Avrelia Kotta

Avrelia Kotta

Roman matron, mother of Julius Caesar.
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Aurelia Cotta
  2. An Ideal Roman Matron
  3. The Exposé and Divorce
  4. Life After Husband's Death

Biography of Aurelia Cotta

Aurelia Cotta was a Roman matron and the mother of Julius Caesar. She belonged to the prestigious Aurelia family and was born into the family of Lucius Aurelius Cotta, a consul in 119 BC, and Rutilia, who came from the ancient plebeian Rutilia family. Her uncle was a consul in 105 BC, and her father (presumably) in 90 BC. Rutilia's marriage to Gaius Aurelius Cotta, Aurelia's first marriage, produced three sons - Aurelia's brothers, Gaius Aurelius Cotta, Lucius Cotta, and Marcus Cotta. They also became consuls in 75 BC, 74 BC, and 65 BC, respectively.

An Ideal Roman Matron

Aurelia was described as an ideal Roman matron. Ancient historians considered her a strict and virtuous Roman woman and held her in high regard. She was known for her intelligence, independence, and renowned beauty, earning her great respect in Rome. Aurelia and her father's family played an active role in raising the children, especially considering her husband's frequent absence in Rome. When eighteen-year-old Caesar, at the beginning of his career, refused to divorce his wife Cornelia upon the demand of Sulla, it was only Aurelia's authority and her appeal to the dictator that saved her son's life.

The Exposé and Divorce

In 62 BC, Aurelia exposed Publius Clodius Pulcher, who had disguised himself as a woman and was brought into Caesar's house by his sister, Clodia Pulchra Tertia, during the rites of the Good Goddess. This incident is documented in Leonardo Bruni Aretino's "Life of Cicero." It is also depicted in Thornton Wilder's "The Ides of March." The real reason behind Clodius' behavior was his interest in Pompeia, Sulla's second wife and Caesar's wife at the time, who held the position of the high priestess. Following this incident, Caesar immediately divorced his wife, although he believed she may be innocent. "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion."

Life After Husband's Death

After her husband's death, Aurelia took care of her son's household, especially after his first wife, Cornelia Cinna, passed away. She also raised her granddaughter, Julia Caesaris.