Denarius of Lucius Aurelius Cotta, 105 BC. The obverse is identical with the coins of Lipara, captured by Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC. The reverse depicts the triumph awarded for this victory.[1]

The gens Aurelia was a plebeian family at Rome, which flourished from the third century BC to the latest period of the Empire. The first of the Aurelian gens to obtained the consulship was Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC. From then to the end of the Republic, the Aurelii supplied many distinguished statesmen, before entering a period of relative obscurity under the early emperors. In the latter part of the first century, a family of the Aurelii rose to prominence, obtaining patrician status, and eventually the throne itself. A series of emperors belonged to this family, through birth or adoption, including Marcus Aurelius and the members of the Severan dynasty.[2]

In the third century, the Constitutio Antoniniana of Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to all free residents of the Empire, resulting in vast numbers of new citizens who assumed the nomen Aurelius, in honour of their patron. So ubiquitous was the name in the latter centuries of the Empire that it suffered abbreviation, as Aur., and it becomes difficult to distinguish members of the Aurelian gens from other persons bearing the name.[3]

Contents

OriginEdit

The nomen Aurelius is usually connected with the Latin adjective aureus, meaning "golden", in which case it was probably derived from the color of a person's hair. However, Festus reports that the original form of the nomen was Auselius, and that the medial 's' was replaced by 'r' at a relatively early period; the same process occurred with the archaic nomina Fusia, Numisia, Papisia, Valesia, and Vetusia, which became Furia, Numeria, Papiria, Valeria, and Veturia in classical Latin. According to Festus, Auselius was derived from a Sabine word for the sun.[4][5]

PraenominaEdit

All of the praenomina used by the chief families of the Aurelii were common throughout Roman history. The Aurelii of the Republic primarily used Gaius, Lucius, Marcus, and Publius, to which the Aurelii Orestides added Gnaeus. The Aurelii Fulvi of imperial times used Titus, Marcus, and Lucius, while the Aurelii Symmachi used Quintus and Lucius.

Branches and cognominaEdit

 
Denarius of Marcus Aurelius Cotta, 139 BC.[6]

There were three main stirpes of the Aurelii in republican times, distinguished by the cognomina Cotta (also spelled Cota), Orestes, and Scaurus. Cotta and Scaurus appear on coins, together with a fourth surname, Rufus, which does not occur among the ancient writers. A few personal cognomina are also found, including Pecuniola, apparently referring to the poverty of one of the Aurelii during the First Punic War.[2]

Cotta, the surname of the oldest and most illustrious branch of the Aurelii under the Republic, probably refers to a cowlick, or unruly shock of hair; but its derivation is uncertain, and an alternative explanation might be that it derives from a dialectical form of cocta, literally "cooked", or in this case "sunburnt".[7] Marcus Aurelius Cotta, moneyer in 139 BC, minted an unusual denarius, featuring Hercules in a biga driven by centaurs, presumably alluding to some mythological event connected with the gens, but the exact symbolism is unknown. The Aurelii Cottae were prominent from the First Punic War down to the time of Tiberius, after which they faded into obscurity. The last of this family appearing in history include Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus, a friend of Tiberius, who squandered his family fortune through reckless prodigality, and his son, who received a stipend from Nero in order to maintain his household in a manner befitting his illustrious forebears.[8] The Cottae were related to Julius Caesar and Augustus through Aurelia Cotta, who was Caesar's mother.

