to go as she knew as well as he, that Gracchus would be killed if he went to the public meeting. When Gracchus went and left Licinia crying, the slaves carried devastated Licinia into her brother’s house.

After half-hearted attempt for negotiations L. Opimius ordered the violence to start and following tumult saw Fulvius to be put into death along with his oldest son and many supporters. Gracchus fled having taken no part into fighting and after a prayer in the temple of Diana at Mons Aventinus continued his escape into a grove across the river Tiber sacred to Furrina, where he committed a suicide.

Opimius had announced, that whomever brings the head of Gracchus to him will recieve its weight of gold. A certain Septimuleius did this and the head was weighted to be exceptionally heavy – Septimuleius had removed the brain and poured melted lead into the skull! The bodies of Gracchus, Fulvius and 3000 of their supporters were thrown into Tiber. The property of dead was confiscated and their wives were forbidden to mourn their husbands. Licinia was also stripped of her dowry. Opimius on the other hand built the temple of Concordia to the Forum Romanum – a distasteful act to many.

Later on Licinia’s cause was successfully defended by a half-brother of his father and she got the confiscated dowry back. Who was this Licinia?

The family tree of the Sempronii Gracchi and Licinia Crassa, the wife of tribune C. Sempronius Gracchus.

The family tree of the Sempronii Gracchi and Licinia Crassa, the wife of tribune C. Sempronius Gracchus.

She was daughter of P. Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus, consul of the year 131. Father Mucianus was originally known as P. Mucius Scaevola and was a son of P. Mucius Scaevola (consul of 175) and Licinia (a sister of consul 171 P. Licinius Crassus and consul of 168 C. Licinius Crassus). Mucianus was adopted by consul of 171 Licinius Crassus, that is a brother of his mother. Mucianus married with Claudia, daughter of consul 177 C. Claudius Pulcher and unknown mother. Claudia’s brother was consul of 143 and her ancestors from father side were consuls in three generation. Also Mucianus was both biologically as well as through adoption of consular rank. So Licinia’s both parents were from the very top of Roman nobility of the 170’s.

Licinia’s husband C. Gracchus was also of very strong consular line. His father was consul of 177 and 163, the famous Ti. Sempronius Gracchus, who was one of the leading public figures of his era. Father Sempronius was allied with his consular colleague of 177, C. Claudius Pulcher and probably from this alliance also came wish to strengthen the alliance further by marriage of the offspring. Father Sempronius had son and Claudius had a grand daughter Licinia from his daughter Claudia. Licinia also brought family connections with Licinii Crassi and Mucii Scaevolae, both of which were leading families during the period. Interesting enough, C. Gracchus’ brother Tiberius was married with, you guessed it, Claudia, who was a daughter of consul 143 Ap. Claudius Pulcher, himself son of consul 177 Claudius! So the two families were very tightly allied.

C. Gracchus had very high profile family also from his mother’s side. His mother Cornelia Africana was a daughter of the Scipio the elder, P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus, consul of 205 and 194 and the hero of the Punic Wars. Cornelia’s mother was Aemilia Paulla, a daughter of L. Aemilius Paullus, consul of 219 and sister of L. Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, consul of 182 and 168. Both Scipones and Aemilii Paulli were leading families of the previous era and Cornelia Africana surely the most high born lady of her time according to the Roman way of looking things.

One way to look at the life of Licinia is to view it as pre-arranged in many ways. With such high born parents she would be marrying some other equally high born man. The same goes with C. Gracchus. We do not know about their relationship anything else than the dramatic parting of Gracchus to meet his destiny, but perhaps we can read between the lines that the marriage was a happy one. Why Opimius also wanted to confiscate the dowry of Licinia? Perhaps there we can see also a hint of Licinia being politically active figure in some way too? The successful court case some years later, advocated by the consul of 133 P. Mucius Scaevola, a biological brother of Licinia’s father as well as a son of Licinia the elder (wife of consul 175 Scaevola), also tells us about changing political situation in Rome and perhaps a little something about Licinia and her position in the Roman society.

Still, the central influence of the family connections in the Roman politics is very clear. In fact, drawing the distinction between politics, family, life and death is difficult. C. Gracchus’ elder brother was murdered because of his politics. C. Gracchus continued and was in fact even more radical than his brother and was driven into suicide.

