Antonia Minor

Roman imperial dynasties
Julio-Claudian dynasty

The Juno Ludovisi
(a portrait of Antonia Minor)
Augustus
Children
   Natural - Julia the Elder
   Adoptive - Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, Agrippa Postumus, Tiberius
Tiberius
Children
   Natural - Julius Caesar Drusus
   Adoptive - Germanicus
Caligula
Children
   Natural - Julia Drusilla
   Adoptive - Tiberius Gemellus
Claudius
Children
   Natural - Claudia Antonia, Claudia Octavia, Britannicus
   Adoptive - Nero
Nero
Children
   Natural - Claudia Augusta


Antonia Minor (PIR2 A 885), also known as Antonia the Younger or simply Antonia (31 January 36 BC-September/October 37).

Antonia is one of the most prominent Roman women. She is celebrated for her virtue and beauty. She is the youngest daughter to Octavia Minor and Mark Antony and is also the favorite niece of her mother’s youngest brother Rome’s first Emperor Augustus.

Biography

Birth and early life

She was born in Athens, Greece and after 36 BC was brought to Rome by her mother and her siblings. Antonia never had the chance to know her father, Marc Antony, who divorced her mother in 32 BC and committed suicide in 30 BC. She was raised by her mother, her uncle and her aunt, Livia Drusilla. Due to inheritances, she owned properties in Italy, Greece and Egypt. She was a wealthy and influential woman who often received people, who were visiting Rome. Antonia had many male friends and they included wealthy Jewish freeman Tiberius Drusus Alexander and Lucius Vitellius, a consul and father of future Emperor Aulus Vitellius.

Marriage to Drusus

In 16 BC, she married the Roman general and consul Nero Claudius Drusus. Drusus was the step-son of her uncle Augustus, second son to Livia Drusilla and brother to future Emperor Tiberius. They had several children, but only three survived. Their children were the famous general Germanicus, Livilla and the Roman Emperor Claudius. Antonia was grandmother to Emperor Caligula, Empress Agrippina the Younger and great-grandmother and great-aunt to Emperor Nero. Drusus died in June 9 BC in Germany, due to complications from injuries he sustained after falling from a horse. After his death, although pressured by her uncle to remarry, she never did.

Antonia raised her children in Rome and had Tiberius as their guardian. Germanicus died in 19. On the orders of Tiberius and Livia Drusilla, Antonia was forbidden to go to his funeral. When Livia Drusilla died in June 29, Antonia took care of Caligula, Julia Agrippina, Julia Drusilla, Julia Livilla and later Claudia Antonia, her younger grandchildren.

Antonia's children

Germanicus was very popular among the citizens of Rome, who enthusiastically celebrated all his victories. He was also a favourite with Augustus, his grandfather-in-law, who, for some time, considered him as heir to the Empire. He was married to Agrippina the Elder, daughter of Julia the Elder (Augustus's own daughter) and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. He had nine children by Agrippina but only six lived to adulthood. They were Nero Caesar, Drusus Caesar, Gaius Caesar (Caligula), Julia Agrippina, Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla. In 4, Augustus finally decided in favour of Tiberius, his stepson, but was compelled to adopt Germanicus as a son and name him his heir. After the death of Augustus in 14, the Senate appointed Germanicus commander of the forces in Germania. Tiberius was made emperor, but he was highly unpopular and the legions rioted on the news. Refusing to accept Tiberius, the rebel soldiers cried for Germanicus as emperor. However, Germanicus refused. Germanicus died in Antioch, Syria in 19, a year after he defeated the kingdoms of Cappadocia and Commagena. His death was surrounded by speculation, and several sources refer to claims that he was poisoned by Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, under orders of the emperor Tiberius.

In 31, Antonia exposed a plot by her daughter Livilla and Tiberius’ notorious Praetorian prefect, Sejanus, to murder the Emperor Tiberius and Caligula and to seize the throne for themselves. Livilla had poisoned her husband, Drusus the Younger, Tiberius' son, in order to remove rivals. Sejanus was murdered on Tiberius’s orders and Livilla was handed over to her formidable mother. Cassius Dio states that Antonia imprisoned Livilla in her room and allowed her to starve to death. After Livilla's death, Antonia's only remaining child was Claudius. Due to his constant illnesses and physical disabilities, she would constantly put him down. She would say a monster: a man whom nature had not finished but had merely begun or, when accusing anyone of stupidity, would exclaim, he is a bigger fool even than my son Claudius!.

Succession of Caligula and death

When Tiberius died, Caligula became emperor in March 37. Caligula awarded her a senatorial decree, granting her all the honors that Livia Drusilla had received in her lifetime. She was also offered the title of Augusta, previously only given to Augustus's wife Livia, but rejected it.

Six months into his reign, Caligula became seriously ill and never recovered. Antonia would often offer him advice. He once told her, I can treat anyone exactly as I please!.

Having had enough of Caligula’s anger at her criticisms and of his behaviour, she committed suicide. Suetonius’s Caligula, clause 23, mentions how he might have poisoned her.

When his grandmother Antonia asked for a private interview, he refused it except in the presence of the prefect Macro, and by such indignities and annoyances he caused her death; although some think that he also gave her poison. After she was dead, he paid her no honour, but viewed her burning pyre from his dining-room.


When Claudius became emperor after his nephew’s assassination in 41, he gave his mother the title of Augusta. Her birthday became a public holiday, which had yearly games and public sacrifices held. An image of her was paraded in a carriage.

In art and popular culture

In ancient art

Enlarge picture
The Juno Ludovisi
For more, see Nikos Kokkinos, Antonia Augusta: Portrait of a Great Roman Lady (London ; New York : Routledge, 1992) [1].

