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Rusticiana

Title social-status: 
Patrician
Biography: 

Rusticiana was a Roman aristocrat who lived as an exile in Constantinople, where she may have heard Gregory I’s sermons on Job when he came as a papal emissary (apocrisiarius). She later sent money to Gregory when he was pope to help ransom Romans captured by the Lombards. She may have been a descendent of the Rusticiana, daughter of Symmachus, who was the wife of Boethius, in which case she might have been Boethius’s granddaughter. She owned estates in Italy and Sicily, and was a correspondent of Gregory; five of his letters to her are extant and she is mentioned in others (9.83, 11.25). She was also the addressee of a poem on the Virgin by Andreas, Andreae oratoris de Maria virgine ad Rusticianam carmen.(1)
Rusticiana was married to a noble Egyptian, Appio, and had three children, Eudoxius, Gregoria, and Eusebia; she had properties in Sicily. Her sister Gregoria had an honorable position as chambermaid of the empress.(2)

Biographical notes: 

1 The information comes from the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, 3.1101-02. Rusticiana is also mentioned by Kate Cooper in The Fall of the Roman Household (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007), 84. 2 This material from John R.C. Martyn, The Letters of Gregory the Great (Toronto: PIMS, 2004) 8.