Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro

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Quintus Naevius Cordus Sutorius Macro (* 21 BC ; † 38 ) was a Roman Praetorian prefect under the emperors Tiberius and Caligula from 31 to 38 AD . He had a decisive influence on the downfall of the powerful Guard Prefect Lucius Aelius Seianus and on the enthronement of Caligula.

Promotion to Praetorian Prefect

The 21 BC Macro, born in Alba Fucens in BC, was initially head of the Roman fire brigade and night watch as praefectus vigilum . This information can be found in an inscription from Alba Fucens. How long he was in office does not appear from it:

" Q (uintus) Naevius Q (uinti) f (ilius) Fab (ia) Cordus Sutorius Macro praefectus vigilum praefectus praetorii Ti (beri) Caesaris Augusti testam [e] nto dedit. "

"Quintus nevius Cordus Sutorius Macro, son of Quintus, from the district of Fabia, prefect of the fire departments, Praetorian prefect of Tiberius Caesar Augustus gave with his will (the amphitheater)."

- From a building inscription

In the throne of Tiberius had Sejanus (Sejanus) in addition to his father Lucius Seius Strabo the praetorian prefect appointed and was alone in the same year commander of the Praetorian Guard . Germanicus was planned as Tiberius' successor . After his death in 19 Sejan seemed to want to marry into the imperial family, perhaps to later become emperor himself, and he also increasingly used his position as Praetorian prefect to expand his power. At the same time, increasing conspiracies and intrigues among the Roman aristocracy became a nuisance to Tiberius, and at Sejan’s instigation he withdrew to the island of Capri in AD 26 and carried out his official duties from there by correspondence (with the Senate ). This correspondence was in turn controlled by Sejan and was now the most influential man in Rome. In 31 AD he became consul , but now Tiberius felt the power of Sejan was too threatening, appointed Macro (the exact motives are not entirely clear) as Praetorian prefect and sent him to Rome to arrest Sejan. In the Senate, he had a letter read out, which initially seemed to give the Sejan present further powers, but which then raised allegations against him. Sejan was arrested and executed that same day and his children under degrading circumstances.

This development is presented in more detail under Tiberius # Rise and Fall of Seianus and Sejan .

Relationship with Caligula

Macro's commitment to Caligula's line of succession is reflected in all of the sources. However, no clear statement can be made about the calculation. Writes Suetonius , Caligula that the woman macros Ennia Naevia deceived them in order to consolidate its views to the throne after the fall of Sejanus. Tacitus, on the other hand, describes that at that time Macro was trying harder every day to gain Caligula's favor. That's why he got his wife to pretend she was in love with Caligula in order to "lure him into her nets and tie him to a marriage contract". Caligula did not refuse anything - according to Tacitus - if only he came to power. Philo of Alexandria provides a more comprehensive account of the relationship between Caligula and Macro . He portrays Macro as an opportunist who acted out of the knowledge that Caligula was the sole candidate for the throne and supported the same "in all tasks that affected the empire". The assessment of Tiberius that Caligula was not capable of taking power, Macro tried "with all his might [...] to eliminate". Another reason for Macro's involvement was the influence of his wife, who "for secret motives incited her husband day after day and encouraged him never to get tired of his efforts and help for the young prince". On the basis of further descriptions of Philos the impression arises that Macro tried to educate the young heir to the throne for the upcoming office. Caligula was constantly informed of behavior that was inappropriate for a future Princeps . In addition, Macro tried to make Caligula aware of the role of the Princeps and gave him detailed speeches on the "art of governing the state". Philo concludes: "With such trains of thought the unfortunate tried to develop magic in order to improve Gaius morally". The influence would be kept within limits against the background of the representation of Philos, even achieved the opposite. Gaius had compromised his "teacher" in public with accusations such as "There is the teacher of a student [...] who demands that the emperor obey his subject". Furthermore, there were "false, but credible and convincing allegations against Macro". Obviously Macro was unimpressed. Because he had saved Caligula's life three times and protected him from Tiberius, who “sought his life”.

Influence on Caligula's takeover

Macro's influence on the inauguration of Caligula is confirmed by the ancient authors Tacitus and Cassius Dio on the basis of the description of the death of Tiberius. Tacitus describes that Tiberius came to after he had already been declared dead. Then, according to Tacitus, the following happened: Macro intrepidus opprimi senem iniectu multae vestis iubet discedique ab limine. (“Unafraid, Macro ordered a pile of blankets to be thrown at the old man.”) Dio depicts that Caligula suffocated the dying Tiberius with “many thick pieces of clothing” and was supported by Macro. Suetonius reports, however, that Caligula poisoned Tiberius and finally strangled him by hand, without mentioning Macro in this context. It can be assumed that Macro, having already supported Caligula extensively, was involved in an alleged murder. After Tiberius was dead, the Praetorians waiting in Misenum welcomed Caligula as the new emperor.


During the first year of Caligula's reign, he developed an increasing distrust of Macro. It can be assumed that he feared his unscrupulousness, which Macro had demonstrated for him in the murder of Tiberius. Philo sees Caligula's growing displeasure with Macro as being rooted in his rebukes of the emperor and states: “Whenever Gaius saw him approaching from afar, he said to his companions in this sense: 'Let's not smile, let's look at the ground! The rebuke comes [...] who has now started to school a man '[...] "Cassius Dio reports that, despite the" love "and the" benefits ", Caligula ordered Macros and Ennias Macro to be praefectus Aegypti and thus both forced to suicide have. In addition, he had accused Macro of pimping and thereby involved him in "shameful behavior". At the beginning of AD 38, Macro and his wife Ennia Naevia committed suicide.



  1. ^ AE 1957 250
  2. ^ Cassius Dio , Römische Geschichte 58,9,2-3
  3. Suetonius, Caligula 12.2
  4. ^ Tacitus, Annals 6, 45.
  5. Philon of Alexandria , Legum allegoriae. (Phil. Leg.) 32.
  6. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 34 f.
  7. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 39.
  8. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 41 ff.
  9. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 47.
  10. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 52.
  11. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 53.
  12. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 57.
  13. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 58.
  14. ^ Tacitus, Annals 6:50.
  15. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 58, 28, 3
  16. Suetonius, Caligula 12.2
  17. Philon of Alexandria, Legum allegoriae. 57 f.
  18. ^ Cassius Dio, Römische Geschichte 59,10,6-7
  19. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History 59,10,6
predecessor Office successor
Aulus Avillius Flaccus Prefect of the Roman Province of Egypt
Gaius Vitrasius Polli II (?)