Agrippina the YoungerMother of an Emperor, Wife of an Emperor, Killer of an Emperor

Family Background and Early Life
Agrippina the Younger was born on November the 6th, 15AD in modern day Cologne on the Rhine Frontier. She was the first daughter and fourth living child of Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus. She had 3 elder brothers, Nero, Drusus and Gaius Caligula (later known simply as Caligula), and 2 younger sisters, Drusilla and Julia Livilla. She lived during the Julio-Causian Dynasty and she was connected to many families during this dynasty because of the marriage of her parents. As a result, she is part of many family trees. The following family tree (taken from http://people.ucalgary.ca/~vandersp/Courses/stemmata/julclst.jpg) demonstrates Agrippina's ties with many families. Agrippina's name is highlighted in green.
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When she was born, her parents were in Cologne because her father had been commanding the Armies of Upper and Lower Germany. They had returned to Rome by 17AD, after their father was successful in the war. Later that year, Agrippina's parents along with one of her brothers, Gaius, travelled to Syria, leaving Agrippina and the rest of her siblings in Rome in the care of nurses and the extended family. This was the last time Agrippina would see her father as he died near Antioch in about 19AD. Her mother travelled back with his ashes in 20AD. Tiberius, the heir to the throne, became Emperor.

In 28AD, when Agrippina was just 13 years old, she was betrothed to and married her first husband, Domitius Ahenobarbus. This marriage had been arranged by Tiberius, Emperor and head of the imperial household. Domitius came from a distinguished family with a long line of consuls. He was made a consul himself in 32AD. In December, 37AD, Agrippina gave birth to hers and Domitius' son, the future Emperor Nero (Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus). Tiberius died in the same year, and Claudius, Agrippina's brother, ascended to the throne.

In 39AD, Agrippina, Livilla, and one of their cousins, were involved in a failed plot to murder Caligula and make Lepidus, Drusilla's widower, the new Emperor. Caligula had Lepidus executed and Agrippina and Livilla were exiled to Pandateria (now known as Ventotene), a part of the Pontine Islands. In 41AD, Caligula, his wife and his daughter were murdered and Agrippina's Uncle Claudius took to the throne. Claudius released Agrippina and Livilla from exile, however, unlike her sister, Agrippina had nothing except her son, Nero, to return to.

In 41AD, the same year Claudius became Emperor, Agrippina married her second husband, Gaius Sallustius Crispus. In 47AD, Crispus died and rumour spread that Agrippina poisoned him. In 49AD, Agrippina again remarried, this time her Uncle and the Emperor Claudius. The day that she married her Uncle, she became an Empress and the most powerful woman in the Roman Empire. She gained the title of Augusta, a title usually reserved for old age or for a matriarch of the Dynasty. In this position, she decided to remove anyone who she saw as a threat to her son Nero claiming the throne. In 50AD, Claudius made Nero the heir to the throne.

In 54AD, Claudius was murdered by Agrippina as he had started to favour Britannicus, his last surviving son, and was preparing him for the throne. Agrippina murdered Claudius by having the palace taster sprinkling poison on Claudius' dish of mushrooms. Agrippina then added poison to a feather Claudius was using to help him vomit to ensure that extra poison entered his system, and therefore, that he died. As soon as Claudius was out of the way, Nero became the Emperor of Rome. Agrippina was named a priestess and was allowed to visit senate meetings and watch and listen to them behind a curtain. This demonstrates that she had a lot of power.

In the first few months of Nero's reign, she controlled her son and her Empire. She slowly lost this control, however, for a number of reasons. The first of these was that she tried to stop him having an affair with Claudia Acte, a former slave, which she strongly disapproved of mainly because she thought that her position of power was in danger and she did not want a slave to take over her position. Secondly, Agrippina began to support Britannicus in his attempt to become emperor. This frightened Nero, as Britannicus was his potential rival. To stop him from becoming Emperor, Nero had Britannicus poisoned secretly.

In 55AD, to weaken her power, Nero took away Agrippina's titles, power, and guards. He also expelled her from the palace in 57AD. Agrippina was evetually murdered by her son, Nero in 59AD, in order that he would take over full reign of the palace.

