13 Mar 07 IN THE SPOTLIGHT. WOMEN IN THE BACKROUND IN HISTORY: LIVIA DRUSILA
The woman in whose shadow the foundations of the imperial era were laid. Livia Drusila , daughter of a republican senator who committed suicide after the battle of Philippi, married the young Caesar Octavian, who before her had already had two other women. Livia brought to the marriage two children from a previous marriage: the future emperor Tiberius, and Drusus, father of the future emperor Claudius. During the time that Octavian, already under the name of Augustus, ruled Rome, she Livia played an essential role in building the power of the princeps. She always behaved as the example of the perfect matron, the embodiment of all the feminine virtues that her wife intended to instil in all Roman aristocrats.
Livia, however, has gone down in history for her manipulative and ambitious facet, due to the ill will that the historians Tacitus and Suetonius, who lived long after her death, showed against her. According to this tradition, she Livia plotted a thousand and one treacheries to ensure that her son Tiberius was proclaimed heir to the imperial throne, even causing the death of several members of her own family. Augustus always trusted his wife, which is why many have seen him as a man manipulated by Livia.
After the death of her husband and the arrival of Tiberius on the throne, Livia tried to exert her influence on her son, but he developed a great resentment towards her mother, and removed her from any decision-making. . Livia died knowing that her own blood, and not just Augustus’s, was perpetuated on the imperial throne. At the time of her grandson Claudio she was deified as Diva Augusta, and as such she worshiped her for centuries.
Perfidious woman or exemplary matron, none like Livia managed to rise above the limitations imposed on her sex to establish herself as a fundamental piece in the political life of her time, to the point that if we consider Augustus the father of the Empire, in fair correspondence he would have to consider Livia as his mother.