Vibia Sabina

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Roman imperial dynasties
Nervo-Trajanic Dynasty
Vibia Sabina.jpg
Bust of Vibia Sabina (Prado, Madrid)
   Natural - (none)
   Adoptive - Trajan
   Natural - (none)
   Adoptive - Hadrian
   Natural - (none)
   Adoptive - Lucius Aelius
   Adoptive - Antoninus Pius

Vibia Sabina (83–136/137) was a Roman Empress, wife and second cousin, once removed, to Roman Emperor Hadrian. She was the daughter of Matidia (niece of Roman Emperor Trajan), and suffect consul Lucius Vibius Sabinus. After her father’s death in 84, Sabina, along with her half-sisters, went to live with their mother's mother, Marciana, and were raised in the household of Trajan with his wife Plotina.

She married Hadrian in 100, at the Roman empress Plotina's request, for Hadrian to succeed her great uncle, in 117. Sabina's mother Matidia (Hadrian's second cousin) was also fond of Hadrian and allowed him to marry her daughter.

Sabina is rumored to have had an affair with Suetonius, a historian who was also Hadrian's secretary, in the year 119,[1] which resulted in his dismissal as the Emperor's secretary.[2] Meanwhile, her husband was thought to be more sexually interested in his favourite Antinous and other male lovers, and he and Sabina had no children. In 128, she was awarded the title of Augusta. Vibia Sabina died before her husband, some time in 136 or early 137.[3] Hadrian's stone elegy for his wife "depicts the apotheosis, or divine ascent of Sabina in accordance with her posthumous deification on the order of Hadrian."[4]


Denarius of Sabina

Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170-died before 217), daughter and youngest child of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Roman Empress Faustina the Younger was a great, great niece to Vibia Sabina. Her name was bestowed in honor of Sabina and her father.

Another statue of Vibia Sabina.

Nerva–Antonine family tree

Royal titles
Preceded by
Pompeia Plotina
Empress of Rome
Succeeded by
Annia Galeria Faustina


  1. ^ Historia Augusta 11.3
  2. ^ Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Suetonius Tranquillus, Gaius". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  3. ^ Opper, Thorsten. Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, Harvard University Press, 2008, p. 205. ISBN 0-674-03095-8
  4. ^ Annelise Freisenbruch, Caesars’ Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire (London and New York: Free Press, 2010), 170.

Further reading

  • (in French) Minaud, Gérard, Les vies de 12 femmes d’empereur romain - Devoirs, Intrigues & Voluptés , Paris, L’Harmattan, 2012, ch. 7, La vie de Sabine, femme d’Hadrien, p. 169-188.

External links

  • Coins of Sabina at Dirty Old Coins

Media related to Vibia Sabina at Wikimedia Commons

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