Death
There are several stories of how Agrippina died, and the circumstances surrounding her death are uncertain due to historical contradictions and anti-Nero bias. According to Tacitus, Nero considered poisoning her, or stabbing her, but felt that these methods would be too difficult and suspicious, so he decided to build a boat that would sink. Agrippina, even though she knew of the plot, travelled on the boat and was nearly crushed by a lead ceiling, however, she just avoided it and her attendant was crushed instead. After the boat failed to sink from the collapsed ceiling, the crew sank the boat, however, Agrippina swam to shore. When news of Agrippina's survival reached Nero, he sent three assassins to stab her. The stabbing was successful.

Influences
Agrippina the Younger was influenced mainly by the male power and dominance that surrounded her in everything she did from a very early age. Because she was around males all the time and many members of her family had been or became emperors, within her awoke a thirst for power like her brothers had.

She had a brother that was an Emperor, a son that was an Emperor, and an Uncle that was an Emperor.

Career/Occupation
Agrippina the Younger was an Empress. Her rank in Roman society was higher than that of her husband, as she was the sister of an emperor, Caligula. Because she was so high up, she was allowed to attend senate meetings and watch and listen behind a curtain.

Agrippina murdered and deceived many people throughout her life. The first of these was her second husband, who it is suspected Agrippina poisoned. She then convinced Claudius, her Uncle to marry her, in order that her son, Nero, would become Emperor. Just 4 years after her marriage to Claudius, she murdered him so that Nero became the Emperor of Rome.

Major Noteworthy Achievements
Agrippina the Younger achieved many things thoughout her life, most of them evil. She managed to kill 2 people. The first was her second husband, and the second was her third husband, Claudius. She murdered Claudius in order that her son, Nero, would become Emperor.

Along with these evil deeds, she also managed to become one of the most influential women of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, and she was one of the very few women who was put into a position of power. This can be seen as she was given the title of Augusta, a title usually reserved for old age or a matriarch of the Dynasty. She was also allowed to attend senate meetings and watch and listen behind a curtain. Men were normally the only ones allowed to attend senate meetings.

She and her sisters also managed to get their images onto the back of Roman coins with their brother's image, the Empress Caligula, on the other side because they were the sisters of an Emperor.

Legacy
Agrippina's legacy to Rome was her influence over Claudius which caused him to make her son, Nero, Emperor, rather than his own son, Britannicus. This ensured that her direct descendent would rule the Roman Empire; and gave her, as his mother, direct influence over the rule of Rome.

She made history because she managed to poison the Roman Emperor, Claudius, which enabled her son Nero to become Emperor. She is also historically important as a woman who wielded great influence and power during the period of her marriage to Claudius and during the early years of Nero's reign.

Timeline
15AD - Agrippina born.
17AD - Family had returned to Rome by this date.
19AD - Germanicus, Agrippina's father, dies.
28AD - Marries first husband, Domitius Ahenobarbus.
29AD - Sent into exile by Caligula.
32AD - First husband, Domitius Ahenobarbus, is made a consul.
37AD - Gives birth to future Emperor Nero (originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus).
39AD - Agrippina and her sister, Livilla, are exiled by their brother, Caligula.
41AD - Claudius, Agrippina's brother, becomes Emperor.
- Marries her second husband, Gaius Sallustius Crispus.
47AD - Second husband dies suddenly. Agrippina is suspected of poisoning him.
49AD - Marries her Uncle, the Emperor Claudius.
- Agrippina becomes an Empress.
50AD - Claudius makes Nero heir to the imperial throne.
54AD - Agrippina murders Claudius. Nero takes the throne.
55AD - Nero removes Agrippina's power, titles and guards.
57AD - Agrippina is expelled from the palace by her son, Nero.
59AD - Murdered b her son, Nero.

Life
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Agrippina the Younger was born in Cologne on the Rhine Frontier.




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By 17AD, she had travelled back to Rome with the rest of her family. Here she lived until she was exiled by her brother in 39AD.




