See also: Aurelius (disambiguation) and Aurelia (disambiguation)
Denarius of Lucius Aurelius Cotta, 105 BC. The obverse is identical with the coins of Lipara, captured by Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC. The reverse depicts the triumph awarded for this victory.
The gens Aurelia was a plebeian family at Rome, which flourished from the third century BC to the latest period of the Empire. The first of the Aurelian gens to obtain the consulship was Gaius Aurelius Cotta in 252 BC. From then to the end of the Republic, the Aurelii supplied many distinguished statesmen, before entering a period of relative obscurity under the early emperors. In the latter part of the first century, a family of the Aurelii rose to prominence, obtaining patrician status, and eventually the throne itself. A series of emperors belonged to this family, through birth or adoption, including Marcus Aurelius and the members of the Severan dynasty.
In 212, the Constitutio Antoniniana of Caracalla (whose full name was Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, with Aurelius as the nomen) granted Roman citizenship to all free residents of the Empire, resulting in vast numbers of new citizens who assumed the nomen Aurelius, in honour of their patron, including several emperors: seven of the eleven emperors between Gallienus and Diocletian (Claudius Gothicus, Quintillus, Probus, Carus, Carinus, Numerian and Maximian) bore the name "Marcus Aurelius". So ubiquitous was the name in the latter centuries of the Empire that it suffered abbreviation, as Aur., and it becomes difficult to distinguish members of the Aurelian gens from other persons bearing the name.