Junia, called Junia Secunda by modern historians to distinguish her from her sisters, was an ancient Roman woman who lived in the 1st century BC. She was married to the triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.
She was the second daughter of Servilia Caepionis, the lover of Julius Caesar and sister of Cato the Younger, and Decimus Junius Silanus, the elder being Junia Prima and the younger Junia Tertia. She was the half-sister of Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Julius Caesar's assassins.
She married Lepidus who later became a member of the Second Triumvirate, along with Mark Antony and Octavian (Later Augustus). Unlike his fellow triumvirs, Lepidus remained married to the same woman throughout his life, and seems to have been devoted to Junia.
In his speeches, Cicero praised Junia as the ideal wife. In a private letter to Attius, however, Cicero claimed that Junia was unfaithful to Lepidus, on the grounds that her portrait was seen among the chattels of a debauchee called Publius Vedius (possibly Publius Vedius Pollio). He expresses his surprise at her brother and husband taking no notice of her conduct. However some have argued that it was Junia Prima, rather than Junia Secunda, who had the affair with Vedius.
Plot against Octavian
After her husband was forced from power by Octavian, Junia lost much of her status. After the battle of Actium she became part of a plot to kill Octavian, formed by her son Lepidus the Younger. However it was foiled by Gaius Maecenas. Her son was executed after being sent to Octavian, who was still in the east at the time. She was summoned to follow him to appear before Octavian. Her husband had to plead with his former enemy Lucius Saenius Balbinus to grant her bail so that she could remain with him until Octavian returned.
- Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, Volume 2, Little and Brown, 1846, p.657.
- Syme, Ronald (1961). "Who was Vedius Pollio?". Journal of Roman Studies 51 (1/2): 23–30.
- Cic. ad Att. vi. 1
- Hall, John, Politeness and Politics in Cicero's Letters, Oxford University Press, 2009, p.116.
- Appian, J5. (7. iv, 50.)
- Weigel, Lepidus: The Tarnished Triumvir, p.97.