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Caius Petronius Niger

Gentes patricae during the early principate

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I'm looking for a list of the Roman patrician families during the early principate, specifically under Nero (54 - 68 AD). Does anyone know if such lists exist?

I need it for a sub-chapter in a master's thesis on Nero's senatorial policies, and was hoping to avoid having to make one from scratch. It seems that most such compilations mainly treat the republican era, which makes them less useful for me, since the composition of the patrician social class changed under the early emperors.


Any help would be appreciated.

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The only list the Romans may have passed on even close to your requirements was the census of Claudius, the Caesar before Nero. The Census was important in the Republic but from Sulla onward it had a more sporadic treatment. The last republican census was called in 22BC by Augustus, although some Caesars found it useful to call one ad hoc for admin purposes - particularly Claudius, the immediate predecessor of Nero. Whether this census list still survives I couldn't say, but that's what you need to look for. Bear in mind however that the increasingly turbulent senatorial political arena had many members preferring to be as anonymous as possible, enjoying the prks of senatorial status, avoiding the risks, and basically moving in temporary factions for safety.

Whilst your intent to be historically accurate is commendable, in this respect you would be excused for some poetic license. Populate the Senate with the people your story needs - even romanophiles like me aren't likely to insist on exact placement - although using references to famous or infamous members would add period accuracy. You can get such from the works of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dio.

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