Quintus Sutorius Macro

Naevius Sutorius Macro

Quintus Naevius Cordus Sutorius Macro (21 BC - 38 AD), often abbreviated Naevius Sutorius Macro, or simply Macro, was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, from 31 until his death in 38. Macro succeeded to the office upon the arrest and execution of his predecessor Lucius Aelius Sejanus, by appointment of emperor Tiberius. According to ancient sources, he was active in discrediting Sejanus and directed the subsequent purge against his family and followers.

It is believed that Macro helped secure the accession of emperor Caligula upon the death of Tiberius in 37. Not long after however, he fell out of favour and committed suicide along with his wife Ennia in 38.

Early life

Macro was born in 21 BC at Alba Fucens, a Roman town at the foot of Monte Velino, situated on a hill just to the north of the Via Valeria. Inscriptional evidence from the ruins of this town reveals that, prior to becoming Praetorian prefect, Macro had served as prefect of the vigiles, the Roman fire brigade and night watch. However the date of this appointment and the length of his tenure are unknown.

Praetorian prefect

Reign of Tiberius

It has been claimed that Macro killed the aged and ill Tiberius to ensure Caligula's succession. During the later years of Tiberius's reign Macro appears to have wielded considerable influence in his household, and thought to further his ambitions by befriending the young prince Gaius Caligula. Suetonius states that he gained further favor by prostituting his wife, Eunia (or Ennia), to Caligula around 34.

Reign of Caligula

Upon Caligula's accession to the throne in 37, he was confident of rapid promotion for past services, but Caligula was aware of the potential threat Macro posed to him. According to some sources he was promised the governorship of Egypt and upon arriving at Ostia with Ennia to take ship, was instead arrested and stripped of his office in 38. Both committed suicide soon after. He was replaced as Guard Prefect by Marcus Arrecinus Clemens and Lucius Arruntius Stella.

Macro in fiction

Macro was played by John Rhys-Davies in the 1976 BBC TV adaptation of Robert Graves's book I, Claudius and by Guido Mannari in Caligula.



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