Agrippina the Younger
eldest daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, was born on 6 November ad 15 at Ara Ubiorum. In 28 she was betrothed to Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, to whom she bore one son, the later emperor Nero, in 37. During the principate of her brother Gaius (1) (37–41) her name, like those of her sisters, was coupled with the emperor's in vows and oaths; but when she was discovered at Mogontiacum late in 39 to be involved in the conspiracy of Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicus, she was sent into banishment. She was recalled by her uncle Claudius, who married her in 49. Aided by the financial secretary Marcus Antonius Pallas, Seneca (the Younger), and the guard-prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus, she quickly achieved her ambitious purpose. Receiving for herself the title Augusta, she persuaded Claudius to adopt Nero as guardian of his own son Britannicus. She was generally believed to have poisoned Claudius, to make room for Nero (54). In the first years of Nero's rule she was almost co-regent with him but, after Pallas had fallen in 55 and Burrus and Seneca turned against her, she lost her power. In March 59 she was murdered at Baiae by a freedman, Anicetus, acting on Nero's instructions. She wrote an autobiography.
John Percy Vyvian Dacre Balsdon; Antony J. S. Spawforth
Subjects: Classical studies