Barea Soranus

Quintus Marcius Barea Servilius Soranus was a Roman Senator in the 1st century. Soranus was from the gens Marcius. He was the son of Quintus Marcius Barea, who was Suffect Consul in 26 and was twice Proconsul of the Africa Province. Barea during his time in Africa was based in Leptis Magna. Barea was an influential person in the African Province and had dedicated a temple in Leptis Magna, to the ‘Dei Augusti’ or ‘The August Gods’. Throughout the province, Barea has left various inscriptions.

His mother could be related or is from the gens Servilius and is his brother Quintus Marcius Barea Sura, was a friend to the future Roman Emperor Vespasian. His niece was Marcia Furnilla (second wife of the future Roman Emperor Titus) and his great niece was the Roman Princess Flavia Julia Titi. Soranus was born and raised in Rome and while growing up he was tutored by Publius Egnatius Celer of Berytus.

He had married an unnamed Roman woman and had at least one daughter, Marcia Servilia Sorana, who later married Roman Senator Annius Pollio. Soranus had a loving relationship with his daughter.

Soranus in 52 was suffect consul and (perhaps in 61) proconsul of Asia. The upright and considerate manner in which he treated the provincials won him their affection, but at the same time brought upon him the hatred of Roman Emperor Nero, who felt specially aggrieved because Soranus had refused to punish a city, which had defended the statues of its gods against the Imperial commissioners. During the reign of Nero, Soranus was an elderly man.

Soranus was accused of intimacy with Gaius Rubellius Plautus (another person of Nero's hatred and was Nero‘s second cousin) and of endeavouring to obtain the goodwill of the provincials by treasonable intrigues. One of the chief witnesses against him was Publius Egnatius Celer. Soranus was condemned to death (in 65 or 66), and committed suicide. His daughter Servilia, who was charged with having consulted sorcerers ("magi"), [The word "magi" often took on a derogatory meaning among the Romans, out of suspicion toward foreign forms of cult practice and divination; here it likely means "necromancers." Regarding Servilia, see Richard Gordon, "Imagining Greek and Roman Magic," in "Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome," edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), pp. 213–214.] professedly in regard to her father's fate, but in reality with evil designs against the emperor, was involved in his downfall. The accuser, who was condemned to death in the reign of Roman Emperor Vespasian for his conduct on this occasion, is a standing example of ingratitude and treachery.


* Tacitus, "Annals", xvi. 30, 32
* Just., iv. In; Juvenal, Satire III. 116
* Cassius Dio, lxii. 26.


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