Several individuals made their way to the Ancient Roman high society. Formidable wealth propelled members of the Rufus family to the ranks of Roman Knights. After a successful military career, Titus Varius Priscus of the Varius family went on to become a procurator in one of the Roman provinces.
Titus Varius Clemens, born in Celeia, however, rose – again, after a successful career in the army – to the position of a senator, a feat accomplished by very few members of the Noric aristocracy.
The Varius family most likely moved to Celeia from the northern Italic territories. They accumulated wealth perhaps with construction, quarrying, or stonecutting and rose to the ranks of the Roman Knights. Titus Varius, born around 115, has been raised and supported by his family early on to become a soldier. Special "Roman youth associations" offered their trainees military upbringing and early experience in the field. During education, Clemens did very well on at least three occasions, which paved the way for his promotion.
He started his career as the camp prefect of the 2nd Gallic cohort around 135. He was then promoted to tribune of the XXX Legion, and later on to the commander of the cavalry of the 2nd Pannonian regiment, commander of the auxiliary troops sent from Spain to Mauretania Tingitana, and the commander of the double British cavalry regiment.
He further pursued his military career with high-ranking administrative functions like the procurator of Cilicia, Lusitania, and Mauretania (153–154); he was the commander of Raetia (156–157), Gallia Belgica, and of both the Greater and Lesser Germania (around 160). From 162 to 165, during the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius (161–180) and Lucius Verus (161–169), he was the secretary of the Emperor in Rome.
There is no written evidence on his activity during the Marcomannic Wars. It is likely that he took part in the foundation of the legionary camp in Ločica pri Polzeli (ca. 168–172), i.e. in the territory he had known very well since he was a child. In 177, he is already mentioned as the member of the Consilium Principis, i.e. advisor to the princeps. His involvement regarding the legionary camp and the military zone established here during the Marcomannic Wars (praetentura Italiae et Alpium, ca. 168/9–171) could have been the basis for his membership in the Emperor's council. His presence after these events in the consilium principis can be seen as logical continuation of his military activities and success during the war. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Clemens was appointed to the Senate.
Eleven plaques or inscriptions honouring him have been found to date; several are kept in Vienna. They mostly document his entire career. Many inscriptions dedicated to him have also been found in other provinces and cities around the Empire, including Metz, Pannonia, and even Morocco.
Notable Celje natives in Europe:
- Roman Senator Titus Varius Clemens
- Count Herman II of Celje
- Barbara of Celje, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
- Briccius Preprost
- Tomaž Prelokar
- Janez Žiga Valentin Popovič
Notable Europeans in Celje: