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By Anthony A. Barrett

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Additional resources for Agrippina: Sister of Caligula, Wife of Claudius, Mother of Nero (Roman Imperial Biographies)

Example text

The death of their only child broke the last bond, and the affection gradually turned to contempt. 26 However irksome she found her father, Julia could never forget that she was his daughter. Hence she grew to despise Tiberius as her inferior—the first woman to claim superiority through possession of the divine blood of Augustus. It was a claim that would be repeated by her daughter, Agrippina the Elder, and in turn by her daughter Agrippina. She was encouraged in her contempt for Tiberius by her current lover, Sempronius Gracchus, a kinsman of the famed Gracchi brothers and the first member of the family to be mentioned in the record since the days of his famous predecessors.

10 This tradition continued into the imperial period. 11 No one would have been surprised by Agrippina’s tight control over the upbringing and education of her son Nero, or over the potentially more sinister control that she exercised over the tutors of her stepson Britannicus. While mothers were expected to communicate their learning to their children, it was from their fathers that they supposedly acquired their inborn talents and they were not reluctant to proclaim their paternal inheritance.

24 That there were private difficulties between Julia and Tiberius cannot be doubted, and it is hardly surprising. Julia was a highly intelligent woman, well read and knowl-edgeable, with a penchant for lively and witty company. She was also quite ‘bohemian’ and considered any behaviour socially acceptable if her own personal inclinations recommended it. She shocked her father by her roué young friends and her provocative style of dress. Augustus, who had pretensions to old-fashioned morality and austerity, was not well suited to be the father of an independent and highly spirited daughter.

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