ⓘ Suellia gens


ⓘ Suellia gens

The gens Suellia was a minor plebeian family at ancient Rome. Members of this gens first appear in the time of the Republic, but few are mentioned by ancient writers. Others are known from inscriptions. The Suellii are easily confused with the Suilii, although there is a possibility that the two gentes were in fact identical. The most illustrious of this family was probably Gnaeus Suellius Rufus Marcianus, who was consul during the reign of Commodus.


1. Origin

The nomen Suellius appears to belong to a class of gentilicia typically formed from cognomina with diminutive endings, such as -ulus, or the double diminutive -illus, but occasionally formed directly from surnames without these endings. The greater number of Suellii mentioned in inscriptions came from Samnium, strongly indicating that this gens was of Samnite origin.


2. Praenomina

The Suellii used a variety of common praenomina, chiefly Marcus, Gnaeus, and Gaius. One of the earlier inscriptions provides an example of the relatively distinctive praenomen Vibius, which was relatively uncommon at Rome, although more abundant in the countryside.


3. Branches and cognomina

Most of the Suellii known from epigraphy lived during imperial times, when the surnames assumed by the Roman nobility were highly changeable, but a distinct family of the Suellii at Ligures Baebiani, where they bore the cognomina Flaccus and Rufus. Both of these belonged to an abundant type of cognomen derived from the physical features of individuals, with Flaccus designating someone flabby, or with large or floppy ears, while Rufus, "reddish", usually referred to someone with red hair. This family may have originated at Beneventum. Quartus, the surname of a colonial family of north Africa, would originally have designated a fourth son or fourth child.


4. Members

This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.
  • Suellius, named in an inscription from Onnum in Britannia, dating between the middle of the second century and the end of the third.
  • Suellius Saturninus, one of the duplicarii, or soldiers entitled to double pay, in the Legio III Augusta at Lambaesis in Numidia during the reign of Elagabalus.
  • Suellius, buried in a first-century tomb at Herculaneum in Campania.
  • Marcus Suellius M. l. Zeno, one of the freedmen of Marcus Suellius Cruscillio, named in an inscription from Ostia, dating from the first half of the first century.
  • Suellius, buried at Beneventum in Samnium, with a monument from his parents.
  • Marcus Suellius M. l. Amabilis, one of the freedmen of Marcus Suellius Cruscillio, named in an inscription from Ostia in Latium, dating from the first half of the first century.
  • Gnaeus Suellius, buried in a first-century tomb at Uria in Apulia, dedicated by his wife, Suellia Primigenia, and daughter, Suellia Festa.
  • Suellia Ɔ. P. l. Anna, the freedwoman of Publius Suellius Luscus and his wife, and the wife of Quintus Vergilius Philotimus, was buried with her husband at Ostia, in a sepulchre built by Quintus Vergilius Amphio and Quintus Vergilius Apollonius for them, their freedman, Quintus Vergilius Hilarus, Quintus Vergilius R.
  • Suellius Secundinus, probably a freedman serving in the Vigiles, who participated in a military play in the role of stupidus, a fool, in AD 212.
  • Gnaeus Suellius Vitalio, a soldier in the century of Septimius Romulus, in the fifth cohort of the Vigiles at Rome in AD 205.
  • Gaius Suellius T. f. Aemilianus, an eques, and one of the local magistrates at Peltuinum during the middle or late first century BC, along with Quintus Suellius.
  • Suellius Septiminus, dedicated a fourth-century sepulchre at Salona in Dalmatia for his wife, Desidiena Profutura, and son, also named Suellius Septiminus.
  • Suellius Septiminus, buried at Salona, along with his mother, Desidiena Profutura, with a monument from his father, also named Suellius Septiminus.
  • Marcus Suellius Sindaeus, named in a sepulchral inscription from Bovianum Undecimanorum in Samnium, dating between 27 BC and AD 50.
  • Gnaeus Suellius Cn. f., a quaestor from Beneventum, named together with several others in an inscription dating from the middle or late third century BC.
  • Gaius Suellius P. f., named in an inscription from Venafrum in Samnium, dating between 50 and 20 BC.
  • Titus Suellius Vitalis, buried at Uchi Maius, where he had lived for sixteen years.
  • Quintus Suellius Q. f., an eques, and one of the local magistrates at Peltuinum in Samnium during the middle or late first century BC, along with Gaius Suellius Aemilianus.
  • Vibius Suellius C. f., an eques, and one of the aediles at Peltuinum during the first half of the first century BC.
  • Gaius Suellius, named in an inscription from Rome.
  • Suellia, buried in a second-century family sepulchre at Aufidena in Samnium.
  • Marcus Suellius M. l. Saturus, a freedman named in an inscription from Rome.
  • Marcus Suellius M. l. Secundus, one of the freedmen of Marcus Suellius Cruscillio, named in an inscription from Ostia, dating from the first half of the first century.


5. Bibliography

  • Paul von Rohden, Elimar Klebs, & Hermann Dessau, Prosopographia Imperii Romani The Prosopography of the Roman Empire, abbreviated PIR, Berlin 1898.
  • Gustav Wilmanns, Inscriptiones Africae Latinae Latin Inscriptions from Africa, abbreviated ILAfr, Georg Reimer, Berlin 1881.
  • George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII, pp. 103–184 1897.
  • La Carte Archeologique de la Gaule Archaeological Map of Gaul, abbreviated CAG, Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 1931–present.
  • Emilio Magaldi, Rivista di Studi Pompeiani Journal of Pompeian Studies, abbreviated RSP, Tipografia G. Torella & Figlio, Napoli 1934–present.
  • Theodor Mommsen et alii, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum The Body of Latin Inscriptions, abbreviated CIL, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften 1853–present.
  • John C. Traupman, The New College Latin & English Dictionary, Bantam Books, New York 1995.
  • Friedrich Hild, Supplementum epigraphicum zu CIL III: das pannonische Niederosterreich, Burgenland und Wien 1902–1968, Vienna 1968.
  • Rene Cagnat et alii, LAnnee epigraphique The Year in Epigraphy, abbreviated AE, Presses Universitaires de France 1888–present.
  • August Pauly, Georg Wissowa, et alii, Realencyclopadie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft Scientific Encyclopedia of the Knowledge of Classical Antiquities, abbreviated RE or PW, J. B. Metzler, Stuttgart 1894–1980.

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