Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire

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9780300078565: Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire

Agrippina the Younger attained a level of power in first-century Rome unprecedented for a woman. According to ancient sources, she achieved her success by plotting against her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, by sleeping with him. Modern scholars tend to accept this verdict. But in his dynamic biography―the first on Agrippina in English―Anthony Barrett paints a startling new picture of this influential woman.

Drawing on the latest archaeological, numismatic, and historical evidence, Barrett argues that Agrippina has been misjudged. Although she was ambitious, says Barrett, she made her way through ability and determination rather than by sexual allure, and her political contributions to her time seem to have been positive. After Agrippina's marriage to Claudius there was a marked decline in the number of judicial executions and there was close cooperation between the Senate and the emperor; the settlement of Cologne, founded under her aegis, was a model of social harmony; and the first five years of Nero's reign, while she was still alive, were the most enlightened of his rule. According to Barrett, Agrippina's one real failing was her relationship with her son, the monster of her own making who had her murdered in horrific and violent circumstances. Agrippina's impact was so lasting, however, that for some 150 years after her death no woman in the imperial family dared assume an assertive political role.

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About the Author:

Anthony Barrett is Professor of Classics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He studied at the Universities of Oxford, Durham and Toronto and has written extensively in the field of classical antiquity.

From Kirkus Reviews:

One of history's most notorious monsters is rehabilitated as a politically successful woman whose power and reputation in first-century Rome fell victim to Roman sexism. Barrett (Classics/Univ. of British Columbia; Caligula, 1990) begins with a brief history of powerful Roman women before Agrippina, including her great-grandmother Livia, wife of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Much of this section is overly familiar, reading at times like a recap of I, Claudius. But this background gains significance once Agrippina the Younger makes her appearance. Barrett persuasively argues that Roman chroniclers were unable to see Agrippina or her predecessors except through the stereotype of the politically ambitious woman: a seductive poisoner with no sense of moral bounds. By carefully weighing the historical record, taking into account the distorting power of misogynist folklore, the author disputes such commonplaces as the idea that Agrippina murdered her husband, Claudius, and slept with her son Nero. His Agrippina is a politically adroit consensus-builder whose influence over two emperors contributed to the most enlightened portions of their reigns. Her diplomatic skill falters only in the handling of her teenage son--a miscalculation that leads to her execution in 54 a.d. on his orders. That Agrippina's murder was celebrated as a just comeuppance demonstrates the persistence of the ``age-old resentment of powerful and ambitious women.'' Though Barrett draws no contemporary analogies, the reader may easily do so. Despite the high-mindedness of his central theme, the author is always alert to the pleasures of ``juicy anecdote[s]'' (such as Agrippina's supposed incest with her brother Caligula), and recounts them in full, if only to discredit them. A scholarly yet accessible biography that largely succeeds in replacing Grand Guignol with something more satisfying: the tragedy of a natural leader born female in a society afraid to be led by women. (illustrations, not seen) (History Book Club selection) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Agrippina the Younger attained a level of power in first-century Rome unprecedented for a woman. According to ancient sources, she achieved her success by plotting against her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, by sleeping with him. Modern scholars tend to accept this verdict. But in his dynamic biography-the first on Agrippina in English-Anthony Barrett paints a startling new picture of this influential woman. Drawing on the latest archaeological, numismatic, and historical evidence, Barrett argues that Agrippina has been misjudged. Although she was ambitious, says Barrett, she made her way through ability and determination rather than by sexual allure, and her political contributions to her time seem to have been positive. After Agrippina s marriage to Claudius there was a marked decline in the number of judicial executions and there was close cooperation between the Senate and the emperor; the settlement of Cologne, founded under her aegis, was a model of social harmony; and the first five years of Nero s reign, while she was still alive, were the most enlightened of his rule.According to Barrett, Agrippina s one real failing was her relationship with her son, the monster of her own making who had her murdered in horrific and violent circumstances. Agrippina s impact was so lasting, however, that for some 150 years after her death no woman in the imperial family dared assume an assertive political role. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780300078565

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Agrippina the Younger attained a level of power in first-century Rome unprecedented for a woman. According to ancient sources, she achieved her success by plotting against her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, by sleeping with him. Modern scholars tend to accept this verdict. But in his dynamic biography-the first on Agrippina in English-Anthony Barrett paints a startling new picture of this influential woman. Drawing on the latest archaeological, numismatic, and historical evidence, Barrett argues that Agrippina has been misjudged. Although she was ambitious, says Barrett, she made her way through ability and determination rather than by sexual allure, and her political contributions to her time seem to have been positive. After Agrippina s marriage to Claudius there was a marked decline in the number of judicial executions and there was close cooperation between the Senate and the emperor; the settlement of Cologne, founded under her aegis, was a model of social harmony; and the first five years of Nero s reign, while she was still alive, were the most enlightened of his rule. According to Barrett, Agrippina s one real failing was her relationship with her son, the monster of her own making who had her murdered in horrific and violent circumstances. Agrippina s impact was so lasting, however, that for some 150 years after her death no woman in the imperial family dared assume an assertive political role. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780300078565

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Book Description Yale University Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 352 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 0.8in.Agrippina the Younger attained a level of power in first-century Rome unprecedented for a woman. According to ancient sources, she achieved her success by plotting against her brother, the emperor Caligula, murdering her husband, the emperor Claudius, and controlling her son, the emperor Nero, by sleeping with him. Modern scholars tend to accept this verdict. But in his dynamic biography-the first on Agrippina in English-Anthony Barrett paints a startling new picture of this influential woman. Drawing on the latest archaeological, numismatic, and historical evidence, Barrett argues that Agrippina has been misjudged. Although she was ambitious, says Barrett, she made her way through ability and determination rather than by sexual allure, and her political contributions to her time seem to have been positive. After Agrippinas marriage to Claudius there was a marked decline in the number of judicial executions and there was close cooperation between the Senate and the emperor; the settlement of Cologne, founded under her aegis, was a model of social harmony; and the first five years of Neros reign, while she was still alive, were the most enlightened of his rule. According to Barrett, Agrippinas one real failing was her relationship with her son, the monster of her own making who had her murdered in horrific and violent circumstances. Agrippinas impact was so lasting, however, that for some 150 years after her death no woman in the imperial family dared assume an assertive political role. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780300078565

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