Nola, Roman Republic
|Died||11 BC (aged 58)|
Rome, Roman Empire
|Spouse|| Gaius Claudius Marcellus (consul 50 BC) |
|Issue|| Marcus Claudius Marcellus |
Claudia Marcella Major
Claudia Marcella Minor
|Mother||Atia Balba Caesonia|
Octavia the Younger (Latin : Octavia Minor ; 69–11 BC) was the elder sister of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus (known also as Octavian), the half-sister of Octavia the Elder, and the fourth wife of Mark Antony. She was also the great-grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, maternal grandmother of the Emperor Claudius, and paternal great-grandmother and maternal great-great-grandmother of the Emperor Nero.
One of the most prominent women in Roman history, Octavia was respected and admired by contemporaries for her loyalty, nobility and humanity, and for maintaining traditional Roman feminine virtues.
Full sister to Augustus, Octavia was the only daughter born of Gaius Octavius' second marriage to Atia Balba Caesonia, niece of Julius Caesar.Octavia was born in Nola, present-day Italy; her father, a Roman governor and senator, died in 59 BC from natural causes. Her mother later remarried, to the consul Lucius Marcius Philippus. Octavia spent much of her childhood travelling with her parents. Marcius was in charge of educating Octavia and her brother Octavian, later known as Augustus.
Before 54 BC, her stepfather arranged for her to marry Gaius Claudius Marcellus (consul 50 BC). Marcellus was a man of consular rank, a man who was considered worthy of her and was consul in 50 BC. He was also a member of the influential Claudian family and descended from Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a famous general in the Second Punic War. In 54 BC, her great uncle Caesar is said to have been anxious for her to divorce her husband so that she could marry Pompey who had just lost his wife Julia (Julius Caesar's daughter, and thus Octavia's cousin once removed). The couple did not want to get a divorce so insteadPompey declined the proposal and married Cornelia Metella. So Octavia's husband continued to oppose Julius Caesar including in the crucial year of his consulship 50 BC. Civil war broke out when Caesar invaded Italy from Gaul in 49 BC.
Marcellus, a friend of Cicero, was an initial opponent of Julius Caesar when Caesar invaded Italy, but did not take up arms against his wife's great uncle at the Battle of Pharsalus, and was eventually pardoned by him. In 47 BC he was able to intercede with Caesar for his cousin and namesake, also a former consul, then living in exile. Presumably, Octavia continued to live with her husband from the time of their marriage (she would have been about 15 when they married) to her husband's death when she was about 29. They had three surviving children: Claudia Marcella Major, Claudia Marcella Minor and Marcus Claudius Marcellus.All three were born in Italy. Although according to the anonymous Περὶ τοῦ καισαρείου γένους Octavia bore Marcellus four sons and four daughters. Her husband Marcellus died in May 40 BC.
By a Senatorial decree, Octavia married Mark Antony in October 40 BC, as his fourth wife (his third wife Fulvia having died shortly before). This marriage had to be approved by the Senate, as she was pregnant with her first husband's child, and was a politically motivated attempt to cement the uneasy alliance between her brother Octavian and Mark Antony; however, Octavia does appear to have been a loyal and faithful wife to Antony.Between 40 and 36 BC, she travelled with Antony to various provinces and lived with him in his Athenian mansion. There she raised her children by Marcellus as well as Antony's two sons; Antyllus and Iullus, as well as the two daughters of her marriage to Antony, Antonia Major and Antonia Minor who were born there.
