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The narrator of a YouTube video, Jesus Christ Never Existed, makes this claim:

Julius Caesar, in the century before Jesus, was declared to have been born of a virgin, by a vote of the Roman senate, in order to make him a god able to compete with other pagan gods.

Wikipedia's page about Miraculous Births mentions the Caesars, but has no details about Julius Caesar.

Did the Roman senate vote to declare Julius Caesar to have been born of a virgin?

  • Of course not but a youtube video isn't a 'notable claim' anyway. – TheMathemagician Jun 20 '18 at 10:27
  • Its no ordinary youtube channel, its Eric Dubays channel @TheMathemagician The self anointed high priest of the new age denialism, the Jordan Peterson of flat earth and everything in between. – Gandalf Jun 20 '18 at 10:35
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    @Gandalf "The self anointed high priest of the new age denialism, the Jordan Peterson of flat earth" - I have absolutely no idea what that's supposed to mean. Is Eric Dubay a supporter or debunker of the flat Earth theory? If it's the former, how does that make him a credible source? If it's the latter, how does that make him notable? – F1Krazy Jun 20 '18 at 11:41
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    While in no way credible, Dubay at least seems notable enough. If you can find any other source of this claim other than Dubay then it might be worth looking into, otherwise it's safe to assume he's just making it up. – Giter Jun 20 '18 at 12:23
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    The notability reference doesn't need to be reliable. It needs to show that people believe the claim, and ideally provide context. – Oddthinking Jun 20 '18 at 13:24
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The historical record is spotty, but we can pretty confidently say

No.

In The Divinity of the Roman Emperor (1931) by Lily Ross Taylor, she spends two chapters encyclopedically listing the growing adulation and pomp surrounding Julius Caesar before and after death. Ch. iii ends

As a matter of fact, Caesar was probably too far past the romantic glamor of youth to inspire anything like the same spontaneous worship that Augustus did later. Unlike Augustus or perhaps Scipio Africanus at an earlier time, Caesar does not seem to have been the subject of a popular legend during his lifetime. There was apparently no story about his miraculous birth, or about omens that showed his divine destiny during his infancy. Such a legend is an important element in creating belief that a man is divine. In Caesar's case it was his death at the hands of assassins that brought him into the number of the gods "not simply on the lips of men passing decrees but in the conviction of the masses." (Suet., Jul., 88.)

It's also very implausible, because Caesar's much heralded links to both Mars and Venus came through his male ancestry. Neither he nor Augustus after him would want the legacy of the Julia to disappear. This contrasts with the situation for Augustus, who was only connected to Caesar's family through his mother. His father's line wasn't as important as the bump from a miraculous birth; lo and behold, such legends did start springing up.

Most likely someone mixed him up with claims about Augustus. They might have also mixed up his claims about himself with his claims about his ancestors, some of whom were supposedly demigods.

  • "It's also very implausible, because Caesar's much heralded links to both Mars and Venus came through his male ancestry." So what is Caesar's descent from Mars? And why do people always mention the descent of of the Julians from Venus through Aeneas and never mention their descent from Zeus/Jupiter through Aeneas? – M. A. Golding Jun 20 '18 at 17:05
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    @M.A.Golding The linked source goes into greater detail w/sources, but the short answers are a via some accounts of the lineage of the Alban kings, b because it was more agreed upon and because Caesar himself emphasized it in a major way esp. by erecting the temple of Venus Genetrix, c via Dardanus? because the lineage to Jupiter through Venus was much shorter and settled. The important thing for establishing an Alexandrian or Egyptian-style replacement of the Republic was Caesar's relation to divinity, not the relative power of the specific deity. – lly Jun 21 '18 at 0:08
  • Nice answer, but I think Wikipedia's section on Divus Julius is a worthwile reading. While "born of a virgin" may be of much significance to Christians today, there were quite a few other ways for Caesar to claim similar relevance, although he apparently refused to be labelled a demigod, on a statue, at least. Nevertheless, the Senate posthumously "confirmed Caesar as a divus of the Roman state". But no need for virgin births in (pre-Christian) Roman times for that. – Fizz Jun 22 '18 at 19:55
  • @Fizz Thanks for your kind words but Taylor's book is a lot more thorough and trustworthy than your Wiki article; you should try reading it. 'Born of a virgin' was very meaningful at the time and was used for Augustus by some; this question is about someone tying it to Caesar instead. Unless there were some recent archaeological discoveries on the point, it looks like they were wrong. – lly Jun 23 '18 at 4:38
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    @Gandalf In any case, that's an excellent (however accidental) example of where this mistake about Julius Caesar may have come from. =) – lly Jun 25 '18 at 10:41

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