Aemilia Tertia

Aemilia Tertia

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Aemilia Tertia, better known as Aemilia Paulla (c. 230-163 or 162 BC), was the wife of Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

 (also known as the elder Scipio), Roman general and statesman. She was the daughter, possibly the third surviving daughter, of another Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paullus (consul in 216 BC who was killed at the Battle of Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

 of the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

) and sister of another famous Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus
Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus
Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus was a two-time consul of the Roman Republic and a noted general who conquered Macedon putting an end to the Antigonid dynasty.-Family:...

 (consul 182 and 168 BC).

Family and name


The name Aemilia derives from her family name (nomen), the gens Aemilia being one of the five most important patrician families. Roman women of the Middle Republic customarily bore their father's family name, and were sometimes distinguished by their birth order. As with men named Quintus ("the Fifth") or Sextus ("the Sixth"), a name such as Tertia may not always mean a woman had two older sisters. Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius .-Biography:...

 gives her name as Tertia Aemilia, "the wife of Scipio Africanus and the mother of Cornelia." Aemilia is not known to have had sisters, but younger sisters are sometimes more notable for the historical record than elder. Aemilia's daughters were Cornelia Africana Major
Cornelia Africana Major
Cornelia Africana Major was the first daughter of Aemilia Tertia and Scipio Africanus.Scipio Nasica Corculum was her husband and second cousin. She had a single child. Judging by the year her son, Scipio Nasica Serapio, became consul in 138 BCE she probably married around 184-183 BCE.Cornelia...

 and Cornelia Africana Minor
Cornelia Africana
Cornelia Scipionis Africana was the second daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War, and Aemilia Paulla. She is remembered as the perfect example of a virtuous Roman woman....

, the younger being far more famous than her mother or elder sister.

Marriage to Scipio


Aemilia Tertia's marriage to Scipio probably took place sometime between 213 BC and 210 BC (when Scipio went first to Sicily and thence to Spain); it may however have been as late as 206 BC-205 BC. Aemilia Tertia and Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

 had a fruitful marriage, and according to Livy, Polybius, and other classical historians, were very happily married. They had two sons and two daughters, the younger being the famous Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi
Cornelia Africana
Cornelia Scipionis Africana was the second daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War, and Aemilia Paulla. She is remembered as the perfect example of a virtuous Roman woman....

.

Character of Aemilia


Aemilia Tertia was allegedly of a very mild disposition, but was fiercely loyal to her husband who upset many Senators by challenging the older leaders in their military strategy, and conservative Romans by his adoption of some parts of Greek lifestyle. The Greek historian Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

 who was living in the household of her brother Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus for some time, and who almost certainly was an eye-witness, wrote of Aemilia Tertia:
"This lady whose name was Aemilia, used to display great magnificence whenever she left her house to take part in the ceremonies that women attend, having participated in the fortune of Scipio when he was at the height of his prosperity. .. For apart from the richness of her own dress and of the decorations of her carriage, all the baskets, cups, and other utensils for the sacrifice were either of gold or silver, and were borne in her train on all such solemn occasions, .. while the number of maids and men-servants in attendance was correspondingly large. (Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

, translated by John Dryden
John Dryden
John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

, Book 31 Fragments: 26)



This passage shows that for that period, the last decades of the Middle Republic, Aemilia Tertia had unusual freedom and wealth for a patrician married woman, both given her by an unusually liberal husband. She is one of the few Roman women known to us from the Middle Republic. Because of her unusual wealth and freedom, and her own behavior, she was an important role model for many younger Roman woman, just as her youngest daughter Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (190 BC-121 BC, would be an important role model for many Late Republican Roman noblewomen, including allegedly, Aurelia Cotta
Aurelia Cotta
Aurelia Cotta or Aurelia was the mother of Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar .-Family:...

, the mother of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

.

According to other sources, Aemilia was gentle, mild-mannered, but also fiercely loyal to her husband. Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus
Valerius Maximus was a Latin writer and author of a collection of historical anecdotes. He worked during the reign of Tiberius .-Biography:...

 relates an incident where Scipio was unfaithful to her with one of their own maid-servants, but Aemilia chose not to make the matter public. Valerius Maximus and Plutarch would have considered such behavior as honorable for Scipio, who after all, was not debauching his own wife. Marital sex was considered to be essentially procreative among Middle-Republic Romans. The year of this incident was around 191 BC or later, at which time Aemilia was either pregnant with her youngest child or had given birth recently. The fact that Aemilia chose not to expose her husband's infidelity (per Valerius Maximus) could indicate either a desire to spare him embarrassment, or her own desire to avoid embarrassment for herself. A Roman wife could not expect her husband to be faithful, and his misconduct whether at home or outside was not grounds for a divorce. Furthermore, by divorcing her husband (or rather, being divorced in that period), a woman lost custody of her children and usually had to return to her father's or brother's house. The husband could retain most of her dowry, so Aemilia could get as little as one-fifth of her dowry back. Aemilia's sister-in-law Papiria Masonis was divorced circa 183 BC by her husband, simply because he was tired of her. She was entirely blameless, having provided him with two sons and two daughters, and her chastity was not in question. After her divorce, she lived in rather straightened circumstances, and without her children who remained with their father and paterfamilias.

