Is there an etymological (and hence historical) relation between Aeneas's son Iulus and Iulius Caesar? Virgil was obviously trying to establish a conexion of blood, be it mythological, between the gens Iulia and Ilos, but is there any evidence that he did not make this up?

Another possibility is that there are three people with a similar name, the Trojan ancestor Ilos, the Alban Iulus, and the Roman gens Iulia?

What triggered this question is the fact or strong hypothesis that Iulus contains three syllables, where the i is vocalic, whereas the first i in Iulius is consonantal (/j/).


It is quite a regular pattern that Latin given names wih a simple -us ending correspond to Latin gentile names with an -ius ending, like Marcus and gens Marcia, Aulus and gens Aulia, Gnaeus and gens Naevia; Iulus and gens Iulia just fit this pattern.

The meaning of the -i-infix is probable something like "offspring of".

  • 2
    How does this fit with Iulus beginning with a vocalic I and Iulius a consonantal one? Either way, this pattern must have helped Vergilius make the connection he wanted.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 21 '16 at 13:07
  • 2
    @JoonasIlmavirta Iulus would need three vowels because in Greek initial I- is a vowel. It would be strange if Vergil wrote about someone involved with the Trojan War who had a clearly Roman-style name.
    – cmw
    Sep 26 '16 at 0:55

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