Cornelia (fl. 1st c. BCE)

views updated

Cornelia (fl. 1st c. bce)

Roman noblewoman. Flourished in the 1st century bce; daughter of Scribonia and one of her two unknown husbands, possibly Cornelius Scipio; married Paullus Aemilius Lepidus (a consul); children: two sons, Paullus and Lepidus.

Cornelia was the daughter of Scribonia and one of her two unknown husbands (Scribonia's third husband was Octavian, who later became Augustus). Cornelia married Paullus Aemilius Lepidus, the nephew of the Lepidus who with Marc Antony and Octavian constituted the "Second Triumvirate." This triumvirate was the political junta that formed to unite the Caesarian faction in the wake of Julius Caesar's assassination (44 bce) and to avenge his murder by striking down his assassins. Despite his kinship to one of the triumvirs, Cornelia's husband initially sided with the assassins in the wars that followed Caesar's murder; for this, his life was declared forfeit by the triumvirs in 43 bce. In 42, Cornelia's husband won Crete for Brutus, one of Caesar's assassins, but after Brutus' defeat at the hands of Antony and Octavian at Philippi in the same year Aemilius Lepidus Paullus made his peace with Octavian, under whose patronage his career flourished. Cornelia and Lepidus had two sons, Paullus and Lepidus, before Cornelia died at a young age. After her death, the famous poet Propertius was commissioned to write an elegy to help assuage her husband's grief.

William S. Greenwalt , Associate Professor of Classical History, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

About this article

Cornelia (fl. 1st c. BCE)

Updated About content Print Article