Quintillian was born about 35 in Calagurris in Hispanis. His father, a learned man, sent him to Rome to learn speechcraft early in the caesarship of Nero. While there, he fostered a friendship with Domitius Afer, who died in 59.
Sometime after Afer's death, Quintilian went back to Hispania, maybe to become a lawman in the deemhalls of his homeland. However, in 68, he came back to Rome as a follower of Galba, the short-lived caesar after Nero. After Galba's death, and in the lawless Year of the Four Caesars that followed, Quintilina opened learnhouse of speechcraft. Among his learners were Pliny the Younger, and maybe Tacitus. The caesar Vespasian made him a consul, and the earnings from this let Quintilian give more time to his learnhouse, for he was no longer taken up with worries of finding money.
Of his home life, little is known. In his Speechcraft, he says word of a wife who died young, and two sons who died before him.