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Helvidius Priscus


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Son of a primipilaris (see primipilus) from Samnium, was tribune of the plebs in ad 56, praetor in 70. In early youth he studied philosophy, and about 55 married (as his second wife) Fannia, daughter of Clodius Thrasea Paetus, whose political doctrines he shared. Exiled after his father‐in‐law's condemnation in 66, he returned under Galba, and though earlier a friend of Vespasian, he took a critical attitude towards the Flavian regime from the start. Later his attacks on the emperor became vehement, and he was exiled by 75 and subsequently executed. Though he had clearly refrained from holding office in the later tyrannical phase of Nero's reign, his Stoic principles were compatible with acceptance of the Principate as a political system (see stoicism). He did insist on senatorial independence and freedom of expression. His criticism of Vespasian's son or sons probably related to their conduct and not to the idea of hereditary succession in itself. Helvidius' son by his first marriage, a friend of Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, became consul under Domitian but was executed c.93.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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