Julia Drusi Caesaris Filia

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About Julia Drusi Caesaris Filia

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

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 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. 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.

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 defense 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. Her distant relative Pomponia Graecina remained in mourning for forty years in open defiance of the Emperor but was unpunished for this.




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