Servilia (gens)

The gens Servilia was a patrician family at Rome. The gens was celebrated during the early ages of the Republic, and the names of few gentes appear more frequently at this period in the consular Fasti. It continued to produce men of influence in the state down to the latest times of the Republic, and even in the imperial period. The first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was Publius Servilius Priscus Structus in 495 BC, and the last of the name who appears in the consular Fasti is Quintus Servilius Silanus, in AD 189, thus occupying a prominent position in the Roman state for nearly seven hundred years.

Like other Roman gentes, the Servilii of course had their own sacra; and they are said to have worshipped a triens, or copper coin, which is reported to have increased or diminished in size at various times, thus indicating the increase or diminution of the honors of the gens. Although the Servilii were originally patricians, in the later Republic there were also plebeian Servilii.[1][2][3]


According to tradition, the Servilia gens was one of the Alban houses removed to Rome by Tullus Hostilius, and enrolled by him among the patricians. It was, consequently, one of the gentes minores. The nomen Servilius is a patronymic surname, derived from the praenomen Servius (meaning one who keeps safe or preserves), which must have been borne by the ancestor of the gens.[4][5]


The different branches of the Servilii each used slightly different sets of praenomina. The oldest stirpes used the praenomina Publius, Quintus, Spurius, and Gaius. The Servilii Caepiones used primarily Gnaeus and Quintus. The Servilii Gemini employed Gnaeus, Quintus, Publius, Gaius, and Marcus. The ancestors of the gens must have used the praenomen Servius, but the family no longer used it in historical times.[1]

Branches and cognomina

The Servilii were divided into numerous families; of these the names in the Republican period are Ahala, Axilla, Caepio, Casca, Geminus, Glaucia, Globulus, Priscus (with the agnomen Fidenas), Rullus, Structus, Tucca, and Vatia (with the agnomen Isauricus). The Structi, Prisci, Ahalae, and Caepiones were patricians; the Cascae plebeians. Other cognomina appear under the Empire. The only surnames found on coins are those of Ahala, Caepio, Casca, and Rullus.[1][6]

The cognomen Structus almost always occurs in connection with the those of Priscus or Ahala. The only Structus who is mentioned with this cognomen alone is Spurius Servilius Structus, who was consular tribune in 368 BC. The fact that Structus appears in two of the oldest stirpes of the Servilii, neither of which clearly predates the other, could indicate that persons bearing this surname were ancestral to both great houses.[1]

The Prisci were an ancient family of the Servilia gens, and filled the highest offices of the state during the early years of the Republic. They also bore the agnomen of Structus, which is always appended to their name in the Fasti, till it was supplanted by that of Fidenas, which was first obtained by Quintus Servilius Priscus Structus, who took Fidenae in his dictatorship, in 435 BC, and which was also borne by his descendants.[1]

Ahala, of which Axilla is merely another form, is a diminutive of ala, a wing. A popular legend related that the name was first given to Gaius Servilius Structus, magister equitum in 439 BC, because he hid the knife with which he slew Spurius Maelius in his armpit (also ala). However, this does not appear to be the case, since the name had been in use by the family for at least a generation before that event.[1]


