Ulpia gens

M. Ulpius Trajanus
in the Glyptothek, Munich

The gens Ulpia was a Roman family that rose to prominence during the first century AD. The gens is best known from the emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, who reigned from AD 98 to 117. The Thirtieth Legion took its name, Ulpia, in his honor.[1]. The city of Serdica, modern day Sofia, was renamed as Ulpia Serdica [2].


The Ulpii were from Umbria. Little is known of them except that they were connected with a family of the Aelii from Picenum. The name Ulpius may be derived from an Umbrian cognate of the Latin word lupus, meaning "wolf"; perhaps related to vulpes, Latin for "fox".[3]

The most illustrious members of this gens were the Ulpii Trajani, whom according to a biographer of Trajan, came from the city of Tuder, in southern Umbria; there is evidence of a family of this name there. Members of this family were colonists of Italica in Roman Spain, where Trajan was born. They were related to a family of the Aelii, which had evidently come from Adria; Trajan's aunt was the grandmother of Hadrian, who was likewise born at Italica.[4][5][6]


This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.


  1. ^ The latest revision of the Fasti Ostienses, by Ladislav Vidman, places his consulship in AD 72, rather than 70, as supposed by Gallivan.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. III, pp. 1166–1169 ("Marcus Ulpius Trajanus")
  2. ^ ulpiaserdica.com/index_en.html
  3. ^ Bennett, Trajan: Optimus Princeps, p. 1.
  4. ^ Cassius Dio, lxviii. 4, lxix. 1, 3.
  5. ^ Aelius Spartianus, "The Life of Hadrian", 1.
  6. ^ a b c d Syme, Tacitus, p. 792 ff.
  7. ^ Fasti Ostienses, CIL XIV, 244.
  8. ^ Gallivan, "The Fasti for A.D. 70–96", pp. 187, 196, 213.
  9. ^ Pliny the Younger, Panegyricus Trajani, passim.
  10. ^ Cassius Dio, lxviii.
  11. ^ Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. II, pp. 150–223 ("L'Empereur Trajan").
  12. ^ Cassius Dio, lxxviii. 4, 15.
  13. ^ Herodian, v. 4. § 5.
  14. ^ Julius Capitolinus, "The Life of Macrinus", 10.
  15. ^ Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 172.
  16. ^ Julius Capitolinus, "The Three Gordians", 2.
  17. ^ Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 194.
  18. ^ a b Oliver, "The Sacred Gerusia", pp. 130, 131.
  19. ^ Flavius Vopiscus, "The Life of Aurelian", 10–15.
  20. ^ Daniël den Hengst, Emperors and Historiography, pp. 97, 98.
  21. ^ Trebellius Pollio, "The Thirty Tyrants", 5.
  22. ^ Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus, 33, Epitome de Caesaribus, 32.
  23. ^ Eutropius, ix. 7.
  24. ^ Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, vol. vii. pp. 448–450.
  25. ^ CIL X, 682.


  • Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (Pliny the Younger), Panegyricus Trajani (Panegyric on Trajan).
  • Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus (Cassius Dio), Roman History.
  • Herodianus, History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus.
  • Aelius Lampridius, Aelius Spartianus, Flavius Vopiscus, Julius Capitolinus, Trebellius Pollio, and Vulcatius Gallicanus, Historia Augusta (Augustan History).
  • Eutropius, Breviarium Historiae Romanae (Abridgement of the History of Rome).
  • Sextus Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus (On the Caesars), Epitome de Caesaribus (attributed).
  • Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs et des Autres Princes qui ont Régné Durant les Six Premiers Siècles de l’Église (History of the Emperors and Other Princes who Ruled During the First Six Centuries of the Church), Chez Rollin Fils, Paris (1690-1697, 1701, 1738).
  • Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum (The Study of Ancient Coins, 1792–1798).
  • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, ed., Little, Brown and Company, Boston (1849).
  • James H. Oliver, "The Sacred Gerusia", in Hesperia Supplements, No. 6 (1941).
  • Ronald Syme, Tacitus, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1958).
  • Paul A. Gallivan, "The Fasti for A.D. 70–96", in Classical Quarterly, vol. 31, pp. 186–220 (1981).
  • Paul M. M. Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare in der Zeit von Commodus bis Severus Alexander, J.C. Gieben, Amsterdam (1989).
  • Julian Bennett, Trajan: Optimus Princeps, Routledge, (1997).
  • Daniël den Hengst, Emperors and Historiography: Collected Essays on the Literature of the Roman Empire by Daniël den Hengst, Brill, Leiden (2010).