1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cornelia
|←Corneille, Thomas||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 7
|See also Cornelia Africana on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
CORNELIA (2nd cent. B.C.), daughter of Scipio Africanus the Elder, mother of the Gracchi and of Sempronia, the wife of Scipio Africanus the Younger. On the death of her husband, refusing numerous offers of marriage, she devoted herself to the education of her twelve children. She was so devoted to her sons Tiberius and Gaius that it was even asserted that she was concerned in the death of her son-in-law Scipio, who by his achievements had eclipsed the fame of the Gracchi, and was said to have approved of the murder of Tiberius. When asked to show her jewels she presented her sons, and on her death a statue was erected to her memory inscribed, “Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi.” After the murder of her second son Gaius she retired to Misenum, where she devoted herself to Greek and Latin literature, and to the society of men of letters. She was a highly educated woman, and her letters were celebrated for their beauty of style. The genuineness of the two fragments of a letter from her to her son Gaius, printed in some editions of Cornelius Nepos, is disputed.
See L. Mercklin, De Corneliae vita (1844), of no great value; J. Sörgel, Cornelia, die Mutter der Gracchen (1868), a short popular sketch.