Sources such as Polybius also emphasize her love of luxury and her extravagance; she drove a special chariot at women's religious processions, and was attended by a large number of servants. One source claims that she enjoyed buying tasteful although extravagant works of art.

Scipio's death and aftermath


Scipio died of a lingering illness in 183 BC after having retired to his country house at Liternum
Liternum
Liternum was an ancient town of Campania, Italy, on the low sandy coast between Cumae and the mouth of the Volturnus. It was probably once dependent on Cumae. In 194 BC it became a Roman colony....

 in 185 BC. During his last years, he wrote his memoirs in Greek, but those have vanished, with even Plutarch's Life of him missing. He was survived by his widow and four children; his brother Scipio Asiaticus
Scipio Asiaticus
Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus was a Roman general and statesman. He was the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio and the older brother of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus...

 also remained living, although in political disgrace.

According to Polybius, Scipio made generous provisions for his widow to ensure that she would retain the same lifestyle she had grown accustomed to as his wife. He also promised his daughters fifty talents of silver each, which was a very large dowry by that era's standards.

Aemilia as a widow


Aemilia Tertia long survived her husband and outlived both her sons. She had two daughters surviving upon her own death, which took place sometime around 163 BC and by 162 BC.

She continued her luxurious lifestyle despite widowhood, presumably having been guaranteed a generous income by her husband's will. However, thanks to the lex Voconia
Lex Voconia
Lex Voconia was a law established in ancient Rome in 169 BC.Introduced by Q. Voconius Saxa with support from Cato the Elder, Voconius being tribune of the people in that year, this law prohibited those who owned property valued at 100,000 asses from making a woman their heir...

 (which prohibited women from inheriting much or from passing on their own wealth to females) passed in 169 BC, she was unable to dispose of her possessions as she pleased. At her death, her heir was automatically her grandson by adoption, Scipio Africanus II, or Scipio the Younger (better known to Romans as Scipio Aemilianus). He gave them to his mother Papiria Masonis, who was divorced from his own natural biological
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 father L. Aemilius for more than two decades. At her death, he passed those same possessions over to his two biological sisters - Aemilia Paulla Prima, wife of Marcus Porcius Cato Licinianus
Marcus Porcius Cato Licinianus
Marcus Porcius Cato Licinianus or Cato Licinianus was son of Cato the Elder by his first wife Licinia, and thence called Licinianus, to distinguish him from his half-brother, Marcus Porcius Cato Salonianus, the son of Salonia...

 and Aemilia Paulla Secunda, wife of Quintus Aelius Tubero. (Polybius, Book 31: 28, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

. Aem. 2; Liv. xxxviii. 57).

Despite her wealth and comfortable lifestyle, her last years must have been saddened by the death of both her sons, both without natural issue.


Children


The sources for this section are the histories of Livy and Polybius, as well as William Smith's Dictionaries, all available online.

Aemilia Paulla and Scipio Africanus had four surviving children, two sons and two daughters. His two sons failed to become consuls, although both became praetor in 174 BC. The elder may have married but no wife nor issue are known; the younger fell into dissolute ways and never married. Both suffered from ill-health which prevented them pursuing a military career.

The daughters did better, being granted fifty talents of silver as dowry each (then a very large sum), of which the half was paid immediately upon their marriages and the other half (twenty-five talents) became due within three years of their mother's death.
  • Publius Cornelius P.f. P.n. Scipio Africanus (fl.
    Floruit
    Floruit , abbreviated fl. , is a Latin verb meaning "flourished", denoting the period of time during which something was active...

