Talk:Julia the Elder

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Re. The Robe[edit]

*In the film, The Robe, she is played by Rosalind Ivan, making an inaccurate appearance as Tiberius' wife.

What sort of [citation needed]? In the film, The Robe (1953), Rosalind Ivan makes an uncredited apperance as Julia, playing Tiberius wife. True, Julia was married to Tiberius so I suppose it is not totally devoid from fact, but it is an anachronism because the story is set around the time of Tiberius' last years as emperor. In the film, Julia, puts in an appearance telling Tiberius that Diana (another chaarcter in the film) is "too good for Caligula" and Tiberius mentions his "30 years with Julia"... Julia was divorced from Tiberius in 2 BC and she died in the same year Tiberius came to power in 14 AD, ergo she couldn't have been walking around complaining about her own grandson when she has been dead twenty-odd years. --Camblunt100 16:59, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Julia pardoned? And story of her almost drowning[edit]

Hello. There is evidence, in Nicolaus ([Fragmenta der Griechischein Historiker] 2 A: 421-2) and Josephus (Antiquities 16.2.2) also mentions the pardon, (It is also mentioned in the recent biography, Julia Augusti by Elaine Fantham and The Ages of Homer: A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule edited by Jane B Carter, Sarah P Morris,) that during Julia's marriage to Agrippa, she was travelling to meet Agrippa where he was campaigning and she was caught up in a flash flood in Ilium and she almost drowned. Agrippa was furious, and in his anger he fined the locals 100,000 drachmae-- he so angry not one could face him and in the end it took Nicolaus and Herod the Great to recieve pardon from Agrippa. I was wondering if it should be mentioned in her biography. -- 16:19, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Julia Augusti[edit]

Everyone who has been waiting for this getting excited? I'm also happy that someone has finally sat down a written a story about her history. The blurb on says the following:

This scholarly biography details the life of an extraordinary woman in an extraordinary society. "Julia Augusti" studies the life of the only daughter of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, and the father who sacrificed his daughter and her children in order to establish a dynasty. Studying the abundant historical evidence available, this biography studies each stage of Julia's life in remarkable detail: her childhood - taken from her divorced mother to become part of a complex and unstable family structure; her youth - set against the brilliant social and cultural life of the new Augustan Rome; her marriages - as tools for Augustus' plans for succession; and Julia's violation of her father's moral regime, and the betrayal of her absent husband. Reflecting new attitudes, and casting fresh light on their social reality, this outstanding biography will delight, entertain and inform anyone interested in this engaging Classical figure. (Taken from

I have a list of the parts there are in the book here (Taken from Routledge):

  • Introduction
  • Julia's Birth and Family
  • Julia's Girlhood
  • Marriage to Agrippa
  • Julia's Boys
  • The Grass Widow and her Humiliation
  • Julia's Daughters
  • The Death of Augustus
  • Ruin of the Julian Branch

I'm seriously looking forward to getting this book. I asked for it for my birthday and my mother was more then happy to get it for me. She says that she wouldn't mind reading it either. --Sophie-Lou 19:32, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

"Reflecting new attitudes, and casting fresh light on their social reality"... Looking forwards? I'm freaking wetting myself, this should be a cracking good book. I'd like to see a modern historian's view on Julia, without having to look at Augustus books that are normally bias in his favour.--Camblunt100 09:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I think I came across a review of this book-if I remember rightly it explains Julia actions more than just adultry but rather a political game which she tried to play for her sons-and why prehaps it was "Politicaly nessesary" to keep her exhiled even after Augustus death. LAstly the will of Augustus in which he forbid her burial in his tomb is ironic-his own ashes are not there at all-they were scattered in 410 during the Sack of Rome.

Marriage to Agrippa[edit]

Does anyone know for sure how Julia felt about marrying a man who was more then twice her age and by that point was very old (Older then her own father by a year!) My theroy is that she couldn't have been happy by the idea, but seeing as she travelled with him all over the place and she gave birth to five children by him in nine years, which is like one child every two years, they couldn't have been on bad terms either. What do you all think?--Camblunt100 18:46, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, it seems that she was well-disposed towards Agrippa at the very least. Though I question the validity of one of the sources I've read, since it seems to put forth a lot of claims about Julia's role in politics that don't seem to be repeated anywhere else. It says, for instance, she enjoyed the preeminence that she had as both the emperor's daughter and the wife of his right-hand and used it to craft a popular political party opposed to the ambitions of Livia and the Claudians. For some reason, that strikes me as fanciful. --Jello 00:13, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I believe that Julia may have been unhappy at first being married to such an older man, but as she got to know him she must have grown fond of him in a certain way. I know it's only interpretation, but looking at it from a logical point of view, considering that unhappy marriages resulted in few or no children, Agrippa and Julia had five in nine years. She couldn't have been too unhappy or disgusted with him; otherwise she would have hardly let him near her. --Sophie-Lou 21:49, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
I think in all fairness they were on good terms. Julia did make inconvenient journeys to meet with, one account even recalls her heading in his direction when she nearly drowned in a flash flood and Agrippa was furious about Julia's near death experience that he nearly bled the locals penniless had Herod not stepped in a patched things up. Agrippa and Herod were also on friendly terms despite the fact that the two gentlemen were so different. He had many wives and was easily besotted. Agrippa, throughout his marriage to Julia, despite later charges after the scandal, there is not record of him suspecting Julia was having affairs. A good deal of her charges during her marriage to Agrippa appears like political slanders. Many women in the Ancient Roman, including her own daughter Agrippina (yes, and I am talking about Germanicus' wife) was accused by Tiberius of adultery. Agrippa wasn't stupid; surely he would have thought something. I believe Julia was only unfaithful to Tiberius, but that is just my interpretation and opinion. -- 16:37, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


Here's my two cents:

I think that the way people decribe Julia is unfair. Sure she may have had a couple of affairs (Though I, Claudius seriously over dramatised it) but then so was everyone back then. You can call Julia any name under the sun you wanted but yet her track record was nothing compared to what some women got up to back then. There was barely a woman in Rome, with the exception of a few, that wasn't doing it. Julia was only caught, that was her mistake. She was also a very kind and warm hearted person, unlike most of the women back then who could be either boring or cruel. Her faults included being like her father, she was snoobish, high and mighty, a spoilt, stuck up little madam... But she wasn't a horrible person, just a human being.

At the time, people weren't very nice about Julia and her alleged affairs despite the fact EVERYONE did it. Personally, I feel every bit of sympathy for Julia and none whatsoever for her father, Augustus. His treatment of Julia was far to extreme, leaving her on a barren island for five years before exiling her to a decent place. Augustus himself was just as bad and in most cases worse. His infidelities were the big gossip. He tried to promote that whole family, chastity woman thing but it fell on it's face not because of what Julia did but because of what he was like. How two-faced can you get? If you ask me, the way Julia behaved was just proof of what a wonderful role-model Augustus was. Her father's daughter.

He was the greatest emperor who ever lived, but the treatment he gave his daughter was way over the boarder of "out of order." How could any father treat his own daughter like that? The little girl who kept despite the fact he divorced her mother just hours after her birth, he kept and the little girl who he loved so much? It's shocking to me, I don't see why she should have been so harshly punished then or now.

That's my 2 cents.

Written by Cam Blunt

To the contrary...[edit]

Well, you have to remember that most ancient historians had a tendancy to overdramatize events. Consider that we're talking about a considerably popular princess under a considerably popular leader, and then recall that celebrity of this sort is entirely alien to the Roman world. It's why, if Augustus had it his way, the imperial family would have kept a low profile as far as they were able to. There are always scandalmongers, and there's always scuttlebutt and rumor. Some of it is the entirely innocent idle speculation of the masses, and some of it is maliciously developed by the regime's enemies. Either way, tales abounded and the historians--as they tended to do--repeated those embellished stories. It didn't matter to them whether they could be verified, they were just repeating what they'd heard.

It's clear, though, that there was something else going on behind the scenes. The details behind her exile are extremely sparse, and all we know is that she was involved with some choice enemies of the principate. There is much more to her story than meets the eye. Unfortunately, the contemporary historians of the day haven't done much to flesh out her character as a person and there's a lack of any serious modern biographical research as a consequence. As far as I'm aware, she's only ever had a single book written about her--and that book has not yet even been published. --Jello 23:41, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

