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 unparalleled 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 photo of this influential and misjudged woman.
According to old assets, she accomplished her luck through plotting opposed to her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, by way of sound asleep with him. even if she was once bold, Barrett argues that she made her manner via skill and resolution instead of via sexual attract, and that her political contributions to her time appear to have been optimistic.

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Sample text

It is consequently difficult in individual cases to determine to what extent their influence is real and to what extent it arises from rhetorical exaggeration, feeding long-held imaginary fears by drawing upon familiar stereotypes. Certainly there was never a question of women holding political office in their own right – the exercise of power would always be from the domus (‘home’) through their husbands. In the late republic the use of marriage as a political tool was given a new twist and women began to pursue marriage connections on their own initiative, to further their own ambitions.

She could not base her status on tenure of office or by virtue of great achievements in war. She enjoyed her privileged position only by virtue of being the wife of the princeps. Perhaps her great achievement was the way in which she managed to turn 14 FAMILY this ambiguity to her advantage. It enabled her to cast her own definition of her political role, which gave her an influence over affairs of state to a degree unprecedented for a woman. Generally, she appears to have conducted herself with great skill, as a discreet background adviser, with a good sense of how to tread the careful mid-course between docile passivity and unwelcome intrusion into spheres where women by law, custom or social climate would not be welcomed.

Tacitus saw him as the epitome of moral rectitude and admired his civile ingenium, mira comitas (‘courteous nature and exceptional affability’), in contrast to the aloofness and arrogance of Tiberius. 4 Such a paragon of virtue was not, in fact, unique. For parallels we need look no further than the fawning adulation that welcomed the accessions both of Caligula and Nero, models of charm, promise and civility until grim reality intervened. Germanicus preserved his reputation by dying early, before he could become emperor and be obliged to face major responsibilities and problems.

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