Poisoned Livia Augustus

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Profile - Livia Drusilla

Drusilla (58 BC - 29 AD), later (from 14 AD) also called Julia Augusta, was named after Clodia (42 BC - 40 BC) and Scribonia (40 BC). BC - 38 BC) the third wife (38 BC - 14 AD) of the first Roman emperor Augustus. During this time she had a decisive influence on the decisions of Augustus (emperor from 31 BC - 14 AD) and thus on the leadership of the Roman Empire, since the mutual affection was undisputed despite the politically motivated marriage and Augustus Livia used to seek advice on important decisions.

Livia is also at the beginning of an imperial dynasty; she was the mother of Tiberius, grandmother of Claudius, great-grandmother of Caligula and great-great-grandmother Nero.

How did it come to power, how long was it in power?

Livia was the daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, a patrician Claudian who was accepted into the Livian family through adoption by Marcus Livius Drusus the Younger. He named his daughter after the new family name with the nickname (Drusus) in pet form Livia Drusilla.

43 BC Her father Livia married her at least 26 years older cousin Tiberius Claudius Nero. She became a mother when she was only 16 years old: on November 16. 42 BC Shortly after her father's suicide, she gave birth to her first son, who named himself Tiberius Claudius Nero after his father. In 38 BC Finally, Livia Drisilla and Gaius Octavius ​​(Octavian, later Emperor Augustus) married under scandalous circumstances: Livia was pregnant with a second son, Drusus. Nonetheless, Octavian asked Claudius Nero to divorce her and married Livia while she was 7 months pregnant. In retrospect, the wedding day was re-dated to three days after the birth of Drusus in order to cover up the scandalous conditions of the wedding. Despite the harsh circumstances of their marriage, the two are said to have lived a passionate relationship, probably the main reason for the long existence (52 years) of the marriage. Octavian is said to have coveted Livia “out of lust for her beauty” (Tacitus). Livia's attitude towards this new and scandalous wedding is not known, but it can be guessed that Livia was at least happy to be married to a younger, up-and-coming man.

However, this wedding was also politically motivated: By changing from Claudius Nero's camp of Marcus Antonius, whom he had supported in the Peruvian civil war, to Octavian, Octavian was able to strengthen his power base in the Roman aristocracy and thus, after he had his revenge for his murdered adoptive father Caesar had gotten to reconcile with the aristocracy. With this marriage, Claudius Nero bought his way from the victor of the Peruvian civil war. Augustus took over Livia's two sons from his relationship with Claudius Nero as adoptive sons after his death. Later (33, 32 BC), however, Augustus started the rumor that Drusus was his birth son and that he came from an adulterous relationship with Livia.

From 38 BC BC to 27 BC As the wife of a triumvir, Livia attained prominence status. No noble woman stood so firmly in public as the wives of the triumvirs, the “three dictators” of Rome. 35 BC BC Livia and the wife of Marcus Antonius (Octavia, Octavian's sister!) Were given the same “holiness” as a tribune by popular resolution, simply detached from office. Livia was also freed from guardianship (by Octavian) and thus received rights that otherwise only aristocratic men were entitled to. Statues of her erected in public spaces, recognition that no Roman woman has ever received before.

With Octavian's victory over Mark Antony (30 BC) and the associated rise of Octavian to the undisputed ruler of Rome, Livia's rise to the absolute most powerful woman in Rome was sealed.

How was your relationship with her husband?

Livia played the role of a loving, dutiful, and traditional Republican wife. Although this role was also placed on her by Augustus, there must have been a strong emotional closeness. There is no other way of explaining the 52-year existence of the marriage without Augstus giving birth to a viable son. Livia was good-looking, intelligent and morally conscious, which made her an ideal bearer of the image of "mother of the state" for Augustus. When asked how she gained so much influence over her husband, Livia is said to have replied that she achieved this by being embarrassed about being morally impeccable, happily fulfilling all his wishes, not interfering in his affairs and above all had given the impression that she heard and noticed nothing of his love stories. This attitude led Tacitus to describe her as a "simple wife". The rumors that later circulated in the people that Livia poisoned her husband to get her son the imperial title are probably nothing more than rumors.

