Gaius Julius Iulus (consul 489 BC)
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Gaius Julius Iulus Consul 489 BC

Gaius Julius Iulus was the first of the ancient patrician gens Julia to attain the consulship, which he held in 489 BC.[2]


According to legend, the Julii were one of the noble houses that came to Rome from Alba Longa when that city was destroyed by Tullus Hostilius, the third king of Rome, but it was not until the twenty-first year of the Republic that a member of that family was elected consul. Iulus' filiation is not found in the surviving fragments of the Fasti Capitolini.[3] If he was the father of the same Gaius Julius Iulus who was consul in 482 BC, then his father's name was Lucius. This is the interpretation given in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, which generally follows Wilhelm Drumann's scholarship on the Julii.[2] However, in The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Broughton gives Gaius as the father of the consul of 489.[4]

If Iulus was the father of Gaius, the consul of 482, then he was also the father of Vopiscus Julius Iulus, consul in 473, who shares the same filiation and must have been the younger Gaius' brother.[5][2] As far as can be determined from their filiations, all of the later Julii Iuli who appear in history were descended from these two brothers.[2] At least some classical scholars believe that the later Julii Caesares may also be descended from this family.[6][i]


Iulus was consul in 489 BC with Publius Pinarius Mamercinus Rufus. According to Dionysius, it was during their year of office that the Volscian leader Attius Tullius provoked a confrontation with Rome. With the help of the Roman exile Coriolanus, the Volsci prepared for war and began raiding Latin territory. As planned, the impact of the Volscian operations fell more heavily on the poor, exacerbating the already tense relationship between the patricians and the plebeians.[8][9][10][2][4]

As the Senate was trying to calm the populace, a Volscian force under Coriolanus took control of the city of Circeii, where there was a Roman colony. The consuls were directed to set a watch over the city, call upon Rome's allies for help, and begin raising an army to meet the Volscian threat, but their term of office expired before these tasks could be completed. Their successors, Spurius Nautius Rutilus and Sextus Furius Medullinus Fusus, continued preparing for the inevitable confrontation with Coriolanus.[11][9][12][13]


  1. ^ A well-known genealogical table published in 1816 by William Berry presents Gaius, the consul of 482 BC, as the son of the consul of 489, whose father is given as Lucius, and his grandfather as Numerius (a praenomen not known to have been used by any of the Julii in historical sources, although it appears three times on Berry's chart). Numerius is then assigned a second son, Marcus (another praenomen not known to have been used by any of the Julii during the Republic), who was the grandfather of Vopiscus (whose father is not named). Although Berry claimed to have based his tables on the best authors, his sources are entirely unknown, and these details do not agree with any known historical sources.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Robert Maxwell Ogilvie, Commentary on Livy, books 1-5, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1965, pp. 404, 405.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. II, p. 656, 657.
  3. ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. I, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b Broughton, vol. I, p. 18.
  5. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 23, 29.
  6. ^ Griffin, p. 13.
  7. ^ Berry, p. 50.
  8. ^ Dionysius, viii. 1-13.
  9. ^ a b Plutarch, "The Life of Coriolanus", 26-28.
  10. ^ Livy, ii. 37, 38.
  11. ^ Dionysius, viii. 14-16.
  12. ^ Livy, ii. 39.
  13. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 19.


  • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab Urbe Condita (History of Rome).
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romaike Archaiologia.
  • Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans.
  • William Berry, Genealogia Antiqua, or Mythological and Classical Tables, Compiled from the Best Authors on Fabulous and Ancient History, Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, London (1816).
  • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, ed., Little, Brown and Company, Boston (1849).
  • T. Robert S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, American Philological Association (1952).
  • Miriam Griffin, A Companion to Julius Caesar John Wiley & Sons (2009), ISBN 1444308459, ISBN 9781444308457.

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