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Livia

Wife of Augustus

Livia Drusilla was originally married to Tiberius Claudius Nero until the emperor Augustus forced him to divorce her and become his own wife. Political marriages of this type were common during the Republic and early empire. Livia was a member of the powerful Claudian family and the new emperor needed her wealth and influence to establish his position. Livia had two children from her previous marriage, Nero Claudius Drusus and Tiberius Claudius Nero, who later became the emperor Tiberius. Drusus was a popular military figure but was killed by a fall from his horse while on maneuvers in the Summer of A. D. 9.

Livia was an intelligent and efficient administrative helper to her new husband who had his hands full consolidating his power while maintaining the appearance of not doing so at all costs. In spite of the political nature of their marriage, Augustus and Livia loved each other deeply. With his dying words, the emperor asked his wife of fifty-two years to remember their life together. The imperial couple had had no children together and Tiberius was the one to inherit the throne after the death of Augustus.

Livia continued to exert her influence over her son Tiberius until her death in A. D. 29 at the age of 85 years. It was probably because of her political acumen and ability to watch out for her son that the problems with the praetorian prefect Sejanus did not occur until two years before her death.


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