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Julia Caesaris

Julia Caesaris is the name of all women in the Julii Caesares patrician family (to which, for instance Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus belonged), since feminine names were their father's gens and cognomen declined in the female form.

In Roman history, there are at least five Julia Caesares cited by the ancient sources.


Augustus' daughter

Julia Caesaris was the only child of Caesar Augustus, from his second marriage with Scribonia. She was born in 39 BC, only a few days after her father divorced her mother to marry Livia Drusilla.


Julia was first married to her cousin Claudius Marcellus (son of aunt Octavia) who died young. Then, Augustus gave Julia as wife to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a man from a modest family that became his most trusted general. The marriage resulted in five children: Vipsania Julia, Agrippina Major (mother of Emperor Caligula), Lucius Caesar, Gaius Caesar and Agrippa Postumus (a posthumous son). Augustus, who took care of their education personally, adopted the boys Lucius and Gaius Caesar.

Even when Agrippa was alive as pater familias, Augustus exerted an enormous influence on the family. His kin should be the perfect example of Roman virtue, especially his daughter and granddaughters. They were forced to be role models of modesty and chastity, they spent their days taking care of the house, spinning and weaving the men's clothes, dressing with simplicity. After the death of Agrippa and his sons Lucius and Gaius Caesar, Augustus nominated his stepson Tiberius as heir. To secure the claim, Tiberius then married Julia, but to do this he had to divorce Vipsania (daughter of a previous marriage of Agrippa), the wife he dearly loved. Due to this, Tiberius and Julia's marriage was unhappy from the start. Not a long time after, Julia was arrested for adultery charges and Tiberius divorced her immediately. Augustus was deeply disappointed and considered her execution. He then decided for Julia's exile, in the harshest conditions possible. She was confined on an island, with no men in sight, deprived of every luxury. Five years later she was brought back to Italy but never again admitted in the Imperial family. Augustus never forgave her and in his will he explicitly excluded her to be buried in his Mausoleum and ordered to remain confined to an Italian city. Tiberius, who still detested her, pulled the punishment forward and ordered that she could not leave one room and see nobody. Later, Caligula, who loathed the idea of being grand-son of the up-start Agrippa, invented that his mother Agrippina was the product of an incestuous union between Julia and Augustus.

Caesar's daughter

Julia Caesaris was a child of Julius Caesar, born from his first marriage with Cornelia Cinna. In April 59 BC, Caesar married his daughter to Pompey, although she was promised to Faustus Cornelius Sulla (Sulla's heir). The motives were purely political, as both men needed to solidify their alliance (triumvirate) against the conservative faction of the senate, led by Cato the Younger. But according to Plutarch, Pompey fell in love with his young wife and, because wives were not supposed to accompany their husbands on duty, he decided to rule Hispania Tarraconensis by proxy. Julia died in childbirth in 54 BC. Her death left her father in Gaul (see Gallic Wars) and her husband devastated by grief. Against the strong opposition of the plebeian tribunes (Pompey's political enemies), Julia was entitled to state funerals and buried in Campus Martius. After her death, the alliance between Pompey and Caesar faded, which eventually led to civil war. In 45 BC already ruling as dictator without opposition, Caesar offered the city a series of games and gladiatorial fights in her honour. After Caesar's assassination in March 15 44 BC, he was cremated and buried side by side with his daughter's grave.

Marius' wife

Julia Caesaris was the paternal aunt of Julius Caesar and the wife of Gaius Marius; as a result, she is sometimes referred to as Julia Maria. According to Plutarch, it was by marrying her, a patrician woman, that the up-start Marius got the snobbish attention of the senate and launched his political career. Julia is remembered as a virtuous woman devoted to her husband and their only child, Gaius Marius the Younger. Her reputation alone permitted her to keep her status, even after Sulla's persecutions against Marius himself and his allies. Julia died in 69 BC and recieved a devoted funeral eulogy from her nephew Julius Caesar.

Sister of Julius Caesar

Julia Caesaris was the sister of Julius Caesar; she was married to Marcus Atius Balbus and was Caesar Augustus' grandmother. Augustus was age twelve gave her a funeral eulogy in her honour. Julia died in 51bc. Balbus' senatorial family came from Aricia, was a praetor and a commissioner under his brother-in-law. In villas, family members would decorate them with masks of their past relatives in their honor. He died 52bc. Balbus' mother is a biological aunt to Pompey the Great.

Mother of Antony

Julia Caesaris, known in the sources as Julia Antonia to distinguish her from the previous, was the wife of Marcus Antonius Creticus and mother of Gaius and Lucius Antonius and Mark Antony, the triumvir. She was a cousin of Julius Caesar and through these family ties, her son's early military career was supported by Caesar. She married for the second time to Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, a politician involved in and executed during the Catiline conspiracy of 63 BC.

Julia was the daughter of Lucius Julius Caesar III and sister to Lucius Julius Caesar IV. She was born in Rome about 104bc and died sometime after 43bc. Plutarch describes her as one of 'most nobly born and admirable women of her time'.

See also: Women in Rome - Julio-Claudian family tree

Last updated: 05-07-2005 16:38:39
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04