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Marcus Antonius Felix (Felix in Greek: ο Φηλιξ, born between 5/10-?) was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Provincemarker 52-58, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus.


Felix was the younger brother of the Greek freedman Marcus Antonius Pallas. Felix was a Greek freedman either of the Emperor Claudius, according to which theory Josephus (Antiq. xx. 7) calls him Claudius Felix, or his mother Antonia Minor, a daughter of Triumvir Mark Antony to Octavia Minor and niece of Emperor Augustus. According to Tacitus, Pallas and Felix descended from the Greek Kings of Arcadiamarker.

Felix’s cruelty and licentiousness, coupled with his accessibility to bribes (see Acts 24:26), led to a great increase of crime in Judaea. The period of his rule was marked by internal feuds and disturbances, which he put down with severity.

After Paul the Apostle was arrested in Jerusalemmarker and rescued from a plot against his life, the local Roman chiliarch transferred him to Caesareamarker, where he stood trial before Felix. On at least one further occasion Felix and his wife Drusilla heard Paul discourse, and later on frequently sent for Paul and talked with him (Acts 24:24-26). When Felix was succeeded as procurator, having already detained Paul for two years, he left him imprisoned as a favor to the Jews (Acts 24:27).

On returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants, but through the intercession of his brother, the freedman Pallas, who had great influence with the Emperor Nero, he escaped unpunished. Porcius Festus succeeded him as procurator of Judea.

Marriages and issue

Felix married three times. His first wife was princess Drusilla of Mauretania, a maternal second cousin of Emperor Claudius. Drusilla was an only child to Claudius’ late maternal cousin King Ptolemy of Mauretania and his wife Queen of Mauretania Julia Urania. Claudius arranged for Felix and Drusilla to marry around 53 in Rome. Like Felix, Drusilla was partly of Greek descent. Felix and Drusilla had no children. Felix between 54-56, divorced Drusilla to marry a Judean Princess.

Felix’s second wife was a Judean princess, also named Drusilla, and the daughter of King of Judeamarker Herod Agrippa I, from his wife and cousin Cypros. Felix and the Judean Drusilla, had a son, Marcus Antonius Agrippa, who died along with this Drusilla in the eruption of Mount Vesuviusmarker on 24 August 79, and a daughter, Antonia Clementiana. Antonia Agrippina could be a daughter from their son‘s marriage (this name was graffiti in a Royal Tomb in Egyptmarker). Clementiana became a grandmother to a Lucius Anneius Domitius Proculus. Two possible descendants from this marriage are Marcus Antonius Fronto Salvianus (a quaestor) and his son Marcus Antonius Felix Magnus a high priest in 225. Felix married for a third time, after the Judean Drusilla died along with her son in the eruption of Mount Vesuviusmarker. Nothing is known about his third wife.

External links

  • Roman coinage of Felix can be seen under Roman Procurators at [117347]

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