Sallustius Lucullus

Sallustius Lucullus

Sallustius Lucullus (d. c. 89) was a governor of Roman Britain during the late 1st century, holding office after Gnaeus Julius Agricola although it is unclear whether he directly inherited the post or if there was another unknown governor in between. From epigraphic evidence it is possible he was of British descent.

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Little is known of him other than the story recorded by Suetonius that Emperor Domitian put him to death for naming a new lance after himself. [Suetonius, "Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Domitian" [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/Domitian*.html#10.3 10.3] ] This story may mask another reason for Sallustius' execution; the possibility that he took part in the conspiracy of Lucius Antonius Saturninus, legate of Germania Superior, which was put down in the spring of 89. [Suetonius, "Domitian" [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/Domitian*.html#6.2 6.2, 7] ; Dio Cassius, "Roman History" [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/67*.html#11 67.11] ]

It is possible that he may be identified with the Lucius Lucullus who was proconsul of Hispania Baetica, and a student of marine life, at the time Pliny the Elder wrote his "Natural History" (c. 77). [Pliny the Elder, "Naturalis Historia" [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0137:book=9:chapter=48 9.48] ] This Lucullus would have been of appropriate rank to be appointed governor of Britain at the right date. [Letters, "Current Archaeology" 206, 2006, p. 51]

Dr. Miles Russell has suggested another possibility. An inscription from Chichester, recorded by Samuel Woodford in his "Inscriptionum Romano-Britannicarum Conllectio" (1658) but since lost, refers to Sallustius Lucullus, giving his "praenomen" as Gaius and describing him as a propraetorian legate of the emperor Domitian. Another inscription from Chichester, discovered in 1923, refers to a "Lucullus, son of Amminus". Russell suggests that this is the same Lucullus, and that his father was the native British prince Amminus, son of Cunobelinus, who fled to Rome c. 40. He also argues that Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, was built for Sallustius Lucullus as governor, rather than, as is often argued, for the client king Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus. Although other archaeologists have dated the construction of the palace to c. 73, Russell's reinterpretation of the ground plan and finds leads him to date the palace after 92, which would be consistent with Lucullus rather than Cogidubnus as its occupant. [Miles Russell (2006), "Roman Britain's Lost Governor", "Current Archaeology" 204, 2006, pp. 630-635; Miles Russell (2006), "Roman Sussex", Tempus, Stroud; [http://www.roman-britain.org/people/lucullus.htm Sallustius Lucullus] at [http://www.roman-britain.org/ Roman-Britain.org] ] However, other scholars argue against Russell's identification of the Lucullus of the 1923 inscription with the Roman governor. Woodford's missing inscription was dismissed as a fake by R. G. Collinwood and R. P. Wright in their "Roman Inscriptions of Britain" (1965): its mention of Domitian, whose name was removed from public inscriptions following his "damnatio memoriae", argues for its inauthenticity, and the governors of Britain were proconsuls, not propraetors. The second inscription does not follow Roman naming conventions, meaning it is unlikely to refer to a Roman citizen, [Various, "Lucullus: a new governor? Or not? The case against", "Current Archaeology" 205, 2006, pp. 48-49; Letters, "Current Archaeology" 205, 2006, p. 51] but rather the conventions of Latin text occuring on Celtic coins circulating in Britain just prior to the 43 invasion, suggesting a British individual of the same name.

Military activity

Archaeology can tell us something of Roman military activity in the years following Agricola's recall in 84. Sallustius (or his unknown predecessor, if one existed) may have attempted to consolidate Agricola's victories in Scotland by building the Glen Forts which Peter Salway dates to his rule. Forts at Ardoch and Dalswinton in southern Scotland, which Agricola had built, were extensively rebuilt in the late 80s and evidence of improvements of other military installations in the region points to a strong presence in the Scots Lowlands.

Inchtuthil was abandoned around this time as well however and it is likely that demands for troops elsewhere in the empire denied Sallustius enough manpower to continue to hold the far north. There is archaeological evidence that some of the Roman watchtowers in northern Scotland remained occupied until 90, however.

All in all, it is likely that troop shortages forced Sallustius to withdraw from northern Scotland but still permitted him to occupy the south.

References

sequence
prev=Gnaeus Julius Agricola
next=Unknown, then Publius Metilius Nepos
list=Roman governors of Britain


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