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Lucius Cornelius Cinna (suffect consul 32 BC)

Lucius Cornelius Cinna (suffect consul 32 BC)

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Lucius Cornelius Cinna was the son of the consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 Lucius Cornelius Cinna
Lucius Cornelius Cinna
Lucius Cornelius Cinna was a four-time consul of the Roman Republic, serving four consecutive terms from 87 to 84 BC, and a member of the ancient Roman Cinna family of the Cornelii gens....

, who was a supporter of politician Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

. His sister, Cornelia Cinna minor
Cornelia Cinna minor
Cornelia Cinnilla , daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna , and a sister to suffect consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna, was married to Gaius Julius Caesar, who would become one of Rome's greatest conquerors and its dictator...

, was the first wife of dictator 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....

 and he was the maternal uncle of their daughter Julia Caesaris
Julia (daughter of Julius Caesar)
Julia Caesaris , 83 or 82 BC-54 BC, was the daughter of Gaius Julius Caesar the Roman dictator, by his first wife, Cornelia Cinna, and his only child in marriage. Julia became the fourth wife of Pompey the Great and was renowned for her beauty and virtue.-Life:Julia was born around 83 BC–82 BC...

. Cinna was a member of the gens Cornelia, who were of patrician status.

Early career

In 78 BC, Cinna allied himself with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in attempting to overthrow the Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 constitution of dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

. Before he left Rome, he sought out the support 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....

 for the rebellion which was not forthcoming. After the defeat and death of Lepidus in Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

, Cinna went into exile, accompanying Marcus Perperna
Marcus Perperna
Marcus Perperna, Roman consul in 130 BC, is said to have been a consul before he was a citizen; for Valerius Maximus relates, that the father of this Perperna was condemned under the lex Papia after the death of his son, because he had falsely usurped the rights of a Roman citizen.M...

 to join general Quintus Sertorius
Quintus Sertorius
Quintus Sertorius was a Roman statesman and general, born in Nursia, in Sabine territory. His brilliance as a military commander was shown most clearly in his battles against Rome for control of Hispania...

 in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Caesar was able to recall Cinna from exile back to Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and used him in the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 against senatorial opposition. Due to his father’s association with Marius, under Sulla’s constitutional reforms he was unable to promote his career. However, when Caesar became dictator, Cinna was soon promoted to the 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...


Conspiracy against Caesar

Although Cinna strongly disapproved of Caesar’s authoritarian way of governing, he did not become an active participant in the conspiracy to murder Caesar that led to the dictator's assassination in March 44 BC.

On the day of Caesar's funeral, the populace were in such rage at Cinna that some accidentally murdered tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 of the plebs
The plebs was the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens in Ancient Rome. They were distinct from the higher order of the patricians. A member of the plebs was known as a plebeian...

 Helvius Cinna
Helvius Cinna
Gaius Helvius Cinna was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus.His magnum opus Zmyrna established his literary fame; a mythological epic poem focused on the incestuous love of Smyrna for her father Cinyras, treated after...

, thinking it was he. When the murder of the tribune took place, Cinna was walking in Caesar’s funeral procession. During the political chaos after these events Cinna did not take advantage of his position to claim a Roman province to govern. Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 praises him for this act of self restraint. In 32 BC Cinna served as a suffect consul.

Personal life

After 47 BC, Cinna married Pompeia Magna, the daughter of triumvir Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 and from his third wife Mucia Tertia
Mucia Tertia
Mucia Tertia was a Roman matrona who lived in the 1st century BC. She was the daughter of Quintus Mucius Scaevola, the pontifex maximus, consul in 95 BC. Her mother was a Licinia that divorced her father to marry Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos, in a scandal mentioned by several sources...

. Cinna married Pompeia as her second husband. Pompeia married Cinna as his first wife. Pompeia had become a widow; her husband Faustus Cornelius Sulla had died in battle. Cinna became a stepfather to Pompeia’s son from her first marriage. Pompeia bore Cinna two children who were: a son Gnaeus Cornelius Cinna Magnus
Gnaeus Cornelius Cinna Magnus
Gnaeus Cornelius Cinna Magnus was the son of suffect consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Pompeia Magna. His sister was Cornelia Pompeia Magna....

 and a daughter Cornelia Pompeia Magna. His wife died before 35 BC and beyond this no more is known on Cinna.


  • Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia 2002
  • http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/0763.html
  • http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/0764.html
  • http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/2806.html