Julia (daughter of Caesar)

For other women with similar names, see Julia Caesar.
Julia from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum. The inscription reads: "Julia; Gaius Caesar's daughter; Pompey' wife."

Julia (Classical Latin: IVLIA•CAESARIS•FILIA), c. 76 BC–54 BC, was the daughter of Roman dictator Julius Caesar, by his first wife, Cornelia, and his only child in marriage.[1] Julia became the fourth wife of Pompey the Great and was renowned for her beauty and virtue.


Julia was probably born around 76 BC.[2] After her mother died in 69 BC,[3] she was raised by her paternal grandmother Aurelia Cotta. Her father engaged her to Quintus Servilius Caepio, who could have been Marcus Junius Brutus[4] (Caesar's most famous assassin) who, after being adopted by his uncle Quintus Servilius Caepio, was known as Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus for an unknown period of time. Caesar broke off this engagement and married her to Pompey in April 59 BC, with whom Caesar sought a strong political alliance in forming the First Triumvirate. This family-alliance of its two great chiefs was regarded as the firmest bond between Caesar and Pompey, and was accordingly viewed with much alarm by the optimates (the oligarchal party in Rome), especially by Marcus Tullius Cicero and Cato the Younger.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Pompey was supposedly infatuated with his bride. The personal charms of Julia were remarkable: she was a kind woman of beauty and virtue; and although policy prompted her union, and she was thirty years younger than her husband, she possessed in Pompey a devoted husband, to whom she was, in return, devotedly attached.[12] A rumor suggested that the aging conqueror was losing interest in politics in favor of domestic life with his young wife. In fact, Pompey had been given the governorship of Hispania Ulterior, but had been permitted to remain in Rome to oversee the Roman grain supply as curator annonae, exercising his command through subordinates.[13]

Julia died before a breach between her husband and father had become inevitable.[13][14][15][16] At the election of aediles in 55 BC, Pompey was surrounded by a tumultuous mob, and his gown was sprinkled with blood of the rioters. A slave carried the stained toga to his house on the Carinae and was seen by Julia. Imagining that her husband was slain, she fell into premature labor,[13][17] and her constitution received an irreparable shock. In August of the next year, 54 BC, she died in child birth,[18] and her infant—a son, according to some writers,[19][20][21] a daughter, according to others,[13][22]—did not survive and died along with Julia.[23] Caesar was in Britain, according to Seneca,[24] when he received the tidings of Julia's death.[25]

Pompey wished her ashes to repose in his favourite Alban villa, but the Roman people, who loved Julia, determined they should rest in the field of Mars (Campus Martius). For permission a special decree of the senate was necessary, and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, one of the consuls of 54 BC, impelled by his hatred for Pompey and Caesar, procured an interdict from the tribunes. But the popular will prevailed, and, after listening to a funeral oration[26] in the forum, the people placed her urn in the field of Mars.[27] Ten years later the official pyre for Caesar's cremation would be erected near the tomb of his daughter,[28][29] but the people intervened after the funeral oration by Marcus Antonius and cremated Caesar's body in the Forum.

After Julia’s death, Pompey and Caesar’s alliance began to fade, which resulted in Caesar's civil war. It was allegedly remarked, as a singular omen, that on the day Augustus entered Rome as Caesar's adoptive son (in May 44 BC), the monument of Julia was struck by lightning.[30] Caesar himself vowed a ceremony to her manes, which he exhibited in 46 BC as extensive funeral games including gladiatorial combats.[20][31][32] The date of the ceremony was chosen to coincide with the ludi Veneris Genetricis on September 26,[33] the festival in honor of Venus Genetrix, the divine ancestress of the Julians.[34]



Cultural depictions of Julia


[...] The foremost circle that surrounds the abyss. [...]
[...] I knew, who in that Limbo were suspended. [...]
[...] Lucretia, Julia, Marcia, and Cornelia, [...]

The Italian Renaissance poet Carlo Marsuppini wrote a eulogy about Piccarda Bueri, in which he compared her to Julia. He names her as an example of great marital devotion.[36]



  1. Tacitus, Annals, iii. 6.
  2. Guy Edward Farquhar Chilver , Robin J. Seager " Iulia (2)" The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Ed. Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth. Oxford University Press 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t111.e3368.
  3. Matthias Gelzer, Caesar, Politician and Statesman, (translated by Peter Needham), Oxford, 1968; Thomas Robert Shannon Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic, vol. 2, 132, New York, (1951–1986). Gelzer quotes Broughton to assert that Caesar was quaestor in 69. Gelzer then explains that Caesar, after taking on his place of duty, delivered an oration in praise of his aunt Julia. Shortly after this, his wife died too.
  4. Sempronius [I 15]. In: Der Neue Pauly. Vol. 11, col. 465.
  5. Cicero, Letters to Atticus, ii. 17, viii. 3.
  6. Plutarch, Life of Caesar, 14; Pompey, 48; Cato the Younger, 31.
  7. Appian, Civil Wars, ii. 14.
  8. Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 50.
  9. Dio Cassius, xxxviii. 8.
  10. Gellius, iv. 10. § 5.
  11. Augustine of Hippo, The city of God, iii. 13.
  12. Plutarch, Life of Pompey, 48.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Plutarch, Life of Pompey, 53.
  14. Velleius Paterculus, ii. 44, 47.
  15. Florus, iv. 2. 13.
  16. Lucanus, i. 113.
  17. Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings, iv. 6. § 4.
  18. William Smith (ed.), A New Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography, 1851.
  19. Velleius Paterculus, ii. 47.
  20. 1 2 Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 26.
  21. Lucanus, v. 474, ix. 1049.
  22. Dio Cassius, xxxix. 64.
  23. Dio Cassius, xl. 44.
  24. Seneca, To Marcia, On consolation, xiv. 3.
  25. Cicero, Oration for Publius Quinctius, iii. 1; Letters to Atticus, iv. 17.
  26. In Latin: laudatio funebris.
  27. Dio Cassius, xxxix. 64; xlviii. 53.
  28. Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, 84.
  29. Livy, Ad urbe condita preserved by a 4th century summary entitled Periochae, cxvi. 6.
  30. Suetonius, Life of Augustus, 95; compare Life of Julius Caesar , 84.
  31. Dio Cassius, xliii. 22.
  32. Plutarch, Life of Caesar , 55.
  33. John T. Ramsey, A. Lewis Licht, Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games, appendix III, Oxford University Press US, 1997.
  34. Octavian followed this precedent in 44 BC by staging the ludi funebres for Caesar while simultaneously moving the Ludi Veneris Genetricis from September to July, after which time they were known as Ludi Victoriae Caesaris; see John T. Ramsey and A. Lewis Licht, The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games (American Philological Association, 1997), p. 41 online.
  35. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno Canto IV, 24, 45 and 128, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867.
  36. Pernis and Adams. p. 9. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. Caesar Cast & Crew – Yahoo! TV
  38. PEPLUM – Jules Cesar (DVD)
  39. Julius Caesar (2002)(TV) at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved July 15, 2006.


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Secondary sources

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