n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Suetonius 3 : the status of Flavia Domitilla

Volume 53, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The citizenship status of Flavia Domitilla, the wife of the emperor Vespasian, has frequently been the subject of scholarly comment, but has never been explained adequately. In his , Suetonius merely spares a few lines for this unlikely imperial wife, who came from a seemingly obscure and indeed disadvantaged background. Flavia Domitilla is generally regarded as having been a freed woman or born in captivity and is, therefore, an implausible choice of wife for a member of the senatorial order. However, a closer examination of the case indicates that she may well have been freeborn, yet was also born into Junian Latin status. The article draws on legislation regarding Junian Latins in imperial Rome and discusses the legal as well as customary marital prerequisites for Roman senators.

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