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Marcus Aurelius was a descendant of Augustus and Tiberius ?!?

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Let's start over...


Augustus and Scribonia bore Julia Caesaris (elder)


Julia Caesaris married Agrippa and bore Vipsania Julia (Julia the Younger)


Vispsania Julia married Lucius Aemilius Paulus and (here is where it is different) bore Aemilia Lepida


Aemilia Lepida married Marcus Junius Silanus Torquatus and they had five children none with the name Julia. Their children didn't fair very well in the political intrigues of the Julio-Claudians (though one daughter married the brother of Vitellius).


That tree doesn't follow, however....


Tiberius first wife was Vipsania Agrippina (before Augustus had him marry Julia the elder). They bore Drusus Julius Caesar (Nero Claudius Drusus or Drusus the Younger).


Drusus Julius Caesar married Livilla (she was the grandaughter of Marcus Antonius and Octavia [Augustus' sister]) and they bore another Julia who was known as Livia Julia.


This Julia married Gaius Rubellius Blandus and they bore Rubellia Bassa.


Rubellia Bassa did marry Gaius Octavius Laenas but the trail ends there. Neither Tacitus, Suetonius nor Cassius Dio make any mention of children by this couple. Frontinus mentions him as the curator of the Aqueducts during the reign of Tiberius, but no mention of his family. Even the dubious Historia Augusta doesn't make any of these references (as it would pertain to Marcus Aurelius later).


So here is where the big if's come in. I have some online charts that continue the progression and it plays out roughly as follows, but the evidence is scant. (Any details provided would be great).


If Lucius Octavius Laenas is the son of G. Octavius Laenas and Rubellia Bassa then the sequence can continue (but I don't know where the source material comes from to support this).


Here are the trouble spots...

L. Octavius Laenas married a woman by name of Pontia. This marriage seemingly produced a daughter by name of Octavia. (I cannot find source documentation)


This daughter Octavia seemingly married a Curtilius Mancia (I cannot find source documentation)


Their daughter Curtilia (clearly a Curtilia, if this name is correct, would've been the daughter of a Curtilius, but I cannot yet find the documentation) married Gnaeus Domitius Lucanus


Their daughter Domitia (Lucilla the Elder) (however from what I can tell, Domitia was the daughter of another spouse rather than Curtilia, which would have stopped the line) married P. Calvisius Tullus Ruso. (There also appears to have been some adoption in the line which is difficult to decipher but I am still looking Marcus Aurelius Stemmata) Pliny's letter 92 to Rufinus provides some evidence but frankly confuses the hell out of me.


Their daughter Domitia Lucilla (the Younger) married Marcus Annius Verus


Their son was Marcus Aurelius


However, I cannot find adequate source material through the ancients or in the Smith Dictionary for the connections between the Laenas line and the Domitius line.


In searching the various names involved this book keeps coming up... "Second Thoughts on the Imperial Succession from Nerva to Commodus" by Russel Mortimer Geer but as I don't have JSTOR access, I can't connect the dots.


It's interesting even if probably unprovable.

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So ,Primus Pilus , your conclusion (again) ?


Smith dictionary was written in c. 1870 or 1880 , so may be that he did not know of some materials ?

I have access to JSTOR and I have read Geer's article a year ago , I don't remember a refference (sp?) to Mancia or Curtilia (may be I am wrong about that) .


Any way , do you think that the genealogy can be a true one ? You said that you don't know about a source (so do I) , did syme reffered to the subject ? , PIR 2 ? Alfoldy ? Eck ?

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So ,Primus Pilus , your conclusion (again) ?


My conclusion is that I can't find enough source documentation to fill in the middle of the tree.


Here are the steps needed:

1. It needs to be proven that the son of G. Octavius Laenas and Rubellia Bassa was L. Octavius Laenas.


2. Did this L. Octavius Laenas (if he was the son of the above) marry a woman named Pontia?


3. Did they have a daughter by name of Octavia?


4. Did Octavia marry Curtilius Mancia?


5. Did they have a daughter named Curtilia?


6. Did Curtilia marry Gnaeus Domitius Lucanus? The answer here seems to be yes, but we still don't know if she is the daughter of Curtilius Mancia and Octavia in steps 4 and 5.


7. Was Domitia Lucilla (elder) the daughter of Curtilia or of another spouse of Gnaeus Domitius Lucanus (the adoption issue raised by Pliny's letter is confusing, but doesn't seem to indicate who the mother of Domitia actually was.)


After this Domitia Lucilla does seem to have married P. Calvisius Tullus Ruso and their daughter by the same name as the mother married Marcus Annius Verus in turn, leading to the birth of Marcus Aurelius.


Smith dictionary was written in c. 1870 or 1880 , so may be that he did not know of some materials ?


Absolutely, it's just a readily available source to track these names down as a starting point.


Any way , do you think that the genealogy can be a true one ?


It can be, but based on the obscurity of the names in the steps I highlighted above, its seems unlikely that it can be proven. However, I am continuing to look out of morbid curiosity.


If there is anyone who has access to JSTOR that can search some of these obscure names above... that would be greatly helpful. By the way, if we can prove the links, Marcus Aurelius would be more distantly related to Augustus through his sister (Octavia) and directly related to Tiberius. If the sequence is correct the relations would be as follows...

Marcus Aurelius would be the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Great Grand Nephew of Augustus (8 Greats and 1 Grand plus 1 niece makes MA 10 generations removed)


He would be the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandson of Tiberius (or 9 generations removed)

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Let us take it step by step as you suggested , so :


Syme wrote in "The consuls of a.d. 97 : addendum" (JRS 1954) that Octavius Laenas "the presumed parent of sergius Octavius Laenas Pontianus (con. ord 131)" was a first cusin of Nerva , his father , the maternal uncle of Nerva , had married Rubellia Bassa "daughter of Rubellius blandus and of Julia , the granddaugther of Tiberius Caesar" !!!


In "The marriage of Rubellius Blandus" (AJP 1982) Syme said that Nerva's mother , Sergia Plautilla had a brother , "Octavius Laenas" who married (as mentioned by him above) to Rebellia bassa . Now Syme is saying that "...their son leaves no trace" ! So syme actually recognised that there was a son , no name , no trace .


My conclusion is that Syme did not dismiss the possibility that the unnamed son continued the line .

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"...Nerva was one of a few men alive who could claim a family tie with the house of augustus ." note 9 - "...The Laenas who was the father of nerva's mother , Sergia Plautilla , may not have been the C. Octavius Laenas whose son married Rubellia Bassa . moreover , while the latter was certainly the daugther of the C. rubellius Blandus who in 33 married Julia , daugther of Drusus , it is quite possible that Blandus , who had been consul sometime before 21 , had been previously married and that Rubellia was a child of the earlier marriage ."


From "Second Thoughts on the Imperial Succession from Nerva to Commodus", by Russel Mortimer Geer

Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association .



"Nerva...his grandmother Plautilla's brother Octavius Laenas had married one Rubellia Bassa , great grand-daugther of Tiberius ."


From "Dio of Prusa and the Flavian Dynasty" , by Harry Sidebottom

The Classical Quarterly


So , there is a consensus about the line starting in Augustus or Tiberius until "Octavius Laenas" the son . There is a strong connection with Nerva but still did not find the marriage between Octavia and Curtilius - the missing link .

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