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Illustration of Caesar’s birth from 14th century

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A 14th-century illustration showing the birth of Caesar
Illustration of Caesar's birth from 14th century

Illustration of the birth of Julius Caesar from a 14th century illuminated manuscript called Les anciennes hystoires rommaines. 

The belief that Caesar was born as a result of the so-called “caesarean section” is flawed and has been duplicated for a long time. Pliny the Elder states1 that this is how the future dictator was to be born. However, this is contradicted by the fact that his mother – Aurelia Cotta, died only in 54 BCE, while in ancient Rome the law allowed to perform a caesarean section only on a deceased pregnant woman2.

The family of Julia Caesares occurs in preserved sources from the 3rd century BCE and before the great Caesar, there were many of his ancestors with the same name (praenomen), surname (nomen) and nickname (cognomen). The name of the surgical procedure certainly comes from the nickname of the branch of the Julius family and it is possible that someone from the dictator’s ancestors was in fact born as a result of this procedure.

  1. Pliny the Elder, Natural history 7.7
  2. The so-called lex Regia instauted by Numa Pompilius; later lex Cesarea. More: Hossam E. Fadel, Postmortem and Perimortem Cesarean Section: Historical, Religious and Ethical Considerations

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