The Ancient Library

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On this page: Aurelia Fadilla – Aurelia Gens – Aurelia Messalina – Aurelia Orestilla – Aurelianus



were her brothers. She carefully watched over the education of her children (Dial, de Orat. 28; comp. Dion Cass. xliv. 38), and always took a lively in­terest in the success of her son. She appears to have constantly lived with him ; and Caesar on his part treated her with great affection and respect. Thus, it is said, that on the day when he was elected Pontifex Maximus, b. c. 63, he told his mother, as she kissed him upon his leaving his house in the morning to proceed to the comitia, that he would not return home except as Pontifex Maximus. (Suet. Caes. 13.) It was Aurelia who detected Clodius in the house of her son during the celebration of the mysteries of the Bona Dea in b. c. 62. (Pint. dies. 9, 10; Suet. Caes. 74.) She died in b. c. 54, while her son was in Gaul. (Suet. Caes. 26.)

AURELIA FADILLA. [antoninus,p. 211.]

AURELIA GENS, plebeian, of which the family names, under the republic, are cotta, orestes, and scaurus. On coins we find the cognomens Cotta and Scaurus, and perhaps Rufus (Eckhel, v. p. 147), the last of which is not men­tioned by historians. The first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was C. Aurelius Cotta in b. c. 252, from which time the Aurelii become distinguished in history down to the end of the republic. 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 T. Aurelius Fulvus. [See pp. 210, 211.]

AURELIA MESSALINA. [albinus, p. 93, b."J

AURELIA ORESTILLA, a beautiful but pro­fligate woman, whom Catiline married. As Aurelia at first objected to marry him, because he had a grown-up son by a former marriage, Catiline is said to have killed his own offspring in order to remove this impediment to their union. (Sail. Cat. 15, 35 ; Appian, B. C. ii. 2; comp. Cic. ad Fam. ix. 22.) Her daughter was betrothed to the younger Cornifi-cius in b. c. 49. (Caelius, ap. Cic. ad Fam. viii. 7.)

AURELIANUS, named twice by Dion Cas- sius (Ixxviii. 12, 19), is supposed to be the con­ spirator against Caracalla, who appears in the text of Spartianus as Reanus or Retianus. The soldiers demanded him from Macrinus, who at first resisted their importunities, but at length yielded him up to their fury. [W. R.]

AURELIANUS. On coins, this emperor is uniformly styled L. Domitius Aurelianus, but in some fasti and inscriptions he appears as Valerius or Valerianus Aurelianus, the name Valerius being confirmed by a letter addressed to him by his pre­decessor. Claudius. (Vopisc. c. 17.) He was of such humble origin, that nothing certain is known of his iamily, nor of the time or place of his nati­vity. According to the account commonly received, he was born about the year a. d. 212, at Sirmium in Parmonia, or, as others assert, in Dacia, or in Moesia. His father is said to have been a farm servant on the property of Aurelius, a senator, his mother to have officiated as priestess of Sol in the village where she dwelt. It is certain that her son, in after-life, regarded that deity as his tutelary god, and erected for his worship at Rome a magni­ficent temple, decorated with a profusion of the most costly ornaments. In early youth, Aurelian vas remarkable for vivacity of disposition, for bo­dily strength, and for an enthusiastic love of all


military exercises. After entering upon the career of arms, he seems to have served in every grade and in every quarter of the world, and became so re­nowned for promptness in the use of weapons, and for individual prowess, that his comrades distin­guished him as " Hand-on-sword " (Aurelianus manu adferrum). In a war against the Sarma-tians, he was believed to have slain forty-eight of the enemy in one day, and nearly a thousand in the course of a single campaign. When tribune of the sixth legion in Gaul, he repelled a predatory incursion of the Franks, who had crossed the Rhine near Mayence, and now for the first'time appear in history. His fame as a soldier, an officer, and a general, gradually rose so high, that Valerian com­pared him to the Corvini and Scipios of the olden time, and, declaring that no reward was adequate to his merits, bestowed on him the titles of Liber­ator of Illyria and Restorer of Gaul. Having been appointed lieutenant to Ulpius Crinitus, captain-general of Illyria and Thrace, he expelled the Goths from these provinces ; and so important was this service deemed, that Valerian, in a solemn as­sembly held at Byzantium, publicly returned thanks to Aurelian for having averted the dangers by which the state was menaced, and after presenting him with a multitude of military decorations, pro­claimed him consul elect. At the same time, he was adopted by Ulpius Crinitus, declared his heir, and probably received his daughter in marriage. He is marked in the Fasti as consul suffectus on the 22nd of May, 257.

We hear nothing of Aurelian during the reign of the indolent and feeble Gallienus; but great suc­cesses were achieved by him under Claudius, by whom he was appointed to the command previously held by his adopted father, and was entrusted with the defence of the frontier against the Goths, and nominated commander-in-chief of the cavalry of the empire.

Upon the death of Claudius, which took place at Sirmium in 2/0, Aurelian was at once hailed as his successor by the legions. Quintillus, the bro­ther of Claudius, at the same time asserted his own claims at Aquileia ; but, being abandoned by his soldiers, put himself to death within less than three weeks from the time when he assumed the purple.

The reign of Aurelian, which lasted for about four years and a half, from the end of August, 270, until the middle of March, 275, presents a succes­sion of brilliant exploits, which restored for a while their ancient lustre to the arms of Rome.

As soon as his authority had been formally re­cognised in the metropolis, he directed his first ef­forts against a numerous host of Goths and Van­dals, who, led by two kings and many powerful chiefs, had crossed the Danube, and were ravaging Pannonia. These, after sustaining a decisive de­feat, were forced to submit, and were permitted to retire upon leaving the sons of the two kings, and other noble youths, as hostages, and furnishing a contingent of two thousand auxiliaries.

A great victory was next gained over the Ale-manni and other German tribes, which was fol­lowed by a serious reverse. For, while the em­peror was employing every exertion to cut off their retreat, he failed to watch them in front. The barbarians, taking advantage of this oversight, pressed boldly forwards, outstripped their heavy-armed pursuers, and bursting into Italy wasted all

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