Marcus Plautius Silvanus (consul 2 BC)

Marcus Plautius Silvanus was a Roman politician and general who was consul in 2 BC.


Silvanus was the son of Urgulania, a close friend of the empress Livia, and it was Livia's intercession that allowed Silvanus to climb the cursus honorum, leading to the consulate in 2 BC alongside Augustus.[1][2] He was then made proconsul of Asia in 4-5 AD,[3] followed by a posting as imperial legate in Galatia in 6 AD, where he was involved in suppressing the Isaurians.[4]

Whilst there, news broke of the Great Illyrian Revolt. In 7 AD Silvanus was summoned by Tiberius who was in charge of the military situation in Illyricum, ordering him to bring his troops to help suppress the revolt.[5] He joined up with Caecina Severus, the imperial legate of Moesia and fought a major battle against the rebels at Sirmium. The Roman forces were victorious, but suffered very heavy losses.[6] Silvanus remained at the head of his forces until 9 AD, during which time he served in Pannonia and Dalmatia. [7] [8]

Although serving under Tiberius for the duration of the revolt, Tiberius had some doubts concerning Silvanus, especially his close connection with Tiberius' mother Livia.[9]

He married Lartia, who gave birth to his son, also named Marcus Plautius Silvanus. His son then married Fabia Numantina, but their marriage was over in 24, as the younger Silvanus was by then married to another wife named Apronia, who he apparently murdered by violently throwing her out of a window.[10][11] The murder was investigated by emperor Tiberius himself. Urgulania then sent her grandson a dagger, encouraging him to commit suicide, which he duly did. Shortly after the murder of Apronia, Fabia was "charged with having caused her husband's insanity by magical incantations and potions", but was acquitted.[10]

See also



  1. Syme, pg. 422
  2. Dio Cassius, Epitome of Roman History LV.0
  3. Syme, pg. 435; Ronald Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy, Oxford University Press 1989, p. 340
  4. Syme, pgs. 399 & 435
  5. Syme, pgs. 399 & 436
  6. Syme, pg. 399
  7. Dio,LV.34, LVI.12
  8. Velleius Paterculus II.112
  9. Syme, pgs 422-423
  10. 1 2 Tacitus, Annals, IV.22.3
  11. Syme, R., Augustan Aristocracy (1989), p. 418
Political offices
Preceded by
Lucius Cornelius Lentulus
Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus
Consul of the Roman Empire
2 BC
With: Augustus
Succeeded by
Lucius Caninius Gallus (suffect)
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