Journal of Roman Studies

Research Article

Some Flavian Connections

Gavin Townend

Before the accession of Vespasian it is rare to find anyone outside the imperial family holding the consulate more than once. From A.D. 70 onwards the pattern is established whereby prominent lieutenants of the emperor are distinguished in this way. Mucianus, of course, is outstanding: consul first c. 64, he appears in the Fasti again in 70 and 72, as a fitting honour for the architect of Flavian supremacy. The great general Plautius Silvanus, consul as long before as 45, is consul again in 74, on his return from governing Tarraconensis, a province which Vespasian evidently wished to render secure beyond doubt. In the inscription of Silvanus' career (ILS 986), Vespasian states his reasons, apparently based simply on a recognition of merit long unrewarded, rather than for services to the Flavian cause. A more obvious supporter is Q. Petillius Cerealis, consul in 70, probably after his departure to the Rhine, and again in 74, after settling the Batavian revolt and governing Britain: he had taken an active part in hostilities against the Vitellians, and was also connected to Vespasian by a propinqua affinitas (Tac., Hist. 111, 59). Eprius Marcellus, a less clearly military figure, but active on behalf of the Flavians, in opposition to the intransigent Helvidius Priscus, likewise goes straight to an important province, Asia (CIL X, 3853; XIV, 2612; P-W VI, 263–4; PIR E, 84), and returns to a second consulate in 74.