Claudius Civilis, also called Julius, leader of the revolt of the Germanic nation of the Ba-tavi (settled around the mouths of the Rhine and Maas) against the Romans, A. D. 69-70, as chronicled by Tacitus. Although in the imperial service as prefect of a cohort, he was of the Batavian royal race, and had no reason to love the Romans, who had wrongfully put his brother to death and sought his own life. When the contest for the purple was going on between Vitellius and Vespasian, the partisans of the latter urged Civilis to a feigned revolt, so as to prevent the legions in Germany favorable to Vitellius from marching on Rome. Civilis determined to make the revolt a real one. Under pretext of a festival he assembled the chiefs of his nation in a sacred grove and induced them to rise against the Roman yoke. Having placed a young man named Brinno at their head as nominal leader, the Batavi and two neighboring tribes, their allies, gained some skirmishes; whereon, it being no longer possible to conceal that Civilis was the prime mover, he put himself at the head of the insurgents. Still keeping up the fiction that he was fighting for Vespasian, he attacked and destroyed all the Roman camps on the Rhine, excepting Cologne and Mentz, which he retained.
As the Batavi continued in arms after Vespasian had gained the empire, Cerealis was sent against them with a powerful force. Civilis offered to make Cerealis emperor of the Gauls if he would come over to their side, but the offer was declined. A campaign followed with varying success, till finally fortune turned against the insurgents, and they were driven into the island of Batavia. Cerealis offered his adversary terms. An interview between the generals took place on a bridge, where Tacitus leaves them conversing. The subsequent history of Civilis is unknown.