Influential Imperial Women: Livia Drucilla

1024 Words5 Pages
Livia Drucilla was one of the most influential imperial women during and after the principates of her husband Augustus and son-in-law Tiberius. Even though the imperial women who followed such as Agrippina the Elder and Younger emulated her actions and also embodied the same role, Livia was the original first lady of Rome. The role of the women in the Julio-Claudian era was to legitimize and support the emperors as wives, mothers, and sisters. Livia was able to support both her husband Augustus’ new polices as well as have influence during the reign of Tiberius through her public works and associations with various goddesses. As a result of her noble family lineage, Livia’s public image functioned to legitimize Augustus’ rule as well as gain…show more content…
By wearing a stola between her tunica and palla Livia was able to support her public image of a modest woman who reflected the Augustinian values.21 Even though the women created an image of modestly and respectability through their clothing their power and influence was not ignored as the Emperor Claudius famously called Livia “an Odysseus in petticoats”22 or a more accurate translation would be an Odysseus in a stola. The exact phrase is Ulixes stolatus and in Roman literature when the stola was written in the formal stolata it was an indication of high rank. What the emperor Claudius was able to identify was, perhaps, the true power of the imperial women. Although they do not hold active office they had an important role in supporting the men who surround them. It could be argued that without the public image and support of the women many of the Julio-Claudian men would have been unable to be as successful as they were. Certainly, in the case of Nero, it could be convincingly argued that it was only because of his mother that he was able to gain the principate. Even though, Agrippina the Younger never held any political office her power and influence made her son emperor. However, Nero wanted to show that he was emperor in his own right and this could be directly connected to his demise as without her support he could not support himself. The imperial women of the Julio-Claudian principate where all Odysseus’ in

More about Influential Imperial Women: Livia Drucilla

Open Document