The Annals of Imperial Rome

By Cornelius Tacitus; Michael Grant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
The Mother of Nero

MESSALINA'S death convulsed the imperial household. Claudius was impatient of celibacy and easily controlled by his wives, and the ex- slaves quarrelled about who should choose his next one. Rivalry among the women was equally fierce. Each cited her own high birth, beauty, and wealth as qualifications for this exalted marriage. The chief competitors were Lollia Paulina, daughter of an ex-consul,1 and Germanicus' daughter Agrippina (II). Their backers were Callistus and Pallas respectively. Narcissus supported Aelia Paetina.2 The emperor continually changed his mind according to whatever advice he had heard last.

Finally, he summoned the disputants to a meeting and requested them to give reasoned opinions. At the meeting, Narcissus reminded Claudius that he had been married to Aelia Paetina before; that the union had been productive (a daughter had been born to them 3); that remarriage would necessitate no domestic innovations; and that, far from entertaining a stepmother's dislike for Britannicus and Octavia, Paetina would cherish them next to her own children. Callistus objected that Claudius had divorced Paetina long ago and that this disqualified her -- remarriage would make her arrogant, and Lollia was far more eligible since, being childless, she would be a mother to her stepchildren without jealousy. Pallas, proposing Agrippina, emphasized that the son whom she would bring with her was Germanicus' grandson, eminently deserving of imperial rank: let the emperor ally himself with a noble race and unite two branches of the Claudian house, rather than allow this lady of proved capacity for child-bearing, still young, to transfer the glorious name of the Caesars to another family.

These arguments prevailed. Agrippina's seductiveness was a help.

____________________
1
Marcus Lollius (II).
2
Of the Aelii Tuberones.
3
She was called Claudia Antonia.

-244-

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The Annals of Imperial Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • The Annals Of Imperial Rome 27
  • Chapter 1 - From Augustus to Tiberius 29
  • Chapter 2 - Mutiny on the Frontiers 41
  • Chapter 3 - War with the Germans 59
  • Chapter 4 - The First Treason Trials 88
  • Chapter 5 - The Death of Germanicus 102
  • Chapter 6 - Tiberius and the Senate 126
  • Chapter 7 - 'Partner of My Labours' 153
  • Chapter 8 - The Reign of Terror 193
  • Part Two - Claudius and Nero 223
  • Chapter 9 - The Fall of Messalina 225
  • Chapter 10 - The Mother of Nero 244
  • Chapter II - The Fall of Agrippina 274
  • Chapter 12 - Nero and His Helpers 310
  • Chapter 13 - Eastern Settlement 334
  • Chapter 14 - The Burning of Rome 349
  • Chapter 15 - The Plot 356
  • Chapter 16 - Innocent Victims 370
  • Notes 385
  • List of Roman Emperors 399
  • Lists of Some Eastern Monarchs 400
  • Key to Technical Terms 402
  • Key to Place-Names 410
  • Genealogical Tables 433
  • Index of Personal Names 439
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