Herodes Atticus (Greek: Ἡρώδης; AD 101–177) was an Athenian rhetorician, as well as a Roman senator. A great philanthropic magnate, he and his wife Appia Annia Regilla, for whose murder he was potentially responsible, commissioned many Athenian public works, several of which stand to the present day. He was one of the best-known figures of the Antonine Period,[4] and taught rhetoric to the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, and was advanced to the consulship in 143. His full name as a Roman citizen was Lucius Vibullius Hipparchus Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes.[5]

Herodes Atticus
Herodes Atticus bust, from his villa at Kephissia. mid-2nd century
Lucius Vibullius Hipparchus Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes[1]

Died177 (aged 75–76)[2]
Occupation(s)Imperial magistrate, engineering and architectural consultant
Employer(s)Senate and people of Rome
OrganizationImperial administration
Criminal chargesFirst-degree murder of his wife[3]
Criminal statusExonerated by emperor Marcus Aurelius

According to Philostratus, Herodes Atticus, in possession of the best education that money can buy, was a notable proponent of the Second Sophistic. Having gone through the cursus honorum of civil posts, he demonstrated a talent for civil engineering, especially the design and construction of water-supply systems. The Nymphaeum at Olympia was one of his dearest projects. However, he never lost sight of philosophy and rhetoric, becoming a teacher himself. One of his students was the young Marcus Aurelius, last of the "Five Good Emperors". M.I. Finley describes Herodes Atticus as "patron of the arts and letters (and himself a writer and scholar of importance), public benefactor on an imperial scale, not only in Athens but elsewhere in Greece and Asia Minor, holder of many important posts, friend and kinsman of emperors."[6]

Ancestry and family edit

Herodes Atticus was a Greek of Athenian descent. His ancestry could be traced to the Athenian noblewoman Elpinice, a half-sister of the statesman Cimon and daughter of Miltiades.[7] He claimed lineage from a series of mythic Greek kings: Theseus, Cecrops, and Aeacus, as well as the god Zeus. His father's family, known as the Claudii of Marathon, rose to prominence in the late first century BC, when his great-great-great grandfather Herodes and his great-great grandfather Eucles forged links with Julius Caesar and Augustus.[8][9] The family received Roman citizenship from Emperor Claudius, receiving the Roman nomen Claudius.[10] They were exceptionally wealthy.[11]

Herodes' father, Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes entered the Roman Senate and became Roman consul, the first Athenian to do so.[12] His mother was the wealthy heiress Vibullia Alcia Agrippina.[7][13][14] He had a brother named Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodianus and a sister named Claudia Tisamenis.[7] His maternal grandparents were Claudia Alcia and Lucius Vibullius Rufus, while his paternal grandfather was Hipparchus.[14]

His parents were related as uncle and niece.[13][14][15] His maternal grandmother and his father were sister and brother.[14][15] His maternal uncle Lucius Vibullius Hipparchus was an Archon of Athens in the years 99–100[14][16] and his maternal cousin, Publius Aelius Vibullius Rufus, was an Archon of Athens between 143–144.[14][16]

Life edit

Portrait of Herodes Atticus. Marble Roman artwork, ca. 161 AD. Found in Probalinthos, Attica, Greece. — Louvre, France.
Bust of Polydeukes, favourite of Herodes Atticus[17]Altes Museum, Berlin
Memnon the Ethiopian, foster child and student of Herodes Atticus; marble bust, c. 170 AD, from the villa of Herodes Atticus at Eva, Peloponnese.