That's a pity because I've always had a certain interest in this period of time and I can't help but think myself that more was going on back then. I never took the ancient historians at their word mainly because they all basically went on hearsay rather then fact. As for the whole "there's more to this" theory many people have today, I think the general theory was that Iullus Antonius was plotting with several others to murder Augustus and restore the republic to Rome again. Iullus Antonius was Julia's lover, and possibly the most famous. Though she was probably unaware of these plans, Iullus could have been using her to get to Augustus. Theory is that once Augustus was out of the way, they would either resort the republic or Iullus Antonius would marry Julia and then make himself leader of Rome. Of course, this is merely a theory, but it seems to be a fairly reasonable when you consider all the facts.--Sophie-Lou 12:38, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, that would likely be part of it. If Julia was unaware of what Iullus was plotting, though, it would still be terribly excessive for such a draconian punishment to be visited on Julia. There's still a lot left unsaid, even when one considers the beliefs of her "associates." --Jello 07:59, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
My thoughts on Julia? She wasn't a "whore" if you will excuse undignified words. When I look at the list of her lovers, most of them sound like a merry-go-round of republican activists who may have used to her get to Augustus. She may have been in and out of bed with some but not all. I think that for defiant Iullus Antonius was her lover, he was her prominent lover, who may have also been in on the plotting (If there was plotting.) Looking at it from a logical point of few and not just ancient historian's view on it, I think Iullus wouldn't have liked the idea of sharing Julia with tones of men. A most of such self-important would want her to himself. The reason I think Julia was unaware is because I think, after a life of hardship and being told what she can and can't do, she wanted a bit fun. I can't say I judge her, though no matter what he crime was, I think that Augustus' treatment of her was unfair.--Sophie-Lou 17:40, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Julia was a whore either. I think that she was sort of desperate to find something. Someone reportedly so warmhearted and kind, who loved her children, who cared about her father, who put up with him marrying her off three times against her will... I don't think Julia was a happy bunny.--Camblunt100 21:53, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it seems that she was well-disposed towards Agrippa at the very least. Though I question the validity of one of the sources I've read, since it seems to put forth a lot of claims about Julia's role in politics that don't seem to be repeated anywhere else. It says, for instance, she enjoyed the preeminence that she had as both the emperor's daughter and the wife of his right-hand and used it to craft a popular political party opposed to the ambitions of Livia and the Claudians. For some reason, that strikes me as fanciful. --Jello 00:13, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Which historical source is this? I think it a fanciful too, but nonetheless, I don't trust any historians that were around at that time. I can’t put to not out it past Julia not to challenge the Claudian family or Livia, as Livia was a Claudian and appeared to believe that she and her family were better then the Julio family. Without a question, Julia knew who she was and what she could do. Many of them let their person feelings get into their work. Suetonius is the most respected of them all, yet I can never take is word to it all the time as there is the odd time he appears to let his personal feels on some people cloud it. Most historical sources say that Augustus stopped off at Planasia to see Postumus yet Suetonius chooses not to mention it. Admittedly Postumus wasn’t a very nice person to begin with but nonetheless my point is the same: history tends to repeat itself in other works or on personal opinion. --Sophie-Lou 16:09, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I hadn't mentioned the source because I don't have it handy. It's at my university, so I won't get to it for a few days. Some aspects are based in reality, such as her education and her habits in speech and dress. Others simply don't seem to have a factual basis, such as her formation of a populist political party about her person and her desire to outdo Livia in prominence and fame. It also suggests that Julia's fall was concocted by supporters of the Claudian party who were willing to see her fall, so it was they who leaked the information which forced Augustus to take action? Plausible? Certainly--but I'd like to hope it was more than just guesswork or suppositions. --Jello 08:32, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I can't deny that I think it is interesting. A lot of what I've read about Julia came from pages on the web (Which a mostly outdated versions of the page here) and books. I read ancient sources that theur my mother bought years ago or modern views on Augustus as Julia is an unavoidable topic. Many modern views have taken the possible view that Julia was set up and her crimes made more then they really were, it seems. The men who were named her lovers, with the exception of Iullus Antonius and about one or maybe two more of them, may not have actually had relations with her. They were, in my eyes a merry-go-round of Republicans that needed killing, its said in some Ancient historical readings that there was a plot on Augustus life and Julia was some how caught in the middle of her alleged lovers.--Sophie-Lou 09:38, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
One could argue that, if you wanted to use that source, that the men accused of having taken a tumble with her could have been trying to use her influence to restore the Republic. Hypothetically, if some of the things in the source were true, then she must have had followers (with their own ideas) and they may have been the ones who got her in trouble in the end. It's too simple to think that there were no "other" reasons as to why Julia recieved the red card. Looking back with the evidence we have know, knoweldge of the characters back then and our own fair logic, we can use it to get better ideas of what happened, but it difficult because no one knows for sure what DID happen.--Camblunt100 09:46, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
A very good point you put forwards. I prefer to read unknown and modern historian's views on the happening of this period of time as much as the ancient historians. I'm open to learning anything about the people in Augustus' time, particularly Augustus himself and his daughter Julia as they are both very interesting characters. --Sophie-Lou 21:43, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Ronald Syme (see "The Roman Revolution") seems to believe that it was not Julia's adultery that caused her to be banished, but the fact that she and Iullus Antonius were plotting some sort of coup against Augustus. It was easier to cover up this internal plot with a sex scandal than to be truthful about it - some things never change.Gtwilight (talk) 18:42, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Fact and fiction[edit]