This can be seen also from the lives of two other of the closest women in C. Gracchus’ life: his mother and sister. The conservative opposition to the agenda of brothers Gracchi was lead by the Scipiones before L. Opimius. When the elder Scipio died in unclear circumstances, both Cornelia Africana, his own daughter and mother of Gracchi, as well as Sempronia, the sister of Gracchi were suspected of murdering him in their turn! Sempronia was also the wife of Scipio the younger (who was a biological child of L. Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus the consul of 182 and 168, i.e. brother of Cornelias mother Aemilia), and we know that their marriage was not a happy one.

The family connections designed to unite, did not necessarily work that way. At least when Licinia and C. Gracchus had such deep and diverse family connections on top of, or actually behind the more faster changing daily political struggles and alliances. For Licinia and Gracchus they were questions of life and death. They even controlled how Licinia was allowed to express her feelings for the death of his husband. What Licinia thought of all this, what she felt? We never know.

And what happened to L. Opimius? He was appointed as a commander to the Jugurthine War, was bribed by king Jugurtha to delay the war and spent rest of his days in exile.

”Postquam Crassus carbo factus, Carbo crassus factus est”

(When Crassus went to ashes, Carbo became dull. Crassus = fat, dull, carbo = ash)

Grammarian Sacerdos contributes this witticism for Terentius. It even might have been a popular saying in the learned circles. It refers into rivalry between two powerful orators of their time, C. Papirius Carbo Arvina (praetor at 85) and L. Licinius Crassus (consul at 95).

C. Carbo Arvina was a son of consul of 120 C. Carbo. His father during his career switched sides from Gracchian to optimate faction. He went even as far as being involved somehow (we lack details) of the murder of the younger Gracchus. This however, was not enough for the optimate side to trust him fully and it seems he was chosen to be a public scape goat for the murder of popular Gracchus.

From the optimate side the leading speaker was no other than L. Crassus, who was perhaps the most celebrated public speaker of his time. Cicero, who was a student of Crassus as youngster, described Crassus to be the best public speaker of all time in Rome until Cicero himself surpassed him. Even giving a benefit of a doubt, I think we can safely say that Crassus was one of the best speakers in Rome at his time. But also Carbo was a celebrated speaker and is counted also among the best ones ever in Rome.

The clash of the giants never saw outcome as Carbo the elder made suicide before the court process was over. His son, Carbo Arvina, took Crassus as his main enemy and was also a noted public speaker in his attacks against Crassus.

Crassus became censor at year 92, and died next year. This is the turning point the saying refers to. When Crassus died, Carbo Arvina lost his enemy and in years to come was left without burning desire to avange his fathers death. This took away the sharpest edge of his oratory and he became dull instead.

I have also previously written more about Papirii Carbones and Crassus.

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.

CAECILIAE Q. CRETICI F. METELLAE CRASSI

Inscription on the wall of the tomb of Caecilia Metella: CAECILIAE Q. CRETICI F. METELLAE CRASSI

245 000 visitors annually makes it 22nd most visited tourist site in Italy. It’s the tomb of Caecilia Metella, who was, as the inscription says, the daughter of the consul of 69 Q. Caecilius Metellus Creticus and the wife of M. Licinius Crassus. This popular tourist site is also a bit of a mystery. In its days it was a lavish mausoleum communicating the importance of Caecilia Metella or her memory, but why it was built and the role of her husband form the core of the mystery.

The inscription on the wall is the reason why we know who rested in the rotunda shaped tomb before it was converted as part of medieval fortress. Inscription in itself is also an interesting evidence of the role of women in the late Roman republic.

First of all a lot has been written about the role and place of women in the ancient Rome. While participating into politics as elected magistrates was forbidden to them, they still had an important role to play in public life. Building a lavish mausoleum was also a public statement. What is interesting, is that we do not know why this particular mausoleum was built – what was the reason why someone wanted to carry on the memory of Caecilia Metella.

