Tully is descended from a cousin of the famed orator Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero). His family has been deeply involved in Roman politics for almost a century, and has been closely allied with the Julians since the reign of Augustus. His father served as consul, as did great-grandfathers from both sides of his family. The name Pulcher (meaning fair or lovely) was applied a few generations ago to his father's family, which was noted for having exceedingly attractive women and notably unattractive men. Fortunately, Senator Tullius takes after his mother. The Pulcher family is also well-known for its adherence to traditional values -- the family history sports many long, happy marriages with few divorces, a rarity among Roman patricians.
Tully grew up in Rome during the period when his father served as consul. He became his father's heir when his elder brother was killed by German skirmishers in the year 31. After serving some years in the legions, at age 29 he was made an aedile, a Roman magistrate responsible for enforcing regulations. He used the money gained from his fine collections to fund various games, making him extremely popular, and was elevated to the Senate a year later. At age 37 he was made Praetor Peregrinus (the magistrate who dealt with cases arising between Romans and foreigners or between foreigners), and at age 42 (the minimum legal age for the office) he was elected Consul.
After serving his year as consul, Tully was granted command of the legions in Egypt, a sign of immense trust from the emperor since imperial law actually forebade members of the senatorial class from even entering Egypt. Tully led the legions on a successful and highly lucrative campaign into the kingdom of Kush in Nubia (the Nile valley south of Egypt), a rich country known for its iron and essential oils. Returning to Rome last year laden with goods and slaves, Tully bestowed generous gifts on his soldiers and many of the leading citizens of Rome. He was officially greeted as "Tully the Great" by the Senate (though the nickname was already in common use by many) and received a Salutatio, the non-imperial equivalent of a Triumph. (Some of his supporters still argue that his marriage to the imperial family grants him the right to a Triumph and believe that he was slighted by receving only a Salutatio.)
Since his return, Tully has concentrated on politics and his family's economic affairs. He owns multiple villas throughout Italy and indirectly (through his equestrian and freedmen clients) engages in shipping, real estate, construction, banking, publishing, law, and the wine trade, in essence controlling a sizable part of Rome's economy. He is especially well-known for his patronage of the famed gladiatorial team owned by the freedman Publius Ustinius.
Tully is also a well-known writer and has written well-received works on Etruscan history. He is currently circulating draft copies of his memoirs on the Kushite campaign.
Page updated 7/21/99, Scott Martin