>>>>>>>The First Century AD, (Claudius the God), part 2.
The youngest son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder (daughter and only biological child of Augustus), Posthumous Agrippa was even considered to be the heir of Emperor Augustus, but in 6 AD, instead, he banished him from Rome—for unknown reasons. This virtually ensured Tiberius’ position as sole heir. Posthumous was ultimately executed by his own guards in 14 AD.
Even though his father, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, was one of Augustus’ leading generals, Posthumous had received no special schooling or treatment. He was an aristocratic youth that was a candidate for training as a military officer. It is said that Livia, The Emperor Augusts’ wife, didn’t like Posthumous, and maneuvered him away from the imperial court in order to keep her own son on track for the throne.
Posthumous’ brothers, Lucias and Gaius, were adopted by Augustus in 17 BC, following the birth of Lucius. Before his brother Gaius left Rome for Asia, Posthumous’ brothers were given the authority to consecrate the Temple of Mars (2 BC), and they managed the games held to celebrate the Temple’s dedication. Though Posthumous was still a schoolboy, he participated in the ‘Lusus Troiae’ (“Trojan Games”) with the rest of the equestrian youth. At these games, according to historians, 260 lions were slaughtered in the Circus Maximus, there was gladiatorial combat, and a naval battle between the “Persians” and the “Athenians,” and 36 crocodiles were slaughtered in the Circus Flaminius.
Posthumous had eventually been banished by Augustus to an island that was very inaccessible, around that same time Augustus had banished his daughter, Julia, the Younger, also condemned to a tiny island of her own. Augustus had the Senate make his banishment permanent. There was a later conspiracy to free Posthumous and Julia, from their respective islands of exile, but the plot was found quickly and was squashed before anything could be done.
Augustus made no effort to contact Posthumous until 14 AD. Augustus left Rome that year, never to see the capital again. It’s believed he left in the company of one trusted Senator. The Senator and then Augustus himself had died on their return from the controversial visit, without revealing what they had been doing. There was a rumor that Augustus had decided to make him his heir, at the last minute. Perhaps he had taken blame for something, which Augustus in late life came to learn he wasn’t actually guilty of doing. He died as well however, shortly after August himself had died, killed by a Centurion named Crispus. Tiberius professed he had nothing to do with it, and threatened to bring the matter before the Senate, arguing that he had been en route to Illyricum when he had been recalled to Rome. Crispus apparently reported to Tiberius that “his orders have been carried out,” but Tiberius said he didn’t issue any such order!
He later issued a statement that it wasn’t him, but his father who had given the order, that Posthumous Agrippa not survive him.
The Downfall of Castor
While it was officially Castor who was heir to Tiberius, in reality, it was the praetorian prefect, Sejanus, who was the second man in the empire.
Sejanus sought to strengthen his ties to the Imperial family by betrothing his daughter Junilla to the son of Claudius, Claudius-Drusus. The marriage was prevented when the boy died of asphyxiation, and the girl was also only 4 years old, regardless, Sejanus’ ambition to further expand his power was clear. Castor openly lamented that “a stranger was invited to assist in the government while the emperor’s son was alive,” and as is apparent, the enmity between Castor and Sejanus had reached a critical point. Castor had struck the prefect with his fist, but before this, in their expedition in Pannonia, there is no evidence to suggest there had been any bad blood between them, in 14 AD. At the time, Tiberius was in his sixties, so there was a realistic possibility of Castor succeeding his father in the near future. According to some, Sejanus had begun a plot against Castor, in secret, in order to usurp his position in line to the Imperial throne, and hoped to secure his own position there, one day.
Livia was the wife of Roman Emperor Augustus throughout his reign, as well as his advisor, and a Claudian—the grandmother of Emperor Claudius. She was also great-grandmother to Caligula, and mother to Tiberius (both future Emperors of Rome as well). She was deified by Claudius who acknowledged her title of ‘Augusta’, and is buried in the Mausoleum of Augustus, as is Claudius.
Livia is usually portrayed as a woman of proud and queenly attributes, faithful to her imperial husband, for whom she was a worthy consort, forever poised and dignified. With time, however some thought that widowhood, a haughtiness and an overt craving for power and the outward trappings of status came increasingly to the fore. Livia had always been a principal beneficiary of the climate of adulation that Augustus had done so much to create, and which her son Tiberius despised. In 24 AD, typically, whenever she attended the theater, a seat among the Vestals was reserved for her, and this may have been intended more as an honor for the Vestals than for her.
She is depicted by historians as having great influence, to the extent where she “had the aged Augustus firmly under control—so much so that he exiled his only surviving son to the island of Planasia.” She appears on coins, and was the first woman to appear on provincial coins in 16 BC. Her portrait images can be chronologically identified partially from the progression of her hair designs, which represented more than keeping up with the fashions of the time (as her depiction with such contemporary details translated into a political statement of representing the ideal Roman woman). Livia’s image evolves with different styles of portraiture that trace her effect in imperial propaganda that helped bridge the gap between her role as wife to the Emperor Augustus, and mother to Emperor Tiberius. Livia’s power in symbolizing the renewal of the Republic with the female virtues ‘Pietas’ and ‘Concordia’ in public displays had a dramatic effect on the visual representation of future imperial women as ideal, honorable mothers and wives of Rome.
The Temple of the ‘God Claudius’
While still alive, Claudius received widespread worship, and even had his own temple in Britannia. He was deified by Nero and the Senate almost immediately. The last act of his secretaries was to burn his correspondences, most likely so they could not be used against him, and others, in an already hostile new regime.
The Temple of Claudius, also called ‘The Temple of the Deified Claudius,’ covered a large area to the South of the Colosseum of Rome. Construction was begun by Claudius’ fourth wife in 54 AD, and was subsequently damaged in the Great Fire of Rome.
It was further destroyed by Nero, however, later rebuilt by the Emperor Vespasian, who became emperor in 69 AD. The Temple of Claudius in Colchester, was built between 49-60 AD. The fortress created in the Roman Conquest of Britain, led in person by Claudius in 43 AD, was later converted into a town for retired soldiers in 49 AD. The town was the capital of the new province of Britainnia, and had several public buildings befitting its status. These included: a theater, a ‘curia’ or council chamber, a forum, and a large classical-style temple. The official name of the town becoming ‘Colonia Claudia Victricensis,’ translated as the City of Claudius’ Victory. The temple was the center of the Imperial cult in the province, as is mentioned by Seneca, where the stoic mocks both the deceased Claudius, and the Britons, for their supposed piety towards him. The structure appears to conform to the plans of Vitruvius, in his ‘De Architectura’ for a classical ‘octastyle’ temple.
In 60 AD the Iceni rebelled against Rome, and the town was destroyed. Tacitus writes: “In the attack everything was broken down and burnt. The temple where the soldiers had congregated was besieged for two days and then sacked.”
The Cappadocian Greeks
The Cappadocian Greeks were so thoroughly devout to Christianity that the region of Cappadocia had become a stronghold for Christian Monasticism and was significantly important in the early history of Christianity. The Cappadocian Greek Fathers of the Fourth Century AD revered the Ancient Greek cultural ‘pursuit of virtue,’ even studying Homer and Hesiod…
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