Agrippina: Sister of Caligula, Wife of Claudius, Mother of by Anthony A. Barrett

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Sample text

21 The loss of his old friend Agrippa created special problems for Augustus. In his grandsons he had heirs of his own line, but there was no-one to safeguard their interests after his death. Julia would clearly have to remarry, and the obvious candidate for the vacant position of husband was Livia’s older son Tiberius. He had remained essentially outside the line of succession up to this point, and had pursued his own outstanding diplomatic and military career. 22 Tiberius thus offers a perfect object lesson in the folly of the pursuit of power.

But her true qualities would come to the fore almost forty years later, when her daughter Julia was sent into a bleak exile and Scribonia volunteered to accompany her. In any case no-one can have been deceived since Octavian proceeded immediately to arrange his marriage to the similarly pregnant, and similarly divorced, Livia. 5 In 36 BC Octavian was granted the sacrosanctity enjoyed by the tribunes, and in the following year the same privilege was legally granted to his wife Livia and his sister Octavia.

Augustus’ resentment was evident—he pulled down her splendid house (the fate of the dwarf is unrecorded) and decreed that her ashes were to be refused admission to his Mausoleum. 34 This affair raises the usual questions about the severity of this Julia’s punishment for apparently moral lapses. 35 The scholiast who, among other blunders, conflates Julia with her mother, must be treated with considerable caution. There is some evidence that Paullus had indeed been involved in a conspiracy, but it occurred some two years earlier and this lapse of time surely dissociates his fall from Julia’s.

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