Herodes Atticus was born in Marathon, Greece,[18] and spent his childhood years between Greece and Italy. According to Juvenal[19] he received an education in rhetoric and philosophy from many of the best teachers from both Greek and Roman culture.[20] Throughout his life, however, Herodes Atticus remained entirely Greek in his cultural outlook.[20]

He was a student of Favorinus and inherited Favorinus' library.[21] Like Favorinus, he was a harsh critic of Stoicism.

these disciplines of the cult of the unemotional, who want to be considered calm, brave, and steadfast because they show neither desire nor grief, neither anger nor pleasure, cut out the more active emotions of the spirit and grow old in a torpor, a sluggish, enervated life.[22]

In 125, Emperor Hadrian appointed him prefect of the free cities in the Roman province of Asia. He later returned to Athens, where he became famous as a teacher. In the year 140, Herodes Atticus was elected and served as an Archon of Athens. Later that same year, the Emperor Antoninus Pius invited him to Rome from Athens to educate his two adopted sons, the future Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Sometime after, he was betrothed to Appia Annia Regilla, a wealthy aristocrat, who was related to the wife of Antoninus Pius, Faustina the Elder. When Regilla and Herodes Atticus married, she was 14 years old and he was 40. As a mark of his friendship, Antoninus Pius appointed Herodes Atticus consul in 143.

Herodes Atticus and Regilla controlled a large tract around the third mile of the Appian Way outside Rome, which was known as the "Triopio" (from Triopas, King of Thessaly). For his remaining years he travelled between Greece and Italy.

Some time after his consulship, he returned to Greece permanently with his wife and their children.

In 160, the year that her brother was consul, Regilla, while eight months pregnant, was brutally kicked in the abdomen by a freedman of Herodes Atticus named Alcimedon. This caused her to go into premature labor, killing her. Consul Appius Annius Atilius Bradua brought charges against his brother-in-law in Rome, alleging that Herodes Atticus had ordered her beaten to death; the emperor Marcus Aurelius exonerated his old tutor of his wife's murder.[23]

Herodes Atticus was the teacher of three notable students: Achilles, Memnon and Polydeuces (Polydeukes). "The aged Herodes Atticus in a public paroxysm of despair at the death of his perhaps eromenos Polydeukes, commissioned games, inscriptions and sculptures on a lavish scale and then died, inconsolable, shortly afterwards."[24] He also taught many orators and philosophers such as Aristocles of Pergamon.

Herodes Atticus had a distinguished reputation for his literary work, most of which is now lost,[20] and was a philanthropist and patron of public works. He funded more building projects in Roman Greece than anyone aside from the Roman emperors,[25] including:

He also contemplated cutting a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth, but was deterred from carrying out the plan because the same thing had been unsuccessfully attempted before by the emperor Nero.[26]

Throughout his life, Herodes Atticus had a stormy relationship with the citizens of Athens, but before he died he was reconciled with them.[20] When he died, the citizens of Athens gave him an honored burial, his funeral taking place in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, which he had commissioned.[20]

Children edit

Regilla bore Herodes Atticus six children, of whom three survived to adulthood. They were:

  • Son, Claudius – born and died in 141[7]
  • Daughter, Elpinice – born as Appia Annia Claudia Atilia Regilla Elpinice Agrippina Atria Polla, 142–165[7]
  • Daughter, Athenais (Marcia Annia Claudia Alcia Athenais Gavidia Latiaria), married Lucius Vibullius Rufus.[7] They had a son, Lucius Vibullius Hipparchus, the only recorded grandchild of Herodes Atticus.[27]
  • Son, Atticus Bradua – born in 145 as Tiberius Claudius Marcus Appius Atilius Bradua Regillus Atticus[7]
  • Son, Regillus – born as Tiberius Claudius Herodes Lucius Vibullius Regillus, 150–155[7]
  • Unnamed child who died with Regilla or perhaps three months later in 160[7]

After Regilla died in 160, Herodes Atticus never married again. Sometime after his wife's death, he adopted his cousin's first grandson Lucius Vibullius Claudius Herodes as his son.[28] When Herodes Atticus died in 177, his son Atticus Bradua and his grandchild survived him.

