OF CLAUDIA AND PUDENS

 

EDITORIAL NOTE:  I produced, published, wrote and edited a historical and genealogical journal called The Plantagenet Connection between 1993 and 2003. This is a selection from Volume One. The journal is still available online in PDF form at http://www.theplantagenetconnection.com

 

CLAUDIA AND PUDENS

 

 

I have been checking into what might be the first documented marriage of a British royal with a Roman. The basis for this information is found in the works of the Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (called Martial), the father of the epigram, born in Bibilis, Spain between 38 and 42 A.D. His first book of Spectacles was published around 80 A.D. His books of epigrams were published toward the end of the first century as well. We may safely assume that the epigrams were published in the order in which they were written, as the same names crop up over and over again and the subjects get older as the books continue. Martial was an immensely popular poet in his day. He insulted, ridiculed, and satirized the leading figures in Roman society. Though many of these folk are now unknown to us, they live on in his bawdy and irreverent epigrams through the ages.

Epigram 7.97: Martial sends one of his books to a friend in Umbria, the “fellow countryman (municeps) of his Aulus Pudens.”

Epigram 11.53: The poet asks how Claudia Rufina, “sprung from the painted Britons,” could have such graces and thanks the gods she has borne children “to her sainted husband,” and that she is awaiting so many sons and daughters-in-law. May she long enjoy her one husband, and the privileges belonging to the parent of three children.10 [“Although Claudia Rufina was born of the painted Britons, she has a Latin heart. How beautiful her form! Italian women would take her for a Roman; those of Attica for their own. You gods who have blessed her in the children she has born her sainted husband, grant also her hopes for sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. May she enjoy but a single husband and enjoy, always, her three sons.” Martial’s Egirgams, 11. 53.]

The question I am trying to solve is who is this British Claudia and who is this Pudens? Is the Claudia mentioned in the two above verses the same person? Anything other than circumstantial evidence is almost impossible. Claudia, in order to be so well-versed in Latin and in order to have the name of the former Emperor, is likely the daughter of a British king, probably King Cogidubnus, who took the name of Claudius, and who, according to Tacitus (Agric. 14), was made governor of certain states in Britain during the reign of Claudius. This accounts for his taking the names of that emperor, viz. Tiberius Claudius, by referring to the Roman custom of allowing freedmen, clients, and foreigners to take the names of their respective patrons.

He is the same person named on the inscription found at Chichester in 1723, an inscribed slab which created great interest when it was found. It was mutilated, but the inscription was restored by Roger Gale (Phil. Trans., No. 379), and informed us that a guild of workmen and their priests “dedicated, under the authority of King Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the Legate of Augustus in Britain, a temple to Neptune and Minerva, for the safety of the divine house (i. e., the imperial family), Pudens, son of Pudentius, giving the site.”

Pudens is also called Aulus Pudens and simply Aulus in the epigrams. The name of Aulus, which is here given to Pudens, may perhaps justify the suspicion that there was some kind of connection between Martial’s Pudens and Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, and it may have been his connection with this early friend of Cogidubnus that pointed him out as a suitable person to be sent to the court of a British prince. If Aulus Pudens were married to the daughter of Cogidubnus, there could not have been a more suitable appointment.

Few women were named Claudia in the first century. One had to have a right to the name. It was the emperor’s appellation and there were laws and traditions governing the use of the name. For the name to crop up as part of the Roman congregation in the early apostolic church is quite significant. For Claudia and Pudens to be mentioned by Martial as being married and Claudia being from Britain is quite significant. For Aulus Pudens to have the name of the conqueror of Britain, Aulus Plautius, is also significant. There is a likely connection here.

Claudia’s contact with Plautius and his Christian wife would be quite likely, as Plautius was not only a victorious general, but relation to the emperor. Claudius’ first wife was his cousin. Claudia the Briton, as a Christian convert, would have sought out and worked with the other Christians in Rome and thus would have known of Plautius’ wife conversion even if she arrived after Pomponia was tried and secluded. Being the daughter of a British king, she could have lived in the home of Plautius and thus known his wife even in her seclusion

The future emperor Vespasian was in Britain with Claudius and Plautius during the invasion in 43 A.D. His brother Sabinus had a son named Titus Flavius Clemens, who married the niece of the emperor Domitian. Clemens was later the most illustrious of the Christian martyrs, both by birth and station. It appears that Pudens and Claudia took Paul’s message to the highest levels of Roman society.


COMMENT:

Mr. Finton,

There is no need to resurrect a nineteenth-century chestnut like Guest when there are more recent studies which bring to bear a rigorous approach to Flavian prosopography. Both Brian Jones’ Domitian and the Senatorial Order (Philadelphia, 1979) and Pat Southern’s Domitian (Bloomington, 1997) examine in detail the claim that Titus Flavius Clemens and Domitilla were executed for Christian beliefs and conclude that there is no serious evidence for such a claim. The report of the execution of Tiberius Flavius Clem- ens is more consistent with his association with the circle around the Emperor Titus’ mistress Bernice and those who favored a more moderate policy toward Jews in the aftermath of the crushing of the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD. Domitian repudiated Titus’ more conciliatory policy and vigorously persecuted Jews, especially Roman and Hellenistic converts. The deaths of Titus Flavius Clemens and his wife occur in this context, probably because of their connection to pro-Jewish sympathizers in Rome (the likelihood that they themselves were Jewish converts is rather less).

The only Christian connection present was the fact that a piece of property owned by Domitilla became a Christian cemetery approximately two hundred years after her death.

The study of Roman history, and particularly the history of Roman Britain, has advanced rather a lot since Guest’s death in 1880. As I have said before, the existence of a scholarly literature helps to avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel (and elevating discredited antiquarian scholarship above its proper place).

Greg Rose, University of Mississippi


COMMENT:

Greg,

I wouldn’t automatically discount the importance or the continued significance of the 19th-century research. I have recently been doing some Ptolemaic studies, where there has been an enormous amount of prosographical data and research published this century. Yet an important inscription in a highly visible place––the pylons of the Temple of Edfu––published in 1870 and at the centre of a major controversy ever since, was not re-examined till 1988. I myself have found a key issue related to my research which has not been addressed since 1899.

Chris Bennett


Editorial Reply:

I have examined these references and find little detail in their conclusions. They have simply dismissed the possibility that Clemens could have been a Christian.

As editor of The Plantagenet Connection, people send me this kind of material quite often. The belief that Clemens was a Christian martyr still prevails in the genealogical community which takes information found in old texts at face value. It is pleasant to finally be able to come to an understanding of these issues, one by one, and confidently refute or support the data by later research. Libraries hold far more older works than newer works and the public perceptions are often a hundred years off.

I am looking for one simple thing here:

Martial, a Roman contemporary poet, wrote verses to Pudens and referred to his wife Claudia as a painted Britain. Timothy 4:12 mentions both Pudens and Claudia as members of the early congregation of the church of Rome.