The alliance was severely tested by Antony's abandonment of Octavia and their children in favor of his former lover Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt (Antony and Cleopatra had met in 41 BC, an interaction that resulted in Cleopatra bearing twins, a boy and a girl). After 36 BC, Octavia returned to Rome with the daughters of her second marriage. On several occasions she acted as a political advisor and negotiator between her husband and brother.For example, in the spring of 37 BC, while pregnant with her daughter Antonia Minor, she was considered essential to an arms deal held at Tarentum, in which Antony and Augustus agreed to aid each other in their Parthian and Sicilian campaigns. She was hailed as a "marvel of womankind." In 35 BC, after Antony suffered a disastrous campaign in Parthia, she brought fresh troops, provisions, and funds to Athens. There Antony had left a letter for her, instructing her to go no further. Mark Antony divorced Octavia in late 33 BC. Following Antony's rejection of her and their divorce, Octavia became sole caretaker of their children. She took his sons Antyllus and Iullus with her when she left Antony's house in 33. He had to sue her for custody and won back his sons, but not their daughters. After Antony's suicide in 30 BC, her brother executed Antyllus but allowed Octavia to raise Iullus and Antony's children by Cleopatra: The two sons Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus, and one daughter, Cleopatra Selene II.
In 35 BC Augustus accorded a number of honours and privileges to Octavia, and Augustus' wife Livia, previously unheard of for women in Rome. They were granted sacrosanctitas, meaning it was illegal to verbally insult them. Previously, this had been only granted to tribunes. Livia and Octavia were made immune from tutela, the male guardianship which all women in Rome except for the Vestal Virgins were required to have. This meant they could freely manage their own finances. Finally, they were the first women in Rome to have statues and portraits displayed en masse in public places. Previously, only one woman, Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, had been part of the public statues displayed in Rome. In Augustus' rebuilding of Rome as a city of marble, Octavia was featured. In all her representations she wore the "nodus" hairstyle, which at the time was considered conservative and dignified, and worn by women from many classes.
Augustus adored, but never adopted, her son Marcellus. When Marcellus died of illness in 23 BC unexpectedly, Augustus was thunderstruck, Octavia disconsolate almost beyond recovery.
Aelius Donatus, in his Life of Vergil, states that Virgil
recited three whole books [of his Aeneid] for Augustus: the second, fourth, and sixth—this last out of his well-known affection for Octavia, who (being present at the recitation) is said to have fainted at the lines about her son, "… You shall be Marcellus" [Aen. 6.884]. Revived only with difficulty, she sent Virgil ten thousand sesterces for each of the verses."
She may have never fully recovered from the death of her son and retired from public life, [ citation needed ] Some [ who? ] dispute Seneca's version, for Octavia publicly opened the Library of Marcellus, dedicated in his memory, while her brother completed the Marcellus's theatre in his honor. Undoubtedly Octavia attended both ceremonies, as well as the Ara Pacis ceremony to welcome her brother's return in 13 from the provinces. She was also consulted in regard to, and in some versions advised, that Julia marry Agrippa after her mourning for Marcellus ended. Agrippa had to divorce Octavia's daughter Claudia Marcella Major in order to marry Julia, so Augustus wanted Octavia's endorsement very much.except on important occasions. The major source that Octavia never recovered is Seneca ( De Consolatione ad Marciam , II.) but Seneca may wish to show off his rhetorical skill with hyperbole, rather than adhere to fact.
Octavia died of natural causes. Suetonius says she died in Augustus' 54th year, thus 11 BC with Roman inclusive counting.Her funeral was a public one, with her sons-in-law (Drusus, Ahenobarbus, Iullus Antony, and possibly Paullus Aemillius Lepidus) carrying her to the grave in the Mausoleum of Augustus. Drusus delivered one funeral oration from the rostra; Augustus the other and gave her the highest posthumous honors (e.g. building the Gate of Octavia and Porticus Octaviae in her memory). Augustus also had the Roman senate declare his sister to be a goddess. Augustus declined some other honors decreed to her by the senate, for reasons unknown. She was one of the first Roman women to have coins minted bearing her image; only Antony's previous wife Fulvia pre-empted her.
Octavia and her first husband had one son and two daughters to survive to adulthood.
Octavia and Mark Antony had two surviving daughters by their marriage (her second, his fourth), and both were the ancestors of later Roman emperors.
|Ancestors of Octavia the Younger|
Three Roman emperors, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, were amongst the most famous of her descendants.
