Julia Djadeh
Cynthia Chamberlin

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Julia Djadeh is an imperial freedwoman, a former slave of the emperor's aunt, Julia Domitia, who was married to Senator Publius Lucretius Tarentius. (See the imperial family tree. Originally from Egypt, she was sold to Julia Domitia as a child and grew up as a handmaiden in the imperial household. When Senator Lucretius died, Julia Domitia retired to her country estates in Campania, where Julia Djadeh became her personal secretary and eventually accountant, looking after the patrician lady's numerous investments and finances.

When Julia Domitia died in 55, her will freed her favorite slaves, including Julia Djadeh. However, as she had no children, the rest of her estate reverted to her nephew, the emperor. The estate was so large that Julia Djadeh, the only person who knew the full extent of the properties and funds, was hired by the imperial bureaucrats to continue managing them until they could be liquidated or transferred to supporters of the emperor.

It was during this period that Julia met the young general Titus Flavius Vespasianus. The two fell in love and she became his mistress and she left her job and moved into his household. The two have been together since, and she accompanied him to Britannia for six years. It is rumored that Titus Flavius wishes to marry his mistress, but both custom and law forbid such a match between a patrician and a former slave. Besides, no one would trust an Egyptian in such a position. [Historical Note: Secrecy and duplicity were stereotypical traits the Romans often associated with the Egyptians. While the Egyptian nobility and some of the cities in the delta were highly Hellenized, most of the commoners in the densely populated Nile Valley had been culturally isolated for millennia. Thus the Egyptians were the most "foreign" people in the empire and were heartily mistrusted by the rest.]

Page updated 7/21/99, Scott Martin