Suetonius describes the death of Augustus completely differently: he is said to have passed away in Livia's poor with the words "Livia, remember our happy marriage and farewell!" A far too romantic, but probably more truthful version of the death of Augustus, especially since he had Livia adopted by the Julians in his last will, an attempt to secure Livia's influence on state affairs even after his death. He also bequeathed a third of his fortune to her, an unusually large portion of the inheritance for a woman at that time. These facts, of course, lead to the conclusion that the two had a one-sided relationship and that Livia was in fact only after the positions of power of her sons. Possible, but personally I don't believe in it.

How big was your influence?

Livia's influence in the state has always been closely tied to family circumstances: As Augustus' wife, she is said to have played an important advisory role. The personal honors of the people and Augustus also made Livia appear as an almost inviolable demigoddess, a precedent that earned her great respect and influence among the people. In addition, Livia had an immense fortune, which she, like Augustus, used generously, among other things, for her immediate environment. This earned her further respect and loyalty. As Augustus' wife, Livia owned her own household with around 150 servants, a country villa, a poultry farm and a copper mine, as well as considerable assets that she could dispose of without authorization.

After Augustus' death and the rise of her son Tiberius to emperor, her influence as a wealthy woman and through her good relationships with the aristocratic families (Claudier, Livier, Julier and other loyal families) remained, but her son Tiberius no longer asked her for advice and Livia lost her role as a consultant. Despite the dwindling influence on the Princeps, she still had so much power that she was described by Gaius, the successor of Tiberius, as "Ulixes stolatus" (Odysseus in the garb of a matron).

The fact that Livia exercised her greatest influence in the family gave her a second image in the story: that of the malicious but intelligent stepmother who always favors her biological sons and forges intrigues against Augustus for her own benefit. After Augustus ’heir to the throne, C. Claudius Marcellus and M. Vispanius Agrippa, both died, the rumor spread that Livia had ordered her death to pave the way for her son Tiberius to gain power. This conspiracy theory was carried on after Augustus' death and it was said that Livia killed him with poisoned figs that she had smeared with poison and that Augustus had himself plucked (while taking non-poisoned ones from the tree). This image probably comes from ideas of fear that are always present in powerful and at the same time intelligent women up to the legal equality of men and women (and perhaps until today).

Character and areas of interest

Livia is always described as beautiful, intelligent, loyal and virtuous, and consciously powerful. Livia's role has always been closely linked to the production of Augustus. Augustus wanted to establish a strong ruling dynasty
found and created the image of an ideal family and thus an ideal wife. The fact that Livia did not give birth to a child of Augustus other than a stillbirth naturally burdened this picture. Augustus saw the solution in the propaganda: He had it announced that Livia's second son, Drusus, came from him and left Livia with numerous statues as the perfect mother and the blessing goddess Ceres (Roman goddess of agriculture, fertility and marriage, as well Legislator).

Getting closer to her true character is very difficult, as no written evidence has been received from her and her reputation in Rome was always linked to the production of Augustus. If one considers the few sayings that have come down to us to be true, then one comes to the conclusion that at least a large part of her character also corresponded to the image conveyed by Augstus.

Her areas of interest were probably limited by her role as a matron, but it is speculated that she was active in the then lucrative Roman construction business, as her servants included a construction team.

A beautiful legend about the country villa already mentioned at the beginning, which was called "to the hens", illustrates once again Livia's position as the "mother of the state" and founder of a ruling dynasty:

When Livia visited her estate immediately after her wedding to Augustus, an eagle flew past her with a white hen with a branch of laurel in its beak and dropped it into her lap just as it had stolen it. Livia decided to raise the poultry and have the branch planted; later the hen hatched so many chicks that the villa was still called "To the Chickens" at the time of Suetons. (The name refers to the Empress's poultry farming.) But a laurel bush grew so lush that the emperors would pick the laurel branches there when they were about to celebrate a triumph.

Livia is portrayed in this legend as a savior and almost goddess of fertility, precisely the attributes of the goddess Ceres: Virtually she saves the helpless chicken from death and everything she touches seems to be endowed with immense fertility and vitality (which chickens reproduce quickly, the laurel bush grows a supernaturally lush bush. Even future emperors should be reminded of the great Livia with every victory.

Profile - Catherine II

Katharina II., Known as Katharina the Great, was born on May 2, 1729 as Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst in Stettin. Szczecin was a very small area of ​​dominion that lies in what is now Poland.

