Titus Flavius Clemens (consul)

Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Clemens was a cousin of the emperor Domitian, with whom he served as consul from January to April in AD 95. Shortly after leaving the consulship, Clemens was executed, allegedly for atheism, although the exact circumstances remain unclear. Over time, he came to be regarded as an early Christian martyr.[1]

BiographyEdit

Clemens was the son of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul suffectus in AD 69, and a brother of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in AD 82. The emperor Vespasian was his paternal great-uncle, while the emperors Titus and Domitian were his father's cousins.[1][2]

As a child, Clemens was besieged along with his family in the capitol, while his great-uncle Vespasian's soldiers were approaching Rome. His grandfather, Vespasian's brother T. Flavius Sabinus, consul in AD 47, was captured and slain by the forces of Vitellius, who burnt the capitol, but the rest of the family escaped.

Clemens' brother was consul with Domitian, shortly after the latter's accession, but the emperor put his cousin to death on the pretext that the herald proclaiming him consul had called him Imperator. Suetonius claims that Domitian was motivated by his love for his cousin's wife, Julia Flavia (who, as the daughter of his brother Titus, was also his niece).[3]

Clemens also married one of his second cousins, Flavia Domitilla, daughter of Vespasian's daughter, Domitilla, who was thus also a niece of Domitian. They had two sons, whom Domitian intended to succeed him in the empire, renaming one of them Vespasian and the other Domitian.[4] In AD 95, Clemens served as consul alongside the emperor from January to April. He was executed shortly after leaving the consulship at the end of April.[5]

According to Cassius Dio, Clemens was put to death on a charge of atheism, for which, he adds, many others who went over to the Jewish opinions were executed.[6] This may imply that Clemens had converted to Judaism or Christianity, the former being more likely, and accompanied by circumcision. For the same reason, his wife was banished to Pandataria.[7][8][9] Some scholars identify Clemens with "Ketia bar Shalom", whom the Talmud described as a Roman senator who converted to Judaism and managed to save the Jews from a decree of persecution, before himself being executed.[10]

To this Clemens in all probability is dedicated the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano, on the Caelian hill, which is believed to have been built originally in the fifth century, although its site is now occupied by a more recent, though very ancient, structure. In the year 1725 Cardinal Annibale Albani found under this church an inscription in honour of Flavius Clemens, martyr, which is described in a work called T. Flavii Clementis Viri Consularis et Martyris Tumulus illustratis.[11] Some connect Clemens with Clemens Romanus, perhaps the author of the Epistle to the Corinthians.[1]

Family treeEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. I, p. 788 ("T. Flavius Clemens").
  2. ^ Townend, "Some Flavian Connections", pp. 55–57.
  3. ^ Suetonius, "The Life of Domitian", 10.
  4. ^ Suetonius, "The Life of Domitian", 15.
  5. ^ Grainger, Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96-99, p. 12.
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History lxvii. 14.
  7. ^ Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, viii. 15.
  8. ^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, iii. 14.
  9. ^ Jerome, Epistulae, 27.
  10. ^ Keti’a Bar Shalom
  11. ^ Albani, T. Flavii Clementis.

BibliographyEdit

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Clemens, T. Flavius". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. p. 788.

Political offices
Preceded by
Lucius Silius Decianus,
and Titus Pomponius Bassus

as Suffect consuls
Consul of the Roman Empire
95
with Domitian XVII,
followed by Lucius Neratius Marcellus
Succeeded by
Aulus Bucius Lappius Maximus II,
and Publius Ducenius Verus

as Suffect consuls