Legacy edit

Herodes Atticus and his wife Regilla, from the 2nd century until the present, have been considered great benefactors in Greece, in particular in Athens. The couple are commemorated in Herodou Attikou Street and Rigillis Street and Square, in downtown Athens. In Rome, their names are also recorded on modern streets, in the Quarto Miglio suburb close to the area of the Triopio.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Rutledge 1960, p. 15
  2. ^ a b Rutledge 1960, p. 198
  3. ^ Pomeroy, The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity p. 14
  4. ^ Papalas 1981, p. 171
  5. ^ Religious Identities in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Walking Together & Parting Ways. Ilkka Lindstedt, Nina Nikki, Riikka Tuori. Leiden. 2021. p. 48. ISBN 978-90-04-47116-0. OCLC 1266201307.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Finley, M. I. (1973). The Ancient Economy. Berkeley: University of California. p. 100.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pomeroy, The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity
  8. ^ Schmalz 2009, p. 261-262.
  9. ^ Geagan 1997.
  10. ^ Byrne 2003.
  11. ^ Wilson, Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece p.p. 349-350
  12. ^ Oxford Classical Dictionary 2012, p. 325.
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece p. 349
  14. ^ a b c d e f Graindor, P., Un milliardaire antique p. 29
  15. ^ a b Day, J., An economic history of Athens under Roman domination p. 243
  16. ^ a b Sleepinbuff.com Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Portrait bust of Polydeukes, favourite of Herodes Atticus". CollectionsOnline. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  18. ^ Article, Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes, Microsoft Encyclopedia 2002
  19. ^ Juvenal, Satire III
  20. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece p. 350
  21. ^ Wytse Hette Keulen "Gellius the Satirist: Roman Cultural Authority in Attic Nights" p119
  22. ^ Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, 19.12, translation by William O. Stephens, in Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed 2011, p 12
  23. ^ Pomeroy, The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity p. 14
  24. ^ Lambert, Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous, p. 143.
  25. ^ Pomeroy, The Murder of Regilla, 2007, 10.
  26. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Atticus Herodes, Tiberius Claudius". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 885.
  27. ^ Pomeroy, p. 48
  28. ^ Graindor, Un milliardaire antique p. 29

Sources edit

Primary sources edit

Secondary material edit

  • Byrne, Sean G. (2003). Roman citizens of Athens. Leuven: Peeters. ISBN 9042913487.
  • Day, J., An economic history of Athens under Roman domination, Ayers Company Publishers, 1973
  • Geagan, Daniel J. (1997). Hoff, Michael C.; Rotroff, Susan I. (eds.). The Romanization of Athens : proceedings of an international conference held at Lincoln, Nebraska (April 1996). Oxford, England: Oxbow Books. pp. 19–32. ISBN 978-1-900188-51-7.
  • Gibbon, E., The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Graindor, P., Un milliardaire antique, Ayers Company Publishers, 1979
  • Kennell, Nigel M. "Herodes and the Rhetoric of Tyranny", Classical Philology, 4 (1997), pp. 316–362.
  • Lambert, R., Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous, Viking, 1984.
  • Papalas, A. J. (1981). "Herodes Atticus: An Essay on Education in the Antonine Age". History of Education Quarterly. 21 (2): 171–188. doi:10.2307/367689. ISSN 0018-2680. JSTOR 367689. S2CID 147284273.
  • Pomeroy, S. B. (2007). The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Potter, David Stone, The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 18–395, Routledge, 2004. ISBN 978-0-415-10058-8
  • Rutledge, Harry Carraci (1960). Herodes Atticus: World Citizen, A.D. 101-177 (PhD). Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, Inc. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  • Schmalz, Geoffrey C. R. (2009). Augustan and Julio-Claudian Athens : a new epigraphy and prosopography. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-17009-4.
  • Spawford, Anthony (2012). "Claudius, Atticus Herodes (1), Tiberius". In Hornblower, Simon; Spawford, Anthony (eds.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 325.
  • Tobin, Jennifer, Herodes Attikos and the City of Athens: Patronage and Conflict Under the Antonines, J. C. Gieben, 1997.
  • Wilson, N. G., Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, Routledge 2006

External links edit

Political offices
Preceded by
(Sulpicius?) Julianus, and
Titus Julius Castus
as suffect consuls
Roman consul
with Gaius Bellicius Flaccus Torquatus
Succeeded byas suffect consuls