Secondly it is interesting that inscription pays a lot of attention to the history of Caecilia Metella, that she is a daughter of Metellus Creticus. Actually the name formulation in the inscription resembles a lot the way the male names were officially recorded: praenomen – nomen – filiation – cognomen, e.g. M. Licinius M.f. Crassus. In the inscription there is no praenomen, as the women did probably not have a personal praenomen, but rest goes as the male name pattern: Caecilia (nomen) – Q. Cretici filia (filiation) – Metella (cognomen) of Crassus (signifying marriage). There is no obvious reason why there was a need to mention whose daughter Caecilia was.

We know very little about Caecilia. She certainly had a very illustrious background: her father was the consul of 69, grandfather consul of 113, great grandfather consul of 143 and great-great grandfather consul of 206. She was married to M. Licinius Crassus, who also had an illustrious background: his father was the consul of 70 and 55, the famous triumvir Crassus, and his grandfather was the consul of 97. Caecilii Metelli were one of the richest families in Rome and the father of Caecilias husband was widely recognized as the richest man ever in Rome.

Simplified tree of the Caecilii Metelli and Licinii Crassi.

Simplified tree of the Caecilii Metelli and Licinii Crassi.

A lot of has been written about triumvir Crassus. To sum it up he probably was unscrupulous businessman, a very ambitious and successful politician, able military commander and strong willed hard individual. He built his wealth in crude manner and rose to be the third most powerful man in Rome, competing against Caesar and Pompeius. Whereas both Caesar and Pompeius built their careers in extraordinary ways, Crassus was more traditional, which makes his rise ever more impressive. It is very probable that without Caesar’s success in the wars in Gallia, triumvir Crassus would have been the most powerful man in Rome.

M. Licinius Crassus triumvir, the father of Caecilias husband.

Partly because of this triumvir Crassus needed to get massive military success and he chose rich kingdom of Parthia as his target. As known, the war did not went well and Crassus and his younger son Publius died on the field.

The elder son of triumvir Crassus, the husband of Caecilia, is also a curious character. We know little of him. He is one of the two quaestores (legion commanders) that is mentioned by name in the self-laudatory memories of Caesar from the Gallian wars. This is remarkable, but the mentions are more passing than really descriptive or laudatory to younger Crassus. Undoubtedly references to him are not coincidental, but we don’t know why Caesar put them there. In any case Crassus seems to have been loyal to Caesar.

Younger brother of Crassus, Publius, seems to have been more active one of the brothers. He is generally described to be more like their father than Marcus by being more ambitious. Our Crassus seems to have been lacking political ambition: he rose only to the quaestor, while a man of his heritage certainly should have risen at least into rank of praetor, if not consul. He was not known either as a public speaker or philosopher, not as a business man, not as a military commander nor from anything else. Usually he is described as nonentity.

Let’s assume this is so. Why he then was mentioned in the Caesars Gallic Wars memories? If he was contended to live quietly and out of public attention, then why build such a grand mausoleum to his wife? It is also interesting to note that the son of him and Caecilia rose as a consul and was a renown military commander. I think that there is some important piece of information missing about Caecilias husband, as the sum of the person we seem to gather doesn’t seem to add up. I think M. Crassus has been a careful, but not passive character, who has played far-sighted game of survival and built way to success for his son. I also think he has been known for his contemporaries as such as there hasn’t been any gossips about the grand mausoleum for his wife. With his fabulous wealth he has had a chance to stay away from the most heated competition for glory during and after Caesar. This interpretation of his character and motivations makes much more sense to me. It still doesn’t fully answer a question about the importance of Caecilia for him. Caecilia Metella remains a mystery with too few bits of information to make even a guess.

Why this wasn´t scandalous for Romans?

One aspect that is quite alien in Roman political culture to us is clear and blatant nepotism. Fathers favour their own sons, their nephews, their cousins etc. One example of this are the praetorships of the year 208. During those times there were four praetors elected annually. Two of the praetors ruled the Roman provinces, of which there were only two at the time: Sicilia and Sardinia. One praetor presided the highest law cases within the city (praetor urbanus) and one praetor presided law cases between non-citizens and citizens (praetor peregrinus). Praetor urbanus was also in effect the most powerful magistrate after consuls and had the power to convene the senate when both consuls were absent from the city.

