His cognomen Publicola or Poplicola means in Latin ‘friend of the people‘. His mother named him this cognomen in honor of her step father consul Lucius Gellius Publicola and also the name Publicola is a cognomen that appears in Valeria’s paternal ancestry, the gens Valeria. Valeria has various paternal ancestors with the cognomen Publicola.
Very little is known on Publicola’s life. Publicola was quaestor in 41 BC and served as a Roman senator. Publicola is remembered from his political career as a distinguished orator. The great Roman poet and satirist Horace, celebrates Publicola’s oratory and mentions Publicola in his writings (Serm.i. 10.28) within the company of his maternal uncle Corvinus.
Publicola married an unnamed Roman woman and they had a son called Quintus Pedius, who was deaf and became a painter on the advice of Corvinus.