This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Domitian and story of love triangle

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Julia Titi
Julia Titi | Author: Wolfgang Sauber / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Caesar Domitian did not go down in the history books very well. It is possible that he contributed to the death of his brother, Emperor Titus, persecuted Christians and, in addition, lived in a triangle, sharing feelings with his wife and … niece.

So who were the emperor’s women?

Wife: Domitia Longina

Domitia was the daughter of Senator Gnaeus Domitius, and her mother Cassia Longina came from a good old Roman family.

She married very young to Senator Lucius Aelius Lamia (future consul). Year 70 CE however, turned out to be a breakthrough for her. At that time, she met the young Domitian, the younger son of the emperor Vespasian, who married her in the same year. Around 73 CE their son was born but died in infancy. The death of a child caused the spouses to drift apart.

In the year 81 CE Domitian became emperor; Domitia was given the title of Augusta. Unfortunately, soon after, things went wrong in the marriage. Domitia got into a stormy affair with an actor, Paris. The angry emperor sentenced her to banishment from the capital, and allegedly murdered her lover. Some historians, however, consider the whole story to be made up. A more likely reason for the exile was the empress’s fertility problems. However, Domitian had strong feelings for his wife and, unable to bear the long separation, soon brought her back to Rome. He also restored all dignity to her.

Around 96 CE Domitia presumably participated in (or was informed of) the conspiracy against her husband. Domitian was murdered. She outlived her husband by 30 years, but she was titled Domitia Domitiani – “Domitia, wife of Domitian” until her death.

Lover and niece – Flavia Julia

Flavia Julia Titi was the only daughter of Titus Flavius. Vespasian, wanting to strengthen the dynasty, considered the wedding of his granddaughter with his son Domitian. But Domitian chose another wife, and the marriage to Longina also strengthened the position of the Flavians.

It is not known how or exactly when Julia became her uncle’s mistress. Some say it happened after the death of her husband Titus Sabinus. Then she lived in the palace.

Julia died very young, less than 26 years old. Historians cite complications after abortion as the cause. It was the child of Domitian.

An interesting fact is that after the death of Caesar, the nurse of the Flavian family mixed his ashes with those of Julia.

Author: Joanna Morgan (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Krawczuk A., Poczet cesarzowych rzymskich, Iskry, Warszawa 2006

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for the support. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.



Find out more!

Check your curiosity and learn something new about the ancient world of the Romans. By clicking on the link below, you will be redirected to a random entry.

Random curiosity

Random curiosity

Discover secrets of ancient Rome!

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: