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].
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.
2.74, 77, 79-81; 3.7.
: 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].