The only question for the moment is: “are these the same people?”

Guest’s suggestion (and my contribution) is that a British woman could not be named Claudia unless she was a client of the emperor and this identifies Claudia as the daughter of the British King Cogidnu- bus mentioned by Tacitus.

For us to believe that there were two people named Claudia, both married to a Pudens, both of British descent, and both friends of Martial certainly stretches the imagination. Thus, I believe that the Claudia and Pudens mentioned in Timothy were indeed the same people that Martial knew

Therefore, we seem to have documented evidence of the daughter of a British king marrying a Roman in the first century and becoming a Christian. Further, other epigrams addressed to Pudens place him in a northern territory (probably Britain) and identify him with Aulus Plautius (as he wears the name Aulus as well). Since Plautius’ wife was a Christian, we can assume that Claudia came to Rome and learned the Christian beliefs from her teachers. Further, the inscription of the temple to Cogidubnus says that Pudens gave the land, so we can safely assume that he originally obtained it in some manner.

Greg Rose wrote: “The deaths of Titus Flavius Clemens and his wife occur in this context, probably because of their connection to pro-Jewish sympathizers in Rome (the likelihood that they themselves were Jewish converts is rather less). The only Christian connection present was the fact that a piece of property owned by Domitil- la became a Christian cemetery approximately two hundred years after her death.”

This Christian cemetery was not only owned by Domitilla, it was named for her. Flavia Domitilla was the daughter of the Emperor Domitian’s sister and the wife of T. Flavius Clemens. That she owned and donated land for a Christian cemetery is a clue of their Christian leanings. It still exists and is called the cemetery of Domitilla to this day! “Already in the end of the first century, we can see in the gallery of the Flavians in the cemetery of Domitilla, Daniel in the den of lions.”  (1)

The Christians of this era, though distinct from the Jews, were regarded by the Romans (and possibly even themselves) as a Jewish sect. When the Romans spoke of banishing the Jews or persecuting Jew- ish converts, they were speaking of this sect of chrestiani. (2)

Besides the documentation of the British marriage to a Roman, we have evidence of Christian conversions within high levels of the Roman aristocracy in the first century. Another pagan witness named Thallus confirms the penetration of Christian ideas into high Roman circles as early as 40 AD.  (3)

When Claudius expelled the Jews, he was expelling the Christians. They were not yet differentiated from the Jews. The exact phrasing of Suetonius was: “He [Claudius] expelled from Rome the Jews who, led by Christ, were the cause of continual agitations.”


COMMENT:

Chris,

I was not rejecting all nineteenth-century scholarship (which is the reason I characterized the Guest work as a “chestnut” and referred explicitly to discredited nineteenth-century scholarship), but rather Guest’s work. Clearly, there is nineteenth- century scholarship which can and should be read

with profit by scholars today ––almost anything written by Kemble or Sievers comes immediately to mind as examples. However, in the field of Roman British studies, Guest has long been ren- dered unimportant by methodological and source advances––Guest did not have the treasure-trove of the RIB to mine for prosopographical evidence, nor could he benefit from modern, scientific ar- chaeology’s contributions.

Greg Rose


COMMENT:

Mr. Finton,

There are good reasons for rejecting Guest’s contentions out of hand, as examination of his own arguments suggest. There is no evidence whatsoever that Cogidnubus had a daughter. This is purely speculation by Guest. Note the use of “if”, “may”, “would” –– this is indicative of just how uncertain Guest’s speculations are.

Guest’s contention here is simply a confession of his ignorance. Prosopographical and epigraphical studies have enormously advanced our understanding of first-century onomastic practices. The name “Claudia” is seen in inscriptions of imperial freed women as well as woman granted citizenship during the reign of Claudius. The name is not rare at all in the first century as epigraphic evidence made available by archaeology in the twentieth century demonstrates. The suggestion that the shared nomen “Aulus” is significant ignores the fact that the cognomen “Pudens” (meaning literally shaming) is associated with servile origin. Aulus Pudens was almost certainly a freedman––possibly associated with Aulus Plautius, but by no means necessarily so. Martial’s Claudia is likely of freedman origin as well on the basis of epigraphic evidence.

There is no evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian. This is purely a speculation. BTW, have you left something out of the quotation from Guest? Is he seriously suggesting that the Emperor Claudius was a Christian convert? That would be absurd.


Editorial Reply:

This question has been studied and argued since 1650 when James Ussher—archbishop in Ireland and a prolific theologian, whose rare books are scattered still across the world––began to argue this connection. Yet, these epigrams were written over a lifetime and the poet Martial’s writing days must have begun around age 30 or so––with some of the bawdy content, perhaps even an earlier age. He was an immensely popular poet, the Don Rickles of his day, insulting and pointing out the foibles in the cream of Roman society with poems long before committing them to book form. Perhaps he started writing these around 50 to 60 A.D. The fact that they were not published in book form until around 80 to 100 A.D. is not significant. This observation has not been argued in this century.

So far as prosopographical evidence is concerned, I have checked the Prosopographia Imperii Romani, which covers first-century Rome. (4)  The work stops at the letter “O”. Seventy-three women named Claudia are listed, only one of them a foreigner from Britain.

The two most important epigrams are these: Epigram 4.13: Martial, in an epigram addressed to Rufus, celebrates the marriage of his Pudens’ to the “foreigner Claudia.”

Book IV, XIII:

CLAUDIA, Rufe, meo nubit Peregrina Pudenti: macte esto taedis, O Hyrnenaee, tuis. tam bene rara suo miscentur cinnama nardo, Massica Theseis tam bene vina favis;nee melius teneris iunguntur vitibus ulmi, nec plus lotos aquas, litora myrtus amat. candida perpetuo reside, Concordia, lecto, tamque pari semper sit Venus acqua iugo: diligat illa senem quondam, sed et ipsa marito tum quoque, cum fuerit, non videatur anus.

XIII: “Claudia Perigrina [foreigner], Rufus, weds my Pudens: O Hymenaeus, bless the torches! Such a union precious cinnamon makes with nard; such, Massic wine with honey from the land of Theseus. The elms do not join the vines in closer love, not the lotus its water, not the myrtle its banks. O Concord! be the perpetual guardian of that bed; and may Venus be generous in equal bounty. May the wife cherish her husband, even when he becomes gray, and she when she is old, appear still young.” Epigrams 4.13.]

Not anyone can wear the emperor’s name. Claudia was not the common name that it is today. One must assume she is a client of the emperor and wonder if she is a foreigner where she is from. 11:53 answers that question:

Book I, LIII:

Claudia caeruleis cum sit Rufina Britannis edita, quam Latiae pectora gentis habet! quale decus formae! Romanam credere matres Italides possunt, Atthides esse suam. Di bene quod sancto peperit fecunda marito, quod sperat generos quodque puella nurus. Sic placeat superis ut coniuge gaudeat uno et semper natis gaudeat illa tribus.

