List of distinguished Roman women

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The list below includes Roman women who were notable for their family connections, or their sons or husbands, or their own actions. In the earlier periods, women came to the attention of (later) historians either as poisoners of their husbands (a very few cases), or as wives, daughters, and mothers of great men such as Scipio Africanus. In later periods, women exercised or tried to exercise political power either through their husbands (as did Fulvia and Livia Drusilla) or political intrigues (as did Clodia and Servilia), or directly (as did Agrippina the younger and later Roman empresses). Even the Severan dynasty from the beginning to the end was completely dominated by four powerful and calculating women.

During the Roman Kingdom[edit]

Name Image Dates Details
Rhea Silvia Sarcofago di marte e rea silvia, 225-230 dc ca. 04.jpg c. 700s BC A Vestal Virgin who got pregnant by Mars, she gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus, who went on to found the city of Rome.
Hersilia F0442 Louvre JL David Sabines INV3691 detail01 rwk.jpg c. 700s BC Wife of Romulus and following the abduction of the Sabine women, helped end the conflict between the Romans and Sabines.
Tarpeia Tarpeia.gif c. 700s BC The daughter of the Roman commander Spurius Tarpeius. She was a Vestal Virgin who betrayed Rome to the Sabines at the time of their women's abduction.
Lucretia (Queen of Rome) c. 700s–600s BC The second wife of Roman King Titus Tatius.
Tanaquil Tanaquil.jpg died c. 575 BC Tanaquil came from a powerful Etruscan family and was Queen of Rome through her marriage to Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's fifth King.
Tarquinia c. 600s–500s BC Tarquinia was the daughter of Rome's fifth King, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, and his wife Tanaquil.
Tullia Major died c. 535 BC First daughter of king Servius Tullius. She was assassinated by her husband and younger sister.
Tullia Minor Bardin Tullia.jpg died after 509 BC Second daughter of king Servius Tullius. She killed her husband, sister, and father, and became the last Queen of Rome. She and her family were exiled after Lucretia's suicide and the overthrow of the monarchy.
Lucretia Tizian 094.jpg died c. 510 BC Lucretia was a noblewoman whose rape and eventual suicide led to the overthrow of the Roman monarchy.

During the Roman Republic[edit]

  • Valeria, the name of the women of the Valeria gens
  • Aemilia Tertia (с. 230 – 163 or 162 BC), wife of Scipio Africanus and mother of Cornelia (see below), noted for the unusual freedom given her by her husband, her enjoyment of luxuries, and her influence as role model for elite Roman women after the Second Punic War. Her date of birth, marriage, and death are all unknown. Her husband's birth and death dates are also not known precisely, but approximated.
  • Cornelia (с. 190s – c. 115 BC), virtually deified by Roman women as a model of feminine virtues and Stoicism, but never officially deified. The first Roman woman, whose approximate birth year and whose year of death is known, thanks to a law she had passed to allow her granddaughter to inherit.
  • Publilia (1st century BC), the name of a woman of the gens Publilius. She was killed in 154 BC for poisoning her husband, the consul of the preceding year.
Name Image Dates Details
Cornelia Laurent de la La Hyre 001.jpg c. 190s – c. 115 BC Daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War. She was the mother of the Gracchi brothers, and the mother-in-law of Scipio Aemilianus.
Servilia Servilia Bust.jpg 100 BC – after 42 BC The mother of Roman politician Brutus and a lover of Julius Caesar, whom her son would later assassinate.

During the Classical Roman Empire[edit]

Name Image Dates Details
Procula c. 1st Century AD Wife of Pontius Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, who presided over the trial of Jesus and later ordered Jesus' crucifixion.
Pomponia Graecina died c. 83 AD The wife of Aulus Plautius, the general who led the Roman conquest of Britain. She was speculated to have been an early Christian, and is a saint honoured by the Roman Catholic Church.
Julia Domna Julia Domna Glyptothek Munich 354.jpg  160 – 217 AD Wife of Septimius Severus and Mother of Caracalla and Geta.
Julia Maesa Julia Maesa antoninianus.jpg before 160 AD – c. 224 AD Grandmother of Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. Best known for her plotting the restoration of the Severan dynasty to the Roman throne after the assassination of Caracalla and the usurpation of the throne by Macrinus.
Julia Soaemias Perge - Julia Soemias 2.jpg 180 – 222 AD Mother of emperor Elagabalus, she was her son's regent. After an uprising led by the Praetorian Guard, she entered the camp to protect her son, but was slain along with Elagabalus by the Praetorian Guard in 222.
Julia Avita Mamaea Julia Avita Mamaea Louvre Ma3552.jpg after 180 –235 Mother of Roman emperor Alexander Severus and remained one of his chief advisors throughout his reign. She was killed in 235 by rebel soldiers along with her son.
Ulpia Severina Severina Ant.jpg c. 3rd Century AD Wife of emperor Aurelian. After Aurelian's death, she briefly ruled the Roman Empire, until the new emperor, Marcus Claudius Tacitus was chosen by the Senate.
Galla Placidia Galla placidia, solido del 422.JPG 388–389 or 392–393 – 450 Daughter of the Roman emperor Theodosius I. Mother to emperor Valentinian III. She became queen consort to Ataulf, king of the Visigoths from 414 until his death in 415, and briefly empress consort to Constantius III in 421.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dion.Hal. 8.55.4; cf. 8.39-55 Broughton, vol I, 1951 p.19