Barea Soranus

Quintus Marcius Barea Soranus was a Roman Senator in the 1st century AD. Soranus was from the gens Marcia. He was the son of Quintus Marcius Barea, who was Suffect Consul in 26 and was twice Proconsul of the Africa Province. Barea during his time in Africa was based in Leptis Magna. Barea was an influential person in the African Province and had dedicated a temple in Leptis Magna, to the ‘Dei Augusti’ or ‘The August Gods’. Throughout the province, Barea has left various inscriptions.

His brother, Roman senator Quintus Marcius Barea Sura, was a friend to the future Roman Emperor Vespasian. His nieces were Marcia (mother of Ulpia Marciana and future Roman Emperor Trajan) and Marcia Furnilla (second wife of the future Roman Emperor Titus). Soranus was born and raised in Rome and while growing up he was tutored by Publius Egnatius Celer of Berytus.

His daughter Marcia Servilia Sorana (best known as "Servilia"), with whom he had a loving relationship, later married Roman Senator Annius Pollio. Soranus in 52 was suffect consul and (perhaps in 61) proconsul of Asia. The upright and considerate manner in which he treated the provincials won him their affection, but at the same time brought upon him the hatred of Roman Emperor Nero, who felt specially aggrieved because Soranus had refused to punish a city, which had defended the statues of its gods against the Imperial commissioners.[1] During the reign of Nero, Soranus was an elderly man.

Soranus was accused of intimacy with Gaius Rubellius Plautus (another person of Nero's hatred and his second cousin) and of endeavouring to obtain the goodwill of the provincials by treasonable intrigues. One of the chief witnesses against him was Publius Egnatius Celer. Soranus was condemned to death (in 65 or 66), and committed suicide. His daughter Servilia, who was charged with having consulted sorcerers (magi),[2] professedly in regard to her father's fate, but in reality with evil designs against the emperor, was involved in his downfall. The accuser, who was condemned to death in the reign of Roman Emperor Vespasian for his conduct on this occasion, is a standing example of ingratitude and treachery.[1][3]

Nerva–Antonine family tree



  1. 1 2 Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Soranus, Barea". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 430.
  2. The word magi often took on a derogatory meaning among the Romans, out of suspicion toward foreign forms of cult practice and divination; here it likely means "necromancers." Regarding Servilia, see Richard Gordon, "Imagining Greek and Roman Magic," in Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome, edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), pp. 213–214.
  3. See, for example, Juvenal Satire 3. 116-118
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