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this day in ancient history

Tullia, or Tulliola as she was affectionately known to her father, was the daughter of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero and his wife Terentia.


Chronology of Tullia's Life

  • August 5, ca. 79 B.C. -- Tullia is born
  • by 63 B.C. -- married to Calpurnius Piso Frugi
  • 57 B.C. -- death of Calpurnius
  • 56 B.C. -- married to Furius Crassipes
  • 51 B.C. -- divorced from Furius
  • 50 B.C. -- married to Publius Cornelius Dolabella
  • May 19, 49 B.C. -- Tullia gives birth to a son, who did not survive long, unfortunately
  • 46 B.C. -- divorced from Dolabella
  • February 45 B.C. -- Tullia dies, shortly after giving birth


Most of what we do know about Tullia comes from Cicero's letters to her and to others, especially Terentia and Atticus. Taken together, they offer a glimpse into what must have been an "interesting" home life for Tullia. Links to them are provided below.


On the curiosity side of things, in the 15th century a tomb was opened in Rome which was identified as being that of Tullia. Amongst other things found in the tomb was a lamp which was supposedly still burning after some 15+ centuries. This famous example of one of the middle ages' "perpetual lamp" discoveries seems to be a favourite image in poetry.

If you'd like to find out a bit more about Tullia on the web, ecce:


These are the letters in which Tullia is mentioned (I've tried to get them all but I suspect I've missed some). They are presented in what seems to be chronological order based on Shuckburgh's translation; the addressees as listed seem to me to be somewhat inconsistently presented (via Perseus):


On the supposed tomb of Tullia and the lamp therein, see:


In the near future, the Atrium will have its own Cicero page, but until then, if you want to learn more about the man who sired Tullia, the following sites are worth a visit:


  • Bradley, K.R. Discovering the Roman Family (New York, 1998.); see especially chapter .8 "A Roman family"
  • Clark, P.A. "Tullia and Crassipes", Phoenix 45 (1991), pp.28-38.
  • Collins, J.H. "Tullia's engagement and marriage to Dolabella", Classical Journal 47 (1952), pp.162-8.
  • Dixon, Susan. "Family Finances: Terentia and Tullia" in B. Rawson (ed.) The Family in Ancient Rome, (Ithaca, 1980) 93-120

If you have anything to add by way of links on the web and/or more traditional bibliography, feel free to drop me a line. I can't guarantee that I'll use it, but I'll certainly check it out!
Copyright © 2001 David Meadows
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