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Julia Caesaris

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

In Roman history, there are at least three Julia Caesaris cited by the ancient sources.

Table of contents
1 Augustus' daughter
2 Caesar's daughter
3 Marius' wife

Augustus' daughter

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

Image:julia.JPG

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: Julia Caesaris Minor, Agrippina Major (mother of Emperor Caligula), Lucius Caesar, Gaius Caesar and Agrippa Portumus (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 the only 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 wife of Gaius Marius and paternal aunt of Julius Caesar. 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, Young Marius. 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 deserved a devoted funeral eulogy from her nephew Julius Caesar.

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


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