Julia (d. 68 BCE)

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Julia (d. 68 bce)

Roman noblewoman and aunt of Julius Caesar. Died in 68 bce (some sources cite 69 bce); daughter of Marcia (fl. 100 bce) and Gaius Julius Caesar; sister of C. Julius Caesar (praetor, 85 bce, father of Julius Caesar) and Sextus Julius Caesar (consul, 91 bce); aunt of Julius Caesar, Roman emperor; married Gaius Marius (consul, d. 86 bce).

It was the marriage of Julia, aunt of Julius Caesar, to dictator Gaius Marius that propelled the young Caesar into politics. As a result of Julia's efforts, Marius planned to name Caesar the flamen Dialis (priest of Jupiter). Despite Caesar's previous plans to marry the daughter of a wealthy equestrian (business-class) family, he married Cornelia , daughter of the consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna, to fulfill the requirement that the flamen marry a patrician. Because of Marius' changing political fortunes, however, Caesar was never appointed flamen.

Caesar eventually triumphed, nonetheless. In 73 bce, the Romans elected him one of the 24 military tribunes, his first elected office. Elected quaestor (junior magistrate) in 69, he gave public funeral orations honoring his recently deceased aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia. According to Suetonius, Caesar took the opportunity in his oration to glorify his family:

The family of my aunt Julia is descended by her mother from the kings, and on her father's side is akin to the immortal Gods. … Our stock therefore has at once the sanctity of kings, and the claim to reverence which attaches to the Gods.