Agrippina: Mother of Nero (Roman Imperial Biographies) by Anthony A. Barrett

By Anthony A. Barrett

Agrippina the more youthful attained a degree of energy in first-century Rome unheard of for a girl. during this first biography of Agrippina in English, Anthony A. Barrett attracts at the most recent archaeological, numismatic, and historic proof to create a startling new photograph of this influential and misjudged woman.
According to historic assets, she completed her luck by way of plotting opposed to her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, via drowsing with him. even if she was once bold, Barrett argues that she made her means via skill and backbone instead of by way of sexual attract, and that her political contributions to her time appear to have been optimistic.

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He turned to his old friend and ally, Agrippa, the architect of the victory over Antony at Actium. Agrippa divorced his wife Marcella (Octavia’s daughter and Augustus’ niece) in 21 to marry the widowed Julia, and in 18 received tribunician powers for five years, a clear sign that he was to preside should Augustus not survive. The plan seemed to work well. In 20 a son, Gaius Caesar, was born to Julia and, to confirm the line, a second, Lucius Caesar, arrived in 17. Augustus was delighted, and soon after Lucius’ birth signalled his intentions by adopting both boys.

To avoid the conflict that would be inevitable if powerful noble families competed for power, Augustus may have thought it desirable for the succession to fall to someone from his own kin. But conveniently for him this noble motive would have coincided with a natural impulse to be succeeded by someone of his own blood line. The fact that he designated as successors a series of adopted, rather than natural, sons might have made his conduct a little easier for traditional Romans to stomach. But it should not be mistaken for deliberate policy.

Instances of overt and public involvement by Livia in her husband’s business are difficult to document, but they must have occurred. 12 As noted, it was the issue of the succession that was to preoccupy Livia, as it would Agrippina. Augustus’ position in the state, although given legitimacy by the traditional 15 FAMILY republican institutions he had manipulated, had no real precedent. The novelty of his situation made itself apparent when he came to consider what would happen after his death. Now Mommsen claimed that the principate was incompatible with heredity and that there was an inherent contradiction between the two.

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