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Marcus Herennius° Capito

CAPITO, MARCUS HERENNIUS° (first century C.E.), Roman public servant. Capito served as an officer (tribunus legionis, praefectus alae and praefectus veteranorum) and later as procurator for Empress Livia, the wife of *Augustus, and for the emperors Tiberius and Caligula. Josephus (Ant. 18:158) shows that he served as procurator of Jabneh in Judea, which had become the private estate of the empress Livia (d. 31 C.E.). While Capito was serving in this capacity, he attempted to detain *Agrippa I who was about to set sail for Italy, knowing that he still owed money to Tiberius' treasury. Agrippa managed to escape, but Capito did not give up. He sent Tiberius a letter on the subject (ibid., 163) as a result of which the emperor refused to receive Agrippa until the debt was paid. During Caligula's reign, Capito was particularly active against the Jews. According to Philo (De Legatione ad Gaium, 199), he arrived in Judea a pauper, but illegally amassed vast funds and feared that his victims might denounce him to the emperor. Hence, when the Jews of Jabneh destroyed the altar which the local gentiles had built to honor Caligula, Capito informed the emperor. This was the reason for Caligula's order that his statue should be placed in the Temple in Jerusalem. With Caligula's assassination and the appointment of Agrippa as king, conditions changed and Capito could no longer retain his office.


P. Fraccaro, in: Athenaeum, 18 (1940), 136ff.; H.G. Pflaum, Les carrières procuratoriennes équestres sous le Haut-Empire Roman, 1 (1960), 23ff.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.