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Who Was Julius Caesar's Wife?

Who Was Julius Caesar's Wife?
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  • 0:05 Julius Caesar & Cornelia
  • 1:42 Pompeia
  • 2:30 Calpurnia & the Mistresses
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

Who was Julius Caesar's wife? Caesar actually had multiple wives, so perhaps the better question is, 'Who wasn't Julius Caesar's wife?' In this lesson, you will learn about the Roman ruler's multiple marriages and love affairs.

Julius Caesar & Cornelia

You may know Julius Caesar as a forceful general and a ruler of the Roman Republic, but did you know that he also had a track record of romantic affairs and marriages? Over the course of his 66 years, Caesar was married three times, and had several mistresses as well. Who were these women and what role did they have in Caesar's life?

Most kids today look forward to getting their learner's permit or driver's license at the age of 16. For Julius Caesar, 16 was the age to settle down and get married. Caesar married his first wife, Cornelia, in the year 84 B.C. Cornelia was the daughter of the Roman noble Lucius Cornelius Cinna.

Unfortunately for Caesar, his father-in-law was an enemy of the Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Sulla did not care for political opposition and gave Caesar two options: divorce his wife Cornelia or face certain death. Julius Caesar did not like to be bossed around, even if the ruler of Rome was the one doing the bossing. Caesar found a third option in the 'divorce or die' ultimatum; he refused to divorce Cornelia, and instead ran away from Rome and became an outlaw.

After years of running from the law, Caesar was eventually allowed to return to Rome after his friends and family convinced the dictator Sulla to calm down. In 76 B.C., Caesar and Cornelia had a daughter named Julia Caesaris. Cornelia died 7 years later in 69 B.C.

Pompeia

Two years after the death of Caesar's first wife, Cornelia, he married his second wife, Pompeia. As in his first marriage, in order to advance his political career, Caesar looked for a woman who came from an important family. Pompeia was the granddaughter of the dictator Sulla.

Caesar's second marriage didn't last as long as his first one did. Pompeia was participating in a Roman religious festival called Bona Dea, or 'good goddess.' The festival was for women only. However, a man managed to sneak into the party. According to rumors, this man was in love with Pompeia, and he was hoping to convince her to run away with him. Whether or not this was true, Caesar divorced Pompeia in 62 B.C. ending their marriage after only five years.

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