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Quintus Marcius Turbo


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Trajan (c. 53—117 ad) Roman emperor 98–117

Hadrian (76—138 ad) Roman emperor

Fronto (c. 95—166 ad)

Cassius Dio (c. 164—229)

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From the Caesarian colony Epidaurum in Dalmatia, is first recorded as centurion in Legio II Adiutrix and rose through the primipilate, becoming praefectus vehiculorum (supervisor of the postal service), tribune in the vigiles (fire brigade) and urban cohorts at Rome, and commander of the imperial horse guard, then procurator of the ludus magnus (a training school for gladiators) and prefect of the classis Misenensis (fleet based at Misenum) under Trajan, the latter post taking him to the east for the Parthian War, at which time he was already one of Hadrian's friends (SHA Hadr. 4. 2). In ad 116 he was given the first of several special missions, to suppress the Jewish revolts in Egypt and Cyrenaica; shortly after Hadrian's accession the next year he was sent to deal with an uprising in Mauretania. Next he had a special command in Pannonia (Lower) and Dacia, with a rank equivalent to prefect of Egypt (SHA Hadr. 6. 7, 7. 3). In 119 he became praetorian prefect and held this post for many years, although ultimately incurring Hadrian's dislike. Turbo, who had the additional names Fronto Publicius Severus, evidently had two adopted sons, one of whom became a senator, the other a procurator; the latter's career-inscription (AE 1946, 113) was long mistakenly attributed to Turbo himself until its incompatibility with one of Turbo's own numerous inscriptions (AE 1955, 225) was recognized. He is mentioned by Fronto, Cassius Dio, Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 4. 2) and the Historia Augusta.

Anthony R. Birley

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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