LIII: translation

“Although Claudia Rufina was born of the blue-eyed Britons, she has a Latin heart. How beautiful her form! Italian women would take her for a Roman; those of Attica for their own. You gods who have blessed her in the children she has born her sainted husband, grant also her hopesfor sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. May she enjoy but a single husband and enjoy, always, her three sons.”

In order for Claudia to be born of the painted Britons and be in Rome, well- versed in Latin and Greek and the graces of culture, she had to come from a very high  station, which explains her name. The British King Cogidubnus took the name Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus and, according to tradition, his daughter would be named Claudia. In my view, this is why Claudia was in Rome and she WAS his daughter.

How did Pudens meet Martial? He is referred to early in the books at a much younger age as being in line for a promo- tion:

Book I, XXXI:

Hos tibi, Phoebe, vovet totos a vertice crines Encolpos, domini centurionis amor, grata Pudens meriti tulerit cum praemia pili. quam primum longas, Phoebe, recide comas, dum nulla teneri sordent lanugine voltus dumque decent fusae lactea colla iubae; utque tuis longum dominnsque puerque fruantur- muneribus, tonsum fac cite, sero virum.

XXXI

THESE, all the tresses from his head, Encolpus, the darling of his master the cen- turion, vows, Phoebus, to thee, when Pudens shall bring home the glad guerdon of his merit, a chief centurion’s rank. Sever, Phoebus, with all speed these long locks while his soft cheeks are darkened not with any down, and while tumbled curls grace iris milk-white neck; and, so that; both master and boy may long enjoy thy gifts, make him soon shorn, but a man late!

Encolpus vows to shave his locks when Pudens is promoted. In Book 5.48, this pact is fulfilled:“What does love compel? Encolpos has shorn his locks against his master’s will, yet not forbidden. Pudens allowed it and wept: [E. had dedicated his long hair to Phoebus if his master Pudens became first centurion (primi pali) and now proceeds to fulfill that vow] in such a wise did his sire yield the reins, sighing at Pantheon’s boldness [helios, the sun, allowed Pantheon to drive his chariot]; so fair was ravished Hylas [a beautiful youth drawn under the water by the enamored Nymphus], so fair discovered Achilles [who had been hidden by Thetis in wom-en’s clothes to prevent him from going to the  Trojan  War,  an  early  incident  of pacifism], when amid his mother’s tears and joy he laid aside his locks. Yet haste not thou, O beard [he is not yet a man]––trust  not  those  shortened  tresses––and spring slow in return for sacrifice so great!”

Epigram 4.29 is addressed to Pudens: “Dear Pudens, their very number hampers my poems, and volume after volume wearies and sates the reader. Rare things please one; so greater charm belongs to early apples, so winter roses win value; so her pride commends a mistress who pillages you, and a door, always open holds no fast lover. Oftener Persius wins credit in a single book than trivial Marsus [another epigrammatic poet who wrote an epic on the Amazons] in his whole Amaxonid. Do you think, too, whatever of my books you read again, think that it is the only one: so ’twill be to you of fuller worth.”

In Book 6.58, Pudens wears the first name of Aulus, the same as Aulus Plautius, conqueror or Britain who had the Christian wife. Pudens was stationed in a far northern post that seems to have been Britain, so the tie can be made to the Chichester tablet where Pudens’ name was impressed.

Book 6, LVIII:

CERNERE Parrhasios dum te iuvat, Aule, triones comminus et Getici sidera pigra poli, o quam pacne tibi Stygias ego raptus ad undas Elysiae vidi nubila fusca plagae! quamvis lassa tuos quaerebant lumina vultus atque erat in gelido plurimus ore Pudens. si mihi lanificae ducunt non pulla sorores stamina nec surdos vox habet ista deos, sospite me sospes Latias reveheris ad urbes et referes pili praemia clarus eques.

LVIII:

“WHILE it pleased you, Aulus, to survey anear the Northern Bears and the slow- wheeling stars of Getic heavens, oh, how nearly was I snatched away from you to the waves of Styx, and viewed the gloomy clouds of the Elysian plain! Weary as they were, my eyes searched for your face, and on my chill lips oft was Pudens’ name. If the wool-working Sisters draw not my threads of sable hue [i.e., grant me longer life], and this my prayer find not the gods deaf, I shall be safe, and you shall safe return to Latin cities and bring back a chief centurion’s honour, an illustrious knight withal.”

Epigram 7.11: “You compell me to correct my poems with my own hands and pen, Pudens. Oh, how overmuch you approve and love my work who wish to have my trifles in autograph.”

Epigram 7.97 is addressed to Aulus Pu- dens:

Book VII, XCVII:

Nosti si bene Caesium, libelle, montanae decus Umbriae Sabinum, Auli municipem mei Pudentis, illi tu dabis haec vel occupato. instent mille licet premantque curae, nostris carminibus tamen vacabit. nzm me diligit ille proximumque Turni nobilibus legit libellis. o quantum tibi norrlinis paratur! o quae gloria! quanl frequens amator; te convivia, te forum sonabit aedes compita porticus tabernae. uni mitteris, omnibus legeris.

XCVII: translation

“If you know well, little book, Caesius Sabinus, the pride of hilly Umbria, fel- low-townsman of my Aulus Pudens, you will give him these, though he be engaged. Though a thousand duties press on and distract him, yet he will be at leisure for my poems. For he loves me, and, next to Turnus’ famous satires, reads me. Oh, what a reputation is being stored up for you! Oh, what glory! How many an admirer! With you banquets, with you the forum will echo, houses, by-ways, colonnades, bookshops! You are being sent to one, by all will you be read.”

The other epigrams are these:

Epigram. 13.69: The poet never gets any cattae from Umbria; Pudens prefers sending them to his Lord.

Besides these epigrams, there are seven addressed by Martial to one Aulus, who is likely the same person as Aulus Pudens:

Epigram 5.28: Never Aulus, whatever your conduct be, can you make Mamercus speak well of you, even though you surpassed the whole world in piety, peacefulness, courtesy, probity, justice, flow of language, and facetiousness––no one can please him.

Epigram 6.78: The physician, Aulus, told Phryx, the noble toper, he would lose his eyesight if he drank. Eye, fare well (farewell), said Phryx; he drank and lost his sight.

Epigram 7.14: A coarse epigram on a woman––one of Martial’s acquaintances.

Epigram 11.38: Aulus! Do you wonder why a certain slave was sold for so large a sum? The man was deaf––that is, could not play the eaves-dropper on his master.

Epigram 12.51: Aulus, why do you wonder that “our Fabullinus” is so often deceived? A good man is always a tiro.

Martial also wrote nine epigrams ad- dressed to Fabullus. He seems to have been one of the Martial’s intimate friends, but was ill-regarded with no great respect or affection.

Greg Rose wrote: “There is no evidence whatsoever that Cogidnubus had a daugh- ter. This is purely speculation by Guest. Note the use of “if”, “may”, “would”––this is indicative of just how uncertain Guest’s speculations are.”

The only mention of Cogidnubus was in Tacitus, so there is no evidence of any children, yet kings had children with regularity. The evidence is in the existence of Claudia the painted Briton in Martial’s epigram. For those remote times it is as good as a birth certificate. If we are open about this, the answer is evident. Who else could it possibly be? What other British woman who spoke Latin and Greek like a native and had the manners of a queen could Claudia be? How else would this Briton wear the proud name of Claudia? How many of the women named Claudia in Rome were born of the “blue-eyed Britons” and spoke fluent Latin and Greek. Remember that Cogidnubus was made king right after the Roman invasion. Before that time, his daughter would not have known Latin and Greek, nor had Roman manners. Nor would have anyone else the island. It would take until 60-65 AD for such learning to occur. Reason tells me there was only one Briton named Claudia. Who else could she be other than Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus’ daughter? Who can name one more candidate?

Greg Rose wrote: “Aulus Pudens was almost certainly a freedman––possibly as- sociated with Aulus Plautius, but by no means necessarily so. Martial’s Claudia is likely of freedman origin as well on the basis of epigraphic evidence.”

What epigraphic evidence? And I agree that Aulus Pudens was associated with Aulus Plautius, but I would eliminate the “not necessarily so.”

Greg Rose wrote: There is no evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian. This is purely a speculation. By the way, have you left something out of the quotation from Guest? Is he seriously suggesting that the Emperor Claudius was a Christian  convert? That  would  be absurd.”

No, he was not arguing that Claudius was a Christian convert, but Aulus Plautius had a cousin who was one of the wives of Claudius. Plautius and Claudius had a family relationship. Claudius’ first wife was Plautia Urguanilla, who bore him a daughter named Claudia Antonia, born 27 A.D., died 66 A.D., and a son named Drusus. Plautia was a cousin of Plautius. Young Drusus choked to death when he threw a pear in the air and tried to catch it with his mouth. Claudius later divorced Plautia for adultery and supposedly for murder as well, but no one knows whom she was supposed to have murdered. [Suetonius, Claudius.26.]

The conqueror of Britain, Plautius, had a Christian wife. Her name was Pomponia Graecina. She was charged with “some foreign superstition when Plautius returned to Rome. The trial was recorded by Tacitus and took place in 57 A.D. She was handed over to her husband for judicial decision. He found that she was “innocent,” but she remained in seclusion the rest of her life. [The Annals, Tacitus 13:32.]

What other “foreign superstition” would she be charged witch if not Christianity? We must be open about this. Only when we recognize the truth in the pieces does the puzzle fit together.

There are Christian inscriptions of a Pomponius Graecinus at the end of the second or the beginning of the third cen- tury and several of Pomponii Bassi. (5} Plautius, a consul whose cousin espoused the Emperor Claudius, had become suspect because she led a life which was too austere in the eyes of those in her circle and has been accused of ‘foreign superstition.’” (6)

Mr. Finton,

The problem is one of interpretation of the evidence and distinguishing between evidence and speculation.

You wrote: “Remember, not anyone can wear the emperor’s name. Claudia was not the common name that it is today. One must assume she is a patron of the emperor and wonder if she is a foreigner where she is from. 11:33 answers that question.”

This completely misrepresents the onomastic situation. Every imperial freedman freed during the reign of Claudius could take the Claudian nomen (and every freed woman the Claudian praenomen), as could their descendants, as well as any person granted citizenship during the reign of Claudius (which is the only way Cogidubnus could hold the Claudian nomen), and their descendants. The same is true for every freedman and freed woman of any member of the Gens Claudia and their descendants. For the rules of Roman name formation, look at Bruno Doer’s Der Ro- mische Namengebung: ein Historischer Versuch (Hildesheim, 1974). For the onomastic practices and social and political roles of imperial freedmen (and their numbers), see Gerard Boulert’s Esclaves et affranchis imperiaux sous Haut-Empire (Naples, 1970), P.R.C. Weaver’s Familia Cae- saris: a Social Study of the Emperor’s Freedmen and Slaves (Cambridge, 1972), and W. Eck’s and

J. Heinrichs’ Sklaven und Freiglassene in der Ge- sellschaft der Romischer Kaiserzeit (Darmstadt, 1993).

You wrote: “In order for Claudia to be born of the painted Britons and be in Rome, well-versed in Latin and Greek and the graces of culture, she had to come from a high station, which explains her name. The British King Cogidubnus took the name Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus and, according to tradition, his daughter would be named Claudia. In my view, this is why Claudia was in Rome and she WAS his daughter.”

I defy you to show a single piece of evidence which suggests that Cogidubnus fathered any daughters, much less one who was spirited off to Rome. Why is it not equally possible for Claudia to have been an imperial slave from Britannia lat- er freed, or the daughter of a Claudian imperial freedman? High levels of literacy and cultural at- tainment are certainly not unknown among Julio- Claudian and Flavian imperial slaves and freedmen/women. Why does Claudia have to be the daughter of a British king? Just because you want it to be?

You wrote: “How did Pudens meet Martial? He is referred to early in the books at a much younger age as being in line for a promotion.”

A primus pilus––the first centurion of a legion––was of no more than Equestrian rank (if that, since promotion was from the ranks). This is attested by virtually all of the first century AD epigraphic evidence. This makes it unlikely that the Aulus Pudens of Martial was a close relative of Aulus Plautius (he would have been, then, Senatorial or Equestrian by birth and would have entered legionary service as a military tribune, not as a ranker). Pudens and its related forms is not quite so rare a name as you appear to think––there are at least six inscriptions with this cognomen prior to 114 AD and the wife of Lucius Apuleius was styled Aemilia (the feminine diminutive form of Pudens, entis). The supposed link between Aulus Pudens and Aulus Plautius is weakened by the fact that the senatorial Aulus family was of Picentine origin (there was an Aulus among the clientes of Pompey Strabo, the father of Pompey the Great), while Martial clearly indicates that Aulus Pudens was Umbrian (Epigram 7.97). This increases the probability that Aulus Pudens was the descendant of an Aulan client (probably a freedman) rather than a relative of Aulus Plautius.

You wrote: “In Book 6.58, Pudens wears the first name of Aulus, the same as Aulus Plautius, conqueror or Britain who had the Christian wife. Pudens was stationed in a far northern post that seems to have been Britain, so the tie can be made to the Chichester tablet where Pudens’ name was impressed.”

What is your evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian? What makes you think that Chichester (or more precisely the Romano- British town of Regni) was a legionary fortress or headquarters suitable for the presence of an inscription from a legionary primus pilus in the Flavian period? The archaeology of the site does not sustain such an identification. Only four legions were stationed in Britannia (II Augusta, IX Hispana, XIV Gemina Martia Victrix, and XX Valeria Victrix) from the Claudian invasion to the end of the Flavian period (Legio XIV was re- moved in 67 from Britannia and dispatched to Syria). Does epigraphic evidence of the fasti of any of these legions identify an Aulus Pudens as primus pilus? Your supposition that the Chichester inscription is related to the Aulus Pudens of Martial is mere idle, unsubstantiated speculation.

Finally, what is your evidence that the Pudens and Claudia of II Timothy 4:21 are the Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina of Martial’s Epigramma- ta? Don’t tell me who has speculated that the identification is sound. Don’t tell me “because the names are rare.” The epigraphic evidence and the prevalence of the Claudian nomen among imperial freedmen say that is an unfounded claim. This identification is more idle, unsubstantiated speculation––just the same as when Ussher opined it.

You have only indicated what you believe––not what evidence convinces you. The Epigrammata of Martial––no matter whether quoted in Latin or in English––are not evidence. Everyone concedes that the names Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina appear there. What is at question is whether they are the same people as in the Chichester epigraph and II Timothy 4:21, and whether Claudia Rufina is the daughter of a British king. And on those points you have cited no evidence whatsoever.

Greg Rose


Editorial Reply:

Greg Rose wrote: “Why, does Claudia have to be the daughter of a British king? Just because you want it to be?”

That is a good question that can also be reversed. If you do not want her to be so, you can argue from the other direction.

Greg Rose wrote: “I defy you to show a single piece of evidence which suggests that Cogidubnus fathered any daughters, much less one who was spirited off to Rome.”

The only reference I know of about Cogidubnus is the passage in Tacitus. That does not mention his children. If there are any more references I would like to know of them. If this is the only one, then there is no written evidence either way. That being so, we can assume he That being so, we can assume h had children. It was a common thing among kings in those days to have an heir. If one wife did not bear, another wife or mistress was taken. Other legends point toward Claudia and being a daughter of Caractacus.

Greg Rose wrote: “Why is it not equally possible for Claudia to have been an imperial slave from Britannia later freed, or the daughter of a Claudian imperial freedman? High levels of literacy and cultural attainment are certainly not unknown among Julio-Claudian and Flavian imperial slaves and freedmen/women.”

This is a good question, perhaps the root question. Since she probably married Pudens in Rome, how did she get to Rome. Where did she learn her manners? Is high literacy and cultural attainment in both Greek and Latin really that likely among freed women? Probably not. And a freed woman would not be born a Briton, as is documented.

Greg Rose wrote: “This makes it unlikely that the Aulus Pudens of Martial was a close relative of Aulus Plautius (he would have been, then, Senatorial or Equestrian by birth and would have entered legionary service as a military tribune, not as a ranker).”

No, I did not say Pudens was a relative of Plautius. He rose from the ranks. The reference was to the family relationship between Plautius and Claudius through Claudius’ first wife. How Pudens knew Plautius is the mystery.

Greg Rose wrote: “Pudens and its related forms is not quite so rare a name as you appear to think––there are at least sixwith this cognomen prior to 114 AD and the wife of Lucius Apuleiuswas styled Aemilia Pudentilla (the feminine diminutive form of Pudens, ___entis).”

I would like to see a reference to all six, as I have only found three. There were few named Pudens in Roman history. The three other known Pudens are: 1) Arrius Pudens, a consul in 165 AD. 2) Maevius Pudens, employed by Otho to corrupt the soldiers of Galba (Tacitus 1.24) 3) Q. Servilius Pudens, a counsul in 166 AD.7 With Lucius Apuleius as husband of Aemilia Pudentilla, we have the Pudens name associated with Lucius. That brings in another can of worms into the picture, as the legends show that Lucius the Great is the ancestor of Helen of the Cross. Perhaps the very name of Lucius came from an association with the descendants of Pudens and Claudia. Would it not be strange if this all did fit together and that the name of Lucius the Great did come from Roman relatives as the legends indicated?

Greg Rose wrote: “What is your evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian?”

The Tacitus description when she was on trial for “foreign superstition” with her husband as judge. There was no name for Christianity at that time. What else is a candidate for “foreign superstition” in such a high social office? Witchcraft? I think not. Nor is Judaism likely.
You wrote: “Your supposition that the Chichester inscription is related to the Aulus Pudens of Martial is mere idle, unsubstantiated speculation.”

This site was the palace of King Cogidubnus. The name Pudens was on the inscription. More recent excavations have found that it was a huge palace, truly fit for a king. It size and layout suggests how far the Roman authorities were prepared to go in rewarding loyal cooperation. This in turn hints to the high value they set upon their newly acquired province of Britannia. (8)

This site was the palace of Cogidnubus––his name is on the slab with Pudens at the right time–– and the inscription had been reinterpreted to show that he was called “the great king.” There is more than idle speculation involved here, considering the rest of the story.

Greg Rose wrote: “Finally, what is your evidence that the Pudens and Claudia of II Timothy 4:21 are the Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina of Martial’s Epigrammata?”

If one accepts that Plautius’ wife learned the teaching of Christ from someone like Timothy or Paul––the magnificently convincing founders of the early church in Rome––while Plautius was away on campaign like Tacitus suggests, then the puzzle begins to take form. Pudens was promoted and seems to have been in Britain from the epigrammatic evidence. Pud


ens’ name appears on an inscription with the name of Cogidnubus, so it makes great sense to identify these people with the Claudia with Pudens of Timothy. Pudenswould have obviously been converted by Claudia’s influence, and Claudia by the influence of Plautius’ wife or her children. They would have first-hand information that could be passed down to their grandchildren for generations––and thus the historical origin of the ancient legends.

Another interesting but unsubstantiated (as of now) bit of information was alluded  to by Guest. “The legendaries tell us that this royal missionary was himself converted by a certain Timotheus who visited Britain, and who, in one or two accounts, is described as St. Paul’s disciple. This is an obvious blunder, but there was another member of the early church who figures under the same name, and he, no doubt, was the Timotheus alluded to. The Timotheus in question is represented by certain legendaries as the brother of the sainted virgins Pudentiana and Praxedes, who, according to some, were the daughters, or, according to others, the granddaughters of Pudens. The reader need hardly be reminded that two of the oldest churches in Rome are dedicate to the saints Pudentiana and Praxedes.” I know nothing else of these legendaries.

Greg Rose wrote: “What is at question is whether they are the same people as in the Chichester epigraph and II Timothy 4:21, and whether Claudia Rufina is the daughter of a British king. And on those points you have cited no evidence whatsoever.”

Yes, that is the question. Is this true? Is there really no evidence? Is the slab, the names, the words of Tacitus and the descriptions by Martial all unrelated? I doubt it. I think they are connected. The problem is that if this is so, some other ideas about this time will also crumble. My world will not crumble regardless of the outcome of this matter. I view it as an unsolved mystery that can stand to be brought out of the closet and viewed in the breaking light of the 21st century. The resolution can go either way. The important thing is that it be resolved.


 COMMENT:

Ken,

Even if it turns out that there is no case for Claudia daughter of Cogidubnus, this is an interesting discussion. There is a strong, and totally  bogus, medieval tradition of a descent of British kings through a daughter of the emperor Claudius in Geoffrey of Monmouth. It would be interesting to know how this tradition arose. The type of argument being made here may be closely related to the way medieval genealogists made this deduction.

– Chris Bennett

 

Editorial Reply:

The bogus connection was through Arviragus’ marriage to Genuissa, daughter of Claudius. Arviragus was an historical person (mentioned in Juvenal) who rebelledagainst the Romans, but Caractacus stole the fire of history by being captured and taken off to Rome. Another legendary source has Caractacus converted to Christianity and having a daughter named Claudia Britannicus. If true, this would beanother British Claudia, but I am not certain about the source of this legend andfeel that the names and identities may have been confused. The origin of the legend ofClaudia Britannica is not with Geoffrey of Monmouth. At first, this confused me as I thought this Claudia might be the Claudiaof Martial.

Greg Rose wrote: “The Epigrammata of Martial––no matter whether quoted in Latin or in English––are not evidence.”

Brian Jones in The Emperor Domitian has this to say about Martial’s epigrams. “… everyone was terrified of the emperor [Domitian]. The evidence provided by the court poets Statius and Martial is consistent with this.”

Jones’ very first end note about Domitian converting his family home into a temple of the gens Flavia was attributed to Martial 9.20 as the source material. (9)  It is clear that Jones believes that Martial’s poetry can be used as evidence and that Martial was a court poet writing about the upper classes.

This issue of Pudens and Claudia has not been examined for a hundred years and the arguments have been forgotten. That is why it is necessary to reexamine them.

Similarly, until Brian Jones came out with his biography of Domitian in 1992, there had not been a book on this emperor for a hundred years. Jones says: “By the time of Domitian’s birth, the Flavians were less influential at court. Once Messallina had been replaced by Agrippina, the [Flavian] group centered on Antonia and became disunited; when Claudius sought advice about a suitable replacement for his third wife, some (e.g. Vitellius) favored Agrippina and others (e.g. Narcissus) favored Aelia Paetina. The victor showed little mercy to the vanquished –– the Plautia [gens] suffered the most, with Aulus Plautius’ wife Pomponia Graecina being charged with practicing a foreign religion (Ann.13.32) and two other Plautii forced to commit suicide (Nero 35.4) … for the Flavians, it meant that Vespasian was no longer welcome at court.” (10)  However, their fortunes recovered by 59 AD when Agrippina was murdered by Nero [her son]. The relationship between the Flavian and the Julii gens remained close. Domitian’s niece, Julia, about 11 years older than he, was born in the early 60’s, daughter of his brother Titus and his wife Arrecinna Tertulla who had close relatives named Julius.

Of Titus Flauvius Clemens, not much is known, in comparison to his brother Sabinus. Clemens married Flavia Domitilla, daughter of Domitian’s sister. They had seven children, two of whom were openly designated as Domitian’s successor. (Dom 15.1)

In 95 A.D. Clemens was appointed ordinary counsel with Domitian, no doubt to groom his sons for succession, but not long afterwards he was charged with atheism. According to Dio, he was executed and his wife banished. The fate of the children is unknown. Jones says: “Finally, the precise nature of Clemens’s ’atheism’ is disputed. Some have argued that they were both Christians or Christian sympathizers, others that they favored Judaism. In neither case is the evidence convincing.” [Ibid, p 48} Now, “atheism” is a strange charge for Romans to make. In those days when the mad emperors declared themselves gods, any sane person should have been an an atheist. It is similar to the strange charge made against Plautius’ wife of “foreign superstition.”


COMMENT:

Ken, I have a few reactions to the Edwin Guest paper you sent me.

1) Victorian sanctimony in full flood is really repulsive. Parts of this just made me cringe.

2) “Rufina” probably has nothing to do with gens affiliation––it means “red-head”––a very likely epithet for a Briton (cf William Rufus). At best its a convenient pun!

3) If the theory is correct, and Pudens was granting land to Cogidubnus during Aulus Plautius’ governorship then he was considerably older than Claudia. To be in a position of such power and trust during the 40s he must have been in at least his late 20s or early 30s at that time; i.e., 15-20 years older than her putatitive age. So you can factor that into reconstructing his career, to see if it fits with the likely age at which he becomes a centurion etc.

4) A “Claudia” in late Flavian Rome was, I think, much more likely to be born with the name than to have been granted it on receiving free status. Here a survey of PIR and whatever other first century prosopographies you can lay your hands on is essential––how many Claudians of any stripe can be traced after the death of Nero? If you can establish this point, then the plausibility of her being the daughter of a British king goes up considerably.

5) The internal evidence on Claudia alone might be sufficient to show that Martial’s epigrams were collected over a period of years before publication (from marriage to three sons in the blink of an eyelid!)––unless the sons were by a previous marriage of Pudens.

Anyway, keep me posted, this is an interesting investigation.

-Chris Bennett

 

Editorial Reply: To me, it looks as though the age is correct. Pudens could have held the land for quite a while before donating it for the temple, but if he were later a Christian, perhaps he would have done it earlier––before he was converted. It was a pagan temple. That aspect has confused scholars for a while. The fact of the donation presupposes a relationship with Cogidubnus that could have led to a marriage to his alleged daughter.

COMMENT:

Ken,

If the reconstruction on Martial is right, most of the epigrams were written during the period 70- 95––or can they be shown to have been composed under Nero? Pudens became a centurion during that time, lets say c70. But Aulus Plautius was governor of Britain 41-47. So, suppose Pudens was c25 in 45 (quite young), in order to make the grant––birth c20 AD. That means he became a centurion in his late 40’s to early 50’s. Possible, for a blighted career, but I think this is beginning to stretch plausibility a little far––a detailed review of the lower ranking officer corps in the first century Roman army is required. I don’t know of any, though I’m sure one exists.

-Chris Bennett

Editorial Reply:

Martial died no later than 101 AD. He was in Rome for 35 years. For another eight years he took a hiatus from Rome, so Book One of his Epigrams likely were written around 60-70 AD at the earliest. That leaves a problem with the Plautius connection. The first book of Martial’s epigrams has Pudens out of Rome awaiting his promotion to master centurion. Pudens, being the son of Pudentius, could have also received the land from his father,especially if his father was a Roman merchant who traded or held goods for land.

Also, Plautius’ alleged Christian wife, Pomponia, was tried around 47-50 A.D. and went into seclusion thereafter. It seems difficult to prove that she could have been Claudia’s Christian contact if she were truly in seclusion. That her family, especially her children, could have been allowed contact is likely. That would help to explain the legendary Christian strain in her descendants. I find it unlikely that her husband would let her personally attend meetings with Christians after the trial. His position was not that secure. That would leave out any direct contact with other converts for her, but she may have proxied through her family, especially her children. Also, if Claudia was a guest in their home because she was Cogidnubus’ daughter, she could have had personal contact with Pomponia. Pomponia’s teacher could have been either Timothy or Paul. Around 60-70 A.D., Paul back in Rome. Claudia could have met him at this time.

Claudia, as the daughter of Cogidnubus, would have been welcome in Aulus Plautius’ home and in the Roman courts. Martial was not only a court poet, but a frequenter of the royal baths, whose bathers were the subjects of his verses.

So far as Pudens is concerned, a birth date of Around 30 A.D. seems likely. That would make him around fifteen when Britain was being subjugated. He was awaiting promotion as a head centurion around 65 A.D. For Claudia to have been around 25 around 80 A.D., when she was noted as having three children, her birth date would have been circa 55 A.D. She would have been 15 when Pudens was awaiting his promotion and possibly his land grant. Cogidnubus, being described as “long faithful,” would still be around in70 A.D. I would like to think that a romance bloomed between the personable and handsome centurion and the British princess–– that Pudens received his promotion and his land grant, donated the land and carried the British lass away and back to Rome, but that is the imaginative storyteller in me speaking. If he returned with a Greek and Latin-speaking prize of a British princess, he would have achieved court status.

What we could have here are two divergent and separate Christian conversions, the one of Pomponia (carried on through her children and their children), and theone of Claudia the Britain, be she free woman or princess. However, Pomponia’s family (the children) would have been the right age to know Claudia and Pudens at the court. If the Christian strain  in the descendants of Pomponia is assumed, then secretive contacts with other Christians must be likely.

COMMENT:

Ken,

The following contain information on the in- scription: J.E. Bogaers “King Cogidubnus in Chichester: Another Reading of RIB 91” in Bri- tannia 10 (1979) pp.243-254 and plate IX, R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright The Roman In- scriptions of Britain, Vol I, Inscriptions on Stone, (Oxford 1965) pp. 25-6, RIB 91.

The original reading was as follows:

[N]eptuno et Minervae / templum / [pr]o sa- lute do[mos] divinae / [ex] auctoritat[e Ti(beri)] Claud(i) / [Co]gidubni r(egis) lega[ti] Aug(usti) in Brit(annia) / [colle]gium fabor(um) et qui in eo / [sun]t d(e) s(uo) d(ederunt) donante aream / … ]ente Pudentini fil(io)

“To Neptune and Minerva, for the welfare of the Divine House by the authority of Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, king, imperial legate in Britain, the guild of smiths and those therein gave this temple from their own resources, […]ens, son of Pudentius, presenting the site.”

The new reading is basically the same as the above except line 5 now is shown to read: [CO]GIDVBNI RE[G(is) M]AGNI BRIT

(anniae or annorum?) …

Which makes the inscription read:  “… by the authority   of   Tiberius   Claudius   Cogidubnus, great king in Britain, the guild of smiths …”

More relevant to your present project is the following from Bogaers’s article. When referring to a card from Chichester Museum that reads: “ST. PAUL AND BRITAIN: Notes on the DedIcation Stone of the Temple of Neptune and Minerva, at Chichester, which connects the Roman Senator Pudens, the British Princess Claudia, and St. Paul with the city of Chichester,” he says: “All this has clear reference to the ’hallucinations’ of those who have supposed a close connection of the [Pu?]dens of the Chichester inscription which [sic] the Pudens and Claudia mentioned by St. Paul at the end of his second letter from Rome to Timothy, bishop of Ephesus (4, 21), and with the British lady Claudia Rufina, Claudia peregrina and Pudens known from Martial, Epigr. xi, 53 and iv, 13. Against any such ideas Hubner was strongly and rightly opposed.” (pp. 251-2).

Bogaers gives the following references for the above: A. Hubner, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinar- um, vii, no. 11, p.19, with further references: (Berlin 1873) W. Stukely, Intinerarium Curio- summ (1776), 200; C. Roach Smith “Roman Chichester” in Journal of the British Archaeologi- cal Association, XLIII, 1887, p.17

-Thomas Green, Exeter College, Oxford

Editorial Reply:

I do not understand the passionate displays that critics have about this subject. Tom  referred  to  a  1873  criticism  as “hallucinations”  about  this  connection. That the museum note about the plaque refers to Pudens as a senator shows me that the writer has him confused with a later  Pudens,  perhaps  Arrius  Pudens,  a consul  in  165  AD.  Though  the  data  is sketchy, I believe there is much more to it. The basic evidence in Martial’s poems remains unaltered. That a Pudens did mar- ry a British Claudia is beyond debate. Prosopographia Imperii Romani data showed no other foreign Claudia and only 73 women with that name.

The term “sancto marito” to describe Pudens translates at the least to “sanctified husband” if not “sainted husband.” Therefore, Martial was aware of Pudens’ religi- ous life. Pudens and Claudia are found in the biblical reference with Linus, who also became one of the very first pontiffs of the Roman church (from 67-79 AD), imme- diately after St. Peter. The Roman church became the leader in the Christian com- munity shortly after 50 AD. Martial began to write his poems under the reign of Nero. He was born around 40 AD and was 24 when he went to Rome in 64 AD. Christianity had much room to flourish at this time, even though Peter and Paul were executed and imprisoned. It would only be with the backing of aristocratic and influential Romans that this could happen.

The stone inscription was broken and it is hard to make Pudens out of dens, but the portion that says “son of Pudentius” is intact. No other letters but PV make a match.

A stemma that I picked up from the pro- sopography data shows clearly the family connections between the Julians, the Fla- vians, the Claudians, the Agrippinas, the Platonis, and the Clemens.

Now the crux of this is Guest’s theory that T. Flavius Clemens was the Saint Clemens and the pontiff of the early Christian church. This seems to be on some solid ground. The book Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology [edited by William Smith, Pub. John Murray, London, 1880], has much information on this:

“Clemens, T. Flavius, was cousin to the emperor Domitian, and his colleague in the consulship, AD 95, and married Domitilla, also a relation of Domitian.

