The gens Aurelia was a plebeian family at Rome. The first member of the gens who obtained the consulship was Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC, from which time the Aurelii become distinguished in history down to the end of the Republic. The Aurelii flourished under the Empire, with members of this gens becoming Emperors, namely Marcus Aurelius, his son Commodus, and the Severan dynasty, who through adoption assumed the nomen. Many later families of citizens were enrolled under the authority of these Emperors also assumed the nomen Aurelius. By far the largest number were enrolled as the result of the Constitutio Antoniniana, enacted by the emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, better known as Caracalla. The name became so common that it was sometimes abbreviated Aur., and by the latter centuries of the Empire it becomes difficult to distinguish members of the gens from other persons bearing the name.
The praenomina used by the Aurelii during the Republic were Gaius, Lucius, Marcus, and Publius. The Aurelii Orestides also used the praenomen Gnaeus. In imperial times, the Aurelii Fulvi used Titus, Marcus, and Lucius, while the Aurelii Symmachi used Quintus and Lucius.
The nomen Aurelius is usually connected with the Latin adjective aureus, meaning "golden", and may have referred to the color of a person's hair. However, the original form of the nomen may have been Auselius, much as the original forms of the nomina Furia, Numeria, Papiria, Valeria, and Veturia were Fusia, Numisia, Papisia, Valesia, and Vetusia. In this case, it may be derived from a name for the sun, although that too may share a common etymology with aureus.
Branches and cognomina
The family-names of the Aurelii under the Republic are Cotta, Orestes, and Scaurus. On coins we find the cognomina Cotta and Scaurus, and perhaps Rufus, the last of which is not mentioned by historians. The surname Pecuniola, borne by a member of the gens during the First Punic War, probably relates to his circumstance of poverty.
Under the early emperors, we find an Aurelian family of the name of Fulvus, from which the Roman emperor Antoninus was descended, whose name originally was Titus Aurelius Fulvus. Antoninus legally adopted Marcus Annius Verus and Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who thereby became members of the Aurelia gens, under the names Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Verus.
- Gaius Aurelius L. f. C. n. Cotta, consul in 252 and 248 BC, during the First Punic War.
- Marcus Aurelius Cotta, plebeian aedile in 216 BC, appointed decemvir sacrorum in 203.
- Gaius Aurelius C. f. C. n. Cotta, consul in 200 BC, carried on the war against the Gauls in Italy.
- Marcus Aurelius Cotta, legate of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus in 189 BC, during the war against Antiochus, returned to Rome with ambassadors to report the state of affairs to the Senate.
- Lucius Aurelius Cotta, tribunus militum in 181 BC, commanded, together with Sextus Julius Caesar, the third legion in the war against the Ligures.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. (C. n.) Cotta, consul in 144 BC, a man of great cunning in managing his affairs.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Cotta, consul in 119 BC, was threatened by Gaius Marius.
- Aurelia L. f. L. n., the wife of Gaius Julius Caesar, and mother of the dictator Gaius Julius Caesar.
- Lucius Aurelius Cotta, tribunus plebis in 95 BC, and afterwards praetor.
- Gaius Aurelius Cotta, consul in 75 BC, a distinguished orator.
- Marcus Aurelius Cotta, consul in 74 BC, defeated by Mithradates.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Cotta, consul in 65 BC, and censor in 64.
- Marcus Aurelius M. f. Cotta, son of the consul of 74 BC.
- Marcus Aurelius Cotta Maximus Messalinus, son of Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, adopted into the gens Aurelia; a friend of the emperor Tiberius, who defended him from a charge of majestas.
- Gaius Aurelius Scaurus, praetor in 186 BC, obtained Sardinia as his province.
- Marcus Aurelius M. f. Scaurus, triumvir monetalis in 118 BC, perhaps the same as the consul of 108.
- Marcus Aurelius Scaurus, consul in 108 BC, captured and put to death by the Cimbri in 105.
- Marcus Aurelius (M. f.) Scaurus, a quaestor mentioned by Cicero.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Orestes, consul in 157 BC.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Orestes, consul in 126 BC, triumphed over the Sardinians.
- Gaius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Orestes, an orator mentioned by Cicero.
- Lucius Aurelius L. f. L. n. Orestes, consul in 103 BC. with Gaius Marius, and died in the same year.
- Gnaeus Aurelius Orestes, praetor urbanus in 77 BC, one of whose decisions was annulled upon appeal by the consul Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus.
- Gnaeus Aurelius Orestes, adopted into the gens Aufidia as Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes, consul in 71 BC.
