Titus Flavius ​​Postumius Quietus

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Titus Flavius ​​Postumius Quietus (* maybe 239/240; † probably before 285) was a Roman senator in the 3rd century and, together with Iunius Veldumnianus, he was an ordinary consul in 272. He came from the patrician class .

Consulate and name forms

Both in the consuls list in the Capitoline Lent and in two of the inscriptions in which he is listed as eponymous consul of the year for dating, he appears only with his Cognomen Quietus . Only an inscription from the Calixtus catacomb on the Via Appia , published for the first time in 1975 , which is also dated by mentioning his name, also mentions the gentile name Postumius . The names Titus and Flavius are not directly recorded, but were common in the Postumier family at that time and are therefore occasionally added.

Funerary inscription, political career and family

A funerary inscription that was found in the Calixtus catacomb near Rome gives the career of a Roman senator in two columns. Parts of the text are missing on all four pages; the remaining part measures 30 x 97 cm and has a letter height of 3.2 to 3.4 cm. Since the beginning of the inscription is also missing, both names of the buried are missing. However, the information on the left is generally assigned to Postumius Quietus in research. According to the “descending” (i.e. backwards) cursus honorum on the stone tablet, he was initially quaestor in the Senate at the suggestion of the emperor , then - also as the emperor's candidate - praetor (with the duties of praetor tutelaris ; this perhaps in the Years 269/270). The next office is the governorship in the province of Asia with the title of a legatus Augusti pro praetore (possibly 270/271), then the function as curator rei publicae (i.e. representative for the urban community) for Aeclanum and Ocriculum (today's Otricoli ) . The next step or the next two steps of the career ladder is or are not completely preserved on the inscription, since the beginning of all lines has been broken off and, in contrast to most of the remaining missing pieces, cannot be safely added. The preserved part is called "curatori viae / [...] et alimentorum". Postumius Quietus seems to have been the agent for the administration of a street and - at the same time or in a separate previously exercised office - for the supply ( alimenta ) of certain needy people. In his edition of the epitaph in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, the Hungarian-German ancient historian Géza Alföldy proposes the readings curator viae Flaminiae et alimentorum or curator viae Aemiliae et alimentorum , referring the office to the Via Flaminia or the Via Aemilia . In the first place and thus the last office in chronological order, the ordinary consulate is named in the inscription. At the very end of the surviving part, but independently of the rest of the career listed backwards, the priestly activity as a Flemish is listed (without further specification).

The right half of the inscription relates to Titus Flavius ​​Postumius Titianus , who was consul for the first time in an unknown year and for the second time in 301. Géza Alföldy therefore suspected that Titus Flavius ​​Postumius Quietus was his older brother. The great-grandfather of Postumius Titianus and the first consul in the family was Marcus Postumius Festus , who assumed the office in 160. Titus Flavius ​​Postumius Varus , Roman city prefect in 271, probably also belonged to the family.

Originally, the inscription probably adorned a common grave of the Postumius brothers, which may have been located near the Via Appia; at a later date it was cut to size for a new use (hence the missing parts) and placed in the Calixtus catacomb. The original installation site, i.e. the burial site of the two senators, is believed to be near where they were found. Today the inscription is in the Rijksmuseum in Leiden (inventory number Pb 23).

Wife and speculation about religious belief

It is possible that the consul of the year 272 is the same man who is mentioned in another grave under the name Postumius Quietus . This is also located in the catacombs of Rome , namely in a large chamber (the so-called Spelunca Magna ) of the Praetextatus catacomb . There a fragment of a marble sarcophagus was found that measures 23 x 30 cm, is 2.7 cm thick and is inscribed with an inscription made of 2 cm high letters. The find is now apparently lost.

The stone was broken off at the top and left and decorated with a wide frame strip on the exterior, which was still in its original state, i.e. at the bottom and right. Outside of this, on the far right, the right leg and the tip of a coat of a person who was supposed to represent a genius were depicted. In the text the buried, whose name is no longer available, is referred to as the wife of vir clarissimus (i.e. a member of the senatorial class) Postumius Quietus . The sarcophagus is dated to the middle to late 3rd century. The fact that the two sites were found close to each other, namely in catacombs on the Via Appia in the Parco della Caffarella, also speaks for the equation of the two people.

If the two people are the same, which could mean that Titus Flavius Postumius Quietus Christ was (or at least one Christian wife had) and this still did his career no harm. Emperor Aurelian , who ruled at the time of his consulate (270–275), took a comparatively tolerant attitude towards Christians just at the beginning of his rule. So although it is at least conceivable that a Christian held the consulate in those years, it cannot ultimately be said with certainty that the Christian Vir clarissimus and the consul of 272 were one and the same person. Another possibility is that the wife's tombstone was initially set up in a pagan grave - for example the nearby grave of the Postumier - and only found a second use in the catacomb, i.e. has no original Christian connection at all.


Individual evidence

  1. a b c For the dates of the life stations (with the exception of the confirmed year of the consulate) see Géza Alföldy , in: CIL Volume 6, Part 8, p. 4995 (commentary on inscription no. 41224 (= 1419)).
  2. CIL III, 1661 ; AE 1958, 159 (his name is not even preserved there, but rather modernized).
  3. ^ AE 1976, 72 .
  4. CIL VI, 1419 .
  5. See the photograph of the inscription in the Clauss-Slaby epigraphic database .
  6. a b c Andreas Fassbender: Investigations on the topography of tombs in Rome from the late republic to late antiquity. Dissertation, Cologne 2005, p. 269.
  7. a b Giuseppe Bovini, Hugo Brandenburg (arr.): Repertory of Christian-ancient sarcophagi. Volume 1: Rome and Ostia. Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1967, p. 240, no.588.
  8. CIL VI, 31749a .
  9. ^ Arnold Hugh Martin Jones , John Robert Martindale, John Morris : Quietus 2. In: The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (PLRE). Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1971, ISBN 0-521-07233-6 , p. 758.See also the entry on the inscription in the Epigraphic Database Bari (with photo) , where the inscription refers to the 2nd half of the 3rd Century is dated. More precise dating of the stone to the 260s or 270s is based on the assumption that the founder of the inscription was identical to the consul of 272; using them as an argument for this equation would therefore be a circular argument.
  10. ^ Peter Jacob: Aurelians reforms in politics and legal development (= Osnabrück writings on legal history. Volume 9). V & R Unipress, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89971-148-3 , p. 74.
  11. Alexander Weiß: Social Elite and Christianity. Studies on Ordo members among the early Christians (= Millennium Studies. Volume 52). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2015, ISBN 978-3-11-037380-6 , p. 199, no. 23 (incorrectly listed there as Pompeius Quietus ).
  12. ^ Andreas Fassbender: Investigations on the topography of tombs in Rome from the late republic to late antiquity. Dissertation, Cologne 2005, p. 273.