Julis Caesar and the women around him

Essay by LssunHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2009

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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 subura, but according to Hennessey they lived there in his younger years, due to the relative poverty of the family as aristocrats. This view is plausible as several ancient sources, including Plutarch, suggest that the young Caesar was often short of money.

Hennessey’s perspective of the young Caesar is a useful and reliable outline and portrays Caesar’s significant relationships to his Aurelli Cottae relatives.

One of the very few comments about the kind of woman Aurelia can be found in Tacitus: "In the old days, every child born to a respectable mother was brought up … at his mother's knee… She supervised not only the boys' studies but also their recreation and games with piety and modesty. Thus, tradition has it… Aurelia, mother of Julius Caesar, and Atia, mother of Augustus, brought up their sons and produced princes. " Tacitus perceives Caesar as a god. This is significant as he exaggerates many of his attributes. He is useful because of his psychological perspective and his character portrayals, however due to the exaggeration present in his descriptions his work is unreliable.

Her influence over the young Caesar is debatable...