- Aurelia Orestilla, the second wife of Lucius Sergius Catilina.
- Titus Aurelius Fulvus, grandfather of the emperor Antoninus Pius, was consul in AD 85, and had previously been consul suffectus, although the year is uncertain.
- Titus Aurelius T. f. Fulvus, father of Antoninus Pius, was consul in AD 89, and at one time was praefectus urbi.
- Titus Aurelius T. f. T. n. Fulvus, afterwards Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius, emperor from AD 138 to 161.
- Marcus Aurelius T. f. T. n. Fulvus Antoninus, a son of Antoninus Pius, who died before AD 138.
- Marcus Galerius Aurelius T. f. T. n. Antoninus, another son of Antoninus Pius, also died before AD 138.
- Aurelia T. f. T. n. Fadilla, daughter of Antoninus Pius, and wife of Lucius Aelius Lamia Silvanus, d. 135.
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, born Marcus Annius Verus, a nephew of Antoninus Pius; emperor from AD 161 to 180.
- Lucius Aurelius Verus, born Lucius Ceionius Commodus, emperor with Marcus Aurelius from AD 161 to 169.
- Annia Aurelia M. f. Galeria Faustina, daughter of Marcus Aurelius, and wife of Gnaeus Claudius Severus.
- Annia Aurelia M. f. Galeria Lucilla, daughter of Marcus Aurelius, married the emperor Lucius Verus.
- Titus Aelius Aurelius M. f., son of Marcus Aurelius, probably died young.
- Titus Aurelius M. f. Fulvus Antoninus, son of Marcus Aurelius and twin brother of Commodus, d. AD 165.
- Lucius Aurelius M. f. Commodus Antoninus, son of Marcus Aurelius, emperor from AD 177 to 192.
- Annia Aurelia M. f. Fadilla, daughter of Marcus Aurelius, married Marcus Peducaeus Plautius Quintillus.
- Vibia Aurelia M. f. Sabina, daughter of Marcus Aurelius, married Lucius Antistius Burrus.
- Aurelius Valerius Tullianus Symmachus, proconsul of Achaea (Roman province), to whom two laws of Constantine the Great were sent in AD 319, and consul in 330.
- Lucius Aurelius Avianius Symmachus, praefectus urbi in AD 364, consul suffectus circa 376.
- Quintus Aurelius L. f. Symmachus, scholar, statesman, and orator, praefectus urbi in AD 384, and consul in 391.
- Quintus Fabius Q. f. L. n. Memmius Symmachus, praefectus urbi in AD 418.
- Quintus Aurelius (Q. f. Q. n.) Symmachus, consul in AD 446 with Flavius Aëtius.
- Quintus Aurelius Q. f. (Q. n.) Memmius Symmachus, consul in AD 485, praefectus urbi.
- Publius Aurelius Pecuniola, a kinsman of Gaius Aurelius Cotta, demoted to the rank of common soldier, after part of a camp was set on fire, and nearly captured by the enemy, through his fault, during the First Punic War, in 252 BC.
- Aurelius Opilius, a freedman who became a philosopher, rhetorician, and grammarian, and a friend of Publius Rutilius Rufus, whom he accompanied into exile at Smyrna.
- Aurelia Messalina, the wife of Ceionius Postumius and mother of Decimus Clodius Albinus.
- Aurelius, a physician, one of whose prescriptions is quoted by Galen.
- Aurelius Cornelius Celsus, a physician, perhaps named Aulus, rather than Aurelius.
- Lucius Aurelius Gallus, governor of Moesia Inferior from AD 201 to about 204.
- Lucius Aurelius Gallus, consul suffectus Ex. Kal. Jul. in AD 146.
- Marcus Aurelius Cleander, freedman of Emperor Commodus.
- Aurelius Philippus, the tutor of Alexander Severus, who afterward wrote a life of the emperor.
- Lucius Julius Aurelius Septimius Vabalathus Athenodorus, king of the Palmyrene Empire.
- Marcus Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus, an esteemed poet during the reign of the emperor Carus.
- Aurelius Arcadius Charisius, a jurist, probably during the fourth century.
- Sextus Aurelius Victor, a Latin historian of the fourth century.
- Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, a jurist, poet, and Christian philosopher of the late fourth and early fifth century.
- Ambrosius Aurelianus, possible historical basis for King Arthur
- Saint Aurelius, a fifth-century Christian saint
- Aurelius, one of the Martyrs of Córdoba - see Aurelius and Natalia
- Lucius Domitius Aurelianus, emperor from 270 AD to 275 AD.
- List of Roman gentes
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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.