Caius Antistius the Old (console 30 a.C.)


May 25, 2022

Gaius Antistius Vetere (from the Latin: Gaius Antistius Vetus; about 75 BC - after 24 BC) was a Roman politician and soldier.


Family and career under Caesar

Son of the homonymous owner of Hispania Ulterior between 69 and 68 BC, under which the young Gaius Julius Caesar had served as quaestor, Antistio began his career as a quaestor appointed by Caesar himself, a great admirer of his father, probably in 45 BC. of quaestor pro praetore, Antistio was sent in 45 BC. in Syria, where he besieged the city of Apamea and fought in vain, despite the arrival of Caesarian legates and soldiers from Rome, the Pompeian Cecilio Basso and his two legions, aided by the archers of the Arab Alcaudonio and, for a short time, by the Parthians of Pacoro: probably, for having in any case put Basso in check until the arrival of the reinforcements, Antistio was acclaimed emperor by the troops.

After the Ides of March

Still in Syria in 44 BC, Antistius, as commander in the eastern region, could not refrain from supporting Brutus and the Caesaricides with the spoils he had obtained in the province and which he was returning to Rome, an estimated sum of 500,000 drachmas. An exchange of letters between Brutus himself and Cicero, who esteemed and warmly supported Antistio, shows him in any case willing and attached to the cause of the Republic, so much so that he openly refuses to join forces with those of the Antonian Publius Cornelio Dolabella as he passes by. in Achaia and to be presented in person at Brutus' camp with the money from Syria. In 43 BC, returning to Rome to run for the magistrate's office, when he failed to be elected, he returned to Brutus as his bond, as promised by the caesaricide. It is likely that he fought in Philippi against Caesar's partisans, but then passed over to Octavian's side after the defeat of the Caesaricides or, less likely, after the battle of Naulochus.

Career under Octavian Augustus

After presumably being elected praetor with the support of his new patron Octavian, Antistio was sent, in 35-34 BC, probably as legatus pro praetore in Gallia Comata, where he fought victoriously against the Salassi of the Aosta Valley: Antistio attacked them without that they expected it, he occupied the Alpine passes with stratagems, besieged them for two years, until the Salassi surrendered and received a garrison from him. Only when Antistio left the province did the Salassi rebel, and were then definitively subjugated by Messalla Corvino and Varrone Murena. In 30 BC he was consul suffectus together with his patron Octavian from the calends of July to the ides of September. Three years later, in 27 BC, Antistius was sent until 24 BC. as legatus Augusti pro praetore in Hispania Tarraconensis, where alongside Augustus, who was temporarily absent in the Pyrenees due to a serious illness, he successfully fought against the warlike Cantabri and Asturi, who had underestimated him due to the absence of Augustus and who saw their defeated armies and some of their cities captured by Antistio. Perhaps the buyer of Cicero's villa in Pozzuoli after the death of his friend, Antistio had only one son, Gaius, who was consul in 6 BC, from whom he had as grandsons Gaius and Lucius, consuls respectively in 23 and 28.



Ancient sources (GRC) Appiano di Alessandria, Historia Romana (Ῥωμαϊκά), Illyrian wars. (English translation). (GRC) Dio Cassius, Roman history. (Greek text and English translation). (LA) Floro, Epitoma de Tito Livio bellorum omnium annorum DCC libri duo. (Latin text and English translation). (LA) Velleio Patercolo, Historiae romanae ad M. Vinicium libri duo. (Latin text and English translation here and here) Epigraphy CIL IX, 4191 AE 1991, 577 AE 1997, 473 Modern historiographical sources (LA) Edmund Groag, A 770, in Edmund Groag, Arthur Stein (ed.),