The gens Aemilia, originally written Aimilia, was one of the most ancient patrician houses at Rome. The family was said to have originated in the reign of Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, and its members held the highest offices of the state, from the early decades of the Republic to imperial times. The Aemilii were probably one of the gentes maiores, the most important of the patrician families. Their name was associated with two major roads (the Via Aemilia and the Via Aemilia Scauri), an administrative region of Italy, and the Basilica Aemilia at Rome.
Several stories were told of the foundation of the Aemilii. The most familiar was that their ancestor, Mamercus, was the son of Numa Pompilius, who was also claimed as an ancestor of the gentes Pompilia, Pomponia, Calpurnia, and Pinaria. A variation of this account stated that Mamercus was the son of Pythagoras, who was sometimes said to have taught Numa. However, as Livy observed, this was not possible, as Pythagoras was not born until more than a century after Numa's death, and was still living in the early days of the Republic.
This Mamercus is said to have received the name of Aemilius because of the persuasiveness of his language (δι αιμυλιαν λογου), although such a derivation is certainly false etymology. Another possible derivation is from aemulus, "a rival," or from the same root. According to a different legend, the Aemilii were descended from Aemylos, a son of Ascanius, four hundred years before the time of Numa Pompilius. Still another version relates that the gens was descended from Amulius, the wicked uncle of Romulus and Remus, who deposed his brother Numitor to become king of Alba Longa.
Whether any of these accounts is true, the Aemilii were probably of Sabine origin. The praenomen Mamercus is derived from Mamers, a god worshipped by the Sabelli of central and southern Italy, and usually identified with Mars. Although usually included in lists of praenomina regularly used at Rome, and thus considered Latin, the Aemilii and Pinarii were the only patrician families to use the name.
The Aemilii regularly used the praenomina Mamercus, Lucius, Manius, Marcus, and Quintus. The Aemilii Mamercini also used Tiberius and Gaius, while the Aemilii Lepidi, who had a particular fondness for old and unusual names, used Paullus, presumably with reference to the family of the Aemilii Paulli, which had died out nearly a century earlier. The daughters of the Aemilii are known to have used the numerical praenomina Prima, Secunda, and Tertia, although these are frequently treated as cognomina.
Branches and cognomina
The oldest stirps of the Aemilii used Mamercus and its diminutive, Mamercinus as cognomina. This family flourished from the earliest period to the time of the Samnite Wars. Several other major branches, including the Papi, Barbulae, Paulli, and Lepidi, date from this period, and may have been descended from the Mamercini. The Aemilii Paulli vanished with the death of Lucius Aemilius Paullus, the conqueror of Macedonia, in 160 BC. His sons, though grown, were adopted into the families of the Fabii Maximi and the Cornelii Scipiones.
The family of the Aemilii Lepidi came to prominence at the beginning of the third century BC, and from then to imperial times was one of the most distinguished in the state. In the first century BC they revived several old names, including the praenomina Mamercus and Paullus, and the cognomina Paullus and Regillus. The Aemilii Scauri flourished from the beginning of the second century BC to the beginning of the first century AD. The cognomina Buca and Regillus apparently belonged to short-lived families. Other surnames are found in imperial times.
- Lucius Aemilius Mam. f. Mamercus, consul in 484, 478, and 473 BC.
- Tiberius Aemilius L. f. Mam. n. Mamercus, consul in 470 and 467 BC.
- Mamercus Aemilius M. f. Mamercinus, dictator in 437, 433, and 426 BC.
- Manius Aemilius Mam. f. M. n. Mamercinus, consul in 410 BC.
- Gaius Aemilius Ti. f. Ti. n. Mamercinus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 394 and 391 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius Mam. f. M. n. Mamercinus, tribunus militum consulari potestate in 391, 389, 387, 383, 382, 380, and 377 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius L. f. Mam. n. Mamercinus, consul in 366 and 363 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius L. f. L. n. Mamercinus, magister equitum in 352 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius L. f. L. n. Mamercinus Privernas, consul in 341 and 329 BC, and dictator in 335 and 316 BC.
- Tiberius Aemilius Ti. f. Ti. n. Mamercinus, praetor in 341 and consul in 339 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius Papus, dictator in 321 BC.
- Quintus Aemilius (Cn. f.) Papus, consul in 282 and 278 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius Q. f. Cn. n. Papus, consul in 225 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius Papus, maximus curio (d. 210 BC)
- Lucius Aemilius Papus, praetor in 205 BC, received Sicilia as his province.
- Quintus Aemilius Q. f. L. n. Barbula, consul in 317 and 311 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius Q. f. Q. n. Barbula, consul in 281 BC, and conqueror of Tarentum.
- Marcus Aemilius L. f. Q. n. Barbula, consul in 230 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius L. f. Paullus, consul in 302 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. L. n. Paullus, consul in 255 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius M. f. M. n. Paullus, consul in 219 and 216 BC, slain at Cannae.
- Lucius Aemilius L. f. M. n. Paullus, afterward surnamed Macedonicus (c. 230 -160 BC), consul in 182 and 168 BC.
- Tertia Aemilia Paulla (c. 230 - 163/2 BC), married Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus.
- Quintus Fabius Q. f. Q. n. Maximus Aemilianus, son of Macedonicus.
- Publius Cornelius P. f. P. n. Aemilianus, afterward surnamed Africanus Minor (d. 129 BC), son of Macedonicus, consul in 147 and 134 BC.
- Prima Aemilia L. f. L. n. Paulla, married Quintus Aelius Tubero.
