Publius Metilius Nepos

Publius Metilius Nepos (c. 45 – 127) was a Roman senator during the late 1st century. He is known to have been suffect consul in the nundinium of September to December 91, and was appointed Governor of Britannia by the Emperor Domitian before his death, probably by 94AD and held the post until 98AD .

A military discharge certificate dated 98AD has been unearthed on the continent which names Metilius Nepos as governor of Britain at this time (CIL XVI.43; text not available). The diploma also mentions that Nepos had only recently taken office, so it seems likely that he was sent to Britain sometime toward the end of Domitian’s reign, perhaps as early as 92, though probably later, around 94.

The founding of the Roman colony at Lincoln (Colonia Lindum), which was named Colonia Domitiana Lindensium, must have occurred sometime during the years 84-96AD, for it was named after the Emperor Domitian (murdered 96AD) and surely would have been mentioned by Tacitus had it occurred during his father-in-law’s governorship which ended in 84. Likewise, the Roman colony at Gloucester was named Colonia Nervia Glevensium and was thus founded within the short reign of the emperor Nerva (18th Sep. 96 to 27th Jan. 98). Both of these coloniae may have been founded during the administration of Nepos, indeed, it is possible that Metilius Nepos was placed in office in order to facilitate the founding of these colonies.

It seems likely that there was another unrecorded governor of Britain who held office between those of Lucullus and Nepos, in the period 90-94AD. There exists, therefore, a gap in the gubernatorial record of Roman Britain for the first time.