Domitia Lucilla

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Domitia Lucilla from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum

Domitia Lucilla Minor (Minor, Latin for the Younger), sometimes known as Domitia Calvilla or Lucilla (died 155–161), was a noble Roman woman who lived in the 2nd century. She is best known as the mother of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Lucilla was the daughter of Domitia Lucilla Major (Major Latin for the Elder) and the patrician Publius Domitius Calvisius Tullus Ruso and was a niece to Lucanus Domitius. The maternal grandfather of the younger Lucilla, Lucius Catilius Severus served as twice consul and became city Prefect. Lucilla’s father served as consul in 109 and the date of his second consulship is unknown.

Lucilla through her mother had inherited a great fortune, which included a tile and brick factory near Rome, close to the river Tiber. The factory provided bricks to some of Rome's most famous monuments including the Colosseum, Pantheon and the Market of Trajan, and exported bricks to France, Spain, North Africa and all over the Mediterranean.

Lucilla married Marcus Annius Verus, a praetor, who came from a wealthy senatorial family. Verus' sister Faustina the Elder was a Roman Empress and married the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. Verus was a nephew to Roman Empress Vibia Sabina and his maternal grandmother was Salonina Matidia (niece of Roman Emperor Trajan).

With Verus, they had two children, a son, the future Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121) and a daughter Annia Cornificia Faustina (122/123 – between 152 and 158). In 124, her husband died. Her children were raised by herself and they were adopted by her father-in-law. Marcus Aurelius would later inherit the tile and brick factory.

In Lucilla’s household, the future Roman Emperor Didius Julianus was educated there and through her support he was able to start his legal career. Lucilla was a lady of considerable wealth and influence. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius describes her as a ‘pious and generous’ person, who lived a simple life (1.3n). She spent her final years living with her son in Rome.

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