     174 BC); he became a priest or Augur
    Augur
    The augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria. His main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of...

     in 180 BC (like his maternal uncle), was flamen dialis
    Flamen Dialis
    In ancient Roman religion, the Flamen Dialis was the high priest of Jupiter. There were 15 flamines, of which three were flamines maiores, serving the three gods of the Archaic Triad...

     or priest of Jupiter (according to his tomb inscription), and served as praetor
    Praetor
    Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

     in 174 BC. Some sources seem to imply that he was married, but his wife, if any, is unnamed. He appears to have died at some point after 174 BC, and probably before 167 BC (Battle of Pydna) where Scipio Aemilianus is already known as his adoptive son. He was certainly dead by 163 BC-162 BC when his own mother died, leaving her money to his adoptive son and heir. The date of his adopting Scipio Aemilianus is also unknown, but probably took place between 174 BC and 167 BC when his brother was probably dead.

  • Lucius Cornelius P.f. P.n. Scipio
    Lucius Cornelius P.f. P.n. Scipio
    Lucius Cornelius P.f. P.n. Scipio , Roman praetor in 174 BC, was the younger son of Scipio Africanus Major the great Roman general and statesman by his wife Aemilia Paulla...

    (fl. 174 BC); he led a dissolute lifestyle, and was expelled from the Senate in the year that he was elected praetor. (Livy) This son is most notable for having been captured by pirates circa 192-191 BC, and being released without ransom before the Battle of Magnesia
    Battle of Magnesia
    The Battle of Magnesia was fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum, on the plains of Lydia , between the Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and his brother, the famed general Scipio Africanus, with their ally Eumenes II of Pergamum against the army of Antiochus III the Great of the...

     which would cause his father political problems. Date of death unknown, but he probably died between 174 BC and 170 BC. No wife or issue are mentioned by any Roman historian, and he probably died unmarried.

  • Cornelia Africana Major
    Cornelia Africana Major
    Cornelia Africana Major was the first daughter of Aemilia Tertia and Scipio Africanus.Scipio Nasica Corculum was her husband and second cousin. She had a single child. Judging by the year her son, Scipio Nasica Serapio, became consul in 138 BCE she probably married around 184-183 BCE.Cornelia...

    (fl. 174 BC), eldest daughter of Aemilia was born approximately 201 BC; her date of death is unknown, but she probably married circa 182 BC, judging by the year in which her son became consul. Her husband was her own second cousin. It is not known, however, if this was the first marriage between cousins of the same gens (a practice that would have been previously avoided on grounds of consanguinity i.e. sharing the same blood line descent), or whether such marriages were not totally unknown prior to Cornelia's marriage. Scipio Nasica Corculum
    Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum
    Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum was a Roman statesman and member of the gens Cornelia.Corculum was the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica , and was thus a first cousin once removed of the Roman general Scipio Africanus...

    , consul in 162 BC and 155 BC, censor 159 BC, and later Princeps Senatus
    Princeps senatus
    The princeps senatus was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the cursus honorum and owning no imperium, this office brought enormous prestige to the senator holding it.-Overview:...

     until overthrown, i.e. not chosen again, and Pontifex Maximus
    Pontifex Maximus
    The Pontifex Maximus was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post...

     until his death in 141 BC.
    • Her husband was the son of the eponymous consul of 191 BC
      Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica
      Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica was a consul of ancient Rome in 191 BC. He was a son of Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus...

       who was himself son of Scipio's elder paternal uncle Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus
      Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus
      Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus was a Roman general and statesman.His father was Lucius Cornelius Scipio, son of the patrician censor of 280, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus. His younger brother was Publius Cornelius Scipio, father of the most famous Scipio – Scipio Africanus...

      ); her father-in-law and husband were both distinguished jurists. Cornelia Major's date of death is not known. She had one known son or one surviving son, Scipio Nasica Serapio
      Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio
      Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio , the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum and his wife Cornelia Africana Major, was a member of the gens Cornelia and a politician of the ancient Roman Republic. He was consul in 138 BC.He was also a member of the gens Cornelia, a family of...

      , also consul and Pontifex Maximus
      Pontifex Maximus
      The Pontifex Maximus was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post...

       141 BC-132 BC, who left descendants surviving to 45 BC or later. Sadly, Scipio Nasica Serapio is better known for his role in his cousin Tiberius Gracchus
      Tiberius Gracchus
      Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman Populares politician of the 2nd century BC and brother of Gaius Gracchus. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Republic. These reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy...

      's death in 133 BC.
      This grandson left descendants, of whom the most distinguished in the Late Republic were Metellus Scipio
      Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica
      Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica , in modern scholarship often as Metellus Scipio, was a Roman consul and military commander in the Late Republic. During the civil war between Julius Caesar and the senatorial faction led by Pompeius Magnus , he remained a staunch optimate...

       and his daughter Cornelia Metella
      Cornelia Metella
      Cornelia Metella was the daughter of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica . She appears in numerous literary sources, including an official dedicatory inscription at Pergamon....

