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Pomponia Caecilia Attica

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Pomponia Caecilia Attica or Caecilia Pomponia Attica (born 51 BC) was the daughter of Cicero's Epicurean friend and eques, knight, Titus Pomponius Atticus. Her mother, Caecilia Pilea/Pilia (before ca 75 BC – 46 BC), daughter of Pileus/Pilius, was a maternal granddaughter of Marcus Licinius Crassus, a member of the First Triumvirate. Atticus and Pilea/Pilia were married in 58 BC/56 BC, when Atticus was already 53/54 years old, and she died after 12 years of happy marriage.[1]:141 Caecilia's aunt, Pomponia, married Cicero's younger brother Quintus Tullius Cicero around 70 BC.[2] She also had an older brother named after his father, Titus Pomponius Atticus.


In history Caecilia Attica is often called Pomponia Attica. This confusion arises from the fact that her father Titus Pomponius Atticus was at a relatively advanced age adopted by his uncle, Quintus Caecilius Metellus. This meant according to the Roman custom that his name changed to Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus Atticus, and Pomponia Attica's name into Caecilia Attica.

Relationship to CiceroEdit

Caecilia Attica is several times mentioned in the letters between her father and Cicero. Cicero was very fond of this little girl, whom he would never see growing into an adult as he was murdered in 43 BC. He gave her the pet name Attica, the feminine equivalent to her father's cognomen Atticus. (In Rome women generally did not have a cognomen; their name was just the feminine form of their father's surname, in Caecilia's case Caecilius). In his letters to Atticus Cicero often sent greetings to her, and often asked if she had one of her bouts of high fever that caused distress to him.[2] In one letter in the beginning of the 40s BC Cicero tells him not to reprimand Attica, who was sulking and angry at Cicero. He said that she was quite right in insisting that Cicero on his last visit had not said goodbye to her properly.[3]


Caecilia Attica was given a broad literary education.[1]:197 Her education started at the early age of five or six.[2]:235 Her father procured her a private tutor, one of his freedmen. (Having a private tutor and education at home was considered to be the proper way to educate women in Rome.) There was gossip that she had had an affair with this tutor. However, Roman historians were very fond of scandals and used sources that modern historians would consider unreliable.

Marriage and childrenEdit

Around 37 BC, she married Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Octavian's right-hand man and trusted friend.[4] Octavian and Agrippa were childhood friends and had studied together in Apollonia, Illyria (modern Albania) before Gaius Julius Caesar had adopted Octavian. This was socially a very fortunate marriage for Attica, as Augustus had secretly planned to make Agrippa his successor and heir.[citation needed] This was disclosed when Augustus, during a serious illness, handed over his seal ring to Agrippa. However, Agrippa died before Augustus in 12 BC.

The marriage was negotiated by Mark Antony. Caecilia Attica's and Agrippa's daughter Vipsania Agrippina was born in 36 BC. Caecilia Attica was thus the mother-in-law of the emperor Tiberius, Gaius Asinius Gallus, and grandmother to Drusus Julius Caesar and his half-brothers.

In 28 BC Agrippa married for a second time the Emperor Augustus' niece Claudia Marcella Major in a political alliance. It is unknown whether Agrippa divorced Attica or if she had already died.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Rawson, Elizabeth (1975). Cicero, a portrait. Bloomsbury. ISBN 0862920515.
  2. ^ a b c Everitt, Anthony (2001). Cicero, A Turbulent Life. John Murray. p. xv. ISBN 0719554918.
  3. ^ Marcus Tullius Cicero: "Samtliga brev"/"Collected letters" d.u.
  4. ^ Reinhold, Meyer (1933). Marcus Agrippa: A Biography. Geneva: W. F. Humphrey Press. pp. 35–37.