|Intro||Roman woman prosecuted for prostitution|
|From||Holy Roman Empire|
Vistilia was the name of two women of a Senatorial family that held the praetorship. One was known by her contemporaries for having seven children by six different husbands; Pliny the Elder added the fact most of the pregnancies were remarkably brief. The other, possibly the niece of the first, was tried by the Senate for immorality.
Ronald Syme speculates her family the Vistilii, also spelled Vestilii, came from Umbria, and lists several inscriptions bearing the names of its members from that region of Italy.
Vistilia, mother of senators
Her brother was probably Sextus Vistilius, a former praetor, who was a close friend to the Roman General Nero Claudius Drusus, the younger brother to Roman Emperor Tiberius. In the opinion of Frederik Juliaan Vervaet, this made Vistilia "an extremely valuable bride, whose connections offered her husbands and their joint children fantastic prospects. Four marriages, three clarissimi mariti before 10 BC." But then Drusus died of a fall from his horse in 9 BC, and as the daughter of a praetorian family "marriage to Vistilia, from a praetorian family, suddenly became a lot less interesting for ambitious and high-ranking senators descending from noble families."
But then Sextus was admitted to the cohors amicorum, and her value as a bride was restored; she married twice more. When Tiberius charged Sextus for criticizing the morals of his great-nephew, Caligula, he excluded Sextus from his company. By the time Sextus committed suicide in 32, Vervaet notes "he had long outlived his utility."
Vistilia was married six times and had seven children. Syme identifies the children as follows, with his dates of birth:
- Glitius, born c. 15 BC, the father of Publius Glitius Gallus, consul;
- Publius Pomponius Secundus, born c. 14 BC, tragedian and consul suffectus in 44;
- Quintus Pomponius Secundus, born c. 12 BC, consul suffectus in 41;
- Orfitus, born c. 11 BC, father of Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus, consul in 51; and
- Publius Suillius Rufus, born between 10 BC and 7 BC, consul in 41, and father of Marcus Suillius Nerullinus consul in 50;
- Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, born between 4 BC and AD 1, Roman general and consul in 39, who was the father to Roman Empress Domitia Longina; and
- Milonia Caesonia, born AD 5, the most famous, who became a Roman Empress and fourth wife to Roman Emperor Caligula.
Vistilia the Prostitute
According to Tacitus, another Vistilia, probably the daughter of Sextus Vistilius and thus the elder Vistilia's niece, was a public prostitute who advertised her services to the aediles of Rome. In 19, the Roman Senate passed a law that no Roman woman whose father or grandfather was of equestrian status or higher could register as a prostitute.
Vistilia was accordingly tried by the Roman Senate for immorality. Her husband, Titidius Labeo, asked why he had not tried to enforce the statutory penalty, stated the consultation period (which was 60 days) had not yet expired. The senate decided to prosecute only Vistilia (under Roman law, husbands who did not immediately punish adulterous wives could be tried as pimps). Vistilia was found guilty of prostitution and she was deported to the Greek island of Seriphos.