Gnaeus Sentius  Saturninus

Probably* one of the three sons of Gaius Sentius Saturninus who accompanied their father during his term as imperial legate to Syria (9-6 BCE) & younger brother of Gaius Jr., who served as consul of Rome in 4 CE. During the latter's year in office, Gnaeus was named as consul suffectus [the consul's designated replacement should he not be able to complete his term].

His only claim to fame was the pivotal role he played in a crisis that shook Rome & threatened the future of the imperial family five years after the death of Augustus. In 19 CE, citing seniority, he was chosen by the Senate to replace Calpurnius Piso as governor of Syria, the province his father had administered two decades earlier. His first act was to arrest a woman adept at poisoning, who was a confidante of Piso's wife, and ship her to Rome for trial as charges were prepared in the case of the sudden unexpected death of Tiberius' adopted son, Germanicus. Piso was ordered to Rome for the trial, but resisted & appealed to Tiberius to uphold his appointment as imperial legate. Sentius' forces, however, took Piso's stronghold by storm & granted the ousted governor safe passage to Rome to face trial. Once firmly in control of Syria, Sentius' acts & fate went unnoted by Roman chroniclers, who were more interested in detailing the public outrage & scandalous rumors surrounding Germanicus' death & Piso's sensational trial & suicide.

References: Tacitus, Annals 2.74, 77, 79-81; 3.7.

*Note : though Tacitus does not refer to him as Saturninus, cultural & historical circumstances lead modern scholars to identify him as such. All others with the Sentius family name were known members of the Saturnine clan [gens].

Other resources on line:

  • List of Roman Consuls - thread in Wikipedia's web includes both active consuls [consul ordinarius] & their designated stand-ins [consul suffectus] in 1st c. CE.

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