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Agrippina and her sister Livilla were then exiled to modern day Ventotene, a part of the Pontine Islands. This can be seen in the enlarged picture of the Pontine Islands. Rome can be seen in the smaller picture at the top, and the Pontine Islands are the islands with a box around them in the top picture. After she was exiled, Agrippina returned to Rome, where she lived for the rest of her life.



Primary Sources
external image h2005-mint-agrippina2-nero.jpg
This source is a coin from the time that Agrippina the Younger lived (54AD) and it depicts Agrippina the Younger and her son, the Emperor Nero. This was the first time that a highly ranked living woman appeared alongside the ruling emperor on a coin. An Emperor had never been so closely identified with his mother rather than his father andit very clearly shows the degree to which Nero relied on his mother during the early years of his rule.
This source can reveal to historians that Agrippina the Younger was a very powerful woman and she was highly regarded in Roman society. It is particularly significant because she is on the front of the coin with the Emperor. This suggests that she was a very powerful woman. It gives the impression that she had equal status with the Emperor.

AgrippinaII.jpg
This source is a coin depicting Claudius on one side and Agrippina on the other. The coin is important because it has "Augusta" written around Agrippina's image, and Agrippina was only the second woman to be awarded that title in her lifetime. It can reveal to historians that Agrippina was a very important woman. Also, it suggests that Agrippina had a heavy influence on Claudius during his reign.

agrippina2.jpg
This is a bust of Agrippina the Younger. In this bust, the physical features similar to Germanicus were brought out to remind the audience of Agrippina's family history. This source suggests that Agrippina was a very influential woman through the fact that she has the same facial features as her father, and she is part of the Imperial bloodline. Because men were normally in power, it also suggests that she was very powerful and highly regarded in Roman society.

Discussion
The three sources above depict the power and influence that Agrippina had over Roman society during her life. The bust shows a depiction of her with the facial features of Germanicus, her father, who was brother to Claudius, the Roman Emperor. This shows that Agrippina was well connected with the Imperial family. The silver coin, bearing the title "Augusta", shows that Agrippina was a very important woman, and was very influential during the reign of Claudius, her husband. The gold coin shows that her power and influence increased during the early years of Nero's rule. She is now depicted on the front of the coin facing Nero, rather than on the obverse, as was the case with the earlier coin.

Picture Gallery
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Bust of Caligula, Agrippina the Younger's brother
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Bust of Agrippina the Younger
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Bust of Germanicus, Agrippina the Younger's father
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Coin depicting Agrippina the Younger's son, the Emperor Nero
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Bust of Nero, Agrippina the Younger's son

Recommended Reading List
1. Aspects of Roman History - AD 14-117 by Richard Alston. Routledge, 1998. This is a good book and it includes a lot of family trees to help you understand Agrippina's family history. It also helps you to understand how all the families were related to each other.
2. http://www.roman-emperors.org/aggieii.htm - This website gives a good overview of Agrippina's early life and
3. http://www.heritage-history.com/www/heritage.php?Dir=characters&FileName=agrippina2.php - This website is good if you want a quick overview of Agrippina's life and if you want a brief overview of some other people living at the time of Agrippina.
4. http://www.romancoins.info/Wives1.html - This website has a variety of photos of coins from the Roman times.
5. http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/augustus.html - This website gives you detailed information about years in the Roman period.
6. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/historia/coins/r2/r10930.htm - This website gives a comprehensive and easy to understand biography of Agrippina's life.
7. http://www.boredofstudies.org/courses/arts/history/ancient/2002_AH_A_Agrippina_Sanchez.pdf - This website also gives you a comprehensive understanding of Agrippina the Younger's life, however, it is harder to understand.
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrippina_the_Younger#Empress_of_Rome - Wikipedia is a good site for getting the general gist of the life of Agrippina the Younger, however, it is not a very reliable source and should be checked against other, more reliable sources, before using information on it.
9. http://www.newcastle.edu.au/Resources/Schools/Humanities%20and%20Social%20Science/Events/Visualising%20Agrippina%20handout%20with%20pictures.pdf - This website is very useful and it gives detailed information about a wide range of sources relating to Agrippina the Younger's family.

