Gaius Calpurnius Piso

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Gaius Calpurnius Piso

Birthplace: Italy
Death: April 65 (25-34)
Rome, Roma, Lazio, Italy
Immediate Family:

Husband of Caecina Arria and Galla Arria
Ex-husband of Livia Orestilla
Father of Arrius Antonius Piso Piso and Calpurnius [Piso] Galerianus

Managed by: FARKAS Mihály László
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About Gaius Calpurnius Piso

His father has never been identified. He was a statesman and orator, and one of the most popular men in Rome, partly for his skill in poetry and music, partly for his love of luxury and generosity. He served as Suffect Consul in 41 CE. It is probably he who is referred to by Calpurnius Siculus under the name of Meliboeus, and he is the subject of the panegyric De laude Pisonis. He is known chiefly for his role in a conspiracy against Nero, for which he was forced to commit suicide in 65 CE.

His first wife was Livia Orestilla, but he was forced to divorce her so Emperor Caligula could marry her. His second wife was Arria Galla, whom he stole from his friend Sillius Domitius. His only son Calpurnius [Piso] Galerianus, was adopted.

"RE 65(Calpurnius), PIR C284, sans soute consul suffect vers 41 sous Claude, époux de Livia Orestilla qu'il se fit enlever par Caligula, banni par ce dernier pour avoir tenté de renouer avec son épouse, époux en secondes noces d'Atria Galla avec qui il a été père de Calpurnius (Piso) Galerianus [17], fut accusé en 62 d'une première tentative de complot contre Néron avec Sénèque, devient le chef d'une nouvelle conspiration contre Néron en 65 qui devait le porter sur le trône impérial, le complot découvert il se suicida en 65, le poème anonyme De Laude Pisonis lui serait adressé" (

From Wikipedia:

Gnaeus (sic) Calpurnius Piso was a Roman senator in the 1st century. He was the focal figure in the Pisonian Conspiracy of 65 AD, the most famous and wide-ranging plot against the throne of Emperor Nero.

Character and early life

Piso was extremely well liked throughout Rome. He inherited from his father (never identified) connection with many distinguished families, and from his mother great wealth. Piso came from the ancient and noble house of Calpurnii[1] and he distributed his great wealth among many beneficiaries of all Roman social classes. Among a wide range of interests, Piso sang on the tragic stage, wrote poetry, played an expert game of draughts, and owned a villa at Baiae.[2]

Piso was tall, good-looking, affable, and an excellent orator and advocate in the courts. Despite these facts Piso's overall integrity was questionable. According to Tacitus, Piso used his eloquence to defend his fellow citizens and was generous and gracious in speech, but lacked earnestness and was overly ostentatious, while craving the sensual.[1] In 40 AD, the emperor Caligula banished Piso from Rome after he took a fancy to Piso’s wife. Caligula forced Piso's wife to leave him, and then accused Piso of adultery with her in order to establish cause for banishment.[3] Piso would return to Rome one year later after Caligula’s assassination.

Pisonian conspiracy and death

In 41 AD, the emperor Claudius recalled Piso to Rome and made him his co-consul.[4] Piso then became a powerful senator during the reign of Emperor Nero and in 65 AD led a secret initiative to replace Emperor Nero that became known as the Pisonian Conspiracy.

Piso leveraged senatorial anger with the emperor Nero to gain power. Already in 62 AD, there had been talk among those of senatorial rank, in the nobility, and among the equites that Nero was ruining Rome.[5] By 65 AD, the city had endured the Great Fire of Rome and the persecution of the Christians, spurring groups of conspirators to come together under the leadership of Piso with the goal of killing the emperor Nero.

On April 19, 65 AD, the freedman Milichus betrayed Piso’s plot to kill the emperor[5] and the conspirators were all arrested. In all, 19 were put to death and 13 exiled,[5] revealing the massive scope of the conspiracy. Piso was ordered to commit suicide and so killed himself.


Piso is probably the one referred to by Calpurnius Siculus under the name of Meliboeus, and he is the subject of the panegyric De laude Pisonis (On the praise of Piso).

Another Roman statesman of the same name was consul in 67 BC along with Manius Acilius Glabrio. Another Roman of the same name was a general in the Numantine War, who was succeeded by Scipio Aemilianus.


  1. a b Bunson, Matthew. "Piso, Gaius Calpurnicus." Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. New York: Facts on File, 1994
  2. Rogers, Robert Samuel. "Heirs and Rivals to Nero." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philogical Association, Vol. 86. 1955, pp. 190-212
  3. Hazel, John. "Piso, 1." Who's Who in the Roman World. London: Routledge, 2001.
  4. The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. 5, VII ed. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970-2007.
  5. a b c Bunson, Matthew. "Pisonian Conspiracy." Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. New York: Facts on File, 1994.
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Works by Theodor Mommsen at Project Gutenberg The History of Rome, Book IV


ID: I6906

Name: Gaius Calpernius Piso

Given Name: Gaius Calpernius

Surname: Piso

Sex: M

_UID: CF0B2AFA5118D811BE490080C8C142CC6E92

Change Date: 29 Jun 2004


Meanwhile, the empire was in turmoil. Nero established Armenia as a buffer state against Parthia, but only after a costly, unsuccessful war. Revolts broke out in Britain (60-61) and in Judea (66-70). In 65 Gaius Calpurnius Piso led a conspiracy against the emperor; 18 of the 41 prominent Romans implicated in the plot perished, among them Seneca and his nephew, the epic poet Lucan. Poppaea was kicked to death by Nero, and he married Statilia Messalina after executing her husband. In 68 the Gallic and Spanish legions, along with the Praetorian Guards, rose against him, and he fled Rome. Declared a public enemy by the Senate, he committed suicide on June 9, 68, near Rome.

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Birth: BEF 86

Death: Y

Father: Marcus Julius Antonius Gneius Caesar

Mother: Plancina

Marriage 1 Mariamne (The Younger) Sabinus b: BEF 86



Arrius Antonius Piso b: BEF 96
Arrius Antonius Calpernius Piso

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