About Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix
Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix
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Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix (22–62) was one of the lesser known figures of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of ancient Rome. His grandmother was Antonia Major, the niece of Emperor Augustus by her husband Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul 16 BC) (his maternal grandfather). His mother was Domitia Lepida, a great niece of Emperor Augustus and granddaughter of Octavia Minor and Mark Antony. His father was Faustus (II) Cornelius Sulla (see also Faustus Cornelius Sulla Lucullus III), suffect consul of 31 and a descendant of the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. He was also the half brother of the empress Valeria Messalina.
In 47, Felix's mother's cousin, the emperor Claudius arranged for Faustus to marry his daughter, Claudia Antonia. They had a son, reportedly a weak child of little strength who died before his second birthday. His son's first birthday was celebrated privately. His attachment to the imperial ruling family meant that he was awarded a consulship in 52.
In 56, two years after the accession of Nero, the imperial freedman Pallas and the Praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus were accused of conspiring to have Faustus declared emperor. The conspirators were put on trial, but Faustus does not appear to have been implicated. Nero, however, began to watch his brother-in-law closely, afraid of his connection to the imperial family.
In 58, another imperial freedman falsely accused Faustus of plotting to attack Nero, possibly at the latter's instigation. Nero treated Faustus as proven guilty. Faustus was exiled in 59 and confined to Massilia (modern Marseille, France).
Finally, in 62, the palace guardsman Tigellinus sent assassins to murder Faustus. He was murdered at dinner, five days after Tigellinus gave his orders. Faustus' head was transported to the palace. At times, Nero would tease Faustus's head, due to his baldness and greyness to his hair.
Tacitus described Faustus's character as "timid and despicable" and also stated that Faustus was incapable to attempt to plot against Nero.
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