Agrippina: Sister of Caligula, Wife of Claudius, Mother of by Anthony A. Barrett

By Anthony A. Barrett

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Now Mommsen claimed that the principate was incompatible with heredity and that there was an inherent contradiction between the two. He argued that the powers were bestowed on the princeps through a legal process, and were comparable to those held by magistrates. 13 But this may be to take too formal a view of the situation. Despite a traditional antipathy towards the notion of kingship, Romans did make considerable allowance for the principle of heredity in public life. Throughout their history certain family names had constantly reappeared in the record, the Claudii, the Aemilii, the Cornelii and others, families that had almost reserved for themselves the consulate, whose sons, for all intents and purposes, would eventually succeed their fathers in office.

Despite the generous attempt of Tiberius to bring about a reconciliation between father and daughter, she was sent to the island of Pandateria, off the coast of Campania. 2km (2 miles) long, boasted an imperial villa and even a small grape cultivation, which was plagued by field mice. Julia, however, was reputedly denied every luxury, even wine, and no-one was allowed to land at the island without exhaustive enquiries. She was even prohibited in her father’s will from being allowed into his Mausoleum after her death.

The novelty of his situation made itself apparent when he came to consider what would happen after his death. Now Mommsen claimed that the principate was incompatible with heredity and that there was an inherent contradiction between the two. He argued that the powers were bestowed on the princeps through a legal process, and were comparable to those held by magistrates. 13 But this may be to take too formal a view of the situation. Despite a traditional antipathy towards the notion of kingship, Romans did make considerable allowance for the principle of heredity in public life.

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