Marcus Atius Balbus

Marcus Atius Balbus (105 – 51 BC) was a 1st-century BC Roman who served as a praetor in 62 BC, he was a cousin of the general Pompey on his mother's side and a brother-in-law of the Dictator Julius Caesar through his marriage to Caesar's sister Julia Minor. Through Julia he became the maternal grandfather of Augustus the first Roman Emperor.

Marcus Atius Balbus
Born105 BC
Died51 BC
Spouse(s)Julia Minor
ChildrenAtia Balba Prima (possibly)
Marcus Atius Balbus (possibly)
Atia Balba Secunda
Atia Balba Tertia

Early lifeEdit

Balbus was born and raised in Aricia into a political family and was the son and heir of the elder Marcus Atius Balbus (148 – 87 BC). His mother was Pompeia, the sister to consul Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, father of Pompey Magnus, a member of the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus.

The family of the elder Balbus came from a Roman senatorial family of plebs status from Aricia (modern Ariccia, Italy). "Balbus" in Latin means stammer.


During the consulship of Julius Caesar in 59 BC, Balbus was appointed along with Pompey to a board of commissioners under a Julian Law to divide estates in Campania among the commoners. Cicero stated that Pompey would say as a joke about Balbus, that he was not a person of any importance.

Personal lifeEdit

He married Julia Minor, the younger of the two elder sisters of the dictator Julius Caesar. Julia bore him two or more daughters and possibly a son.[1] One of the daughters married Gaius Octavius and became the mother of Octavia Minor (fourth wife of triumvir Mark Antony) and of the first Roman emperor Augustus. A younger daughter married Lucius Marcius Philippus and became the mother of Marcia.[2]

Another Atia who was married to a Gaius Junius Silanus is attested.[3][4] This Atia may have been another daughter of Balbus and Julia or a granddaughter. Ronald Syme also speculated that this Atia may have been a daughter of Balbus by another wife named Claudia.[5]


Balbus died in 51 BC.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Syme, Ronald (1970). Ten Studies in Tacitus. Clarendon P. p. 63. ISBN 9780198143581.
  2. ^ Lovano, Michael (2014). All Things Julius Caesar: An Encyclopedia of Caesar's World and Legacy. ABC-CLIO. p. 72. ISBN 9781440804212.
  3. ^ Kajava, Mika (1995). Roman Female Praenomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women. ISBN 9789519690216.
  4. ^ Craven, Maxwell (8 December 2019). "The Imperial Families of Ancient Rome".
  5. ^ Syme, Ronald (1989). The Augustan Aristocracy. Oxford: Oxford Clarendon Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-19-814731-2. A third Atia can now be conjured up. (Limited Previes: "Atia, wife of Marcius Philippus (suff. 38 BC)" and "A daughter (Atia) would supply a wife for C. Silanus" of this page in Google Books)


External linksEdit