C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus (minor), Panegyricus 84: Marciana

Marciana Portrait head of Marciana, 130-138 CE

Ulpia Marciana (48-c. 112 CE), daughter of the senator Marcus Ulpius Traiana and Marcia, was five years older than her brother, the Emperor Trajan (18 September 53–8 August 117 CE), who was born in the Roman colony of Italica (Spain). She and her husband Gaius Saloninus Matidius Patriunus had one child, Salonina Matidia, who became the mother of Sabina, wife of the Emperor Hadrian. After her husband Saloninus died in 78 CE, Marciana remained a widow, a powerful member of the imperial domus along with her sister-in-law Pompeia Plotina. After 105 CE Trajan honored his sister with the title Augusta, which had previously been awarded only to imperial wives and deceased mothers. Though reluctant, like Plotina, to accept this honor, Marciana ultimately acquiesced to her brother's wishes, a deference that characterized all her public actions and perhaps explained her influence. Trajan inscribed the concordia of the domus Traiana on imperial iconography throughout the Empire: coins (Plotina and Marciana), public buildings (baths at Ostia), triumphal arches (e.g. Beneventum), and statues. After Marciana's death Trajan deified her and named two cities after her: Marcianopolis in Roman Moesia (Thrace) and Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thaumagadi in Roman Numidia (Timgad, Algeria). Pliny's encomium for Trajan, who had bestowed on him the consulship (100 CE), included sections dedicated to Plotina (see Panegyricus 83) and Marciana, praising them as ideals of matronal virtues in contrast with prior empresses, particularly Domitia, who was implicated in the murder of her husband, the Emperor Domitian. See rhetorical terms; articles on the Trajanic women (Boatwright, Roche).

(1) Soror autem tua, ut se sororem esse meminit! ut in illa tua link simplicitas, tua veritas, tuus candor agnoscitur! ut, si quis eam uxori tuae conferat, dubitare cogatur, utrum sit efficacius ad recte vivendum, bene institui, aut feliciter nasci.

(2)Nihil est tam pronum ad simultates, quam aemulatio, in feminis praesertim: ea porro maxime nascitur ex coniunctione, aliter aequalitate, exardescit invidia, cuius finis est odium.

(3)Quo quidem admirabilius existimandum est, quod mulieribus duabus in una domo parique fortuna, nullum certamen, nulla contentio est.

(4)Suspiciunt invicem, invicem cedunt: quumque te utraque effusissime diligat, nihil sua putant interesse, utram tu magis ames. Idem utrique propositum, idem tenor vitae, nihilque ex quo sentias duas esse. Te enim imitari, te subsequi student.

(5)Ideo utraque mores eosdem, quia utraque tuos habet: inde moderatio, inde etiam perpetua securitas. Neque enim unquam periclitabuntur esse privatae quae non desierunt.

(6)Obtulerat illis senatus cognomen Augustarum, quod certatim deprecatae sunt, quam diu appellationem patris patriae tu recusasses: seu quod plus esse in eo iudicabant si uxor et soror tua quam si Augustae dicerentur.

(7)Sed quaecunque illis ratio tantam modestiam suasit, hoc magis dignae link sunt quae in animis nostris et sint et habeantur augustae, quia non vocantur.

(8)Quid enim laudabilius feminis quam si verum honorem non in splendore titulorum sed in iudiciis hominum reponant, magnisque nominibus pares se faciant etiam dum recusant?

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