Frederick E. Brenk - S.J Filippo Canali De Rossi, «The ‘Notorious’ Felix, Procurator of Judaea, and His Many Wives (Acts 23–24)», Vol. 82 (2001) 410-417
Confusion exists over both the gentilicium and the wives of Felix. As for the name, possibly both Antonius and Claudius are correct. In any case, the attempt to assign only the name Claudius to Felix rests on rather shaky ground. As for his wives, possibly none was a descendant of Kleopatra VII. But if she were, she would be a great-granddaughter rather than a granddaughter of the famous queen. An inscription adduced to fix Felix’ name and career is beset with many problems. Finally, we should take his reputation as ‘notorious’ with a grain of salt. But whether notorious or not, his rise was remarkable, deserving of awe if not admiration.
There are several problems with the sentimental life of Felix, the procurator of Judaea who examined Paul at Kaisareia (Caesarea Maritima), and with his name (gentilicium). Particular difficulty is caused by the identification of two wives, both named Drusilla1. Quite possibly the name of the first Drusilla is, in fact, the result of an error. If the historians are correct and she, by whatever name she was called, was in truth Felix’ wife, she must have been the great-granddaughter of Kleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), not the daughter or granddaughter as sometimes said2. In the new Oxford Classical Dictionary T. Rajak identifies Felix, an imperial freedman and the brother of Antonius Pallas, the financial secretary of the Emperor Claudius, as ‘perhaps Claudius Felix’ (rather than the other designation ‘Antonius Felix’)3. She states, then, through an obvious slip, that one of Felix’ three wives was the daughter of Antony and Cleopatra VII. The other, Drusilla, was a sister of M. Iulius Agrippa II (the King Agrippa of Acts). She also notes that the quarrel over control of Kaisareia between Jews and ‘Greeks’ led to Felix’ recall (‘date uncertain’).
1.The Gentilicium of Felix
The gentilicium of Felix (Claudius or Antonius) has puzzled scholars. There are a number of possibilities. Possibly neither Josephus nor Tacitus is