ⓘ Gaius Minicius Italus


ⓘ Gaius Minicius Italus

Gaius Minicius Italus was a Roman eques who flourished during the reign of the emperors Vespasian, Domitian, and Trajan. He was appointed to a series of imperial offices, both military and civil, culminating with praefectus or governor of Roman Egypt.

We can reconstruct his career from an inscription recovered from Aquileia; because this inscription refers to a municipal office, we can assume this was his place of origin. This career can be broken down into several parts, the first encompassing the typical tres militiae of an eques: he was praefectus or commander of the following auxiliary units: the Cohors V Gallorum in Dacia, the Cohors I Breucorum in Britannia, and the Cohors II Varcianorum in Germania Inferior. While commanding the II Varcianorum Italus distinguished himself -- most likely campaigning against the Bructeri in the years 77-78 -- and was awarded dona militaria by the emperor Vespasian, receiving one corona aurea and one hasta pura.

This was followed by a commission as tribunus angusticlavius with Legio VI Victrix stationed at the time in Hispania Tarraconensis. Italus concluded his military career as praefect of the Ala I Flavia Singularium, a unit comprising 1000 horsemen.

Italus then began his advancement up the civil ranks of the equestrian order. His first appointment was as procurator of Hellespontus, a district in the Senatorial province of Bithynia et Pontus. At some later point he was appointed procurator in the adjacent Senatorial province of Asia. While Italus held this appointment, "a mysterious individual came forward claiming to be Nero" to use Suetoniuss words appeared in Asia. Even twenty years after his death, the name of the last Julio-Claudian emperor could rally supporters, and Domitian expected the governor of the province, the proconsul Gaius Vettulenus Civica Cerealis, to handle the threat. Instead, according to Brian Jones, Civica ignored the pretender, possibly fearing "that intervention might exacerbate the situation, involve war with Parthia and prejudice the successful conclusion of the Dacian campaign." Domitian had Civica murdered and ordered Italus to replace him as govenor.

In reward for his loyaly, Italus was afterwards promoted to procurator ducenarus of the Lactorates, located in the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis and Aquitaine. His mission was probably to manage the production of imperial goods of these subject peoples.

Despite the death of Domitian, Italus was still favored. Under Trajan he was appointed Praefectus annonae, or the person in charge of the public dole of bread to the inhabitants of Rome; he is assumed to have held this post between 95 and 100. His next recorded appointment was as governor of Roman Egypt; his tenure in this office has been dated from 100 to 103. His primary concern as governor was to safeguard the harvest and delivery of grain to the populace of Rome, but surviving letters from his administration show his responsibilities extended further. One, written in Latin and dated 19 February 103, concerns 6 recruits to be added to the ranks of a cohort commanded by one Celsianus. A second, written in Greek and dated to 19 May 103, concerns the ruinous state of records office for the Arsinoite nome, and orders the strategi of the nome to build a new one at a cost of 3.282 drachmae.

His life after the year 103 is unknown, as well as whether he married and if so had any children.

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