NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Saint Julius and Saint Aaron

Saint Julian

Julius and Aaron of Caerleon were two early Christian martyrs who are venerated in the Catholic Church. They were missionaries and companions of Saint Alban, the first British martyr.

According to tradition, Julius and Aaron were sent from Rome to Britain in the third century to strengthen the Christian community and spread the Gospel. They arrived in the town of Caerleon (known as Isca in Roman times), located in present-day Wales.

During their missionary work, Julius and Aaron converted many people to Christianity and established a Christian community in Caerleon. However, their activities drew the attention of the Roman authorities, who were hostile to the growing Christian movement. They were arrested and subjected them to various tortures and persecutions in an attempt to force them to renounce their faith. Despite the hardships, the two saints remained steadfast in their commitment to God.

Eventually, Julius and Aaron were sentenced to death for their refusal to renounce Christianity. They were executed, with different accounts describing them as being beheaded or thrown into the River Usk with stones tied around their necks.

The martyrdom of Julius and Aaron is believed to have taken place around the same time as the martyrdom of Saint Alban, who was executed for sheltering and assisting them. All three saints are considered significant figures in the early Christian history of Britain. They were martyred around 304 AD in Caerleon, Chester or Leicester, and are, along with Saint Alban, the only Christian martyrs mentioned by name from Roman Britain.

Gildas work from the sixth century is the earliest surviving account of Julius and Aaron, which was repeated by the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede in the eighth century. Geoffrey of Monmouth and Giraldus Cambrensis also included the two martyrs in their medieval manuscripts.

According to Gildas a chapel dedicated to the saints were standing near Caerleon in the ninth century, when it was recorded in a land charter. During the centuries it was also dedicated to Saint Alban, and in time it was abandoned and did not survive.