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Title: Flavia Domitilla as delicata
Subtitle: A New Interpretation of Suetonius, Vesp. 3
Author(s): LA MONACA, Valeria
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 43    Date: 2013   
Pages: 191-212
DOI: 10.2143/AS.43.0.2992609

Abstract :
This paper proposes a new interpretation of the passage in Suetonius’ Life of Vespasian (Suet., Vesp. 3). The ancient historian, talking about Flavia Domitilla, the wife of Vespasian and the mother of Titus and Domitian, defines her as delicata of Statilius Capella, the Roman knight from Sabratha. Until now, scholars have thought that the relationship between Flavia Domitilla and Statilius Capella was sexual in nature, on the basis of the literary sources concerning the adjective delicatus/a and its meaning. Thanks to the epigraphic evidence about the delicati, not yet analyzed in reference to this passage, it is possible to reach to new conclusions about Flavia Domitilla’s status. The paper reviews her relationship with Statilius Capella, the sentence of the recuperatores who declared her ingenua and consequently Roman citizen (and not vice versa), and the role played in this trial by Flavius Liberalis.

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