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Key information:

Official Name: VIBIA SABINA AUGUSTA

Birthdate: Circa 80 CE.

Birthplace: Unknown.

Reign: Hadrian, Sabina’s husband, became emperor in 117 CE. She held the title of empress until her death around 137 CE.  

(Historia Augusta, Life of Hadrian, Part 1.4 & Part 2.23)

(RPC III 1546)

Marriages:

Hadrian (100 CE-137 CE)

(Historia Augusta, Life of Hadrian, Part 1.2 & Part 2.23)

Death: Sabina died of natural causes around 137 CE. Some sources suggest that Hadrian poisoned his wife or drove her to suicide, but these are likely rumors.

(Historia Augusta, Life of Hadrian, Part 2.23)

(Epitome De Caesaribus, Sextus Aurelius Victor, 150.8)

(RPC III 1546)

Portrait of Sabina, NY Carlsberg Glyptothek,  Copenhagen, September 2018
Bust of Sabina, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome, December 2018
Bust of Sabina, Musei Capitolini, Rome, November 2018

Famous facts and dates

100
Sabina married Hadrian in 100 CE. Their marriage was strained from the start, as Hadrian preferred the company of men and considered his wife to be a headache. Hadrian is quoted as saying that if he was merely a private citizen, he would have divorced his wife on the grounds of “ill-temper and irritability.”
(Historia Augusta, Life of Hadrian, Part 1.11) (Cassius Dio, Roman History, 69.11)
 
119
While visiting Britain, Hadrian removed Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (the famous historian) from his position as imperial secretary. This is thought to be because he was having an affair with the empress Sabina.
(Historia Augusta, Life of Hadrian, Part 1.11)
137
After her death, Sabina was deified by her husband emperor Hadrian.
(Apotheosis of Sabina – relief from the Arch of Portugal)

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Vibia Sabina” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 1/4/2022. https://ancientromelive.org/sabina/

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