From a Roman family name which was possibly derived from Greek ιουλος (ioulos)
meaning "downy-bearded". Alternatively, it could be related to the name of the Roman god JUPITER
. This was a prominent patrician family of Rome, who claimed descent from the mythological Julus, son of Aeneas
. Its most notable member was Gaius Julius Caesar, who gained renown as a military leader for his clever conquest of Gaul. After a civil war he became the dictator of the Roman Republic, but was eventually stabbed to death in the senate.
Although this name was borne by several early saints
, including a pope, it was rare during the Middle Ages. It was revived in Italy and France during the Renaissance, and was subsequently imported to England.