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Quintus Junius Blaesus (? – 31) was a Roman novus homo ("new man," that is, the first member of his family to gain entrance to the Roman nobility) who lived during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. He was the maternal uncle of Lucius Aelius Sejanus, the Praetorian Prefect of the Emperor, Tiberius.

Career[edit | edit source]

Nothing is known of the career of Quintus Junius Blaesus prior to 10, when he served as suffect consul with Servius Cornelius Lentulus Maluginensis.

Blaesus subsequently appears as commander of the armies stationed in Pannonia when a mutiny broke out after the death of Augustus in 14. According to Tacitus, after military service in the Great Illyrian Revolt, soldiers were unhappy with their payment of swampy and mountainous Pannonian lands and demanded restitution. To ease tensions, Blaesus offered to commit suicide, but his request was ignored.[1] According to the Roman historian Cassius Dio, the soldiers arrested and tortured his slaves, and then attempted to kill Blaesus. However, he managed to temporarily restore order by convincing them to send envoys to the Roman Senate.[2] In response, Tiberius sent his son Drusus to put down the rebellion, accompanied by Sejanus and two Praetorian cohorts.

Blaesus next post was that of proconsul of Africa from 21 to 23. It seems that this station was achieved at least partially through the influence of his nephew, Sejanus, in so far as the fact that Blaesus was Sejanus' uncle convinced the other possible choice, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus to withdraw from contention.[3]

During his time as governor in Africa, Blaesus was successful in defeating a revolt by the Numidian warlord Tacfarinas, a victory for which he earned triumphal honors.[4]

Blaesus' career came to an end in 31, when his nephew Sejanus was accused of treason and executed by order of Tiberius. As a result of his connection to Sejanus, Blaesus was put on trial as one of his associates. However, instead of awaiting execution, he chose to commit suicide.[5]

Marriage and Family[edit | edit source]

The identity of the wife of Quintus Junius Blaesus is unknown, as is the date of their marriage. However, by her, Blaesus is known to have had at least two children, both sons, each of whom became consuls in their own right: Quintus Junius Blaesus (?suffect consul 26) and Junius Blaesus (suffect consul 28).[6]

These sons both committed suicide in 36, when Tiberius transferred to others the priesthoods that had previously been promised to the Blaesi during their family's ascendance.[7]

The last known descendant of Quintus Junius Blaesus (suffect consul 10) was a grandson, Junius Blaesus, who was murdered in 69 by the then Emperor, Vitellius.[8]

See also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Tacitus, Annals I.18
  2. Cassius Dio, Roman History LVII.4
  3. Tacitus, Annals III.35
  4. Tacitus, Annals III.72, III.73
  5. Tacitus, Annals V.7
  6. Syme, R. Augustan Aristocracy (1989), pp. 163, 304
  7. Tacitus, Annals VI.40
  8. Tacitus, Histories II.38.3

References[edit | edit source]

  • Syme, Ronald; Augustan Aristocracy (Oxford University Press, 1989). ISBN 0-19-814731-7, ISBN 978-0-19-814731-2
  • Tacitus, Annals
  • Tacitus, Histories
  • Cassius Dio, Roman History

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Publius Cornelius Dolabella (consul 10) with Gaius Junius Silanus
Suffect consul of the Roman Empire with Servius Cornelius Lentulus Maluginensis
Succeeded by
Manius Aemilius Lepidus (consul 11 CE) with Titus Statilius Taurus
Preceded by
Lucius Apronius
Proconsul of Africa
21 – 23
Succeeded by
Publius Cornelius Dolabella

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