Servilii Prisci

Servilii Ahalae

Servilii Structi

Servilii Caepiones

Servilii Gemini

Servilii Cascae

Servilii Vatiae

Servilii Rulli


Hypothetical family tree of the Servillii of the late Republic

Cn. Servilius
C. Servilius
Q. Servilius
Cn. Servilius Caepio, Cos. 253
Q. Servilius Geminus
P. Servilius Geminus, Cos. I 252, II 248
Cn. Servilius Caepio
Cn. Servilius Geminus, Cos. 217, d. 216
C. Servilius Geminus, changed to plebs, Pr. c.220, imprisoned 218-203
Cn. Servilius Caepio, Pont. 213, Cur.Aed. 207, Pr. 205, Cos. 203, d. 174
M. Servilius, Mil.Tr. 203
C. Servilius (Geminus), Decem.Sacr. before 218, Tr.Pl. 212, Pont. 210, Cos. 203, Dict. 202, land distribution Decem. 201, Pont. Max. 183, d. 180
M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, Aug. 211, Cos. 202, land distribution decem. 201, d. after 167
P. Servilius, land distribution Decem. 201
Q. Caecilius Metellus, Cos. 206
Cn. Servilius Caepio, Cur.Aed. 179, Pr. 174, Cos. 169
Servilius Glaucia, Envoy 162
C. Servilius, Pleb.Aed. 173
M. Servilius, Mil.Tr. 181, Pont. 170
Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, Cos. 143, Cens. 131
Q. Fabius Maximus Servilianus, Cos. 142, Cens. 120
Cn. Servilius Caepio, Cos. 141, Cens. 125
Q. Servilius Caepio, Cos. 140
C. Servilius Vatia, Mon. 127
Caecilia Metella
Q. Caecilius Metellus Baliaricus, Cos. 123, Cens. 120
Q. Fabius Maximus Eburnus, Q. 132, Pr. 119, Cos. 116, Cens. 108, d.c. 100
Cn. Servilius Caepio, Q., d.c. 105
Q. Servilius Caepio, Cos. 106, d.c. 100
Q. Lutatius Catulus, Cos. 102, d. 87
M. Servilius C.f., Mon. 100
C. Servilius, Pr. 102
Q. Fabius Maximus, d. after 100
Servilia, b.c. 105
Ap. Claudius Pulcher, Pr. 57, Propr. 56, Cos. 54, Cens. 50, d. 48
Q. Lutatius Catulus, Cos. 78, Cens. 65, d. 60
Lutatia (1)
Quintus Hortensius Hortalus (2), b.114, Cos. 69, d. 50
Servilia, d.c. 95
M. Livius Drusus, Tr. Plebs, d. 91
Marcus Porcius Cato (2), Candidate Pr., d.c. 93
Livia Drusa, d.c. 92
(1) Q. Servilius Caepio, Q. 100, Pr. 91, d. 90
Q. Hortensius, Pr. 45, d. 42
Hortensia, d. after 43
M. Junius Brutus (the elder), d. 77
Decimus Junius Silanus, Cos. 62, d.c. 60
Atilia (1)
M. Porcius Cato Uticensis (Cato the Younger) (1,3), b.95, Pr.54, d.46
(2,3) Marcia (2)
Q. Servilius Caepio, Q. d. 67
Claudia (1), m.c.54
M. Junius Brutus (2), (Q. Caepio Brutus, adopted by Q. Servilius Caepio, Q., d. 67 ), Pr. 44, main assassin of Caesar 44, d. 42
Porcia Catonis (2), d. 45
(1) M. Calpurnius Bibulus, Cos. 59, d. 48
P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus, Cos. 79, Cens. 55, d.44
M. Aemilius Lepidus, b. 120, Cos. 78, d. 77
P. Servilius Isauricus, Cos I 48, II 41
Junia I
Junia III
C. Cassius Longinus, Pr. 44, d. 42
Junia II
M. Aemilius Lepidus, Cos. I 46, II 42, Pont.Max. 44, Triumvir, d. 12
L. Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, Q. 59, Aed. 55, Pr. 53, Cos. 50, d. after 42
P. Servilius Vatia, b.c. 55, Pr. 25, d.c. A.D. 35
Servilia, d. 30
M. Aemilius Lepidus, b.c. 55, d. 30
Q. Aemilius Lepidus, b.c. 54, Cos. 21
Aemilia Lepida
Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, Cos. 34, Cens. 22, d. 13

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Fasti Capitolini.
  3. Gaius Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis, xxxiv. 13. s. 38.
  4. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, i. 30.
  5. George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897).
  6. Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, v. p. 308 ff.
  7. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, vi. 40.
  8. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iii. 6, 7.
  9. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia, ix. 67, 68.
  10. Paulus Orosius, Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII, ii. 12.
  11. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 22, 31, 36.
  12. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 31.
  13. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, ii. 49.
  14. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 30.
  15. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, iv. 45, 46.
  16. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vii. 22, 38.
  17. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, vi. 38.
  18. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, xv. 78.
  19. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum, xii. 5, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, ii. 16, In Verrem, i. 55.
  20. Sextus Julius Frontinus, De Aquaeductu, 8.
  21. Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History, ii. 10.
  22. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Fonteio 14.
  23. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita Epitome 72.
  24. Appianus, Bellum Civile, ii. 14.
  25. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Vita Caesarum, Caesar 21.
  26. Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Caesar, 14, Pompeius, 47.
  27. Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, i. 8. § 11.
  28. Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxv. 3.
  29. Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, xlviii. 28.
  30. Appianus, Bellum Civile, v. 58.
  31. Marcus Tullius Cicero, In Verrem, ii. 8.
  32. Marcus Tullius Cicero, In Verrem, iii. 71.
  33. Marcus Tullius Cicero, In Verrem, v. 54.
  34. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, viii. 8 § 3, Epistulae ad Atticum, vi. 3 § 10.
  35. Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, xii. 7, Philippicae, iv. 6.
  36. Aelius Lampridius, Alexander Severus, Commodus, 11.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

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