Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire by Anthony A. Barrett

By Anthony A. Barrett

During this dynamic new biography - the 1st on Agrippina in English - Professor Barrett makes use of the newest archaeological, numismatic and ancient proof to supply a detailed and specific examine of her lifestyles and profession. He indicates how Agrippina's political contribution to her time turns out actually to were optimistic, and that once she is judged by way of her achievements she calls for admiration. Revealing the real determine in the back of the propaganda and the political machinations of which she used to be able, he assesses the impression of her marriage to the emperor Claudius, at the kingdom and her kin. ultimately, he uncovered her one genuine failing - her courting together with her son, the monster of her personal making to whom, in awful and violent conditions, she might ultimately fall victim.

From Library Journal
Classics student Barrett (Caligula, S. & S., 1991) has utilized glossy historiography to the topic of 1 of the main well-known, quite, notorious girls of the traditional world?the daughter of Germanicus, sister of Caligula, spouse of Claudius, and mom of Nero, who ultimately killed her. He doesn't exonerate Agrippina the more youthful (15-59 A.D.) rather a lot as supply believable causes for her habit and placed her activities in a formal viewpoint. His chapters are cleverly, insightfully prepared round her relationships; yet regardless of strength repetition with this layout, he avoids leaving such familial impressions with the reader. Barrett works from the basis that during a monarchical patriarchy the one venues to energy for the formidable lady have been extralegal. Agrippina's tale is a story of the 1st century of the empire, from the adoption of Octavius to the various debts of her sensational dying. this can be a awesome publication, with copious notes and appendixes. good prompt for tutorial libraries with classics and women's reviews collections.?Clay G. Williams, Ferris country Univ., substantial Rapids, Mich.
Copyright 1996 Reed enterprise info, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
One of history's such a lot infamous monsters is rehabilitated as a politically profitable girl whose energy and recognition in first-century Rome fell sufferer to Roman sexism. Barrett (Classics/Univ. of British Columbia; Caligula, 1990) starts off with a quick heritage of robust Roman ladies ahead of Agrippina, together with her great-grandmother Livia, spouse of the 1st Roman emperor, Augustus. a lot of this part is overly normal, analyzing from time to time like a recap of I, Claudius. yet this heritage earnings importance as soon as Agrippina the more youthful makes her visual appeal. Barrett persuasively argues that Roman chroniclers have been not able to determine Agrippina or her predecessors other than during the stereotype of the politically formidable lady: a seductive poisoner without experience of ethical bounds. by means of conscientiously weighing the historic checklist, making an allowance for the distorting strength of misogynist folklore, the writer disputes such commonplaces because the concept that Agrippina murdered her husband, Claudius, and slept along with her son Nero. His Agrippina is a politically adroit consensus-builder whose effect over emperors contributed to the main enlightened parts in their reigns. Her diplomatic ability falters basically within the dealing with of her teenage son--a miscalculation that ends up in her execution in fifty four a.d. on his orders. That Agrippina's homicide was once celebrated as a simply comeuppance demonstrates the patience of the ``age-old resentment of robust and impressive women.'' even though Barrett attracts no modern analogies, the reader may perhaps simply accomplish that. regardless of the high-mindedness of his significant subject, the writer is often alert to the pleasures of ``juicy anecdote[s]'' (such as Agrippina's intended incest together with her brother Caligula), and recounts them in complete, if basically to discredit them. A scholarly but obtainable biography that principally succeeds in changing Grand Guignol with whatever extra fulfilling: the tragedy of a ordinary chief born lady in a society afraid to be led by way of girls. (illustrations, now not visible) (History booklet membership choice) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus affiliates, LP. All rights reserved.

'The most precious a part of the booklet is the stock of resource fabric on the finish the place not just the extra typical literary facts is catalogued however the cash, statues and inscriptions that includes Agrippina.' - Miriam Griffin, background Today

About the Author
Anthony Barrett is Professor of Classics on the college of British Columbia in Vancouver. He studied on the Universities of Oxford, Durham and Toronto and has written widely within the box of classical antiquity.

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It has often been observed that there was a fundamental difference between them, in that Livia did not earn a reputation for exploiting sex as a political weapon. Tacitus, for instance, concedes that she possessed an ‘old-fashioned’ virtue. But sex was clearly an important factor in clinching her marriage to Octavian. 8 From this point on, comparison between the supposed sexual standards of Livia and Agrippina is hardly relevant; Livia had nothing political to gain from sexual intrigue, since her husband the emperor survived long enough for her to ensure the succession for her son.

Unfortunately, Julia the Younger chose to follow in their mother Julia’s footsteps, which not unexpectedly also led to her mother’s fate. 33 Julia the Younger was married to Lucius Aemilius Paullus, consul in AD 1 and they produced a daughter Aemilia Lepida but beyond this we know very little of her earlier life, apart from Pliny’s remark that Julia owned the largest house in Rome and the smallest dwarf. Tacitus informs us that she was convicted of adultery (in AD 8) and exiled to Trimerus off the Apulian coast, where she was sustained by allowances from Livia until her death twenty years later.

When little Caligula joined his mother he became the favourite of the soldiers, dressing up in a diminutive soldier’s uniform and wearing small caligae, the hobnailed boots worn by Roman soldiers, which gave him his familiar nickname. Tacitus’ handling of this episode is interesting. Caligula’s imposture of a miniature soldier was almost certainly his mother’s idea, or at the very least condoned by her, and was an undisguised attempt to court the popularity of the legions, behaviour which, had it been exhibited by her daughter, would have been condemned outright as a shameless scheme to extend her influence.

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