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Bust of Vibia Sabina (Prado, Madrid)
Statue of Vibia Sabina (Villa Adriana, Tivoli)

Vibia Sabina (83–136/137) was a Roman Empress, wife and second cousin once removed to Roman Emperor Hadrian. She was the daughter of Matidia (niece of Roman Emperor Trajan) and suffect consul Lucius Vibius Sabinus. After her father's death in 84, Sabina, along with her half-sister Matidia Minor, went to live with their mother's mother, Marciana. They were raised in the household of Trajan and his wife Plotina.

Sabina married Hadrian in 100, at the empress Plotina's request. Hadrian succeeded her great uncle in 117. Sabina's mother Matidia (Hadrian's second cousin) was also fond of Hadrian and allowed him to marry her daughter.

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SuetoniusEdit

Sabina is rumored to have had an affair with Suetonius, a historian who was Hadrian's secretary, in the year 119,[1] which resulted in his dismissal as the Emperor's secretary.[2] Meanwhile, her husband was thought to be more sexually interested in his favourite Antinous and other male lovers, and he and Sabina had no children. In 128, she was awarded the title of Augusta. Vibia Sabina died before her husband, some time in 136 or early 137.[3] Hadrian's stone elegy for his wife "depicts the apotheosis, or divine ascent of Sabina in accordance with her posthumous deification on the order of Hadrian."[4]

See alsoEdit

Nerva–Antonine family treeEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Historia Augusta 11.3
  2. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Suetonius Tranquillus, Gaius" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Opper, Thorsten. Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, Harvard University Press, 2008, p. 205. ISBN 0-674-03095-8
  4. ^ Annelise Freisenbruch, Caesars’ Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire (London and New York: Free Press, 2010), 170.

Further readingEdit

  • (in French) Minaud, Gérard, Les vies de 12 femmes d’empereur romain - Devoirs, Intrigues & Voluptés , Paris, L’Harmattan, 2012, ch. 7, La vie de Sabine, femme d’Hadrien, p. 169-188.

External linksEdit

Royal titles
Preceded by
Pompeia Plotina
Empress of Rome
117–136
Succeeded by
Annia Galeria Faustina