By Anthony A. Barrett
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Extra info for Agrippina: Sister of Caligula, Wife of Claudius, Mother of Nero (Roman Imperial Biographies)
3 Daughter Of all the people who would play a part in Agrippina’s life none had a greater influence on her than her parents. She would barely have known her father—she was not yet five when she last saw him—but she was always conscious of his almost mystical reputation, and of the compelling magic of his name. She could hardly have felt otherwise, since she spent her formative years with a mother who was obsessed by the notion that her family was born to rule and that her husband, endowed by nature to be an outstanding princeps, had been cheated of his proper birthright.
Rank certainly had its privileges and she would have had complete freedom in the administration of her wealth, since she received the exemption from guardianship granted under her husband’s moral legislation to those worthy ladies who had, unlike Livia, actually borne three children. She was also exempt from the provisions of the Lex Voconia, which limited the amount a woman could inherit. 7 If the position of Augustus within the Roman state was made deliberately ambiguous, then that of his wife was even more so.
The custom became well established. 22 From this time we see an assault on the established tradition that had generally excluded females from the political arena. 24 Again, there is need for caution. The notion that women of high birth played a key role in late republican politics became almost formulaic among historical writers. 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.
Agrippina: Sister of Caligula, Wife of Claudius, Mother of Nero (Roman Imperial Biographies) by Anthony A. Barrett