Descendants of Julius Caesar

Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

You probably know about Julius Caesar's spectacular military accomplishments and his epic rise and fall as the dictator of Rome, but how much do you know about his family tree? In this lesson, you will learn about the descendants of Julius Caesar.

Caesar and his Descendants

Julius Caesar, the storied Roman dictator, was a man of many talents, and a man of many lovers. Over the course of his lifetime, he had three legitimate wives and one legitimate child. He also had several mistresses and at least one illegitimate child. To complicate Caesar's family tree even further, he adopted his great nephew as a son. So at the end of the day, who exactly were Caesar's descendants, or members of his family tree that came directly from him?

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

Julia Caesaris

Julius Caesar married his first wife when he was just 16 years old. His wife Cornelia was the daughter of a wealthy Roman who had made some friends with the wrong people. The Roman dictator at the time, a man named Sulla, hated Caesar's father-in-law and demanded that Caesar divorce his wife. Caesar refused and fled Rome to avoid punishment. After several years of exile, Caesar was allowed to come back to Rome, and he and Cornelia had a very happy reunion - so happy, in fact, they had their first and only child, Julia Caesaris. Julia was Caesar's only legitimate child.

Caesar was a smart man and knew that to get ahead in politics, he'd have to form strong ties with Rome's biggest power players. To guarantee a long and fruitful relationship with a fellow politician named Pompey, Caesar decided to marry his only daughter to him. Julia Caesaris died in childbirth in 54 B.C.

Mistresses and Paternity Drama

Caesar married twice more after his first wife, Cornelia, but did not have any children with his second or third wives. Roman playboy that he was, though, Caesar did have a child with one of his most famous mistresses.

After taking over Egypt, Caesar became very close to the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra VII. The two of them were actually held captive in the Egyptian palace for over half a year by the Egyptian army before Caesar's troops could come and liberate them. In 47 B.C., shortly after their 'staycation' in the palace, Cleopatra gave birth to their son: Ptolemy XV Caesar, nicknamed Caesarion, or 'Little Caesar'. It's unclear as to whether Caesarion was actually Caesar's son, but in the 40's B.C., there were no paternity tests to confirm one way or another. Caesarion was eventually killed by Caesar's adopted son, Octavius, in the year 30 B.C.

In addition to Cleopatra, Caesar had another famous mistress of note: a woman named Servilia Caeponis. Servilia was the mother of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the conspirators responsible for assassinating Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Again, there was no paternity testing during the Roman Empire; however, the word on the street was that Caesar might have been Brutus's real father. According to Roman historian Plutarch, Caesar had always suspected that Brutus was his son because of an affair he had with Servilia as a young man.

Marcus Brutus, possible child of Caesar
Marcus Brutus

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