Vistilia was a Roman matron of the gens Vistilia known by her contemporaries for having seven children by six different husbands; Pliny the Elder was more impressed by the fact most of her pregnancies were remarkably brief.[1] Five of her sons became consuls, her daughter Milonia Caesonia became Roman empress through her marriage to Caligula, and her granddaughter Domitia Longina became empress through her marriage with Domitian. Due to her fertility Vistilia became a byword for prodigious fecundity in antiquity.[2]

Vistilia
Known forprogenitor of several notable Romans
ChildrenGlitius
Publius Pomponius Secundus
Quintus Pomponius Secundus
Orfitus
Publius Suillius Rufus
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Milonia Caesonia
RelativesSextus Vistilius (brother)
Domitia Longina (granddaughter)

BiographyEdit

Her brother was probably Sextus Vistilius, a former praetor, who was a close friend to the Roman General Nero Claudius Drusus, the younger brother to Roman Emperor Tiberius.[3] In the opinion of Frederik Juliaan Vervaet, this made Vistilia "an extremely valuable bride, whose connections offered her husbands and their joint children fantastic prospects. Four marriages, three clarissimi mariti before 10 BC." But when Drusus died of a fall from his horse in 9 BC, "marriage to Vistilia, from a praetorian family, suddenly became a lot less interesting for ambitious and high-ranking senators descending from noble families."[4]

But then Sextus was admitted to the cohors amicorum, and her value as a bride was restored; she married twice more. When Tiberius charged Sextus for criticizing the morals of his great-nephew, Caligula, he excluded Sextus from his company. By the time Sextus committed suicide in 32, Vervaet notes "he had long outlived his utility."[4]

IssueEdit

Vistilia was married six times and had seven children. Syme identifies the children as follows, with his dates of birth:[5]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pliny, Natural History, vii.39
  2. ^ Lindsay, Hugh (March 1995). "A Fertile Marriage: Agrippina and the Chronology of Her Children by Germanicus". Latomus. Société d'Études Latines de Bruxelles. 54 (1): 4. Retrieved 2021-05-12 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ Tacitus, Annales, vi.9.2
  4. ^ a b Vervaet, "A Note on Syme's Chronology of Vistilla's Children", Ancient Society, 30 (2000), p. 99
  5. ^ Syme, "Domitius Corbulo", Journal of Roman Studies, 60 (1970), p. 31