       (who died childless). Descendants in the female line, if they exist, remain unknown to prosopographers
      Prosopography
      In historical studies, prosopography is an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group, whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable, by means of a collective study of their lives, in multiple career-line analysis...

       and historians.

  • Cornelia Africana Minor
    Cornelia Africana
    Cornelia Scipionis Africana was the second daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War, and Aemilia Paulla. She is remembered as the perfect example of a virtuous Roman woman....

    (c.192-121 BC), the younger daughter, was born about 190 BC, married in 172 BC, and died in 121 BC after her youngest child Gaius Sempronius Gracchus committed suicide to avoid execution. Better known as Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, she was the wife of the middle-aged but distinguished consul Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
    Tiberius Gracchus Major
    Tiberius Gracchus major or Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman politician of the 2nd century BC...

    , twice consul and censor (d. 154 BC), to whom she bore 12 children, most of whom died very young despite their parents' assiduous care. Three children survived to adulthood, two of them being the Brothers Gracchi -- Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
    Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
    Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus may refer to:*Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus , father of Tiberius and Publius Gracchus*Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus , son of the above...

     and Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, the latter born in the year that his father died suddenly, and the eldest, a daughter Sempronia, being wife of her mother's first biological cousin and her own second cousin Scipio the Younger. Tiberius Gracchus's own three sons died very young, and her youngest son Gaius left only a daughter Sempronia. Sempronia and Scipio Aemilianus had no children, which contributed to the bitterness in their marriage.
    • Thus circa 45 BC, Cornelia Africana Minor's only surviving descendant was Fulvia
      Fulvia
      Fulvia Flacca Bambula , commonly referred to as simply Fulvia, was an aristocratic Roman woman who lived during the Late Roman Republic. Through her marriage to three of the most promising Roman men of her generation, Publius Clodius Pulcher, Gaius Scribonius Curio and Mark Antony, she gained...

       Flacca Bambula. Fulvia was the first ever non-mythological Roman woman to appear on coinage, and through her three marriages gained access to power. Her first marriage to Publius Clodius Pulcher
      Publius Clodius Pulcher
      Publius Clodius Pulcher was a Roman politician known for his popularist tactics...

       produced two children: a son, also named Publius Clodius Pulcher, and a daughter, Clodia Pulchra
      Clodia Pulchra
      Clodia Pulchra, also known as Claudia was the daughter of Fulvia by her first husband Publius Clodius Pulcher. She was the stepdaughter of Mark Antony and half-sister of Marcus Antonius Antyllus and Iullus Antonius....

      , who later married Octavian. Her second marriage to Gaius Scribonius Curio
      Gaius Scribonius Curio
      Gaius Scribonius Curio was the name of a father and son who lived in the late Roman Republic.-Father:Gaius Scribonius Curio was a Roman statesman and orator. He was nicknamed Burbulieus for the way he moved his body while speaking...

       produced another son. Fulvia's third and final marriage to Mark Antony
      Mark Antony
      Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

       produced two sons: Marcus Antonius Antyllus
      Marcus Antonius Antyllus
      Marcus Antonius Antyllus was known as Marcus Antonius Minor to distinguish him from his famous father, the Roman Triumvir Marc Antony . He was also called Antyllus — a nickname given to him by his father...

       and Iullus Antonius
      Iullus Antonius
      Iullus Antonius , also known as Iulus, Julus or Jullus, was the second son of Mark Antony and his third wife Fulvia. He is best known for being the famous lover of Julia the Elder...

      . Further descendants, stemming from Iullus Antonius, were alive in the later reign of Augustus
      Augustus
      Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

       Caesar.

See also

  • Scipio Africanus
    Scipio Africanus
    Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

  • other Cornelias
    Cornelia
    Cornelia is a feminine given name. It is a feminine form of the name Cornelius. Nel or Nelly can be used as a shortened version of Cornelia...

  • Women in Rome
    Women in Rome
    Freeborn women in ancient Rome were citizens , but could not vote or hold political office. Because of their limited public role, women are named less frequently than men by Roman historians. But while Roman women held no direct political power, those from wealthy or powerful families could and did...

  • Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree
    Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree
    The Scipio-Paullus-Gracchus family tree includes the Roman Scipio, Paullus and Gracchus families.See also: List of family trees...


Primary sources


Secondary sources

  • Additional references to husband Scipio Africanus
  • Friedrich Munzer
    Friedrich Münzer
    Friedrich Münzer was a German classical scholar noted for the development of prosopography, particularly for his demonstrations of how family relationships in ancient Rome connected to political struggles....

    , Roman Aristocratic Parties and Families (1920)
  • T.R.S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1950-1, 1986)