The Aurelii Scauri were a relatively small family, which flourished during the last two centuries of the Republic. Their surname, Scaurus, belongs to a common class of cognomina derived from an individual's physical features, and referred to someone with swollen ankles.[9][10][7]

Orestes, the surname of a family that flourished for about a century toward the end of the Republic, was a Greek name, and belonged to a class of surnames of foreign origin, which appear during the middle and late Republic.[11] In Greek mythology, Orestes was the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, and avenged his father's murder by slaying his own mother, and after escaping the judgment of the Erinyes, became king of Mycenae. The circumstances by which the name became attached to a branch of the Aurelii are unclear, but perhaps allude to some heroic deed, or military service in Greece.[12]

The Aurelii Fulvi, who rose to prominence in imperial times, originally came from Nemausus in Gallia Narbonensis.[13] Titus Aurelius Fulvus, the first of the family to attain the consulship, was made a patrician about AD 73 or 74.[14] In the second century, the Aurelii Fulvi obtained the Empire itself, when the consul's grandson, Titus Aurelius Fulvus, was adopted as the successor to Hadrian, becoming the emperor Antoninus Pius. Most of the emperors who followed were born or adopted into the gens, through the end of the Severan dynasty.[13] The surname Fulvus was a common surname, referring to someone with yellowish, yellow-brown, tawny, or strawberry blond hair.[15]

The Aurelii Galli were a family that achieved notability during the second century, attaining the consulship on at least three occasions. Their surname, Gallus, had two common derivations, referring either to a cockerel, or to a Gaul. In the latter case, it might indicate that the first of this family was of Gallic descent, that he was born in Gaul, that he had performed some noteworthy deed in Gaul, or that in some manner he resembled a Gaul.[16]

The Aurelii Symmachi were one of the last great families of the western empire, holding the highest offices of the Roman state during the fourth and fifth centuries. The Symmachi were regarded as members of the old Roman aristocracy, and acquired a reputation for their wisdom and learning.[17]

MembersEdit

This list includes abbreviated praenomina. For an explanation of this practice, see filiation.

Aurelii CottaeEdit

Aurelii ScauriEdit

Aurelii OrestidesEdit

Aurelii FulviEdit

Aurelii GalliEdit

  • Lucius Aurelius Gallus, consul suffectus in an uncertain year between AD 128 and 133.[133]
  • Lucius Aurelius Gallus, consul suffectus Ex. Kal. Jul. in AD 146.[75]
  • Lucius Aurelius Gallus, consul in AD 174.[134]
  • Lucius Aurelius Gallus, consul in AD 198.
  • Lucius Aurelius Gallus, governor of Moesia Inferior from AD 201 to about 204.[135]

Aurelii SymmachiEdit

OthersEdit

Stemma of the Aurelii CottaeEdit

Stemma made from Münzer and Badian.[162][27]

Legend
Red
Emperor
Orange
Dictator
Yellow
Censor
Green
Consul
C. Aurelius
 
 
L. Aurelius
 
 
C. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 252, 248
cens. 241; mag. eq. 231
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C. Aurelius Cotta
leg. 216
M. Aurelius Cotta
aed. pl. 216
 
 
 
 
C. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 200
M. Aurelius Cotta
leg. 189
 
 
L. Aurelius Cotta
trib. mil. 181
 
 
L. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 144
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
L. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 119
M. Aurelius Cotta
tri. mon. 139
 
Rutilia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
L. Aurelius Cotta
pr. c. 90
Aurelia
 
C. Iulius Caesar
pr. c.92
C. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 75
M. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 74
L. Aurelius Cotta
cos. 65, cens. 64
 
 
 
 
 
 
Julius Caesar
cos. 59, 48, 46–44
dict. 49–44
M. Aurelius Cotta
propr. 49
 
 
 