She came to the Russian court in 1744 at the age of 14 and learned the Russian language there. The aim of her visit was to marry her second cousin (Russian heir to the throne Grand Duke Peter Fjodorowitsch). The childless Tsarina Elisabeth I or Elisabeth Petrovna, who was ruling at the time, had summoned Sophie to the court. Sophie's mother, who was very concerned about the social advancement and financial possibilities of her family, had tried to introduce Sophie to numerous courts in order to generate the most advantageous possible match for her. It was also she who commissioned a portrait of the young teenager Sophie and sent it to the portrait-loving Tsarina to Russia. A few months later the invitation came to Russia.

The engagement took place on June 29th / July 10th, 1744. instead of. The day before, Sophie converted to the Orthodox faith. This is how she got her new name: Jekaterina Alexejewna.
On August 21st / September 1st, 1745 married Katharina and Peter III. Through the marriage, the princess turned from an insignificant German principality to the Russian Grand Duchess.
After the coup d'état by Katharina against her husband and after the unrest had subsided somewhat due to his unexplained death, Katharina settled on July / 3. October 1762greg. crown.
She was the only ruler in historiography who received the nickname, the great ‘.
She died on November 6th / November 17th, 1796. suffered a stroke in Saint Petersburg.

How was your relationship with her husband?

At the beginning of their acquaintance, the relationship with Katharina was still good. However, she mentions in her memoir that he was a very childish person, and that even when he was seventeen he still played with tin soldiers and dolls. She also writes that she had neither a good nor a bad opinion of him, from the beginning she was more interested in his position and the stepping stone he offered.
It is said that he was a drinker who made them wait even on their wedding night. He didn't seem to have much interest in her and gave her little attention. Their relationship deteriorated more and more. There were disagreements about Prussia right from the start. Grand Duke Peter was very pro-Prussian, while Katharina dealt more with the Russian people.
Katharina describes the Grand Duke as cruel and describes situations in which he had to do humiliating things for his entertainment.
It is also believed that the Grand Duke Peter and Katharina had no sexual relationship.
When after seven years still no child was expected, the very strict tsarina relaxed the supervision of Katharina and Prince Sergei Saltikov quickly began to woo her and the two began a relationship. Rumor has it that the Tsarina herself orchestrated this relationship. After two years, she gave birth to her first son and heir to the throne, Paul, who very likely emerged from this love affair. He was immediately taken away from her and raised separately from her. This showed Katharina: she was just a tool.
The relationship with her husband was marked by distance, maybe even hatred. Above all, she wanted his power.

How did it come to power, how long was it in power?

Her husband came to power as heir to the throne in 1761 and became Tsar Peter III. According to Katharina, he behaved inappropriately after the death of his mother, saying that she had to ask him to exercise moderation. Peter III After he came to power, he concluded a separate peace with Prussia, thus ending the Seven Years' War. This act meant some disadvantages for Russia and especially displeased the guardsmen, who became Katharina's confidante. On June 28th / July 9th, 1762 (name day Peter and Paul), Katharina was proclaimed Tsarina. Tsar Peter III fled first when he heard that Katharina and the guards were approaching. Soon, however, he came back to sign his deed of abdication.

He was arrested and died a short time later. Attempts were made to convey to the people and the public that he had died of colic, and when it was found that he had been murdered, Katharina's officers assumed all the guilt that Katharina had nothing to do with the murder.

However, there was still someone who could dispute Catherine for the throne because of his origin. It was Ivan, who was still imprisoned by Elizabeth I at the time, and who had been imprisoned since he was one year old. Katharina inspected him in his prison and felt that he was a danger to her rule. She gave the order that the guard should be stepped up and that if anyone tried to free him, he should be killed.
A little later a young officer actually tried to free him from his prison; Ivan was killed immediately.
The assumption is that Katharina had given appropriate orders in both cases to get these two threats to her throne out of the way, but one can no longer read this from the, with the greatest probability, embellished records. At the beginning of her inauguration in Russia and Europe, Katharina was considered a usurper and could not afford any further threat to her image.

Her tenure was 43 years and ended with her death. When she died, Russia was roughly within its current borders and had become a major European power. Her son Paul took over the title.

love life

Katharina the big one was known for her dissolute love life. According to historians, she had 21 lovers. She never tried never to hide this fact, according to her own statement she simply did the same as all other rulers, with the only difference that she was a woman and therefore it was socially unacceptable. Her lovers had her ladies-in-waiting test her for venereal diseases and suitability beforehand ‘. Not all of her loved ones were only used for sexual satisfaction; some also brought her other (political) advantages.

