Mucia Tertia

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Mucia Tertia
Known forWife of Pompey, mistress of Julius Caesar
Spouse(s)Gaius Marius the Younger
Marcus Aemilius Scaurus
ChildrenGnaeus Pompeius
Pompeia Magna
Sextus Pompey
Marcus Aemilius Scaurus

Mucia Tertia (fl. 79–31 BC) was a Roman matrona who lived in the 1st century BC. She was the daughter of Quintus Mucius Scaevola, the pontifex maximus and consul in 95 BC.

Early life[edit]

Her mother was closely related to Cato the Younger[1] but is otherwise uncertain,[2] she may have been Licinia who divorced her father to marry Quintus Caecilius Metellus Nepos, in a scandal mentioned by several sources. Her name, Mucia Tertia, would suggest that she was a third daughter, according to the Roman naming convention for women, though it is believed that the choice of name was to differentiate her from her two aunts. If her mother was Licinia then Mucia had also two younger half-brothers from her mother's second marriage, Quintus Metellus Celer, consul in 60 BC, and Quintus Metellus Nepos, consul in 57.


Mucia was first married to Gaius Marius the Younger, consul in 82 BC, despite her young age. This was a time of civil war, when Lucius Cornelius Sulla had an army ready to march on Rome and their opponents needed a charismatic leader. Young Marius was not known as a talented general, but he had his father's (Gaius Marius) name to back him. Sulla won this civil war and Young Marius committed suicide, leaving Mucia a childless widow. According to the proscription laws, she was forbidden to marry again.

Following the victory of Lucius Cornelius Sulla over Gaius Marius the Younger, Sulla, as dictator, needed to secure Pompey's loyalty and to do that, he arranged the latter's marriage to Mucia around 79 BC. This marriage resulted in three children: elder son Gnaeus Pompeius, daughter Pompeia Magna (who married Faustus Cornelius Sulla) and younger son Sextus Pompey. She had the misfortune to outlive all three of her children.

Between 76 and 61, Pompey spent most of the time away from Rome, campaigning in Hispania against Sertorius, in the Mediterranean Sea against the pirates, and in the East fighting King Mithridates VI of Pontus. On his return in 61, Pompey sent Mucia a letter of divorce. According to Cicero's personal correspondence, the motive was adultery (it is said that she was one of Julius Caesar's many affairs, although Pompey's friendship and alliance with Caesar at the time could suggest that Pompey himself either did not regard this rumour as true or did not consider it important). Imperial biographer Suetonius stated that Pompey often referred to Caesar as "Aegisthus", the name of a Greek mythological character who was known to have seduced a king's wife.[3] Mucia next married Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, a stepson of the dictator Sulla, with whom she had another son named Marcus. In 39 Mucia, at the earnest request of the Roman people, went to Sicily to mediate between her son Sextus Pompey and triumvir Octavian (the future Emperor, Augustus). She was living at the time of the Battle of Actium, 31. Octavian treated her with great respect.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiseman, Timothy Peter; Wiseman, T. P. (1987). Catullus and His World: A Reappraisal. ISBN 9780521319683.
  2. ^ Jeffrey Tatum, W. (25 February 2014). The Patrician Tribune: Publius Clodius Pulcher. ISBN 9781469620657.
  3. ^ Michael Lovano; All Things Julius Caesar: An Encyclopedia of Caesar's World and Legacy [2 volumes] - 531


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Mucia (2)". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 2. p. 1117.