Sosius Senecio's Alleged Eastern Origin
Opinion divides about the provenance of Q. Sosius Senecio, addressee of Plutarch On Progress in Virtue, Table Talks, and Parallel Lives, between a western, Roman origin and an eastern, Greek one. The matter is important, since in his essay On Progress in Virtue Plutarch takes a special interest in his friend's philosophical education, and, if Sosius is a westerner, the essay (and the presentation of Sosius in the Table Talks) is further evidence of Plutarch's close interest in Romans' ability to absorb the spiritual and intellectual benefits of Greek culture.
It has been proposed that Sosius was a descendant of a Cilician dynastic family.1 Alternatively his family has been located in southern Phrygia on the basis of an honorary inscription for his daughter, Sosia Polla ( RE15), and her grandfather, Sex. Julius Frontinus, the soldier and author who was Sosius' father-in-law.2 Eastern origin has also been put forward for Sosius' son-in-law, Q. Pompeius Falco.3 However, it is hardly secure. The only probable basis for Sosius' eastern origin are the two inscriptions from Phrygian Apamea honouring Sosia Polla and her husband Falco.4 In the first of these among the reasons for honouring Sosia is 'the good will of her ancestors [progonoi] to the city'. Neither inscription names any member of Sosia's family before her grandfather Frontinus.5 Frontinus was her maternal grandfather. If Sosius' own family is to be identified with the ancestral benefactors of Apamea, it would seem strange that it is not named outright. It also seems problematic to include Sosius in the term progonoi, 'ancestors'. A better candidate is Frontinus himself, whose ekgonê, 'granddaughter', Sosia is stated to be. During his proconsulship of Asia in 84-5____________________