Gaius Sextius Calvinus

Portrait of Gaius Sextius Calvinus (Fountain of Preachers, Aix-en-Provence).

Gaius Sextius Calvinus was a consul of the Roman Republic in 124 BC. During his consulship, he joined M. Fulvius Flaccus in waging war against the Ligures, Saluvii, and Vocontii in the Mediterranean region of present-day France. He continued as proconsul in Gaul for 123–122. He had held office as praetor no later than 127.[1]

Sextius is most noted for giving his name to Aquae Sextiae, "the Baths of Sextius," a site of thermal springs that is modern-day Aix-en-Provence. There he established a garrison (castellum) below the Saluvian oppidum of Entremont.[2]

Sextius played a significant role in the military operations, concluded by Domitius Ahenobarbus and Fabius Maximus around 120 BC, that led to the annexation of Transalpine Gaul as a Roman province. He and Fulvius Flaccus were able to create a mile-wide line of communication linking the territory of longtime Roman ally Massilia (present-day Marseilles) to Cisalpine Gaul, already under Roman control.[3] He was given a triumph for victories over the three Gallic nations in 122.

Ara Calvini

The Ara Calvini in the Palatine Hill Museum

Around 92 BC, a G. Sextius Calvinus of praetorian rank restored an altar dedicated to sei deo sei divae ("whichever god or goddess").[4] Although most often identified as the son of the consul of 124 BC,[5] the elder Sextius is believed by E. Badian to have been responsible for the inscription.[6]

The small altar was found near Sant'Anastasia on the lower west part of the Palatine Hill in 1829. Made of travertine, it has the hourglass shape that came into use in Rome around the time of the Second Punic War. The Ara Calvini ("Altar of Calvinus"), sometimes called the Ara Dei Ignoti ("Altar of the Unknown God"), is in the collections of the Antiquario Palatino (Palatine Hill Museum).[7]

See also



  1. T.R.S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (American Philological Association, 1951, reprinted 1986), pp. 511, 512 (note 1), 515.
  2. H.H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68 (Routledge, 1988, 5th ed.), p. 40 online.
  3. Andrew Lintott, "The Roman Empire and Its Problems in the Late Second Century," in The Cambridge Ancient History (Cambridge University Press, 1994, 2nd rev. ed.), p. 24 online.
  4. Lawrence Richardson, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), p. 20 online. See also Samuel Ball Platner, The Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome (Allyn and Bacon, 1904, 2nd ed.), p. 138 online for transcription.
  5. Andrew Lintott, Cicero as Evidence: A Historian's Companion (Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 50, note 25 online; Mary Beard, John A. North, Simon Price, Religions of Rome (Cambridge University Press, 1998), vol. 1 p. 30 online. See map online from Lanciani's classic topographical work.
  6. E. Badian, review of A. Degrassi, CIL. Auctarium. Inscriptiones Latinae Liberae Rei Publicae: Imagines, in Journal of Roman Studies 58 (1968), p. 244, arguing that the younger Sextius never reached the praetorship; reiterated by T. Corey Brennan, The Praetorship in the Roman Republic (Oxford University Press, 2000), vol. 1, p. 298, note 212, and vol. 2, p. 902, note 156. Cicero speaks of the son (Brutus 130 and De Oratore 2.246 and 249) as an accomplished orator who suffered from ill health.
  7. Richardson, A New Topographical Dictionary, pp. 20–21.
  8. Broughton points out that Eutropius has confused the name of Sextius with that of Domitius, his successor, and is further incorrect in saying that Sextius's consular colleague G. Cassius Longinus took part in the Gallic war and triumph.
Political offices
Preceded by
Marcus Plautius Hypsaeus,
and Marcus Fulvius Flaccus
Consul of the Roman Republic
124 BC
with Gaius Cassius Longinus
Succeeded by
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus,
and Titus Quinctius Flamininus
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