Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Domitius Afer

Domitius Afer , a Roman orator and advocate, born at Nemausus (Nîmes) in Gallia Narbonensis, flourished in the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.

His pupil Quintilian calls him the greatest orator he had ever known; but he disgraced his talents by acting as public informer against some of the most distinguished personages in Rome. He gained the favour of Tiberius by accusing Claudia Pulcra, the widow of Germanicus, of adultery and the use of magic arts against the emperor. Judicious flattery secured him the consulship under Caligula (39); and under Nero he was superintendent of the water supply. He died AD 60, according to Jerome, of over-eating. Quintilian quotes some of his witty sayings (dicta), collections of which were published, and mentions two books by him On Witnesses.

Quintilian, Instit. vi. 3. 42, viii. 5. 16, x. 1. 118, &c.; Tac. Ann. iv. 52; Dio Cassius lix. 19, lx. 33; Pliny, Epp. viii. 18.

From an old 1911 Encyclopedia