According to the Byzantine Greek historical encyclopedia – The Suda 10th century documentation, the birth of Caesar is the reason behind the name ‘Caesarean’ Section. It said:
The rulers of the Romans receive this name from Julius Caesar, who was not born via natural birth. His mother died in the ninth month, and they cut her open to take him out. They named him thus; for in the Roman tongue dissection is called ‘Caesar.’
However, we all know that this account is incorrect due to some reasons:
- If the mother died, the baby has to be extracted out from her womb by incision on the stomach; this practice was common way before Caesar’s birth. So, if the baby was cut out from the dead mother, it was out of religious reasons, and it was more of a part of the law named Lex Caesaria. This law was established in the time of Numa Pompilious, stating that if a pregnant woman dies before giving birth to the baby in labor, then it has to be cut out from her womb.
This story also makes it possible that the ‘Caesarean’ Section got its name from Lex Caesaria.
- The Suda actually got the mother’s death wrong. She did not die at the time of childbirth. Aurelia Cotta survived to see the adulthood of his son – Caesar. She acted as one of the political advisors. So if she was alive, it was impossible for her to have died during a C-section.
At that time, nearly all operations led the mothers to die. It was either due to the unsanitary conditions that lead to infection or hemorrhaging, which resulted in excessive blood loss. C-section and survival were very unlikely, and if Aurelia had a C-section and survived 1000 years ago, it had to be in the historical pages.
The Oxford English Dictionary – the authority on word origins backs up the claim to the fact that Caesar was born via Caesarian. We can define the word as: “the delivery of a child by cutting through the walls of the abdomen when delivery cannot naturally take place, as was done in the case of Julius Caesar.”
There were two reasons for the name Caesar, Pliny the elder explains us. The word caesar means ‘to cut,’ which is ‘caedere.’ He also stated that one of the ancestors was born via C-section. Hence he was named after him because Caesar came out from the womb through an incision in her mother’s stomach.
The name Julius and Caesar both came from their ancestors. The first one to bear the name Caesar was Numerius Julius Caesar.
However, connecting Caesar to the C-section is a false association. The origin of the name could be from the ancestors or the Lex Caesaria, as stated above. When the baby came out from the womb of the dead mother, it was known as “caissons.” This incident is yet another possibility that the Caesarean operation was named after, and later in 1598, it was changed to Caesarean Section.