Julis Caesar And The Women Around Him

4393 words - 18 pages

Personality: Julis CaesarTopic: WomenAurelia Cotta – MotherAurelia, in Syme’s opinion, is thought to be major influence in Caesar's life as his father died when he was in his early teenage years. Syme is a reliable secondary source whose usefulness and significance is determined by the deliberately critical perspective towards a variety of ancient sources. Very little is known about Caesar's mother, Aurelia. She was of the prominent family of Cotta and was apparently an exemplar of the disciplined Roman matrona of her time. Unusually, even for destitute patricians, the family lived in an insula in the Subura, a poorer area of Rome. It is not clear when Caesar lived in the subu ...view middle of the document...

Syme believes that Caesar's allegiance to the causes of the populares began under the tutelage of his uncle Marius. This is a credible view as Caesar married the daughter of one of Marius’ greatest supporters. Caesar's survival relied upon powerful friends who interceded with Sulla. Among Caesar's protectors were members of his mother's family, the Aurelli Cottae. His mother's cousins all appear to have played some role in both educating the young Caesar and in safeguarding him. Caesar's mother's family had always been on the side of the populares, even while allying themselves with Sulla at propitious moments. The Aurelians were part of the plebian nobility, with many consuls among their ranks. Hennessey’s reliable account is supported by many ancient primary sources. His mother's cousin, Gaius Aurelius Cotta, consul in 75, reportedly defended Caesar to Sulla.The fatherless Caesar had ample time to learn from his mother's relatives, and was probably encouraged to heed their lessons more than Marius'. It is also interesting to note that when Caesar was aedile in 65, Marcus Aurelius Cotta was consul. Having his familial relation at the top of the magistracies for that year enabled Caesar to do more as aedile than his associate, Bibulus. It is equally interesting to note that Cotta became consul in 65 only by bringing successful charges of bribery against the two men who had been elected, including P. Cornelius Sulla, a relative of the dictator. Caesar was ascending the cursus honorum at the very time that Gaius Cotta was trying to restore the powers of tribunes and Marcus was rescinding Sullan reforms of the courts. Caesar may have gone much further in his populare sentiments than any of the Cottae, but then they had allied themselves with Sulla at a time of peril. They believed that Sulla had been wrong in some of his reforms and therefore should be revised. Caesar learned a great deal from the Cottae, not only directly, but probably from re-enforcement by his mother.Julia - AuntWhen Julia, the sister of Gaius Julius Caesar’s father, married C. Marius, the consulship came within the grasp of the Julii, even though Marius was a novus homo. This is comment by Hennessey is quite reliable as it is supported by many primary sources. Modern historians Taylor and Syme suggest that Marius had a strong influence on the young Julius Caesar and helped him “to maintain the diginitas of the Julii and secure the consulate in his turn.“ This is a plausible view with ancient sources to support, however it is hard to determine the true significance of this influence. Marius was strongly opposed the dictator Sulla, who tried to reassert the Senate as an unquestionable force in the state. Caesar was tied to the populares party through his aunt Julia and his wife, Cornelia Cinnilla.Caesar eventually became a champion of the people like his uncle Marius in Hennessey’s critical perspective. In 65 BC, he had statues and monuments of ...


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