On Wikipedia you can find a list of the most important fans: "Some of the lovers and favorites of Catherine stand out:
Count Saltykov, her first lover and likely father of her son Paul.
Stanislaus II August Poniatowski became King of Poland with Katharina's support. He was probably Anna's father.
Count Grigori Orlov, who, together with his brother Alexei, played a key role in the overthrow of Tsar Peter III. was involved.He later gave Katharina the famous Orlov diamond, named after him, which was used in the scepter of the Russian tsars. He was the father of at least one of Katharina's children and later received the title of count and in 1773 a castle in what is now Bogorodizk. The Bobrinski family is derived from this connection.
Prince Potjomkin, he made a steep career in civil service, was a member of the Imperial Council and President of the War College. Potjomkin built the Black Sea Fleet and founded the cities of Sevastopol and Kherson. He is considered her great love. The two are said to have even secretly married.
Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov was Katharina's lover from 1786 to 1789. He fell from grace when he left the tsarina in favor of a sixteen-year-old lady-in-waiting.
Prince Platon Alexandrovich Subov, Katharina's last lover and about 40 years old when she died. "


Catherine II renewed some structures in Russia. As an enlightened absolutist, she did not see herself being used by God alone, but her goal was the good of the state. She saw herself as committed to her subjects. It was also important to her to introduce new structures.

Foreign policy:

Under Catherine, Russia expanded like never before. In the two Russo-Turkish Wars 1768-1774 and 1787-1792, with the help of her general Prince Potjomkin, she conquered access to the Black Sea and large coastal areas. Through the three partitions of Poland, Russia gained massive land again.

Domestic policy:

Russia was divided into 40 new Governments by Catherine and she set up a new local administration in which the local elite had more say. In addition, it nationalized areas of activity such as poor relief, medical care for the civilian population and education.

Character and areas of interest

Katharina was known as a cheerful and intelligent woman. She took an early interest in politics and read a lot about it. She was also heavily involved in educational ideas. For a long time she had an exchange of letters with Voltaire, which had a great influence on her. Especially in the war against the Turks, he had a strong influence on their decisions. In his letters he motivated her to say "Crusades" against the pagan Turks. He spoke to her narcissistic side in order to convince her. This was probably one of her greatest weaknesses: her self-love.

As soon as someone threatened her power and image, she became very unscrupulous. However, she hardly made any mistakes that could be proven.

She thought everything through and knew exactly how to use people for her sake. In addition to emotional and sexual liberation, her lovers often also brought her political advantages. For example, her first lover, Grigory Orlov, who later became one of the key figures during the coup.

Grigori Alexandrowitsch Potjomkin, who was her lover from 1774, was above all a good general to her who turned her visions, for example Constantinople should become her new headquarters, into concrete steps and in some cases also implemented them. He was probably the most important of her lovers because he was very devoted to her, they thought on one level and she developed real feelings for him.



The two people we studied were both women, they were both very powerful and gained that power through marriage to an aspiring man. Both left a two-sided picture in the story: on the one hand that of an honorable aristocrat, on the other hand that of the malicious wife who is said to have killed her husband in order to gain her own benefit. In order to speak of a “trace of classical Europe” in connection with Katharina's person or actions, the two definitely have too little in common. In order to speak of a trace, Catherine II's direct reference to Livia Drusilla is missing; the parallelism of certain facts and processes (e.g. that both were intelligent and gained a lot of power through marriage) cannot be traced back to a 1700 Close rich years past.


Web texts:

https://www. britica.com/biography/Livia-Drusilla, 5.10.16
http://www.roman-emperors.org/livia.htm, October 4, 2016
https://www.wikiwand.com/de/Livia_Drusilla, 4.10.16
http://projekt.gutenberg.de/buch/kaiserbiographien-8675/4, 5.10.16
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharina_II._(Russland), October 3, 2016
https://www.welt.de/geschichte/article122386214/So-benuchte-die-Zarin-Katharina-ihre-21-Liebhaber.html, October 4th, 2016
http://www.seniorbook.de/themen/ategorie/geschichte-und-tradition/artikel/1613/katharina-die-grosse-geheimnis-um-erotisches-kabinett, October 4, 2016
https://www.welt.de/geschichte/article122386214/So-benuchte-die-Zarin-Katharina-ihre-21-Liebhaber.html, 5.10.2016
http://www.kaiserin.de/biographien/katharina-die-grosse.htm, October 5, 2016
http://universal_lexikon.deacademic.com/209126/Aufgekl%C3%A4rter_Absolutismus, October 5th, 2016