Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus

Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus
Militärdiplom des Atrectus.jpg
Military diploma AE 2004, 1256, dated May 13th 105, attesting him as suffect consul
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
May 105 – August 105
Preceded byTiberius Julius Candidus Marius Celsus II and Gaius Antius Aulus Julius Quadratus
Succeeded byMarcus Vitorius Marcellus and Gaius Caecilius Strabo
Personal details
Military service
AllegianceRoman Military banner.svg Roman Empire
CommandsGovernor of Judaea
Governor of Cappadocia
Governor of Galatia
Governor of Syria
Governor of Dacia
Battles/warsTrajan's Dacian Wars
Trajan's Parthian War

Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus (70 – 117 AD) was a Roman senator and general. He rose from provincial aristocratic origins to occupy the highest offices of Rome. He served as a legionary commander and as imperial governor of Judea, Cappadoccia, Galatia, Syria and Dacia. He is known to have been active under Trajan in the Dacian and Parthian Wars. Bassus was suffect consul in the nundinium of May to August 105 with Gnaeus Afranius Dexter as his colleague.


Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus was born in Pergamon to a family related to the Attalid dynasty and the Galatian tetrarchs. His father was Gaius Julius Bassus, who was Proconsul of Bithynia in 100 to 101. He is known to have had at least one son, Gaius Julius Bassus, who was suffect consul in 139.


The Roman Empire at the time of Bassus' death

His career began as military tribune in Legio XIII Gemina around 87 to 89. This was followed by membership in the tresviri monetalis, one of the magistracies that comprised the vigintiviri, a preliminary and required first step toward gaining entry to the Roman Senate. This order is unusual: normally membership in the vigintiviri came before serving as military tribune in a legion. Dabrowa notes that this reversed order was not unusual for men who were born to the equestrian order but intended to enter the Senate. However, Bassus was made one of the tresviri monetalis: this magistracy was reserved either for patricians or men favored by the emperor. Dabrowa suggests that Bassus gained entry to this coveted board through the intervention of his relative Gaius Antius Aulus Julius Quadratus, three-time consul and "a man of high political and social standing".

After the vigintiviri Bassus was a quaestor, a junior position administering the public treasury, in the province of Crete and Cyrenaica around the year 92. This office gained him formal entry into the senate. He advanced to the traditional Roman magistracy of aedile, then around 98 he won election as a praetor. This last magistracy qualified Bassus to either govern provinces or serve as a legatus legionis or commander of a legion. Bassus sought a military career.

First he was legatus of Legio XI Claudia from 99 to 101. This was followed by command of a vexillation drawn from several legions—including the IV Scythica and XII Fulminata—in the Dacian War for the years 101 and 102. Then Bassus served as commander of Legio X Fretensis, a posting that was combined with the governorship of Judaea from 102/103 to 104/105. During the summer of 105 he spent four months as consul; becoming a consul was considered the highest honour of the Roman state and the Emperor would have chosen candidates to fill it carefully. After his term as consul Bassus was admitted to the College of Pontiffs, the highest-ranking priests of the state religion; a significant social achievement for a man born as an equestrian. This was followed by a posting as governor of Cappadocia and Galatia in 114 to 115, and later Syria. During this time he was made commander of a second vexillation of soldiers drawn from a number of legions – including III Gallica and XIII Gemina – that fought in the Parthian War.

Bassus was serving as legatus Augusti pro praetore, or imperial governor, in the province of Dacia when he died in the Dacian revolt of 117.

See also

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