About the name Cornelia

About the baby name Cornelia, at Click Baby Names.com

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

If you like the name Cornelia, find out the meaning, origin, nicknames, variations and other information to help you decide if you want to use this first name for your baby.
Name meaning, variations & etymology
  • The name of the mother of ancient Roman brothers Tiberius and Gaius
  • Feminine of Cornelius
The text below is from a series about names published in 1920. For other vintage & retro topics, please visit ClickAmericana.com.

History of the name Cornelia

Fortunate is she who bears the name of Cornelia, which through the centuries has been symbolic of all that is beautiful and reverent in motherhood.

Not only has Cornelia a heritage worthy of an empress, coming as she does from the distinguished old Roman gens of Cornelius, but her memory is immortalized by Latin legend, which makes her the mother of The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, and the heroine of one of the most beautiful tributes to motherhood.

Some etymologists endeavor to trace Cornelia back to the two words cornu belli, meaning “a war horn,” but the consensus of opinion is that she had no existence previous to the first woman so called, who was the daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus I, and the mother of the Gracchi.

She seems to have inherited from her gallant warrior father a spirit of pure, lofty dignity which made her the highest type of Roman motherhood.

When, according to the legend, the matrons of the most fashionable circle of Roman society were gossiping over the ancient Roman equivalent for tea and exhibiting their gem collections for the edification and envy of each other, Cornelia alone had no glittering display.

But, summoning a slave, she had her 12 beautiful children brought to her, and, laying her hands on the shoulders of the Gracchi, proudly said: “These are my jewels.”

The great historians of ancient Rome have carefully recorded the incident, making Cornelia superior to all the noble Roman ladies of her time.

Cornelia’s popularity as a feminine name throughout Europe is due to the martyred Pope Cornelius, whose relics were brought to Compiegne by Charles the Bald.

In the Low Countries, Cornelius became Keetje or sometimes Kee, Nelson is a Dutch rendition of Cornelius.

But though Cornelia’s jewels may have been her children, she had a talismanic stone, the turquoise. It is said to protect its wearer from the danger attendant upon travelers and to bring them good fortune when they see the new moon reflected on its surface.

Saturday is her lucky day and one her lucky number. Holly, signifying foresight, is her flower.



baby Name length

8 letters (long name length)

See related baby names

, ,

FREE baby name printable

Click below to download a large version of this baby name design! You can create something great with this graphic: print it out and frame it as a decoration for your baby’s room, or use the design for a cut file to use with an electronic cutting machine (such as a Cricut or Silhouette).

After clicking the name image below, look in the upper right for saving and sharing options. This download is for personal use only, but if you know someone who might like one of their own, please send them a link to this site!

Also see these articles