10. Ancient Rome Voyages Through Time by Peter Ackroyd. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2005. This book gives a very good overview of Roman times and is written in an easy to understand way.

Activities
Crossword

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Across
2. Agrippina the Younger's uncle
3. Banished from your native land
4. Influence on Agrippina
7. Cause of death
Down
1. A Roman Dynasty
2. Agrippina the Younger's birthplace
5. Country of residence
6. Agrippina the Younger's son

Solution
Across
2. Claudius
3. Exiled
4. Male power
7. Murder
Down
1. Julio-Claudian Dynasty
2. Cologne
5. Rome
6. Nero

Double Puzzle
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Solution
Agrippina the Younger Germanicus Tiberius Caligula Cologne Nero Rome Empress
Julio-Claudian Dynasty

Wordsearch


S N I N P D K F G G J M T S K X Z F P T
U U E O T X K B E Y J A R S B G U C Z L
I Q I P O A J R M N R E W O P E L A M L
D K J R X N M U O U H E K J N F S B G G
U U A K E A Z E L T L T G T V M I U I C
A Q R N N B I J O I M N L V A N S P K O
L O B I G V I R C C O V P K W O T J Y N
C X C B U A B T S O P C A C E S E N O N
C U M A R R I A G E L S L M Y I R E L E
S O G H C Y K U H N N O P A U O S R P C
E Q E S K L T O S I I R G Q U P X O Z T
U B O O O P O S O U E O U N N D L Z L I
R O R E P M E C A S B Q E W E G I A T O
I K F H O J T V S N T O Z X R V I A Q N
B A Y L F I F L X I Y B P P U Z X U N S
E X I L E M S R N A Y D O N N H D C Z Q
K S C P B O K G H K R I Q U J G K J L T
U Q P S X S L A M O F Z G K J T J F Z D
Y T V N F Q A I R V Z I N C F O F C Z E
A G R I P P I N A T H E Y O U N G E R T
Agrippina the Younger
Brothers
Claudius
Coins
Cologne
Connections
Dynasty
Emperor
Empress
Exile
Gaius
Germanicus
Julio Claudian
Male power
Marriage
Nero
Poison
Sisters
Tiberius

Solution
(Over, Down, Direction) Sisters (17,4,SW)
Agrippina the Younger (3,19,N) Tiberius (12,8,N)
Brothers (11,1,SW)
Claudius (12,17,W)
Coins (20,6,NW)
Cologne (4,9,NE)
Connections (4,12,E)
Dynasty (14,10,E)
Emperor (14,1,SE)
Empress (1,3,S)
Exile (13,5,N)
Gaius (4,5,NE)
Germanicus (7,11,SE)
Julio Claudian (4,17,NE)
Male power (18,11,S)
Marriage (20,8,NW)
Nero (11,14,E)
Poison (9,18,W)

Comprehension
1. Where was Agrippina the Younger born?
2. What were the names of Agrippina the Younger's parents?
3. What were the names of Germanicus' parents?
4. What were the names of Agrippina the Elder's parents?
5. During which dynasty did Agrippina the Younger live?
6. What was the name of Domitius Ahenobarbus' son?
7. Where was Agrippina and her sister Livilla exiled to?
8. In which year did Agrippina become an Empress?
9. Why had Agrippina been born in Cologne?
10. What was the name of Agrippina's second husband?

Solution
1. Cologne on the Rhine Frontier. 2. Agrippins the Elder and Germanicus. 3. Nero Drusus and Antonia Minor. 4. Nero, Drusus, Gaius Caligula, Drusilla and Julia Livilla. 5. Julio-Claudian Dynasty. 6. Nero (Lusius Domitius Ahenobarbus). 7. Pandateria (modern day Ventotene). 8. 49AD. 9. Because her father had been commanding the armies of Upper and Lower Germany, and her mother had accompanied him. 10. Gaius Sallustius Crispus.

Design a Crest
You are to design a family crest for Agrippina the Younger. In your crest, you could include things that suggest power in Roman times. For example, wreaths used as crowns. Think about symbolism relating rulers to the Roman Gods. Be sure to include things that are relevant to Agrippina the Younger and her life.









Created by Emilie Glasson