In popular culture

Antonia is one of the main characters in the novel I, Claudius. In the television adaptation of the book she is portrayed by Margaret Tyzack.

Ancient sources

Other references

  • E. Groag, A. Stein, L. Petersen - e.a. (edd.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani saeculi I, II et III, Berlin, 1933 - . (PIR2)

External links

The Julio-Claudian Dynasty refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. They ruled the Roman Empire from 27 BC to AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide.
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Juno Ludovisi is a colossal head from an acrolithic statue of Antonia Minor as the goddess Juno. Added to the Ludovisi collection, it is now in the Palazzo Altemps, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome.
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Augustus Caesar
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Reign January 16 27 BC – August 19 AD 14
Full name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus
Born September 23, 63 BC
Rome, Roman Republic
Died August 19, AD 14 (age 76)
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Julia the Elder (October 39 BC - 14), known to her contemporaries as Julia Caesaris filia or
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See also Gaius Julius Caesar, for others of the same name.
Gaius Julius Caesar Vipsanianus (20 BC - AD 4), most commonly known as Gaius Caesar, was the oldest son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder.[1].
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Lucius Julius Caesar (17 BC-2), most commonly known as Lucius Caesar, was the second son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. He was born with the name Lucius Vipsanius Agrippa
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Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Postumus (12 BC-14), also known as Agrippa Postumus or Postumus Agrippa, was a son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. His maternal grandparents were Roman Emperor Augustus and his second wife Scribonia.
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Tiberius
Emperor of the Roman Empire

A bust of the Emperor Tiberius
Reign AD 14–AD 37
Full name Tiberius Caesar Augustus
(born Tiberius Claudius Nero)
Born November 16, 42 BC
Rome
Died
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Tiberius
Emperor of the Roman Empire

A bust of the Emperor Tiberius
Reign AD 14–AD 37
Full name Tiberius Caesar Augustus
(born Tiberius Claudius Nero)
Born November 16, 42 BC
Rome
Died
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Tiberius Drusus Claudius Julius Caesar Nero or Julius Caesar Drusus or Drusus Julius Caesar (his adoption name) (13 BC-September 14 23), was the only son of Tiberius and his first wife, Vipsania Agrippina.
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Germanicus Julius Caesar Claudianus (24 May 15 BC–October 10, 19) was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the early Roman Empire. He was called either Nero Claudius Drusus or Tiberius Claudius Nero at birth and received the agnomen "Germanicus"
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Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Bust of Emperor Caligula in the Louvre
Reign 37–41
(Consul from 39)
Full name Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Born
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Julia Drusilla (Classical Latin: IVLIA•DRVSILLA [1]) (39-41) was the only child and daughter of Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula) and his fourth and last wife Caesonia.
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Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus, (10 October AD 19–AD 37 or 38) was the son of Drusus and Livilla, the grandson of Tiberius, and the cousin of Gaius Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin".
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Claudius
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Reign January 24 41–October 13 54
Full name Tiberius Claudius Caesar
Augustus Germanicus (Britannicus AD44)
Born August 1 10 BC
Lugdunum
Died September 13 54 (age 64)

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(Claudia) Antonia (Classical Latin: ANTONIA•CLAUDII•CAESARIS•FILIA [1]) (ca. 30–66) was the daughter of the later Roman Emperor Claudius from his second marriage to Aelia Paetina.
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Claudia Octavia or Octavia Neronis (Classical Latin: CLAVDIA•OCTAVIA [1]) (Late 39 or early 40-9 June 62) was a Roman Empress, step-sister and first wife to Roman Emperor Nero.
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Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus (February 12,41 - February 11,55) was the son of the Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Messalina. He became the heir-designate of the empire at his birth, less than a month into his father's reign.
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Nero
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Nero at Glyptothek, Munich
Reign October 13, 54 – June 9, 68
(Proconsul from 51)
Full name Nero Claudius Caesar
Augustus Germanicus
Born November 15 37
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Nero
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Nero at Glyptothek, Munich
Reign October 13, 54 – June 9, 68
(Proconsul from 51)
Full name Nero Claudius Caesar
Augustus Germanicus
Born November 15 37
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Claudia Augusta (PIR2 C 1061) was the only daughter of the Roman Emperor Nero by his second wife Roman Empress Poppaea Sabina. She was born in Antium on 21 January 63.

Nero honored Claudia and her mother with the title of Augusta.
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January 31 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1504 - France cedes Naples to Aragon.

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1st century BC - 1st century
60s BC  50s BC  40s BC - 30s BC - 20s BC  10s BC  0s BC 
39 BC 38 BC 37 BC - 36 BC - 35 BC 34 BC 33 BC

Politics
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1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century
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For other Roman noble women of this name see Octavia
Octavia Thurina Minor (69 - 11 BC), also known as Octavia the Younger or simply Octavia
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Marcus Antonius (Latin: M·ANTONIVS·M·F·M·N [1]) (c. January 14, 83 BC – August 1, 30 BC), known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general.
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Augustus Caesar
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Reign January 16 27 BC – August 19 AD 14
Full name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus
Born September 23, 63 BC
Rome, Roman Republic
Died August 19, AD 14 (age 76)
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Livia Drusilla, after 14 AD called Livia Augusta (Classical Latin: LIVIA•DRVSILLA , later LIVIA•AVGVSTA [1]) (58 BC-AD 29) was the wife of Caesar Augustus (also known as Octavian) and the most powerful woman in the early Roman Empire, acting several
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Anthem
Il Canto degli Italiani
(also known as Fratelli d'Italia)


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Motto
Ελευθερία ή θάνατος
Eleftheria i thanatos  
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