Ulpia (grandmother of Hadrian)

Ulpia (full name possibly Ulpia Plotina, about 31 - before 86) was a noble Roman woman from the gens Ulpia settled in Spain during the 1st century CE. She was the paternal aunt of the Roman emperor Trajan and the paternal grandmother of the emperor Hadrian.

Known forRelative of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty
SpousePublius Aelius Hadrianus Marullinus
ChildrenPublius Aelius Hadrianus Afer
  • Marcus Ulpius (father)

Life edit

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

Her paternal ancestors moved from Italy and settled in Italica (near modern Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica. 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 emperor Nerva.[1][2]

Ulpia married a Roman Senator, Publius Aelius Hadrianus Marullinus, a wealthy and aristocratic Roman in Hispania from the gens Aelia. Ulpia and Marullinus had at least one son, Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, who would become a distinct Roman soldier and politician. He married a noble Roman woman in Spain 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.[3][4][5][6]

Identification edit

A very wealthy woman named Ulpia M. f. Plotina ("M. f." meaning her fathers praenomen was Marcus) that is attested from a triptych dated July 19, 69 AD from Herculaneum has been speculated by several historians to be Trajan's aunt and Hadrian's grandmother. This is mainly due to sharing her rare cognomen with Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina, which by extension has also led to speculation that Trajan and empress Pompeia Plotina were related.[7][8] The inscription describes this Ulpia Plotina being owed 15,000 denarii by a businessman named Lucius Cominius Primus. Based on another text Primus was also lending money to a woman named Pompeia Anthis who was in the custody of a man named Gaius Vibius Erytus.[9] As with the Pompeii, the gens Vibia was associated with the imperial family through Trajan, his grandniece being Vibia Sabina, the eventual consort of Hadrian.[10] Historian's theorizing this include Päivi Setälä,[11] Alison E. Cooley,[12] Christian Settipani,[13] Anthony R. Birley,[14] and Julian Bennett;[15] Ronald Syme did not assume an exact relation to the imperial family but believed her to be a kinswoman of Trajan.[16]

Nerva–Antonine family tree edit

References edit

  1. ^ Drăgan, Iosif Constantin (1985). Dacia's Imperial Millennium. Nagard Publ. p. 117. Ulpia, his grandmother, was the sister of M. Ulpius Trajanus, Trajan's father, so Hadrian was the emperor's nephew by a cousin of the first degree.
  2. ^ Trahan, Conrad W. (1979). A Trahan History and Genealogy. Trahan. p. 173. Trajan's paternal aunt Ulpia was 6 Hadrian's grandmother and Hadrian came from Adria on the Adige . ?
  3. ^ Atti Del IV Congresso Internazionale Di Papirologia: Firenze, 28 Aprile-2 Maggio 1935, XIII. Cisalpino-La Goliardica. 1976. p. 87. An Ulpia, grandmother of Hadrian, might unite both families, but apparently is too farfetched; and a gentile deity Ulpia ( cf.
  4. ^ Levick, Barbara (2014). Faustina I and II: Imperial Women of the Golden Age. Oxford University Press, Incorporated. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-19-537941-9. Sabina wed Hadrian in about 100. The year 112 brought her the prospect of additional distinction. Her grandmother Ulpia Marciana died at the end of August ...
  5. ^ Bremen, Riet van (1996). The Limits of Participation: Women and Civic Life in the Greek East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. J.C. Gieben. p. 316. ISBN 978-90-5063-567-7. TI . FLAV . SABINIANUS DIOMEDES MENIPPOS , Son of the City . Mo. ULPIA APPHIAS . Grandmother CLAUDIA LEONTIS ( Appendix 3 , no . 28 ) . Time of Hadrian . 3.
  6. ^ Holden, James H. (2006). A History of Horoscopic Astrology. American Federation of Astr. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-86690-463-6. The Emperor Trajan (53-1 17), His paternal aunt Ulpia was the paternal grandmother of ...
  7. ^ Temporini, Hildegard (2011). Die Frauen am Hofe Trajans: Ein Beitrag zur Stellung der Augustae im Principat (in German). Walter de Gruyter. p. 14. ISBN 9783110821567.
  8. ^ Burns, Jasper (2006). Great Women of Imperial Rome: Mothers and Wives of the Caesars. Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 9781134131853.
  9. ^ Cooley, Alison; Cooley, M. G. L. (2013). Pompeii and Herculaneum: A Sourcebook. Routledge. p. 261. ISBN 9781134624492.
  10. ^ Phang, Sara Elise (2022). Daily Life of Women in Ancient Rome. ABC-CLIO. p. 129. ISBN 9781440871696.
  11. ^ Setälä, Päivi; Setala, Paivi; Savunen, Liisa (1999). Female Networks and the Public Sphere in Roman Society. Institutum Romanum Finlandiae. p. 14. ISBN 978-951-96902-9-2. We may compare, for instance, Ulpia Plotina (possibly a relative, perhaps the aunt, of Trajan and paternal grandmother of Hadrian, mentioned in ...
  12. ^ Cooley, Alison E. (2012-09-13). The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy. Cambridge University Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-139-57660-4. A water-pipe stamped with Ulpiae Marcianae ('Of Ulpia Marciana') probably from ... (possibly Trajan's aunt and Hadrian's paternal grandmother): Camodeca, ...
  13. ^ Settipani, Christian (2000). Continuité gentilice et continuité familiale dans les familles sénatoriales romaines à l'époque impériale: mythe et réalité. Prosopographica et genealogica (in Italian). Vol. 2 (illustrated ed.). Unit for Prosopographical Research, Linacre College, University of Oxford. pp. 285, 294. ISBN 9781900934022.
  14. ^ Birley, Anthony R (2012). Marcus Aurelius: A Biography. Roman Imperial Biographies (reworked ed.). Routledge. ISBN 9781134695690.
  15. ^ Bennett, Julian (2003). Trajan: Optimus Princeps. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 9781134709144.
  16. ^ Syme, Ronald (1979). Roman Papers. Vol. 7. Clarendon Press. p. 706. ISBN 9780198144908.

Sources edit