A highly fictionalized version of Octavia's early life is depicted in the 2005 television series Rome , in which Octavia of the Julii (Kerry Condon) seduces and sleeps with her younger brother, Gaius Octavian, has a lesbian affair with Servilia of the Junii (the series' version of Servilia) and a romantic relationship with Marcus Agrippa (based on the historical Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa).
Octavia's later life, around the time of the death of Marcellus, is depicted in the 1976 television adaptation of Robert Graves's novel I, Claudius . The role was played by Angela Morant, and should not be confused with her great-granddaughter Claudia Octavia (also referred to as "Octavia" in the series), Claudius's daughter and wife of the future emperor Nero, who was played by Cheryl Johnson.
In the 1963 film Cleopatra, she is played by Jean Marsh in an uncredited role.
Vipsania Agrippina, commonly referred to as Agrippina the Elder, was a prominent member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was born in c. 14 BC the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a close supporter of Rome's first emperor Augustus, and Augustus' daughter Julia the Elder. At the time of her birth, her brothers Lucius and Gaius were the adoptive sons of Augustus and were his heirs until their deaths in AD 2 and 4, respectively. Following their deaths, her cousin Germanicus was made the adoptive son of Tiberius as part of Augustus' succession scheme in the adoptions of AD 4 in which Tiberius was adopted by Augustus. As a corollary to the adoption, Agrippina was wed to Germanicus in order to bring him closer to the Julian family.
The Julio-Claudian dynasty was the first Roman imperial dynasty, consisting of the first five emperors—Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero—or the family to which they belonged. They ruled the Roman Empire from its formation under Augustus in 27 BC until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide. The name "Julio-Claudian dynasty" is a historiographical term derived from the two main branches of the imperial family: the Julii Caesares and Claudii Nerones.
Marcus (Vipsanius) Agrippa was a Roman general, statesman and architect. He was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to Augustus and was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable buildings in the history of Rome and for important military victories, most notably at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC against the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. As a result of these victories, Octavian became the first Roman Emperor, adopting the name of Augustus Caesar. Agrippa assisted Augustus in making Rome "a city of marble" and renovating aqueducts to give all Romans, from every social class, access to the highest quality public services. He was responsible for the creation of many baths, porticoes and gardens, as well as the original Pantheon. Agrippa was also husband to Julia the Elder, maternal grandfather to Caligula, and maternal great-grandfather to the Emperor Nero.
Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark Antony or Anthony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from a constitutional republic into the autocratic Roman Empire.
Around the start of the Common Era, the family trees of the gens Julia and the gens Claudia became intertwined into the Julio-Claudian family tree as a result of marriages and adoptions.
This article concerns the period 19 BC – 10 BC.
Livia Drusilla, also known as Julia Augusta after her formal adoption into the Julian family in AD 14, was the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus throughout his reign, as well as his adviser. She was the mother of the emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the emperor Claudius, paternal great-grandmother of the emperor Caligula, and maternal great-great-grandmother of the emperor Nero. She was deified by Claudius who acknowledged her title of Augusta.
Antonia Minor, also known as Antonia the Younger or simply Antonia was the younger of two daughters of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor. She was a niece of the Emperor Augustus, sister of Cleopatra Selene II, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, mother of the Emperor Claudius, and both maternal great-grandmother and paternal great-aunt of the Emperor Nero. She was additionally the maternal great-aunt of the Empress Valeria Messalina and Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix, the paternal grandmother of Claudia Antonia, Claudia Octavia, and Britannicus and the maternal grandmother of Julia Livia and Tiberius Gemellus.
The gens Claudia, sometimes written Clodia, was one of the most prominent patrician houses at ancient Rome. The gens traced its origin to the earliest days of the Roman Republic. The first of the Claudii to obtain the consulship was Appius Claudius Sabinus Regillensis, in 495 BC, and from that time its members frequently held the highest offices of the state, both under the Republic and in imperial times.
Julia Livia, was the daughter of Drusus Julius Caesar and Livilla, and granddaughter of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. She was also a first cousin of the emperor Caligula, and niece of the emperor Claudius.
