Domitia AE21 Probably of Synnada , Phrygia. DOMETIA CEBACTH, draped bust right /Athena stg.l., holding small figure of Victory with R. hand. Spear and shield at L. side. Rare. Apple green patina.VF.(5 gm)
Domitia Longina was born sometime between 50 and 55, as the youngest daughter to the family of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo and Cassia Longina. Her paternal aunt was Milonia Caesonia, Roman Empress to Caligula. Her elder sister, Domitia Corbula, married the senator Lucius Annius Vinicianus. Domitia's father Corbulo had been one of Rome's most respected Senators and generals, serving as consul under Caligula, and conducting military campaigns in Germania and Parthia under Claudius and Nero. Following the failed Pisonian conspiracy against Emperor Nero in 65 however, Corbulo was disgraced when his family was brought in connection to the conspirators. Corbulo himself was forced to commit suicide, while Annius Vicinianus and his brother Annius Pollio, were executed in the ensueing purges.
Little is known about the life of Domitia before her marriage to Domitian, but sometime before 70, Domitia was married to Lucius Aelius Lamia, a man of senatorial rank.
Marriage to Domitian
Reign of Vespasian and Titus
The Triumph of Titus
, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
(1885). The composition alludes to the rumoured love affair between Titus (back left) and Domitia Longina (left, next to Domitian).
Following Nero's suicide on June 9, 68, the Roman Empire plunged into a year long civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors, which saw the successive rise and fall of the Emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius. The crisis came to an end with the accession of Vespasian, who re-established peace in the Empire and founded the shortlived Flavian dynasty. In 71, Vespasian attempted to arrange a dynastic marriage between his youngest son Domitian, and the daughter of his eldest son Titus, Julia Flavia. By this time however, Domitian had already met and fallen in love with Domitia Longina, and managed to persuade Lamia to divorce her, so that Domitian could marry her himself. Despite its initial recklesness, the alliance was very prestigious for both families. The new marriage rehabilitated Corbulo's family, while serving the broader Flavian propaganda of the time, which sought to diminish Vespasian's political success under the less reputable emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Instead connections to Claudius and Britannicus were emphasised, and Nero's victims, or those otherwise disadvantaged by him, rehabilitated.
In 73, Domitia and Domitian's only attested son was born. It is not known what the boy's name was, but he died in infancy sometime between 77 and 81. During this time, Domitian's role in the Flavian government was largely ceremonial. While his elder brother Titus shared almost equal powers with his father, Domitian was left with honours but no responsibilities. This situation remained unchanged when Titus succeeded Vespasian as Emperor on June 23, 79, leading both ancient and modern authors to suggest a mutual animosity between the two brothers. In 80, Titus granted a suffect consulship to Domitia's former husband Aelius Lamia, according to Gsell as a personal insult against Domitian. On another occasion, when Titus urged Lamia to marry again, Lamia asked whether "he too was looking for a wife".
After barely two years in office, Titus unexpectedly died of brain fever on September 13, 81. His last words were reported to have been: "I have made but one mistake". The contemporary historian Suetonius speculated on the possible involvement of Domitian in his brother's death, attributing his final words to a popular rumour of the time, which held that Titus had carried on an affair with Domitia Longina. However even he dismisses the story as highly unlikely.
On September 14, the Roman Senate confirmed Domitian as Titus' successor, granting tribunician power, the office of Pontifex Maximus, and the titles of Augustus, and Pater Patriae. Consequently, Domitia Longina became Empress of Rome.
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