As unsatisfactory as the ancient sources (mostly Dio Cassius and Suetonius, I assume?) on Augustus's reign may be, any responsible history has to base itself on what the actual historians of the period have to say, because they're our only source of information. I'd also suggest that Suetonius is surely the least respected historian of the early Emperor. Tacitus is by far the most respected (although the Annals don't really get going until after Augustus' death). I'm not completely sure of Dio Cassius vs. Suetonius, but the former seems to be seen as somewhat better. john k 20:42, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Suetonius, browse the Lives of the Twelve Caesars at Gutenberg, LacusCurtius (or any other version) for "Julia" (Suetonius usually mentions Julia the Elder and her daughter Julia in the same sentence); some of the info now in the Julia the Elder article doesn't match with Suetonius (who mentions Augustus as the one who took the education of his children & grandchildren upon him, not his wife);
  • Tacitus: Annals, I 35; III 24 ("daughter and granddaughter" are the two Julia's); IV 44; VI 51. For understanding how and why Augustus reacted to adultery in his own family it is also advised to have a look at the Lex Iulia de Adulteriis Coercendis (sorry, nothing much in wikipedia yet), the 17 BC (or 18 BC?) Lex Julia (don't confuse with other laws named "Julia", this 17/18 BC one had been introduced by Augustus, with strict penalties for adultery). Tacitus refers to this law, e.g. II 50, IV 42.
  • Dio Cassius shouldn't be too difficult to check either I suppose. --Francis Schonken 21:27, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I was always under then impression that it was Livia who made sure that Julia did all her work. Everyone who was a woman, Julia included (from a young age), were set to weaving wool and making clothes for the men. Livia made all of Augustus' clothes but she was also very and too political so often Julia would have to do more then normal. This I read in a modern historical book about Augustus and it was briefly mentioned. Personally I feel that when Julia was a little girl, "Octavian" as he is known as was too busy with making sure Rome doesn't go to hell to set his daughter tasks, so it's only natural that he'd have Livia to do it. By the time we got to her grandchildren though, I think that it was only his elder grandsons he took the best care of. He made sure they all got a proper education, but it was Agrippa and Julia who were responsible for the girls and later Postumus (Who would be in Julia's charge alone seeing as his father died) and their education. --Sophie-Lou 09:25, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, but WP:NOR... If you haven't got a reliable source for your contention, its not OK to infer it by reason of your own understanding of Roman antiquity. Wikipedia keeps to verifiable sources. FYI, I updated Lex Julia and Lex Papia Poppaea somewhat to make these articles more coherent (but both articles still need work I suppose). --Francis Schonken 12:25, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Now adding the {{fiction}} template to the article, as all previous efforts to keep fact and fiction separated in this article were unsuccesful, e.g.:

  • Don't base "biography" of Julia the Elder on I, Claudius (which is primarily a work of fiction; a "dramatised" version, with dialogues and pictured situations not found in historical sources);
  • WP:V - application of this policy would near to empty the page.
  • Instead of elaborating a series of unconfirmed impressions in the vein of "Julia's life has famously been remembered for being painful, dramatic and miserable. She was used as a pawn for her father's dynastic plans and alliances with other families. Her treatment is often perceived as an extenuating factor in the adulteries and flagrant abandon that ancient writers almost universally attribute to her - anachronistically, since in ancient Rome arranged marriages were the rule rather than the exception.", the article would better point out, with a reference, that Tacitus found Augustus had been too severe on Julia the Elder (and her daughter).
  • ...

--Francis Schonken 07:22, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Francis Schonken for your advise concerning the biography aspects based on Robert Graves' novels. I suggest you make the same advise for many other Wikipedia articles concerning members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty which don't seem to be based on reliable sources. Check for instance the 'Messalina' and the 'Julia Caesar' articles to see what I mean.

--Junillus, 17 April 2006.

I think Julia the Elder starts to look very much OK now, and I think we have to thank user: for that very much. I'd really like to thank that user. I'd give him a free subscription to the Wikipedia encyclopedia... well, joking, wikipedia is free for everyone (just inviting to take a login). Anyway, I think the {{fiction}} template can probably be removed now.

