Lucius Marcius Philippus (consul 56 BC)

Lucius Marcius Philippus (flourished 1st century BC) was a member of a Roman senatorial family. He claimed descent from Roman King Ancus Marcius and was the son of the consul and censor Lucius Marcius Philippus. Appian (Syrian Wars 8.51) records that he was propraetor of Syria in 61 BC. He was the father in-law of Cato the Younger and step-father of emperor Augustus.

Lucius Marcius Philippus
Lucius Marcius Philippus
Quintus Marcius Philippus


First marriageEdit

He had at least three children: two sons, Lucius Marcius Philippus (who later married his step-mother's sister Atia), Quintus Marcius Philippus (proconsul of Cilicia in 47 BC)[1][2][3] and one daughter, Marcia, who later became the wife of Cato the Younger.

Second marriageEdit

In 59 he married Atia Balba Caesonia, niece of Julius Caesar. Atia's previous husband, Gaius Octavius, had died on his return to Rome, leaving her with two children: Octavia Minor and Gaius Octavius (future Roman Emperor Augustus). Philippus cherished his stepchildren as if they were his own. He was consul of 56 BC with Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus.

Despite his marriage ties with Caesar, Philippus did not take his side in Caesar's civil war with Pompey, passing anti-Caesar legislation in the Senate. Because of this, Philippus was not given a province to govern for the year. Sensing the threat implicit in this snub, Philippus requested that Caesar allow him to sit out the war, to remain in Italy for the duration. Caesar obliged, thankful that he had not gained an enemy, even if he had not gained a supporter. Philippus became a close friend of Cicero, who also waited out the war.

The desire of Philippus to avoid conflict is evident at all times of his life. When his stepson Octavius was named Caesar's heir, Philippus attempted to dissuade him from accepting his inheritance because of the danger from Marc Antony. He enlisted Atia to try her hand at convincing the young man to decline, but it was no use. Although he opposed Antony, Philippus took part in the delegation sent to him at Mutina, and returned his demands to the senate. Cicero chided Philippus for this.

Atia died during August/September 43 BC and according to Ovid claims that Philippus later married one of Atia's sisters, but this is generally considered a mistake, the Philippus that married Atia's sister was in fact his son, the consul suffectus in 38 BC. The elder Philippus lived to old age and Augustus rewarded him for his continued loyalty.


  1. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, xiii. 73, 74.
  2. ^ Badian, "Two More Roman Non-Entities", pp. 142–144.
  3. ^ Sumner, "Lex Annalis", pp. 252–254.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Publius Cornelius Lentulus Spinther and Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos Iunior
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus
56 BC
Succeeded by
Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus