« Polycrates, bp. of Ephesus Pomponia Graecina Pontianus, bp. of Rome »

Pomponia Graecina

Pomponia Graecina, one of the earliest and most distinguished Roman converts. Tacitus (Annals, xiii. 32) tells us, referring to a.d. 57 or 58, that Pomponia Graecina, a distinguished lady, wife of the Plautius who returned from Britain with an ovation, was accused of some foreign superstition and handed over to her husband's judicial decision. Following ancient precedent, he heard his wife's cause in the presence of kinsfolk, involving, as it did, her legal status and character, and reported that she was innocent. She lived a long life of unbroken melancholy. After the murder of Julia, Drusus's daughter, by Messalina's treachery, for 40 years she wore only the attire of a mourner. For this, during Claudius's reign, she escaped unpunished, and it was afterwards counted a glory to her. This is the only notice of her in ancient literature. She came into prominence through De Rossi's discoveries in the catacomb of Callistus (Roma Sotterranea, ii. 360–364). De Rossi identified her with St. Lucina (of. Aubé, Hist. des perséc. t. i. p 180). Cf. for other notices Brownlow and Northcote's Roma Sott. t. i. pp. 82, 83, 278–282. De Rossi (op. cit. t. i. pp. 306–351) discusses the crypt and family of St. Lucina at great length (cf. also his Bullettino di Archeol. Crist. passim).

[G.T.S.]

« Polycrates, bp. of Ephesus Pomponia Graecina Pontianus, bp. of Rome »





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