Julia (daughter of Drusus the Younger)

Julia (daughter of Drusus the Younger)
Roman imperial dynasties
Julio-Claudian dynasty
Augustus 27 BC14 AD
Tiberius 14 AD37 AD
Caligula 37 AD41 AD
Claudius 41 AD54 AD
Nero 54 AD68 AD
Gens Julia
Gens Claudia
Julio-Claudian family tree
Category:Julio-Claudian Dynasty
Preceded by
Roman Republic
Followed by
Year of the Four Emperors

Julia Drusi Caesaris Filia (Classical Latin: IVLIA•DRVSI•CAESARIS•FILIA,[1] 5-43) was the daughter of Drusus Julius Caesar and Livilla and granddaughter to the Roman Emperor Tiberius.



At the time of Emperor Augustus' death in 14 Julia was ill. Augustus had asked his wife Livia, before he died whether she recovered.[2]

In 20, Julia married her cousin Nero Caesar (the son of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder). The marriage appears to have been an unhappy one, and fell victim to the machinations of the notorious palace guardsman Sejanus, who exploited his intimacy with Livilla to scheme against Germanicus’ family. In the words of Tacitus,

"Whether the young prince spoke or held his tongue, silence and speech were alike criminal. Every night had its anxieties, for his sleepless hours, his dreams and sighs were all made known by his wife to her mother Livia [i.e. Livilla] and by Livia to Sejanus".[3]

Later in 29, owing to the intrigues of Sejanus, and at the insistence of Tiberius, Nero and Agrippina were accused of treason. Nero was declared a public enemy by the Senate, taken away in chains in a closed litter. Nero was incarcerated on the island of Pontia (Ponza). The following year he was executed or driven to suicide. Cassius Dio[4] records that Julia was now engaged to Sejanus, but this claim appears to be contradicted by Tacitus, whose authority is to be preferred. Sejanus was condemned and executed on Tiberius’ orders on 18 October 31.

In 33, Julia married Gaius Rubellius Blandus, a man from an equestrian family who was consul suffect in 18 and later proconsul of Africa.[5] Their children were Gaius Rubellius Plautus (33-62) (cf. Raepsaet-Charlier, p. 89 for Plautus' praenomen) and a daughter Rubellia Bassa who married a maternal uncle of the future Roman Emperor Nerva. Juvenal, in Satire VIII.39, suggests another son, also named Gaius Rubellius Blandus. According to an inscription, Julia may also have been the mother of a certain Rubellius Drusus.[6]

Around 43, an agent of the Roman Emperor Claudius' wife, Empress Valeria Messalina, had falsely charged her with incest and immorality. The Emperor, her uncle Claudius, without securing any defence for his niece, had her executed 'by the sword' (Octavia 944-6: "ferro... caesa est"). She may have anticipated execution by taking her own life.[7] Her distant relative Pomponia Graecina remained in mourning for forty years in open defiance of the Emperor but was unpunished for this.


Robert Graves

In Robert Graves' novels I Claudius and Claudius the God Julia was known as Helen, Heluo and Helen the Glutton. Graves did this as comic relief in the novel. However, in reality she did not have a reputation of gluttony.


  1. ^ E. Groag, A. Stein, L. Petersen - e.a. (edd.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani saeculi I, II et III (PIR), Berlin, 1933 - I 636
  2. ^ Suetonius, Vita Augusti, 99
  3. ^ Tacitus, Annals 4.60
  4. ^ Cassius Dio, 58.3.9
  5. ^ Raepsaet-Charlier, Prosopographie des femmes de l'ordre sénatorial, p. 89
  6. ^ Prosopographia Imperii Romani R 83
  7. ^ Barrett, Agrippina, pp. 87; 104



  • E. Klebs, H. Dessau, P. Von Rohden (edd.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani, 3 vol., Berlin, 1897-1898. (PIR1)
  • E. Groag, A. Stein, L. Petersen - e.a. (edd.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani saeculi I, II et III, Berlin, 1933 - . (PIR2)
  • Raepsaet-Charlier M.-Th., Prosopographie des femmes de l'ordre sénatorial (Ier-IIe siècles), 2 vol., Louvain, 1987, 360 ff; 633 ff.
  • Lightman, Marjorie & Lightman, Benjamin. Biographical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Women. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2000.
  • Levick, Barbara, Claudius. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990.
  • Barrett, Anthony A., Agrippina: Sex, Power and Politics in the Early Roman Empire. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1996.


  • Jucker, Hans & Willers, Dietrich (Hrsg.), Gesichter. Griechische und römische Bildnisse aus Schweizer Besitz, Bern 1982, 92-93.

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