Tiberius and Claudius

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  • Forced adoption of Tiberius on Augustus - Suetonius 
  • May have been involved with the death of Postumus - created a secure accession for Tiberius
  • Said to have been involved with the Senate from the beginning of Tiberius' Principate
  • Often "vexed" (suetonius) Tiberius - he wrote "forced on the emperor by his mother" (suetonius) on the bottom of the juror's list when Livia repeatedly asked him to put the name of a man who had been granted citizenship
  • Suetonius says she was the reason he moved to Capreae
  • According to Suetoinus, Tiberius said she wanted to be co-ruler of the empire
  • Seutonius writes "she was a woman, and must not interfere in the affairs of the state"
  • According to Suetoinius, Tiberius vetoed any honour given to his mother whilst she alive and after her death
  • However, Suetonius does also write that Tiberius did often rely on the advice his mother gave him



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  • Accused Asiaticus of not being able to keep his troops in order, and of having homosexual tendencies - she wanted his garden, according to Tacitus, and he was hvaing an affair with Poppaea Sabina, her rival for her lover, Mnester
  • Tacitus says she started a "new maniacal love affair" with Silius who was forced to divorce his wife, as he knew that "refusal meant certain death" (tacitus)
  • Tacitus tells us that Calpurnia revealed Messalina's love afair to Claudius - "now ended Claudius' ignorance of his own domestic affairs" "he is slow to discover deception, but quick to anger"
  • He killed anyone related to the affair, and almost spared Mnester because of his "indulgent nature" (Tacitus), but "the ex-claves [ freedmen] prevailed upon the emperor not to "
  • "so Claudius executed her" - some debate as to Claudius gave the order, or whether it was Narcissus, his secretary, who had taken over the command of the Praetorian Guard on the day of Messalina's arrest and death


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  • Wife of Germanicus and granddaughter of Augustus - significance
  • Brings Germanicus' ashed back to Rome, acting directly against the orders of Tiberius
  • Gains many supporters on the way back, and according to Suetonius, she is the first women to have her name as the title of a political group - Partes Aggrippinae
  • Agrippina accuses Piso of the death of Germanicus
  • She and her eldest son are exiled in AD29 to Pansa
  • There she starved herself to death
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  • mother of Livilla (now enagaged to Sejanus)
  • Revealed the plot to kill Drusus of Sejanus and Livilla's in a letter to Tiberius - led to Sejanus' death

General detail

  • Suetonius writes that women of notable class had begun to make a "profession of prostitution" by renouncing their class - Tiberius sent these women into exile to prevent more women from finding this 'loop hole' in the law
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Aggrippina (the younger)

  • Claudius marries her against the wishes of the Senate (according to Sueotnius) - the marriage secures imperial ties to Augustus
  • The law had to be changed to allow Claudius to marry his niece, and he later encouraged others to do the same, but no one followed his lead (suetonius)
  • She might have been having an affair with Pallas, Claudius' treasurer - Pallas was the only one to support Claudius' decision to marry Aggrippina
  • She wanted Nero to become the successor, not Britannicus (this proved important for Claudius, as Britannicus was too young and may have had epilepsy, and so he didn't have a secure succession)  -  Nero marries Octavia in order to strengthen the succession further
  • Suetonius writes that Aggrippina may have been the one that poisoned Claudius, with a plate of his favourite mushrooms - this is the most widely believed story, as Claudius was very suspicious, and it would have been very hard for anyone else to get close enought to him
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