Ulpia (grandmother of Hadrian)

Roman aureus struck under Trajan, c. 115. The reverse commemorates both Trajan's natural father & Ulpia‘s brother, Marcus Ulpius Traianus (right), and his adoptive father, the Deified Nerva (left).

Ulpia (about 31 - before 86) was a noble Spanish Roman woman from the gens Ulpia during the 1st century CE.

Her mother is unknown and her paternal ancestors moved from Italy and settled in Italica (near modern Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica in the late 3rd century BC. Her brother was Marcus Ulpius Traianus, who served as a distinguished Roman general and was the first person in her family to enter the Roman Senate. He was the biological father of Trajan, adopted son and heir of the deified Nerva.

Ulpia married a Roman Senator called Publius Aelius Hadrianus Marullinus, a wealthy and aristocratic Hispanic Roman from the gens Aelia. Ulpia and Marullinus had at least a son, Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, who would become a distinct Roman soldier and politician. He married a noble Spanish Roman woman called Domitia Paulina and the couple had Aelia Domitia Paulina and Publius Aelius Hadrianus or Hadrian, who was adopted by Trajan and became his heir.

Through Ulpia’s brother, she was the paternal aunt to Ulpia Marciana and Trajan. She was also a great maternal aunt to Marciana’s daughter Salonina Matidia and a great-great maternal aunt to Roman Empress Vibia Sabina, who married his grandson Hadrian.

Nerva–Antonine family tree

See also


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