Bishop Julian of Eclanum 1 , a little town between Naples and Benevento, now Mirabella, was the son of Memorius, a south Italian bishop of good education. A correspondent of Augustine, Memorius once obtained from a reluctant Augustine (ep. 101. 4) the sixth and last book of his treatise On Music (of which the first five books are mainly about metre) for his son Julian to study. Such a textbook in the liberal arts seemed to its author trivial. Probably Julian was sent to learn the liberal arts at Rome and if so would have been studying there when Pelagius was acquiring a following in the city. Julian married the daughter of the bishop of Beneventum and Paulinus of Nola wrote a wedding poem for the occasion, which was something of a pastoral idyll. The marriage was clearly a success; but either before long he was widowed or the couple decided to live ascetic lives in separation. His wife disappears from the story. Augustine soon spoke of Julian as vowed to celibacy. He may have accompanied Pelagius to Africa. He was consecrated bishop of Eclanum by either Innocent I about 416 or (perhaps more probable) Zosimus in the following year. His first contribution to the debate about the doctrine of grace was in two (lost) letters to Pope Zosimus.
The Pope's encyclical Tractoria had delighted devoted Augustinians. Prosper of Aquitaine looked back on it as Zosimus' 'decapitation of the impious with St Peter's sword' (PL 51. 271a). Conversely it caused Julian acute pain. In north Italy there were sympathizers with his cause. He and eighteen other Italian bishops felt unable to sign the Tractoria when it was circulated for assent; he wrote to Zosimus to explain his position and later to Pope Boniface. He addressed to a fellow bishop Turbantius a work of which Augustine preserves numerous citations. He made no secret of his dislike of Augustine's opinions on marriage and sexual reproduction, thereby leading Augustine in 419-21 to write two books 'On Marriage and Concupiscence', with a positive valuation (unlike Jerome's tract against Jovinian).