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Cornelia (kôrnēlˈyə) [key], fl. 2d cent. B.C., Roman matron, daughter of Scipio Africanus Major. She was the wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and mother of the Gracchi. She refused to remarry after her husband's death, devoting herself to her children, whom she educated well and inspired with a sense of civic duty and a desire for glory. When a wealthy patrician woman spoke of her jewels, Cornelia pointed to her two sons, saying, "These are my jewels!" Whether she supported the revolutionary tendencies of her sons or tempered them is debated by historians.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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