 
Augustus
Emperor 27 BC–AD 14
M. Aurelius Cotta
 
 
M. Aurelius Cotta
Maximus Messalinus

cos. AD 20
 
 
Aurelius Cotta


FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ His cognomen is guessed by Badian, thanks to the filiation of Gaius Aurelius Cotta, the consul of 200, which shows that both his father and grandfather were named Gaius.
  2. ^ Sometimes misidentified as Marcus Aemilius Scaurus; Scaurus was also a cognomen of the Aemilia gens.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, pp. 321, 322.
  2. ^ a b Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. I, p. 436 ("Aurelia Gens").
  3. ^ Salway, "What's in a Name?", pp. 133–136.
  4. ^ Paulus, Epitome de Sex. Pompeio Festo, p. 23.
  5. ^ Chase, p. 124.
  6. ^ a b Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, p. 263.
  7. ^ a b Chase, pp. 109, 110.
  8. ^ Tacitus, Annales, vi. 7; xiii. 34.
  9. ^ Horace, Satirae, i. 3.
  10. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. III, pp. 735 ("Scaurus"), 738 ("Aurelius Scaurus").
  11. ^ Chase, pp. 114, 115.
  12. ^ Wiseman, "Legendary Genealogies", p. 157.
  13. ^ a b Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. I, pp. 210–212 ("Antoninus Pius"), vol. II, p. 189 ("Fulvus").
  14. ^ a b Jones, The Emperor Domitian, p. 52.
  15. ^ New College Latin & English Dictionary, s. v. fulvus.
  16. ^ Chase, pp. 113, 114.
  17. ^ Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, v. 147.
  18. ^ Zonaras, viii. 14, 16.
  19. ^ Orosius, iv. 9.
  20. ^ Cicero, Academica Priora, ii. 26.
  21. ^ Frontinus, Strategemata, iv. 1. §§ 22, 31.
  22. ^ Valerius Maximus, ii. 7. § 4.
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  25. ^ Livy, xxiii. 16.
  26. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 251.
  27. ^ a b c d Badian, Studies, p. 64.
  28. ^ Livy, xxiii. 30, xxv. 22, xxix. 38, xxx. 26, 42, xxxi. 3, 5, 50.
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  77. ^ Tacitus, Annals, xiii. 34.
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  79. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 371.
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  82. ^ Velleius Paterculus, ii. 12.
  83. ^ Tacitus, Germania, 37.
  84. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 540, 548, 550 (note 2).
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  86. ^ Pliny the Elder, xxxiii. 3. s. 17.
  87. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 446, 447.
  88. ^ Livy, Epitome, 60.
  89. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Gaius Gracchus", 1, 2.
  90. ^ a b Cicero, Brutus, 28.
  91. ^ Aurelius Victor, De Viris Illustribus, 72.
  92. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 504, 508, 511, 512, 514, 518.
  93. ^ Plutarch, "The Life of Marius", 14.
  94. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 553, 562, 565 (note 1).
  95. ^ Valerius Maximus, vi. 7. § 6.
  96. ^ Broughton, vol. II, p. 88.
  97. ^ Cicero, De Officiis, ii. 17, Pro Domo Sua, 13, Pro Plancio, 21.
  98. ^ Eutropius, vi. 8.
  99. ^ Broughton, vol. II, pp. 121, 125 (note 2).
  100. ^ Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 15, 35.
  101. ^ Appian, Bellum Civile, ii. 2.
  102. ^ Marcus Caelius Rufus, Apud Ciceronis ad Familiares, viii. 7.
  103. ^ Tacitus, Historiae, i. 79.
  104. ^ Alföldy, Fasti Hispanienses, 19 ff.
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  112. ^ Julius Capitolinus, "The Life of Marcus Aurelius", 6, 19, 26.
  113. ^ Eutropius, viii. 5.
  114. ^ Eckhel, vii. 76.
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  132. ^ Muratori, Veterum Inscriptionum, 242, 3; 590, 4.
  133. ^ CIL XVI, 173.
  134. ^ CIL XI, 7556.
  135. ^ Dicţionar de istorie veche a României, pp. 399–401.
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  137. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, xxi. 12. § 24, xxvii. 3. § 3.
  138. ^ Codex Theodosianus, 8. tit. 5. s. 25; 12. tit. 1. s. 73.
  139. ^ Symmachus, Epistulae, ix. 83.
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  143. ^ Columella, De Re Rustica, i. 1. 14.
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  146. ^ AE 1914, 219.
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  156. ^ Aelius Lampridius, "The Life of Alexander Severus", 3.
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  162. ^ Münzer, Aristocratic Parties, p. 295.

BibliographyEdit

Ancient sourcesEdit

Modern sourcesEdit