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Antonia the Younger

Antonia the Younger

In the Acta Collegium Fratrii Arvalium, her birth was registered on January 31st of 36 BC; she was conceived in Athens in 37 BC before his father Marc Antony left for the war against the Parties, he would never return to Rome and little Antonia will never see him.
She will live with her mother Octavia Minor in the Palatine Hill, in the house that Marc Antoniy had on the highest part, together with the sons his father which he had from his first wife Fulvia and the three sons of Cleopatra, besides the other ones that Octavia had from the first husband Gaius Marcellus.
The mother, after the betrayal and death of her husband, chose  she'd never marry again and dedicating herself to the growth and education not only of her children but also of those who had been entrusted by Augustus. Octavia thus became the model of the matron dedicated to the family and children that will influence the feminine ideal of Antonia and which will affect her during whole life.
In the years of her childhood and adolescence lived in the mother's house, Antonia grew up in a culturally lively and cosmopolitan environment; almost certainly Octavia taught her the Greek language she had learned during her long stays in Greece with Marc Antony and during that lived herself in the Greek way also by attending parties. Octavia had brought back from the east many statues of Greek artists with whom she decorated the Porticus that her brother dedicated to her and where after the death of her first son Marcellus had built a library. The environment and the proximity of Cleopatra's children that had Greek and Oriental scholars masters, came strongly Antonia to the Hellenistic culture and to the Orient in general.
But Antonia, considered very beautiful and modest, had the fate already marked of all the women of the gens Julia: she must have children with whom the gens Julia could continue to hold the positions of power to confirm and consolidate her supremacy and, another aspect fundamental, so that the wealth of the family should not be dispersed. For these reasons the young Antonia was destined as bride of Drusus Major, the young son of Livia. Drusus was born in 39 and Antonia in 36, and for the laws desired by Augustus on marriage, they had to wait for Drusus began his cursus honorum to get married.
Their marriage was sung by the poet living in the court, Crinagoras of Mytilene,in verses he dedicated to Antonia for his birthday

… once the roses bloomed in the spring, but today, in the middle of winter, we open our purple chalices, smiling happy at dawn of this your birthday, so close to the nuptial bed …

The wedding was celebrated in the spring of 17 BC. and thus the Julio-Claudia dynasty was born. During their union Antonia had several pregnancies but some children died and only 3 remained: Germanicus born in 15 BC, Livilla in 13 BC. and Claudius in 10 B.C.
Drusus was loved very much by Augustus who considered him as a co-heir always and gave him permission to start the cursus honorum five years in advance; n 16 BC he was appointed quaestor and in 15 BC he was with his brother Tiberius leading an army to conquer the Gauls, campaigns that earned him the triumph that the two brothers celebrated together ...



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by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 18/05/2018)