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Tullia (2), daughter of Cicero, d. 45 bce  

Harriet I. Flower

Cicero’s and Terentia’s daughter Tullia was born around 78 bce, shortly after her parents were married. Since her brother Marcus Tullius Cicero, her only sibling, was about 13 years younger and Tullia married young, she essentially grew up as an only child in the home of Rome’s leading orator. We do not know if any other siblings died as infants. She was surrounded by a loving and stable family and a large household of slaves. Her uncle Quintus Cicero and his wife Pomponia, sister of her father’s best friend T. Pomponius Atticus, were also a regular part of her life. Her mother’s half-sister Fabia was a Vestal Virgin. Tullia may have been brought up by a pious mother to practise Rome’s traditional polytheistic religion. Terentia also had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances amongst Rome’s elite women. Tullia received an excellent education and loved reading. She also enjoyed public entertainments, such as the games held at Antium, where Cicero owned a villa for a while.

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female life-course  

Kelly Olson

The female life-course in ancient Greece and Rome ideally followed a set path, a path which would look different depending on one’s rank, status, race, and geographical location. Women of the upper and middling classes in Athens and Rome, however, were supposed to progress through childhood and marry almost immediately after puberty, producing children in their turn, raising them, and perhaps becoming widowed before dying in what people today would consider the prime of life.

The female life cycle changed according to rank, status, race, and geographical location across the Mediterranean. Thus, an urban slave-woman’s life cycle would have looked significantly different from that of a married citizen woman, as would that of a lower-class woman, or a foreign woman living in Athens or Rome, which in turn may have been very dissimilar to (for instance) a woman living in a rural Roman province. What follows is what is known of the life stages of a middling-to-upper-class woman, since this is where literary and artistic sources pool.