I extended Julia Caesaris a bit with the children of Drusus t-Y and Germanicus. But feel free to update any of the articles of the Roman women, with facts found in ancient writers, or other historians. If doubting a particular fact for which no reference is given it is always possible to add the {{fact}} template at the end of such doubtful statement, inviting others to give an appropriate reference (if there is none, just remove the statement). See e.g. Vipsania Julia, still having one such {{fact}} template (regarding remarrying during exile), and Pontius Pilate's wife where I removed a whole section yesterday: I had tagged it "citations missing" some weeks ago; then yesterday someone removed these tags without providing any additional reference. The game had taken long enough I thought, so I erased the section. Seemed there was not a single reliable reference. --Francis Schonken 09:42, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I have looked everywhere for evidence of a second marriage for Vipsania Julia, but I can't find it anyway. Sites that do have it copied it from this site, and I have yet to find it in any historical sources. I'll keep looking though I doubt the statement is true. --Camblunt100 15:49, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

The Prosopographia Imperii Romani ("635 IVLIA") mentions no second marriage for Vipsania Julia. It sounds like modern fiction.


Germanicus was Julia's nephew?[edit]

The article says,

Suetonius claims that Caligula, Julia's grandson through her youngest daughter Agrippina and her nephew Germanicus, loathed the idea of being grandson of Marcus Agrippa. ...

I may be missing something, but... How was Germanicus the nephew of Julia? Germanicus's father was Nero Claudius Drusus (the son of Livia by her first husband, unrelated to Julia or Augustus); his mother was Antonia Minor, daughter of Octavia Minor by Mark Antony (and thus Julia's first cousin). So Germanicus was, via his mother, a first cousin of Julia's, once removed--but was not Julia's nephew, and was in any case entirely unrelated to Agrippa. So Germanicus's relation to Julia isn't relevant to this paragraph (since the issue is Caligula's alleged dislike at being related to the low-born Agrippa).

Or am I missing something? I gather that there was an unsubstantiated rumor that Drusus was Livia's illegitimate child by Augustus, which would make him Julia's half-brother (and would make Germanicus her nephew)--is that what's being talked about here? Or perhaps that Germanicus is the adopted son of Tiberius, the adopted son of Augustus (and thus Julia's nephew by adoption). But either of those seems pretty far-fetched, and in any case, they'd have nothing to do with the issue raised there (Caligula's unhappiness about Agrippa).

I'm inclined to just yank out the phrase "and her nephew Germanicus" from the quoted bit. Any objections? -- Narsil 23:18, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

And hearing no objections... -- Narsil 23:49, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
It think what is meant with "her nephew Germanicus" is that Germanicus was Agrippina's nephew (because his mother Antonia minor [a daughter of Octavia minor] was a niece of Julia maior [a daughter of Octavian]). Of course this doesn't make Germanicus a son of Agrippa. Evil berry (talk) 19:40, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Comments On Dating Julia's First Marriage and Marcellus' Death[edit]

Julia was probably married to Marcellus in the early part of 23 BCE at the age of 15, not 14. I discovered this upon reviewing Cassius Dio who states that Augustus was too ill to preside over his own daughter's wedding and Agrippa had to officiate. The only time Augustus was too ill to have carried out his fatherly duties was in the early part of 23 BCE, during his life threatening illness.

Per Cassius Dio, Julia was educated in the manner of a man and Augustus favored marrying such educated girls off at a later age than customary. He may have married Julia at an earlier age than he planned because he was afraid he would die and he wanted to make sure his daughter was provided for, otherwise, he would have postponed the wedding until he felt well enough.

Also, I believe that Marcellus died earlier than September of 23 BCE. He probably contracted typhus after the Tiber flooded in late Spring of 23 BCE. Julia may have only been married to him for a matter of months, rather than years, which explains why there were no children from this union.

Gtwilight (talk) 18:26, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Augustus vs Octavian[edit]

I realize that this has been discussed so many times that people are sick of it. Nevertheless, there is a composition flow problem with the article when, having called Octavian "Augustus" for the first part of the article, we admit that he wasn't really "Augustus" yet and revert to Octavian. This sounds funny. And Augustus is just a title anyway. Can't we use both at the beginning and then use whatever one is suitable later?Student7 (talk) 02:47, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Birth date?[edit]

What's the source for placing her birthday at 30 October? --Jello (talk) 20:21, 19 September 2010 (UTC)