When Livia met Augustus, Octavia and Julia were already an integral part of his life. Livia also had her life, including a marriage, a son, and a second child on the way. Augustus viewed Livia's patrician lineage as a major asset to his quest for auctoritas, but she must have entered the union with eyes wide open. In Rome, marriage was rarely forever, especially for ambitious politicians. Octavia and Julia could count on their biological link to Augustus, but Livia was on shakier ground, knowing that any day she could become expendable. Livia's hold on Augustus was tenuous enough that she quickly needed a strategy to ensure her continued presence in the emperor's circle. She could have found no better role model than Cleopatra.
Livia probably recognized from the start that even Cleopatra acquired most of her authority through men. She was the daughter of the Pharaoh Auletes and ruled Egypt not alone but with a succession of brother-consorts. Cleopatra's alliances with Rome involved mergers with elite Roman men. Livia sought to solidify her own power, first through her husband and then by ensuring the succession of her elder son, Tiberius. Livia seems to have been single-minded in pursuing what was really a very simple plan, but one that was inspired by a consummate guide.
It is clear that Livia was gifted with the ability to recognize a good idea when she saw one, seize it, and then make it her own. Augustus built temples; so did Livia. Augustus and Agrippa erected porticoes; so did