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Do you remember learning about the
Roman emperor Nero? Well, have you ever wondered how he acquired the throne?
Agrippina the Younger, Nero’s mother, played a key role in her son’s
achievement of success and wealth. As a compelling political influencer and
powerful person in ancient Rome, Agrippina the Younger was an important woman
in history that you might’ve not even known about.

            Roles
of women in ancient Rome during the rule of Germanicus slightly differed from
other cultures’ vision of an “ideal” woman. Women in ancient Rome were expected
to have their lives mainly revolve around family life and status, but could
also consider other hobbies and interests. Many girls were educated from a
young age alongside boys, and were taught social behavior and etiquette.
Students were also taught both Greek and Latin, and were encouraged to take
part in multiple activities and sports. Although, once children were formally
of age, the differences between male and female lifestyle became more
prominent. Women were taught to take pride in their domestic lives and
achievements, rather than showing off their intellectual skill and talents. Women
in ancient Rome were also not allowed to vote or partake in political ordeals.

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            Agrippina
the Younger was born into the ruling family of the Roman empire in 15 A.D. A
daughter to Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, Agrippina the Younger and her
family were often in the spotlight of society, as her father Germanicus was a
famous general of Rome and son to the emperor Tiberius. Agrippina herself was
not very well known until her adult life, but recognized herself as prominent
in Roman life and society since her youth. This was mainly brought on by her
brother Caligula’s success after he succeeded his grandfather for the throne.
Once he was in power, Caligula quickly became dangerous and unpredictable. Two years
into his rule, Agrippina the Younger, her sisters, and all three of their
husbands were caught plotting against Caligula. They were stripped of their
high honors, access to anyone in Rome, and exiled to an island in the
Tyrrhenian sea. Even though Agrippina and the other main suspects were banished
from Rome, Caligula was assassinated two years later. The successor, Agrippina
the Younger’s uncle Claudius, removed the charges, and the exiled sisters
returned home.

            Despite
the fact that Agrippina had gotten into trouble with the government before, she
refused to be silenced upon her return to Rome. Caligula’s cruel and
unfavorable rule was a turning point for Agrippina. She believed she could rule
better and wiser, and there was no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to. She
fought for many years to get either her or her son Nero on the throne, but
found no good opportunities. That was, until, Claudius’ wife was executed for
treason. Agrippina saw a chance and took it, stepping in and becoming her
uncle’s wife. This put Agrippina the Younger in a position of power with easy
access to the throne. Unlike many other famous wives from history, Agrippina
didn’t whisper in her husband’s ear, but went out, alongside her son, and
became a political influencer; a role that was a male job in that time of
ancient Rome. She then convinced Claudius to not only adopt her son Nero, but
put him in line for the throne before Claudius’ biological son. Months later
Claudius died of an unknown illness, and Agrippina and Nero had a perfect
opportunity to seize power.

            Nero
was finally ruling Rome, thanks to Agrippina’s hard work and cleverness. The
best years of his reign were when Agrippina was his main adversary.
Unfortunately, power soon went to Nero’s head and fired Agrippina from being
one of his advisers. Agrippina was forced to take a quiet leave from political
affairs, but because she blackmailed Nero, was later killed in 59 A.D by a
soldier, per Nero’s orders.

Agrippina the
Younger’s legacy lives on today, although her name may have been forgotten in
history. She was a prominent leader in Rome that changed the way Roman society
viewed women. Mainly inspired by the start of her brother Caligula’s rule,
Agrippina found her life’s pursuit. Even though many people don’t know about her,
Agrippina still inspires people today: by going against the status quo, and proving
a woman can rule – and very successfully at that. Despite the fact Agrippina
the Younger wasn’t persecuted for her claim to riches, she was eventually
killed because she voiced her opinion and refused to be suppressed.

Therefore, Agrippina
the Younger was one of the most important and influential women in history; and
one of the greatest forgotten leaders from ancient Roman history. Thus, even
though she was an essential person in Roman history, you might’ve not even
known about the compelling political influencer and powerful leader from
ancient Rome, Agrippina the Younger.

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