In Vergil's Aeneid, Aeneas's son is given the name Iulus/Julus, which would correspond to the clan name Iulius/Julius. Not at all coincidentally, this implies a connection between the legendary hero Aeneas and the clan of Caesar and Augustus.

However, outside of the Aeneid, I've only seen Aeneas's son being named Ilus, from Ilium/Ἴλιον, "Troy".

So I'm curious: is the name Julus, with the added U, attested anywhere before the Gens Julia took power? Or even anywhere before Vergil's writing? Or did Vergil make it up to lend some extra legitimacy to the Julian rulership?


Here is the article Iulus in "The New Pauli":

In the tradition set by Virgil I. is the only son of Aeneas and Creusa of Troy, progenitor of the Roman gens Iulia; in Troy he is called Ilus, later Ascanius (Aen. 1,267f.). The name Ascanius for a (usually the eldest) son of Aeneas first appears after Homer (in Homer two confederates of the Trojans have this name, Hom. Il. 2,862 from Ascania in Phrygia; 13,790), both in founding legends (Hellanicus FGrH 4 F 31; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,54,2), which rule out his arrival in Italy, as in the account of Aeneas' flight from Troy (Tabula Iliaca; Str. 13,1,53, perhaps after Sophocles, but cf. fr. 373). Because there are no supporting documents, the name of the child depicted as accompanying Aeneas with his father Anchises on Attic vases of the 6th cent. and later is not clear. Usually Aeneas and Ascanius arrive in Italy together, as also in Fabius Pictor [1. 394f.], but Ascanius may also reach Italy alone (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,53,4). There he is the successor of Aeneas as ruler of Lavinium and founder of Alba Longa (according to Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,65,1 he was first called Euryleon; Liv. 1,1,11 makes him the son of Aeneas and Lavinia).

The name I. appears only in Cato (Orig. fr. 9), where this (significant) name is conferred on him after the killing of Mezentius (as a kind of initiation) and in Liv. 1,3,2, where the possibility is mentioned of distinguishing the older Ascanius, the son of Creusa of Troy, who is also called I., from a younger one, the son of Lavinia; after this the gens Iulia definitely took on the Trojan myth. In Roman epic tradition before Virgil Aeneas had either a son Romulus (Naev. fr. 25) or a daughter Silvia (Enn. in Serv. Aen. 6,777).

Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) Bibliography

1 G. Manganaro, Una biblioteca storica nel ginnasio di Tauromenion e il P. Oxy. 1241, in: PdP 158-159, 1979.

E. Flores, s.v. Ascanio, EV 1, 353-366

E. Paribeni, s.v. Askanios, LIMC 2, 860-863

M. Petrini, The Child and the Hero. Coming of Age in Catullus and Vergil, 1997, 87-110.

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