Cossutia, fiancée of Julius Caesar
Died84 BC
Known forPossibly being the first wife of Julius Caesar
SpouseJulius Caesar (disputed)

Cossutia was a Roman woman who became engaged to Julius Caesar prior to his reaching adulthood. There has been debate among historians on whether the marriage actually occurred.


Early life

Cossutia belonged to a very wealthy equestrian family from Pisa.[1]


Cossutia appealed to Caesar,[2] although the Cossuti were not even novi homines.[3] She was recommended to Caesar by his father and it is believed that the future dictator of Rome married Cossutia after he began wearing the toga virilis.[4] Both families issued coins with her image and were inscribed with Uxor Caesaris.[5] No children sprang from this relation. In 84 BC, after his father's death, Caesar left Cossutia and married Cornelia, as that was more pragmatic than the earlier relation to Cossutia.[2] It is also possible that Caesar chose to leave her to marry Cornelia because he had been nominated as Flamen Dialis, a role which demanded marriage to a patrician via confarreatio.[6]

Later years

Cossutia perhaps died in Pisa, Italy in 84 BC.[7]

Scholarly disagreement

In the past it was commonly accepted that Caesar and Cossutia were married, but more recent opinions differ. Among those arguing that Caesar was never married to Cossutia are Ludwig Friedrich Otto Baumgarten-Crusius, Napoleon III, Charles Merivale, James Anthony Froude, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, William Warde Fowler, Ernest Gottlieb Sihler, Adolf von Mess [de], and John Carew Rolfe.[4] The French author Marie-Nicolas Bouillet [fr] lists Cossutia first, then Cornelia, Pompeia, and Calpurnia, as wives of Caesar. The ancient historian Plutarch largely ignores Cossutia,[7] but names her as one of Caesar's wives.[8] Suetonius also used the word for an official divorce when describing the separation.[9] [10]

Cultural depictions

Cossutia appears as a major character in the opera Young Caesar, and as a minor character in several novels.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Vita Caesarum, Caesar, 1.
  2. ^ a b Women of Caesar's Family, The Classical Journal, Volume 13, 1918, pp. 502-506.
  3. ^ Betrothed Whom Caesar Rejected, Frederick Stanley Dunn, University of Oregon extension monitor, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1913, pp. 1-4.
  4. ^ a b Notes and Discussions — "Caesar's First Wife", Classical Philology, Volume 12, 1917, pg. 93.
  5. ^ Jonathan Sawday, Neil Rhodes; The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print - page: 62
  6. ^ Tom Stevenson; Julius Caesar and the Transformation of the Roman Republic - page: 42
  7. ^ a b American Notes and Queries, Volume 1, 1888, pg. 20.
  8. ^ Plutarchus; Plutarch Caesar: Translated with an Introduction and Commentary - page: 152
  9. ^ Caesar: Life of a Colossus, Adrian Goldsworthy, Yale University Press, 2008, pg. 49.
  10. ^ Beer, Jeanette M. A. (1976). A Medieval Caesar. ISBN 9782600039048.
  11. ^ Athano, Tito Kithes (23 February 2013). Sulla and Silo: Volume One in the Series the Other Rome. ISBN 9781479789771.