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LIVIA DRUSILLA (c. 55 B.C.–A.D. 29)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 811 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LIVIA DRUSILLA (c. 55 B.C.–A.D. 29), Roman empress, was originally the wife of Tiberius Claudius Nero, by whom she had. two sons, Drusus and Tiberius (afterwards emperor). But she attracted the attention of the future emperor Augustus, who in 38 compelled her husband to divorce her and married her himself, having first got rid of his own wife Scribonia. Her two sons, at their dying father's request, were entrusted to the guardianship of Augustus, to whom she bore no children. Livia was suspected of committing various crimes to secure the throne for Tiberius, whereas Augustus naturally favoured the claims of his blood-relatives. The premature deaths of his nephew Marcellus (whom he had at first fixed upon as his successor) and of his grandsons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the banishment of his grandson Agrippa Postumus, and even his own death, were attributed to her. But in any case Augustus's affection for his wife appears to have suffered no diminution up to the last; by his will he declared her and Tiberius (whom he had adopted in A.D. 4) his heirs; Livia inherited a third of his property; she was adopted into the Julian gens, and henceforth assumed the name of Julia Augusta. The senate also elected her chief priestess of the college founded in honour of the deified Augustus. She had now reached the summit of her ambition, and at first acted as joint-ruler with Tiberius. Tiberius, however, soon became tired of the maternal yoke; his retirement to Capreae is said to have been caused by his desire to escape from her. Livia continued to live quietly at Rome, in the full enjoyment of authority, until her death at an advanced age. Tiberius appears to have received the news with indifference, if not with satisfaction; he absented himself from the funeral, and refused to allow her apotheosis; her will was suppressed for a long time and only carried out, and the legacies paid, by Caligula. See Tacitus, Annals, i. v.; Dio Cassius liii. 33, lv. 14-22, lviii. 2, lix. 2; Suetonius, Tiberius, 50, 51; J. Aschbach, Livia, Gemahlin des Kaisers Augustus (1864) ; V. Gardthausen, Augustus and seine Zeit, i. 1018 foll., ii. 631 foil.
End of Article: LIVIA DRUSILLA (c. 55 B.C.–A.D. 29)
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