Quintus Pompeius Falco

Quintus Pompeius Falco –  Governor of Britannia from 118 to 122AD

The emperor Hadrian’s 122AD visit to Britain required considerable pre-planning, and it would seem that the actual line of the Wall was scouted-out in the year prior to Hadrian arriving at the northern frontier, where his large residential building has been identified at Chesterholm/Vindolanda on the Stanegate. The initial surveying of the Wall’s route was supervised, then, by Quintus Pompeius Falco who had been sent to crush the recent Brigantian revolt and returned to Rome in the emperor Hadrian’s train, leaving his successor Platorius Nepos to implement the actual building of the monumental frontier.

Legio Nonae Hispania Perhaps Lost During Pompeius Falco’s Government

It is possible that the Ninth Hispanic Legion suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Brigante tribe of northern England at sometime during his administration, as their last record anywhere within the Roman empire is at York c.107/108AD (vide RIB 665). If this is the case, then it is likely that the emperor Hadrian brought the Sixth Legion with him from the continent specifically in order to replace the recent loss of the Ninth in Britain, and it may have been this very loss which prompted him both to visit the province and to build his mighty barrier nowadays known as Hadrian’s Wall.

There is no epigraphic evidence of any building work undertaken during Falco’s administration. This is perhaps not surprising, given that he was evidently busy with the truculent tribes of north Britain, and suffering from the loss of the Ninth Legion, which could very likely damage his public career.

Falco’s Full Curriculum Vitae

Q ROSCIO SEX F QVIR COELIO MVRENAE SILIO DECIANO VIBVLLO PIO IVLIO EVRYCLI HERCLANO POMPEIO FALCONI COS XVVIR S F PROCOS PROVINC ASIAE LEG PR PR IMP CAES TRAIANI HADRIANI AVG PROVINC BRITTANNIAE LEG PR PR IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANI AVG GERMANICI DACICI PROVINC MOESIAE INFERIOR CVRATORI VIAE TRAIANAE ET LEG AVG PR PR PROVINC IVDAEAE ET LEG X FRET LEG PR PR PROV LYCIAE ET PAMPHYLIAE LEG LEG V MACEDONIC BELLO DACICO DONIS MILITARIBVS DONATO

“For Quintus Roscius Coelius Murena Silius Decianus Vibullus Pius Julius Eurycles Herclanus Pompeius Falco, son of Sextus the Quinquevir,¹ Consul, Quindecimvir,² Sacerdos Fetiales,³ proconsul of the province of Asia, pro-praetorian legate of the emperor Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus in the province of Britain, pro-praetorian legate of the emperor Caesar Nerva Trajanus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus in the province of Lower Moesia, curator of Trajan’s roads and pro-praetorian legate in the province of Judaea with Legio X Fretensis, pro-praetorian legate in the provinces of Lycia and Pamphylia, legate of Legio V Macedonica in the Dacian wars. From the proceeds of military [campaigns] I present [this].”

Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae – Titvli virorvm et mvliervm ordinis senatorii ILS 1035; Tarracina (Latium); Ten 6321
  1. A member of the ‘board of five’.
  2. A member of the ‘board of fifteen’.
  3. A priest in the college who represented the Roman people in their dealings with other nations.

Pompeius Falco Related to Julius Frontinus

SOSIAE FALCONILLAE Q POMPEI SOSI PRISCI COS FIL Q POMPEI FALCONIS COS NEP Q SOSI SENECIONIS COS II PRO SEX IVLI FRONTINI COS III ABN QVOD OBLATIS PVBLICE PARENTI EIVS SOSIO PRISCO COS STATVIS EIVSDEM FALCONILLAE N V IPSE VNA RECEPTA CIRCA RELIQVAS ONVS SVMPTVSQ OMNES REMISERIT ORDINI

“To Sosia Falconilla daughter of Quintus Pompeius Sosius Priscus, Consul, grand-daughter of Quintus Pompeius Falco, Consul, great grand-daughter of Quintus Sosius Senecio, twice Consul, great, great grand-daughter of Sextus Julius Frontinus, thrice Consul. … … … … … …”

Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae – Titvli virorvm et mvliervm ordinis senatorii ILS 1105; Cirta; Eight 7066

Tombstone of a Freedman of Quintus Falco

D M Q POMPEIO EVTYCI LIB Q POMPEI FALCONIS

“To the spirits of the departed and to Quintus Pompeius Eutychus, freedman of Quintus Pompeius Falco.”

(CIL III 7433)