Nero Julius Caesar was the adopted grandson and heir of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, alongside his brother Drusus. Born into the prominent Julio-Claudian dynasty, Nero was the son of Tiberius' general and heir, Germanicus. After the deaths of his father and of Tiberius' son, Drusus the Younger, Nero and his brother Drusus were adopted together by Tiberius in September AD 23. As a result of being heirs of the emperor, he and his brother enjoyed accelerated political careers.
Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was a close relative of the five Roman Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Domitius was the only son of Antonia Major and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. His siblings were Domitia Lepida the Elder and Domitia Lepida the Younger, mother of the empress Valeria Messalina. He was brother-in-law and first cousin once removed of the Emperor Caligula, maternal cousin of the Emperor Claudius and the biological father of the Emperor Nero.
Claudia Marcella was the name of several women of ancient Rome of the Marcelli branch of the Claudia gens. By the late Republican period girls from this branch were often called "Clodia".
Tiberius Claudius Nero was a politician who lived in the last century of the Roman Republic. He was the first husband of Livia, but was forced to divorce her in 38 BC so that she could marry the future emperor Augustus. Nero was the father of the second Roman emperor Tiberius,, and Roman general Nero Claudius Drusus. He was also the paternal grandfather of Emperor Claudius, General Germanicus, and Consul Drusus Julius Caesar, paternal great-grandfather of Emperor Caligula and Empresses Agrippina the Younger and Claudia Octavia and maternal great-great-grandfather of Emperor Nero.
Iullus Antonius, also known as Iulus, was a magnate and poet in ancient Rome. He was the second son of Roman general Mark Antony and Antony's third wife Fulvia. He is best known for being the famous lover of Julia the Elder. He was the full brother of Marcus Antonius Antyllus, half-brother of Clodia Pulchra through his mother's first marriage, half-brother of Antonia Major and Antonia Minor through his father's marriage to Octavia Minor, and half-brother of Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II and Ptolemy Philadelphus through his father's marriage to Cleopatra VII. His stepsiblings were Marcellus, Claudia Marcella Major, Caesarion and Claudia Marcella Minor. He was also stepson to Octavia Minor and Cleopatra VII.
Marcus Claudius Marcellus was the eldest son of Gaius Claudius Marcellus and Octavia Minor, sister of Augustus. He was Augustus' nephew and closest male relative, and began to enjoy an accelerated political career as a result. He was educated with his cousin Tiberius and traveled with him to Hispania where they served under Augustus in the Cantabrian Wars. In 25 BC he returned to Rome where he married his cousin Julia, who was the emperor's daughter. Marcellus and Augustus' general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa were the two popular choices as heir to the empire. According to Suetonius, this put Agrippa at odds with Marcellus, and is the reason why Agrippa traveled away from Rome to Mytilene in 23 BC.
The Julii Caesares were the most illustrious family of the patrician gens Julia. The family first appears in history during the Second Punic War, when Sextus Julius Caesar was praetor in Sicily. His son, Sextus Julius Caesar, obtained the consulship in 157 BC; but the most famous descendant of this stirps is Gaius Julius Caesar, a general who conquered Gaul and became the undisputed master of Rome following the Civil War. Having been granted dictatorial power by the Roman Senate and instituting a number of political and social reforms, he was assassinated in 44 BC. After overcoming several rivals, Caesar's adopted son and heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was proclaimed Augustus by the senate, inaugurating what became the Julio-Claudian line of Roman emperors.
Claudia Marcella Major (PIR2 C 1102; Major Latin for the elder) also known as Marcella the Elder was the senior niece of Roman emperor Augustus, being the eldest daughter of his sister Octavia Minor and her first husband Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor.
Claudia Marcella Minor (PIR2 C 1103, Minor Latin for the younger, born late 40 BC probably) as the younger daughter of Octavia the Younger and her first husband Gaius Claudius Marcellus. She was also known as Marcella Minor, Claudia Marcella the Younger and Marcella the Younger was the second daughter of Octavia Minor and her first husband Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor.
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Octavia the Younger