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Cornelia Africana

Cornelia Africana
by Julie Park on 19 April 2013

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Transcript of Cornelia Africana

Cornelia Africana By: Julie Park Her father was Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War, so her family not only had the influence of their Cornelius name, but her father's hero status. She married Sempronius Gracchus and they had 12 children!! But only 3 survived child hood... Her surviving children were Sempronia, Tiberius, and Gaius. Her sons would later go on to become pretty famous. When Sempronius died and she was left a widow, she stayed independent. Cornelia even had the chance to become the wife to Ptolemy, the ruler of Egypt. She was very strong willed and took the education of her sons upon herself. She made sure they were well educated and well respected eloquent Roman citizens. She is remembered as a perfect example of a virtuous Roman woman. Tiberius and Gaius Gracchi After her sons were tragically killed, she retired and lived in a villa near Misenum. But she stayed independent nevertheless and had many visitors and friends to whom she told stories of her sons and their great deeds, fighting for freedom. She was very well educated and calm, yet power hungry and strong willed. But she declined and stayed a single woman. She was born 190 BC and died at a ripe old age of 90, in 100 BC. Her daughter, Sempronia, married her cousin Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus. There is a famous story, probably made up, where another wealthy Roman woman commented on Cornelia's clothes. Cornelia tended to dress simply compared to other Roman women of her social status, so she called her sons forward and said, "These are my jewels." Even when her sons were attempting to defy Roman rules and tried to have reforms, she still supported them. <3
Obviously, she was a very caring and loving mother, because they were defying just about everything her patrician family stood for. After she left Rome, she didn't drastically change her lifestyle. She still had visitors, friends, and lived a happy life. Back then, when Roman woman would show how rich they were by wearing lots of dyed clothes and having crazy hair and adorning themselves in big jewels, dressing simply was just socially unacceptable. It was like showing up to Fashion Week in New York clad in jeans. BIG NO-NO. So, a lot of what historians know today of Cornelia's life comes from what writers wrote when they mentioned her in Tiberius and Gaius' political lives. Many scholars today still have educated arguments (fights) about the REAL Cornelia Africana. They argue if Cornelia really was a virtuous woman or a bit sugar coated historical figure. Or maybe her image changed as Rome also evolved, seeing as their image of a woman may have changed and stories were changed. It is all still in speculation. Her full name was Cornelia Scipionis Africana. They had married when Sempronius was already pretty old, so when he died, she just stayed a widow. 12 children was a lot by Roman standards. It's also a lot by today's standards, but at least 9 of the kids died? Bibliography:
Axioma. "Cornelia Africana @ Genius Mothers™." Cornelia Africana @ Genius Mothers™. Genius Mothers, 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.
https://geniusmothers.com/genius-mothers-of/governors-politicians/Cornelia-Africana/

Jones. "Ms. Jones’ Weblog." Ms Jones Weblog. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. THE END So, in a nutshell:
Cornelia was a rich and powerful woman.
She was a strong, independent woman.
She really loved her sons.
She supported her sons.
And she was a popular old bat even after leaving Rome.
Woohoo! Sempronius also had a successful career. He was a tribune, a praetor, a consul in 177, censor, and then consul again. Pretty ambitious. Here is Cornelia, being all virtuous and denying this man her hand. What a role model. Cornelia with her cute little sons. Her daughter, Sempronia, was married off to Cornelia's cousin, Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, who was also technically her cousin by adoption....
Anyways, the couple had no children.
Then Sempronia grew to hate her husband.
Finally, he died in 129 B.C. Some people blamed her and some blamed his political rivals.
(Marriage counseling couldn't prevented this)
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