Licinius (gens)

Licinius (gens)

Licinius was a celebrated plebeian gens of Ancient Rome. One person who belonged to the gens was C. Licinius Calvus Stolo, who helped in the efforts to allow plebeians to become consul. The Licinius became one of the most illustrious gentes in the latter days of the republic, by the Crassi and Luculli, who were likewise members of it.


The origin of the gens is uncertain. A bilingual inscription, published by Lanzi ("Saggio di Lingua Etrusc". vol. ii. p. 342, Rom. 1789), shows that the name of "Lecne", which frequently occurs in Etrus­can sepulchral monuments, corresponds to that of iciniuss, which contributes to the theory that the family was of Etruscan origin.

This opinion is supported by the fact that in the consulship of C. Licinius Calvus Stolo, 364 BC, Etruscan players took part in the public games at Rome. A counter-argument to this is that it is recorded by Livy that scenic games were established in this year to avert the anger of the gods, and that Etruscan players were accordingly sent for (Liv. vii. 2), thus it is not necessary to imagine that this was done simply because Licinius kept up his connection with Etruria.

The name is also found in the cities of Latium, both in the form of a cognomen (Licinus), and of the gentile name (Licinius). In Tusculum there is the Porcii Licini, and in Lanuvium there are the Licinii Murenae. The name would therefore seem to have been originally spread both through Etruria and Latium.

The first member of this gens who obtained the consulship was the celebrated C. Licinius Calvus Stolo, in 364 BC. From this period down to the later times of the empire, the Licinii constantly held some of the higher offices of the state, until eventually they obtained a Licinii, Valerian, became emperor.


A few Licinii occur without a surname.

The family-names of this gens are:
*"Calvus" (with the agnomens "Esquilinus" and Stolo*)
*"Crassus" (with the agnomen "Dives")*

These other cognomens of this gens are personal sur­names rather than family-names:

* = The only cognomens which occur on coins.

Famous Licinii

* Gaius Licinius Stolo, early tribune/consul
* Lucius Licinius Murena, consul 62 BC
* Gaius Licinius Macer, tribune, praetor 68 BC, and annalist
* Gaius Licinius Macer Calvus, orator, poet
* Publius Licinius Stolo, moneyer under Augustus
* Licinius Imbrex, poet
* Larcius Licinius, writer
* Gaius Licinius Mucianus, general of Vespasian
* Lucius Licinius Sura, consul 102
* Publius Licinius Valerianus (Valerian), emperor 253-260
* Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, emperor 253-268
* Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus Licinius, emperor 307-324

# Publius Licinius Crassus (consul 171 BC), consul in 171 BC, son of Gaius Licinius Varus
# Gaius Licinius Crassus (consul 168 BC), consul in 168 BC, brother of the previous
# Gaius Licinius Crassus, tribune of the plebs in 145 BC (?), son of the previous
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 205 BC), consul in 205 BC
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, son of the previous
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus, consul 131 BC, adopted son of the previous
# Marcus Licinius Crassus Agelastus, son of #5
# Marcus Licinius Crassus, praetor in 107 BC, son of the previous
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 97 BC), consul in 97 BC, son of #7
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, d. 87 BC, son of the previous
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, son of the previous
# Licinius Crassus Dives, son of #9
# Marcus Licinius Crassus, triumvir, son of #9, married Tertulla, daughter of Marcus Licinius Lucullus
# Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives, quaestor of Julius Caesar, son of the previous
# Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 30 BC), consul in 30 BC, son of the previous
# Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 14 BC), consul in 14 BC, adopted son of the previous
# Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi, consul in 27, son of the previous
# Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus, adopted heir to Galba, son of the previous
# Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, legate of Julius Caesar, son of #13, married Cornelia
# Lucius Licinius Crassus, consul in 95 BC, married Mucia
# Lucius Licinius Crassus Scipio, nephew and adopted son of the previous

The Luculli were a plebeian family of the Licinia gens. It does not appear in history until the close of the Second Punic war. Among them:
# Lucius Licinius Lucullus, aedile curule in 202 BC
# Lucius Licinius Lucullus, consul 151 BC, son of the previous
# Lucius Licinius Lucullus, praetor in 104 BC, son of the previous, married Caecilia Metella, daughter of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus,
# Lucius Licinius Lucullus, consul in 74 BC, son of the previous
# Lucius Licinius Lucullus, died at the Battle of Philippi, 42 BC, son of the previous
# Marcus Licinius Lucullus, consul in 73 BC, son of #3. Adopted in to the gens Terentia as Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus.


* Smith, "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology", [ v. 1, page 872] , [ v. 2, page 831]


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