Thursday, 23 June 2005

Octavian & Livia

Octavian, or Augustus, as he is better known, was the first emperor of Rome. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, not because he didn't have a father already, but because Caesar took a liking to him and also left him two thirds of his estate. Octavian was born Gaius Octavius on 23d September 63 B.C. He was shrewd, astute and took a while to make up his mind about what to do, but once he made a decision there was no going back.
He was only 18 when Julius Caesar was assassinated and by the age of 38 he was emperor. He was said to be extremely good-looking, with clear blue piercing eyes, he delighted when he starred young ladies out and they averted his gaze by looking to the floor, as if they were overpowered by him. Despite his stern reputation, he had several mistresses whose company he enjoyed immensely. However, there was only one woman Octavian is thought to have really loved and that was Livia.

Livia was only 19 when Octavian practically abducted her from her husband Nero (not the emperor) and decided to marry her. She was his third wife. Some say Livia was his mistress while he was married to his second wife Scribonia and Suetonius tells us of an occasion when Octavian took a lady from the dinner table into the next door room, while her husband was at dinner as well. The lady is said to have emerged a while later, with her hair dishevelled and her ears bright red. Many scholars assume this lady to be Livia, as her husband of the time, was fully aware of Octavian's passion for her, as the later made no effort to hide it.

Octavian and Livia were married for 50 years but she bore him no children.


ResoluteReader said...

"not because he didn't have a father already"

Sort of goes without saying doesn't it? :-)

Alterior said...

Well, I was alluding to the fact that he was not adopted for the reasons one might be adopted, but I see what you mean. :-)) I had just got back from a four-hour flight from Athens so my thinking was a bit dodgy at thta point. ;-)


ResoluteReader said...

Ah Athens. Wonderful place. I presume you visited the Acropolis? Have they rebuilt Athena's temple yet?

Alterior said...

I was brought up in Athens and for me it does not really have the allure it may have to visitors. Sadly it is an overcrowded, smoggy city with little to remind history-loving tourist of its illustrious ancient past. Athenians jokingly call it the cement jungle and do all they can to get out of it on holidays. The food is great though and the Greek feel-good attitude never fails to lift the spirits. As they did in ancient times the Greeks are still all bickering amongst themselves, even bitching about their own singer who won the Eurovision song contest this year. Greeks are extremely passionate and jealous people.. :-)