Spurius Postumius Albinus (Consul 186 BC)

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Spurius Postumius Albinus († 180 BC ) came from the Roman noble family of Postumier and was 186 BC. Chr. Consul .


According to the testimony of the Fasti Capitolini , Spurius Postumius Albinus was the son of a Lucius Postumius and grandson of an Aulus Postumius . He was also the older cousin of the three brothers Aulus , Spurius and Lucius Postumius Albinus , who lived in 180, 174 and 173 BC. Officiated as consuls.


For 189 BC Postumius was elected Praetor urbanus and Praetor peregrinus , but handed the latter office over to his colleague Quintus Fabius Pictor , because he exercised the function of a Flemish of Quirinus and was therefore not allowed to go to the province of Sardinia that had been assigned to him because of his religious duties . Since the consul Marcus Fulvius Nobilior in Greece and his counterpart Gnaeus Manlius Vulso fought in Asia and both were therefore absent from Rome , Postumius was given the task of regulating the affairs of the capital. Since the praetor Lucius Baebius Dives destined for Hispania ulterior had been fatally wounded by the Ligurians , Postumius sent a letter including a Senate resolution to Liguria , which called on the local prophet Publius Junius Brutus to take over the orphaned province of Hispania ulterior. There were also in Delphi found remains of two further letters of Postumius to the inhabitants of this Greek city and the Amphictyones on the legal status of Delphi and the sanctuary.


186 BC Postumius obtained the consulate together with Quintus Marcius Philippus . The main task of the two consuls was to smash the secret cults of the Bacchanalia , which were widespread throughout Italy . Accordingly, the Roman historian Titus Livius tells about the year 186 BC. Mainly from this activity of the consuls. From a related Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus , a copy engraved in ore with orders from the consuls to the Italian allies in Ager Teuranus (today Tirioli) in Bruttium has been preserved as the oldest inscribed political document in Rome. There are great differences of opinion among researchers as to the credibility of the account given by Livius. But it is noteworthy that Livy was extremely precise with the document of the Senate resolution. B. agrees on the point that after the suppression of the secret cult, the practice of its rites was only permitted to individual persons if they had submitted an application to the city praetor and this was approved by the Senate , with at least 100 of its members being present.

When depicting Livy on the Bacchanalia, it should be noted that he not only tells the events of a year, as is usual in annalistic reporting, but also includes events from a few years ago in his uniform composition, if this is factually necessary. The determination of the more precise chronological classification of the in the year 186 BC Events belonging to the BC itself is difficult, as this uniformly composed representation disrupted the normal structure of the annual reports. The only fixed point in time is that the Senate meeting attested to by the decision received regarding the bacchanalia did not take place until the nuns of October (around the middle of the year according to the Julian calendar) and was chaired by both consuls.

The cult of bacchania originated from Greek culture, came to Rome from southern Italy and attracted more and more members. The authorities were suspicious of secret associations anyway. In addition, there were rumors that Livy portrayed as true that the cult participants not only committed extravagant celebrations, but also committed serious crimes. After all, the extent of their activities is said to have become dangerous to the state. A youth named Publius Aebutius and his lover, the freed Fecenia Hispala , ultimately helped the consul Postumius decisively in uncovering the activities of the secret cult. The historian Friedrich Münzer points out that Livius' report about this ad of the lovers is free and decorated like a novel, but considers the names given to be historical, which could have been in the later-mentioned Senate resolution on the couple's reward and security. According to the same historian, the name of Sulpicia, Postumius' mother-in-law, may also have been borrowed historically and from family tradition.

After Postumius had learned about the alleged offenses of the Bacchanalia followers by Aebutius and his lover and was convinced of the correctness of their information, he informed the Senate. It was decided that the consuls with extraordinary powers should carry out inquiries throughout Italy into the apprehension of the members of the secret cult and measures to prohibit the celebration of its rites. The people were informed in a contio about the events of the bacchanalia and the alleged crimes and moral corruption were attributed to foreign religious practices that contradicted Roman moral concepts. Livy intentionally leaves it unclear which of the two consuls gave this address, which the Roman annalist freely worked out anyway. Thousands of people who participated in the Bacchanals were executed or imprisoned. Rewards were offered to catch fugitives. The practice of the rites of the Bacchanalia was only allowed under strict conditions under the control of the state and the sanctuaries of their followers were destroyed. Because of their extensive research trips through Italy, the consuls often stayed away from the capital at the same time and were represented by the city praetor.

The actual task of the consuls was the same as that of their predecessors: they should have taken the field together against the Ligurians. Because of the temporal order of the Livian annual representation, which was disturbed by the uniformly composed Bacchanalia report, it is not clear whether Postumius was still at war in Liguria after his investigations were completed. Livy only testifies that the second consul, Marcius Philippus, first finished his investigation and then fought extremely unhappily against the Apuans in his province . Postumius' investigations, which he even carried out in Apulia and Lucania , may have lasted until he returned to the capital to preside over the elections for the next year, promoting two relatives, including Aulus Postumius Albinus Luscus, to praetors could.

Further career and death

184 BC Postumius was elected as augur . This was a great recognition because he was the first member of his family to be accepted into one of the major quorums of priests. He fell relatively young in 180 BC. Victim of the plague . Therefore the complaints about the complaints of old age attributed to him by the speaker Cicero are to be regarded as fictitious.



  1. Livy 37:47, 8; 37, 50, 8; 37, 51, 6.
  2. Livy 37, 57, 4.
  3. Fasti Capitolini ; Livy 39, 6, 1; 39, 8, 1; among others
  4. Livy 39, 8, 1--20, 1.
  5. CIL I² 581
  6. Cf. SC de Bacchanalibus, lines 8f. and 17f. with Livy 39, 18, 9.
  7. Livy 39, 8, 3-14, 4.
  8. Livy 39:19, 3-7.
  9. F. Münzer (see Lit.), Col. 922.
  10. Livy 39, 14, 5ff.
  11. Livy 39: 15-16.
  12. Livy 39, 17-18
  13. Livy 39:18, 4; 39, 23, 4.
  14. Livy 39:20.
  15. Livy 39:23, 1-3.
  16. Livy 39, 45, 8.
  17. ^ Livy 40, 42, 6 and 13.
  18. Cicero, Cato 7.