For this post, I am particularly indebted to Werner Eck, The Age of Augustus, 2nd edn (Blackwell, 2007)
'Julia the elder'
It was a problem for Augustus that he had no son to whom he could pass on his powers in a way that contemporaries would have thought natural. His only child was his daughter, Julia, born to his second wife, Scribonia, in 39 BC. On the day of her birth Octavian (as he then was) divorced Scribonia and married Livia Drusilla, a member of the gens Claudia, an old political family. Livia had been married to Tiberius Claudius Nero, she was the mother of a four-year-old son, Tiberius, and was pregnant at the time of her second marriage. This meant that Octavian had to obtain permission from the college of pontifices. The ceremony took place on 17 January 38 BC, and was the cause of much gossip. Three months after the marriage she gave birth to her second son, Drusus.
nephew and for a time
The Ara PacisOn 4 July 13 BC the Senate commissioned the dedication of the Ara Pacis, the Altar of Augustuan Peace on the Campus Martius to honour the return of Augustus to Rome after his campaigns in Spain and Gaul. The altar was a monument to Augustus and his family. It was reassembled in 1938 and the present altar is a modern reconstruction.
|The Ara Pacis|
Licensed under Wikimedia Creative Commons
The succession crisisThe dream of a tidy succession was shattered when Agrippa died in 12 BC, when his two young sons were still minors. This might not have been bad news for Livia, who saw it as a chance to advance her own son, Tiberius. Though he was very attached to his wife, Vipsania, the daughter of Agrippa, he was made to divorce her and marry Julia. The marriage seems to have been unhappy from the start and by the time Augustus granted Tiberius tribunician powers, it had completely broken down. He went to live on the island of Rhodes and gossip about Julia’s private life spread around Rome.
|Tiberius 42 BC- 37 AD|
a man with many inner demons
The disaster of the Teutoburg ForestIn AD 9 the Roman army experienced its greatest defeat since the wars with Hannibal when an alliance of three Germanic tribes ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Teutoburg Forest. Despite several subsequent campaigns, the Romans never again attempted to conquer the area east of the Rhine.
According to the historian Suetonius, when he heard of the disaster Augustus
'left his hair and beard untrimmed for moths; he would often beat his head on a door, shouting "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" and always kept the anniversary as a day of deep mourning.'