Forum Archaeologiae - Zeitschrift für klassische Archäologie 35 / VI / 2005


The senatorial family of the Asinii Nicomachi can be traced from the first half of the IInd Century A.D. up to the second half of the IIIrd Century A.D. (and, through several branches of descendants, up to a quite late antiquity, thanks to the diffusion of the name Nicomachus in the senatorial milieu). A dossier of inscriptions from Sardeis and Sicily allows us to conclude, as already Peter Herrmann did, that this family originally came from Lydia and belonged to the elite of Sardeis (perhaps since the Augustean age, but this is quite unsure). Having settled in Sicily and in Italy and being connected with several Italian important senatorial families, the senatorial Asinii kept the use of Greek for private and cultural matters, as shown by Sicilian inscriptions and by a (possibly funerary) inscription from Rome for whom a new reading and interpretation is here proposed. The most famous member fo the family, Asinius Quadratus, even wrote a Roman history in Lydian dialect. Romanization of this Asian family through the access to the Roman Senate did not mean that its members gave up their Asian culture and language up to a quite late period. In the second half of the IVth Centruy A.D. Nicomachus Flavianus senior provided a Latin version of The Life of Apollonios of Tyana by Philostratos (a piece of Asian literature), and his son Nicomachus Flavianus iunior even became proconsul of Asia, quite a rare tenure for a western senator at that time: one can imagine that these later Nicomachi (who owned estates in Sicily and were connected with the Italian highest nobility such as Anicii) kept some old family traditions which were a Asiatic legacy.

© Franšois Chausson

This article should be cited like this: F. Chausson, De Sardes Ó Rome, en passant par le Mont Eryx: les Asinii Nicomachi, Forum Archaeologiae 35/VI/2005 (