- Secunda Aemilia L. f. L. n. Paulla, married Marcus Porcius Cato Licinianus.
- Tertia Aemilia L. f. L. n. Paulla, when a little girl, gave her father a favorable omen.
- Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, consul in 285 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul in 232 BC, and perhaps also suffectus in 220.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, praetor in 218 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, son of the consul of 232 BC.
- Quintus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, son of the consul of 232 BC.
- Manius Aemilius M'. f. Lepidus, praetor in 213 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul in 187 and 175 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M'. f. M' n. Lepidus, consul in 158 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, military tribune against Antiochus III in 190 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Porcina, consul in 137 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul in 126 BC.
- Quintus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, probably son of the military tribune of 190 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius Q. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul in 78 BC.
- Mamercus Aemilius Mam. f. M. n. Livianus, consul in 77 BC.
- Manius Aemilius Mam. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul in 66 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius M. f. Q. n. Lepidus Paullus, consul in 50 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. Q. n. Lepidus, the triumvir, consul in 42 BC.
- Aemilius (M. Lepidi f. Q. n.) Regillus, mentioned by Cicero.
- Paullus Aemilius L. f. M. n. Lepidus, consul suffectus in 34 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Lepidus, son of the triumvir; conspired to assassinate Octavianus in 30 BC.
- Quintus Aemilius Lepidus (consul 21 BC), consul in 21 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius Paulli f. L. n. Paullus, consul in AD 1; conspired against Augustus.
- Marcus Aemilius Paulli f. L. n. Lepidus, consul in AD 6.
- Aemilia Paulli f. L. n. Lepida (b. 22 BC)
- Manius Aemilius Q. f. Lepidus, consul in AD 11.
- Aemilia Q. f. Lepida, wife of Publius Sulpicius Quirinus, accused of various crimes and condemned in AD 20.
- Marcus Aemilius L. f. Paulli n. Lepidus, put to death by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, AD 39.
- Aemilia L. f. Paulli n. Lepida, the first wife of Tiberius Claudius Drusus.
- Aemilia M. f. Paulli n. Lepida (d. AD 36), wife of Drusus Julius Caesar.
- Marcus Aemilius Regillus (d. 205 BC), Flamen Quirinalis and unsuccessful candidate for the consulship in 214 BC.
- Lucius Aemilius (M. f.) Regillus, praetor in 190 BC, during the war against Antiochus III.
- Marcus Aemilius (M. f.) Regillus (d. 190 BC), brother of Lucius Aemilius Regillus, died in the course of the war against Antiochus.
- Lucius Aemilius Scaurus, an officer in the Roman fleet during the war against Antiochus III in 190 BC.
- Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (163 - c. 89 BC), consul in 115 and 107 BC, censor in 109, and princeps senatus.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. Scaurus, praetor in 56 BC.
- Aemilius Scaurus M. f. Scaurus (d. 101 BC), fought against the Cimbri under Quintus Lutatius Catulus.
- Marcus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Scaurus, supporter of Marcus Antonius.
- Mamercus Aemilius M. f. M. n. Scaurus (d. AD 34), orator and poet, twice accused of majestas.
- Lucius Aemilius Buca, quaestor in the time of Lucius Cornelius Sulla.
- Lucius Aemilius L. f. Buca (fl. 54 BC), triumvir of the mint.
- Aemilia, a virgo Vestalis, who miraculously rekindled the sacred flame with a piece of her garment.
- Aemilia, a virgo Vestalis, put to death for incest in 114 BC.
- Caeso Aemilius K. f., a military engineer of uncertain date.
- Marcus Aemilius Avianus, a friend of Cicero, and the patron of Avianus Evander and Avianus Hammonius.
- Aemilius Macer (d. 16 BC), a poet who wrote upon the subjects of birds, snakes, and medicinal plants.
- Aemilius Macer of Verona (fl. AD 12), a poet who wrote upon Homeric subjects.
- Aemilius Macer (3rd century), a jurist who lived in the time of Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander.
- Aemilius Sura, annalist, probably a contemporary of Marcus Velleius Paterculus.
- Aemilius Rufus, prefect of the cavalry under Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo in Armenia.
- Aemilius Pacensis, tribune of the city cohorts at the death of Nero in AD 69; perished fighting against Aulus Vitellius.
- Aemilius Asper (2nd century), grammarian and commentator on Publius Terentius Afer and Publius Vergilius Maro.
- Aemilius Asper Junior (2nd century), grammarian and author of Ars Grammatica.
- Aemilius Papinianus (141-212), jurist.
- Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus (c. 206-253), governor of Pannonia and Moesia, proclaimed Emperor in 253, but slain by his soldiers.
- Aemilius Magnus Arborius (4th century), poet, and friend of the brothers of Constantinus.
- Aemilius Parthenianus, historian, gave an account of the various persons who aspired to the tyranny.
- Aemilius Probus (late 4th century), grammarian, erroneously believed the author of the Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae of Cornelius Nepos.
- Blossius Aemilius Dracontius (late 5th century), Christian poet.
- Friedrich Munzer, Roman Aristocratic Parties and Families (1920)
- T.R.S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic (1950-1, 1986)
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor
- Titus Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, i. 18.
- Karl Julius Sillig, Catalogus Artificium (1827), Appendix, s. v.
- Desiré-Raoul Rochette, Lettre à M. Schorn, p. 422, 2nd ed.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares xiii. 2, 21, 27.
- Année Epigraphique 2003.881.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.