« Sabellius, heretic Sabina, Poppaea Sabinus, bp. of Heraclea »

Sabina, Poppaea

Sabina (1), Poppaea, empress, 2nd wife of Nero. Like certain members of the Flavian family, it is very highly probable, though not absolutely certain, that Poppaea was a Christian. She was almost certainly a Jewish proselyte, as the language of Josephus, Θεοσεβὴς γὰρ ἦν (Ant. xx. 8, 11) almost implies. The fact that her body was embalmed and not burnt after the Roman custom (Tac. Ann. xvi. 6) has been urged to shew that she had embraced a foreign religion. Certainly at least twice (Jos. l.c., and Vita, 3) she exerted her influence with Nero in favour of the Jews (see Lightfoot, Philipp. 5 note). It has even been conjectured that it was through her that the Christians and not Jews were selected as the victims to suffer for the burning of Rome. A romantic theory was put forward by M. Latour St. Ybars of a rivalry between the Jewish Poppaea and Acte the former 883mistress of Nero, who, on the strength of a passage in St. Chrysostom (Hom. in Acta xlvi. in Migne, Patr. Gk. lx. 325), is conjectured to have been a Christian. Schiller, Gesch. d. röm. Kaiserreichs unter Nero, 436 n., and Aubé, Hist. des persec. 421 n. For the general history of Poppaea see Merivale, c. liii.


« Sabellius, heretic Sabina, Poppaea Sabinus, bp. of Heraclea »
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