Aurelia (gens)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The gens Aurelia was a plebeian family at Rome, the first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC, from which time the Aurelii become distinguished in history down to the end of the Republic.[1] The Aurelii flourished under the Empire, with members of this gens becoming Emperors, namely Marcus Aurelius, his son Commodus, and the Severan dynasty, who through adoption assumed the nomen. Many later families of citizens were enrolled under the authority of these Emperors also assumed the nomen Aurelius. By far the largest number were enrolled as the result of the Constitutio Antoniniana, enacted by the emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, better known as Caracalla, the name became so common that it was sometimes abbreviated Aur., and by the latter centuries of the Empire it becomes difficult to distinguish members of the gens from other persons bearing the name.[2]


The praenomina used by the Aurelii during the Republic were Gaius, Lucius, Marcus, and Publius. The Aurelii Orestides also used the praenomen Gnaeus; in imperial times, the Aurelii Fulvi used Titus, Marcus, and Lucius, while the Aurelii Symmachi used Quintus and Lucius.[1]


The nomen Aurelius is usually connected with the Latin adjective aureus, meaning "golden", and may have referred to the color of a person's hair. However, the original form of the nomen may have been Auselius, much as the original forms of the nomina Furia, Numeria, Papiria, Valeria, and Veturia were Fusia, Numisia, Papisia, Valesia, and Vetusia. In this case, it may be derived from a name for the sun, although that too may share a common etymology with aureus.[3][4]

Branches and cognomina[edit]

The family-names of the Aurelii under the Republic are Cotta, Orestes, and Scaurus, on coins we find the cognomina Cotta and Scaurus, and perhaps Rufus, the last of which is not mentioned by historians. The surname Pecuniola, borne by a member of the gens during the First Punic War, probably relates to his circumstance of poverty.

Under the early emperors, we find an Aurelian family of the name of Fulvus, from which the Roman emperor Antoninus was descended, whose name originally was Titus Aurelius Fulvus. Antoninus legally adopted Marcus Annius Verus and Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who thereby became members of the Aurelia gens, under the names Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Verus.

Towards the end of the western Empire, the Aurelii Symmachi rise to prominence, flourishing for some two centuries, and occupying many of the highest offices of the state.[1][5]


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

Aurelii Cottae[edit]

Aurelii Scauri[edit]

Aurelii Orestides[edit]

Aurelii Fulvi[edit]

Aurelii Symmachi[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  2. ^ Benet Salway, "What's in a Name? A Survey of Roman Onomastic Practice from c. 700 B.C. to A.D. 700", Journal of Roman Studies, 84 (1994), pp. 133-136
  3. ^ George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897).
  4. ^ Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft.
  5. ^ Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, v. p. 147.
  6. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxvii. 52.
  7. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xl. 27.
  8. ^ Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, xxxix. 6, 8.
  9. ^ Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum, I. p. 863, II. p. 785, a.
  10. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, In Verrem, i. 33.
  11. ^ a b Fasti Capitolini.
  12. ^ Gaius Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis, xxxiii. 3. s. 17.
  13. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Brutus, 25.
  14. ^ Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Marius, 14.
  15. ^ Valerius Maximus, Factorum ac Dictorum Memorabilium libri IX, vi. 7. § 6.
  16. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis, ii. 17, Pro Domo Sua, 13, Pro Plancio, 21.
  17. ^ Eutropius, Breviarium historiae Romanae, vi. 8.
  18. ^ Codex Theodosianus, 2. tit. 4. ss. 1, 15.
  19. ^ Julius Capitolinus, Clodius Albinus, 4.
  20. ^ Aelius Galenus, De Compos. Medicam. sec. Loc. v. 5. vol. xii. p. 892.
  21. ^ 'Dicţionar de istorie veche a României ("Dictionary of ancient Romanian history") (1976) Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, pp. 399-401
  22. ^ Aelius Lampridius, Alexander Severus, 3.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.