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Marcus Statius Priscus Licinius Italicus (M. Statius M. f. Cl. Priscus Licinius Italicus)[note 1] was a Roman politician and general active during the reigns of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Contemporary sources refer to him as Marcus Statius Priscus or simply Statius Priscus.[1]

His career began as an equestrian officer, receiving a decoration from Hadrian during the Jewish rebellion.[2] Priscus then served as procurator in Southern Gaul before being made a senator and commanding two legions in succession.

He was governor of Dacia between 157 and 158 and held the consulship in 159. In 160 he was made curator alvei Tiberis et cloacarum urbis (the official responsible for maintaining the channels of the Tiber River, as well as the sewers of Rome). In 161 he governed Moesia Superior and became governor of Britain immediately afterwards, serving until perhaps as late as the mid-160s.[2]

Such a rapid career progression indicates a man of ability and an especial strength in running prestigious but troublesome provinces.[3]

Priscus was made governor of Cappadocia by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus after the death of Marcus Sedatius Severianus in a campaign against Vologases IV in 163. The forces of Statius Priscus, made up of Eastern auxiliaries and several legions transferred from the Rhine and the Danube, quickly crushed the Parthians and destroyed the town of Artaxata.[4] Priscus then installed Sohaemus, who was under the protection of Rome, on the Armenian throne, and rebuilt the city of Valarshapat.[5]

According to Cassius Dio, when Avidius Cassius (the governor of Egypt and Syria) was declared emperor by his legions it was Priscus who informed Emperor Aurelius. Cassius declared himself emperor at the behest of Aurelius' wife who convinced Cassius and his legions that the emperor had died.[6] Aurelius quickly defeated Cassius and installed Priscus as governor of Syria.[7]


  1. ^ The name M. Statius M. f. Cl. Priscus Licinius Italicus says he is the son of a Marcus as M. f.; Cl. refers to the tribe he belonged to, which in this case was "Claudia". See Roman naming conventions


  1. ^ Olli Salomies, Adoptive and Polyonymous Nomenclature in the Roman Empire (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1992), p. 145
  2. ^ a b Selatie Edgar Stout (1911), The Governors of Moesia: a dissertation submitted to the faculty of Princeton University, p. 27.
  3. ^ E. E. Bryant The Reign of Antoninus Pius
  4. ^ Augustan History The Life of Marcus Aurelius 9
  5. ^ Cassius Dio Book 71.2
  6. ^ Birley (2001), p. 184.
  7. ^ Cassius Dio 71.23

Further readingEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Quintus Pomponius Musa,
and Lucius Cassius Juvenalis
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Plautius Quintillus
Succeeded by
Marcus Pisibanius Lepidus,
and Lucius Matuccius Fuscinus
Preceded by
Roman governors of Britain
161- later in the 160s
Succeeded by
Uncertain, then Sextus Calpurnius Agricola