[Cornélie, mère des Gracques, 1850s, Jules Caveliers, Musée du Louvre]
[source: Wikimedia Commons]
She quickly gained a reputation as an educated woman and a good hostess, surrounding herself with the intellectuals of the day. In keeping with her interest in learning, she gave her sons the best possible education. She received several offers of marriage, including one from Ptolemy VIII of Egypt, but turned them all down.*** When her sons were grown, she involved herself in their politics, advising them on the proper actions to take.
[Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Source: Wikimedia Commons]
[Cornelia, Mutter der Gracchen, 1785, Angelica Kauffmann]
[Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Source: Wikimedia Commons]
*With one possible exception: two fragments of a letter purported to have been written by her to her younger son in 122 BCE.
**Unsurprisingly, a later writer completely ignored Sempronia’s survival and claimed that only two of Cornelia’s children survived infancy.
***This action may not have been for the sake of her reputation, but it certainly enhanced it by emphasizing her status as an univira.
Plutarch, Life of Tiberius Gracchus 1.1-2 - Diotima
Plutarch, Life of Gaius Gracchus 4.2-4 - Perseus Digital Library
Plutarch, Life of Gaius Gracchus 19.1-3 - Diotima
Fragments of a Letter from Cornelia to Gaius Gracchus, 2nd century BCE, qtd. in Cornelius Nepos - Diotima
Quintillian, Institutes of Oratory 1.1.6. L - Diotima
Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 4.4.init - The Latin Library (Latin text only)
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi - Ancient Worlds
The Gracchi: Cornelia - Too Much Information