His father was Flavius Sabinus, the elder brother of the emperor Vespasian, [remember it was in Vespasian’s reign that Christians had it much easier. Vespasian built many temples to Jupiter and Minerva and poured money into the provinces] and his brother Flavius Sabinus who was put to death by Domitian (Suet. Domit 10). Domitian had destined the sons of Clemens to succeed him in the empire, and, changing their original names, had called one Vespatian and the other Domitian, but he subsequently put Clemens to death during the consulship of the latter. (Seut Dom. 15). Dio Cassius says (lxvii.14) that Clemens  was put to death on a charge of aetheism, for which, he adds, many others who went over to the Jewish opinions were executed. This must imply that he had become a Christian, and for that same reason, his wife was banished to Pandataria by Domitian. (Comp. Phillostr, Apoll. viii 15; Euseb, HE iii.14; Hieronym Ep.27.) To this Clemens in all probability is dedicated the church of St. Clement at Rome on the Caelian Hill, which is believed to have been built originally in the fifth century, although the site is now occupied by a more recent, though very ancient structure. In the year 1725 Cardinal Annibal Albani found under this church an inscription in honor of Flavius Clemens, martyr, which is described in a work called T. Flavii Clementis Viri Consularis et Martyris Tumulus illustatus, Urbino, 1727. Some connect him with the au- thor of the Epistle to the Corinthians, Clemens Romanus.

COMMENT:

Ken,

Bogaers cannot be taken as ’the last word’, particularly as it appears to be a very short piece that cannot surely have considered all the evidence in detail.

-Thomas Green, Exeter College, Oxford


COMMENT:

You may already know this but I just ran across the reference while looking at something else.

In the account of the crucifixion in the Gospel of Mark (KJV), the person who is “compelled” to carry the cross is one “Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus.” Now my impression is that Alexander and Rufus are mentioned because the original audience of the Gospel would have known who these people were. That makes it quite possible that they were connected with the Christian church, and thus the Rufus mentioned may well be the same as Claudia’s husband mentioned by the Apostle Paul. However, Simon’s status as one who can be forced to carry the cross of a condemned man argues against the high status of his sons in the Roman Court.

Sarah Love

Editorial Reply:

Sarah,

This cross-carrying legend leads us directly to the origins of the legends of Helen of the Cross and is thus important. I doubt seriously that this biblical Rufus is the same as Pudens (Rufus Pudens) as his name was Aulus Pudens.

There is question as to whether the biblical Rufus was the half brother of the apostle Paul. Rufus was an early Christian, mentioned in the Bible several times. “And when they had mocked him [Christ], they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” (St. Mark 15: 20-21).

Here we have Rufus’ father carrying the cross of Jesus. The author, Mark, obviously knew Rufus, but did not seem to know that Rufus was a half-brother of both Paul and Alexander. Pudens’ father was the Roman, Pudentius, as confirmed by the inscription on the British temple, a man of probable high standing in the governing circles, possibly a land owner and dealer in diverse Roman provinces. His mother, probably a Roman as well, remarried the Hebrew, Simon of Cyrene, when her Roman husband either died or divorced her.

Some have interpreted that Paul wrote about his half-brother and their mother in his Epistle to the Romans 16:13, “Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Others see just two women and not the same mother. Claudia’s husband Pudens knew Rufus, if Rufus is the same man to whom Martial addressed his epigram. Pudens would have known him from the congregation. The biblical Rufus is likely the same man referred to by Martial when he wrote: “Claudia Perigrina, Rufus, weds my Pudens.”

Claudia was likely called “Claudia Rufi-na” from the color of her hair, but she could also have lived with a member of the related Rufi Gens. If Rufus and Paul were half-brothers, having the same mother, but different fathers, this would go a long way in explaining the Helen of the Cross mysteries.

One of the families of the Pomponian gens was called the Rufi. If we assume that Pomponia belonged to this family, we can account for Martial’s addressing the first of the two epigrams to a Rufus. Also, it may be the source of the name of Rufina given to Claudia in the second epigram. Rufina was certainly a name borne by female members of the Pomponian gens, as we do find a Pomponia Rufina mentioned in Roman History (Dio. Cass. 77.16).

The letter which St. Paul sent from Rome to Timothy shortly before his death, in the year 68, contained greetings from “Eubulus, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia.” (2 Tim. 4. 21). In an epigram addressed to Rufus, Martial mentions the marriage of ‘the foreigner Claudia’ with ‘his Pudens’ (Epigram 4. 13), and in another (Epigram 11. 53) extols the graces of a Claudia Rufina, who though ‘sprung thanks the gods that she had borne children to her ‘sainted husband’ (sancto mari- to).

The Latin sancto translates “sacred” and later “sainted”. This shows me that Martial knew of the Christian leanings of these people. I believe that the Rufus he addressed in the epigram could quite well have been the biblical Rufus. Rufus is a Roman name and the biblical had great associations. Rufus, Eubulus,  Pudens, Linus and Claudia were undoubtedly very important people in the church for them to be mentioned by Paul. They were the real leaders of the early Roman church. Linus went on to become the first Pope, immediately after Peter.

“The name Linus appears as the immediate successor to Peter in all the ancient lists of the bishops of Rome. Irenaeous (11) identifies him with the Linus mentioned by Paul in 2 Timothy 4.21. According to the LiberPontificalis, Linus suffered martyrdom and was buried in the Vatican.” (12)

When Plautius finally left Britain in AD 47, he set up Cogidubnus to reign. Before this time all Britons were Celts, isolated in their island fortress, wearing blue paint to battle. For a woman born in Britain to have the time to learn Latin, Greek and Roman manners––as we have evidence that Claudia did––she would need to have been reared in constant contact with Roman teachers. There was not enough time for anyone else to achieve this learning but the daughter of the great king Cogidnubus. Whether she was taken as an infant to Rome, or was whisked away by Pudens is unclear, but I think it is clear that one way or another, the Pudens of the Bible is the same Pudens whose name is found on the Chichester inscription near the newly excavated palace of Cogidnubus.

 

END NOTES:

1 The History of the Primitive Church, Lebreton and Zeillor, Macmillan, 1942. Vol 1, p 528.

2 Ibid, Vol. I, p. 296.

3 Transmitted in a fragment of Julius Africanus, conserved by the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus (Framgmenta historicum graecorum, ed. by Carl Muller, Vol. III, p. 529.

4 2nd editon, ed. E. Groag, A. Stein & L. Peterson, 3 Vols 1933-1987.

5  De Rossi, Roma sotterranea,  Vol. II. p 282,362.

6 The History of the Primitive Church,  Vol. 1, p 383.

7 Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, edited by William Smith, Pub. John Murray, London, 1880.

8 B. Cunliffe Excavations at Fishbourne 1961-69, (Research Report of the Society of Antiquaries 26, London 1971.

9 The Emperor Domitian, Brian Jones, Routledge, 1992, pp. 1 and 30.

10  Ibid., pp. 8-9.

11 Adv. Haer, iii, 3.3.

12 Encyclopedia Britannica, ‘LINUS’.

 

 

 

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