Known in her youth as Aurelia Minor, she was born in the year 25, four months after her father died under suspicious circumstances. Though she grew up in the imperial palace, her family was reduced to being a collateral branch of the imperial family tree and she was generally overlooked by the powerful Domitian emperors, until the newly enthroned Emperor Gaius Domitius married her off to a senator who had helped during his succession. Decius Manduis was 42 years old and had had two previous wives, but was worth over 12 million sesterces. Surprisingly, instead of being a trophy bride Aurelia soon became a capable business woman and helped Decius manage his accounts until he died in the year 51, leaving her with four-year-old son Castor, extensive financial experience, and a vast fortune. Two years later she chose to marry Septimus Severas, a young patrician just beginning his political career.
Seven years ago, Aurelia's husband was posted to Gerasa in the Decapolis (see Severas for details). Sadly, life in Palestine has not been easy on Aurelia. Her son Castor contracted a disease when they first arrived in the East and has been sickly ever since. Aurelia has only been back to Rome twice, once to bear a daughter who died soon after the return to Gerasa.
Aurelia has considerable land holdings throughout Italy, including a lucrative marble quarry in Umbria. Through clients she controls a number of trading business in Ostia (Rome's sea port), mostly dealing with trade from Syria and Palestine.
Page updated 7/13/99, Scott Martin