Lucius Cornelius Cinna (suffect consul)

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Lucius Cornelius Cinna (flourished 1st century BC) was the son of the consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna, who was a supporter of politician Gaius Marius. His sister, Cornelia, was the first wife of dictator Julius Caesar and he was the maternal uncle of their daughter Julia Caesaris. Cinna was a member of the illustrious gens Cornelia, who were of patrician status.

Early career[edit]

In 78 BC, Cinna allied himself with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in attempting to overthrow the Roman constitution of dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Before he left Rome, he sought out the support of Julius Caesar for the rebellion which was not forthcoming. After the defeat and death of Lepidus in Sardinia, Cinna went into exile, accompanying Marcus Perperna Vento to join general Quintus Sertorius in Spain. Caesar was able to recall Cinna from exile back to Rome and used him in the Roman Senate against senatorial opposition. Due to his father’s association with Marius, under Sulla’s constitutional reforms he was unable to promote his career. However, when Caesar became dictator, Cinna was soon promoted to the praetorship.

Conspiracy against Caesar[edit]

Although Cinna strongly disapproved of Caesar’s authoritarian way of governing, he did not become an active participant in the conspiracy to murder Caesar that led to the dictator's assassination in March 44 BC; but the day before the murder, he had given an inflammatory speech against the dictator, which the people subsequently felt linked him to the deed.[1]

On the day of Caesar's funeral, the populace were in such rage at Cinna that some accidentally murdered tribune of the plebs Helvius Cinna, thinking it was he. When the murder of the tribune took place, Cinna was walking in Caesar’s funeral procession. During the political chaos after these events Cinna did not take advantage of his position to claim a Roman province to govern. Cicero praises him for this act of self-restraint. In 32 BC Cinna served as a suffect consul.

Personal life[edit]

After 47 BC, Cinna married Pompeia Magna, the daughter of the fallen triumvir Pompey and from his third wife Mucia Tertia. Cinna married Pompeia as her second husband. Pompeia married Cinna as his first wife. Pompeia had become a widow; her husband Faustus Cornelius Sulla had died in battle. Cinna became a stepfather to Pompeia’s son from her first marriage. Pompeia bore Cinna two children who were: a son Gnaeus Cornelius Cinna Magnus and a daughter Cornelia Pompeia Magna. His wife died before 35 BC and beyond this no more is known on Cinna.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Suetonius, "The Life of Caesar", 85.