After serving as a centurion for a few years in his youth, Atilius entered the imperial bureaucracy and began a rapid rise through the ranks, including a brief return to the legions as a tribune in the XXXIInd Legion. In 61 he was assigned as the procurator of Pontus, always a troublesome minor province which needed someone with both military and political experience. [Historical Note: In the days of the republic, Pontus was an independent kingdom and an enemy of Rome. Under King Mithridates VI they managed to conquer most of Asia Minor, including many former Roman provinces. In an attempt to consolidate his holdings, Mithridates ordered the deaths of all the Roman citizens in his territory; in one day tens of thousands of Romans were slain. In retaliation, the kingdom was conquered and divided by Pompey the Great. Though that was 130 years ago, the Romans do not forget the perfidy of the Pontians.] When his term of office expired, Atilius was recalled to Rome to await a new assignment.
Atilius's family is not particularly rich, but has lands and business scattered throughout northern Italy and Cisalpine Gaul (the former Celtic lands in the Po river vally at the base of the Italian peninsula, just below the Alps, only recently integrated into Italy proper).
Page updated 7/21/99, Scott Martin