Being elected praetor was also the final step before consulship, which was the crown of political career. Of course not every praetor could reach consulship, because there were four praetors and only two consuls each year.

In the 208 two of the praetors were P. Licinius Varus and P. Licinius Crassus Dives. Licinii Vari and Licinii Crassi were closely related at those times to each other. In fact, our praetores here shared a common grandfather and their fathers were thus brothers.

For Romans cousins grabbing a half of available praetorships of the year was not scandalous nor a thing to avoid. There are numerous similar occurrances where close relatives have shared power and arranged positions for each other in the elections. Typical was also to aid daughters husband or his close relatives and vice versa.

Republican era Rome was a society where there were no social services nor public organisations to keep one alive. Survival depended on one´s ability to interact between different groups one belonged or was connected otherwise to.

If you were a low-born, you had to find more rich and powerful patrons to help you along. If you were a high-born, you had to be able to gather enough low-born supporters and to ally with other high-born. Annual magistrates decided the fate of socity in general and also being a magistrate was an ultimate way to ensure ones survival at least for a year. Arranging your allies into power next year was a way to prolong the survival for longer. And it was also one and only chance of doing so, when someone else was in power, anything might happen.

Roman society was very networked one. From lowest to highest level there were numerous networks and communities one belonged to: family, extended family, marriage arrangements, political movements, priestly collegiae, private and public religious cults, burial societies, census groups, voting tribes, street districts… One had to know whom to know and in general know a lot of people in order to survive.

In such a society it is only natural and understandable that you shared power with your friends and allies and arranged things in order them to follow after you in the highest places of society.

This was one of the challenges I faced when I started to reading about Roman history. How to understand how and why the Roman society worked as it did. It also is a continuous challenge when reading about Roman history. How to avoid judging, how to avoid being overtly righteous when encountering things that would considered scandalous should they happen in our society? It is so easy to judge Roman republic as a laughable excuse for a democracy. It is so easy to look downward and provide an explanation of past cultures being so uncivilized or underdeveloped that they didn’t know of better alternatives of setting up society. It is also easy to claim that they lacked learning or knowledge. For our culture it is so very natural to believe in progress and that in the future things are better than they were in the past.

Past is an alien culture always. It is easy to say and pretty easy even to understand in general level, but it is also one of the hardest challenges there are for us trying to understand a culture of more than 2000 years past. Roman culture had something in common with our own, but in general level there are more differences than similarities. These differences show both in superficial things, like clothes the Romans liked to wear, but also at very deep levels: sexual morals, mental settings and even as deep as in the emotions. Romans for example did not have similar concept of shame as we have. Our concept of shame becomes from judeo-christian culture. At every possible level of understanding and viewing the world, Romans were different from us. Not lower or higher, but simply different.

It takes years of practice to distance oneself from one´s own values, even to understand one´s values and reasons behind them. Only then one can start really understanding the Roman culture and society. Understanding of course doesn’t include liking or supporting, only understanding. This is also a great challenge for communicating anything about Roman history or culture: how to formulate ones thoughts into written or spoken form in order to create understanding instead of promoting a judgement? After all it is the duty of historian to do justice for the individuals and events of the past, not to judge them or use them as involuntary parts of a modern day argument.

I would like to suggest a method of teaching ancient culture and history. It revolves around this concept of understanding and reflecting cultural differences, as a starting point of learning about ancient cultures. For example making a short essay about how Roman concept of family or elections differ in our own concepts of them. Seeking first cultural differences and similarities could provide a fruitful and easy way into the very fascinating era and its cultures. For chronology and periodization there are plenty of time later on, first thing would be start understanding the cultural aspect. This approach should work very well at any level of education.

And even in wider pedagogical context: learning about cultural differences between our own and a past culture could help also to understand cultural differences of our own era!

Licinius married with Mucia and Mucius married with Licinia

I would like to take a look into manyfold family connections of the three consuls discussed previously in the context of general Roman history, namely the consul of 96 Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus and consuls of 95 L. Licinius Crassus and Q. Mucius Scaevola.

threeconsuls1

The family lines of three consuls.

