Builders of a Dynasty: The Social and Political Influences of the Women in Augustus’s Imperial Family
Augustus is renowned throughout history for being the first emperor of the Roman Empire and establishing the Julio-Claudian line. His achievement would not have been possible, however, without the support and efforts of the women in his immediate family. In particular, the social and political influence of his sister Octavia, his wife Livia, and his daughter Julia had an immense impact on Augustus’ reign. This thesis argues that these women contributed to Augustus obtaining the role of emperor and worked to establish the supremacy of the Julio-Claudian line. This thesis substantiates that claim by analyzing how Octavia, Livia, and Julia achieved this goal by serving as patronesses of public works, mediating between and interceding on behalf of other political elites, acting as pawns for marriage and figures of fidelity, and taking the roles of epitomes of public image and mothers of Rome. This thesis concludes by drawing attention to the fate of the Julio-Claudian line after the death of Augustus and how the memory of these women’s political and social roles persisted long after they were gone.