There is a very strong connection between the Licini Crassi and Mucii Scaevolae through marriages. This is perhaps the reason why Crassi wished to send their son to serve with Ahenobarbus (cos 122). On the other hand we do not know anything about the marriages of Ahenobarbi before the children of Ahenobarbus (cos 96), so it might very well be that there had been connections there as well.

threeconsuls2

The marriages of the Ahenobarbi are unfortunately very poorly known.

Consuls of 95 are an interesting pair: Licinius married with Mucia and Mucius married with Licinia. In fact their grandparents were sisters. Consul of 171 P. Licinius Crassus is grandfather of consul 95 Licinius Crassus while his sister is grandmother of consul 95 Mucius Scaevola. Grandfather Crassus also adopted the uncle of consul 95 Scaevola, thus making him also an uncle by adoption to consul 95 Crassus!

threeconsuls3

Family relations of the consuls of the year 95.

Their marriages are also of an interest in this context. Crassus was married with Mucia, a daughter of cousin of Scaevolas father. This means that the line of Licinii Crassi that consul 95 Crassus belongs to is allied by adoption and marriage into both surviving lines of Mucii Scaevolae.

Perhaps not to be left second in this bonding, consul 95 Scaevola married not just one, but two Liciniae. The family connections of them are not clear, but I think it is a pretty safe to guess that they were close enough the consul of 95 Crassus, although we must keep in mind that Licinii were a rather large family with many lines.

In any case the three generations of Crassi and Scaevolae were closely connected with each other by several ties in family. Consul 171 Crassus, consul 175 Scaevola, consul 174 Scaevola, consul 133 Scaevola, consul 131 Scaevola (adopted as Crassus), consul 117 Scaevola, consul 95 Crassus and consul 95 Scaevola make a formidable multi-generation power block of 8 consuls in 80 years with close family ties! To these ties we know to add also Laelia and Claudia. Laelia was a daughter of C. Laelius Sapiens, consul of 140, she was married with consul of 117 Scaevola. Claudia was a daughter of C. Claudius Pulcher, consul of 177, and she was married with P. Mucius Scaevola (adopted as P. Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus, consul of 131. We might perhaps see here a finger print of either his biological father consul of 175 Scaevola or of adopted father consul of 171 Crassus – in any case this Claudia was very nicely connected with Claudii Pulchri, being also a sister of consul 143 Pulcher.

threeconsuls4

Connections of the extended families of the consuls of 95.

While not omnipotent, these family ties alone certainly made Crassus-Scaevola family block a force to reckon for anyone active in politics in Rome during the years of 170 – 95.

Licinii Crassi and Mucii Scaevolae had further interesting family ties with two powerful group of families: the Cornelii Scipiones and Caecilii Metelli. These ties were forged through marrying the daughters of Licinii with these families. Daughter of consul 131 Crassus (Scaevola) and Claudia was married to C. Sempronius Gracchus, who was a son of Ti. Sempronius Gracchus and Cornelia Africana, daughter of famous hero of Punic Wars, Scipio Africanus.

Daughter of consul 95 Licinius Crassus was married with P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio, who was consul at 111. Their son Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica was adopted by Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius (consul of 80) who in turn was married with Licinia of unknown relation to the Licini Crassi. Another daughter of consul of 95 Crassus was married to C. Marius, who was son of famed C. Marius, seven time consular.

Also Scaevola consul 95 had ties to the Caecili Metelli. With his first Licinia he had a daughter Mucia, who was married first with same C. Marius, consul of 82, as Licinia of his fathers consular colleague. Second time Mucia married with Cn. Pompeius Magnus and for third time with M. Aemilius Scaurus, who was son of M. Aemilius Scaurus, consul of 115 and famed princeps senatus, and Caecilia Metella. To close the circle the first Licinia of Scaevola consul 95 married with Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos, consul of 98, although this might not have had any particular political advantage to Scaevola, because he divorced the first Licinia because of her adultery!

cos 96 and 95

All known family connections of the extended families of the consuls of 95.

With the additional contacts between Cornelii Scipiones and Caecilii Metelli as well as between Caecilii Metelli and Claudii Pulchri, we have with these few families a sizeable collection of most known Roman statesmen of the era as well as about 20 consuls. This small group of people had a genuine and deep impact to the history of Rome and therefore history of western civilization.