Livia Book Review

1348 Words 6 Pages
I decided to choose Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome for my book review, an MLA citation for this title can be located at the bottom of this review. This book, awarded Outstanding Academic Title for 2003 by Choice Magazine, was written by Anthony A. Barrett, an accomplished writer. Including this book, he has published ten historical volumes, including Caligula: The Corruption of Power, Agrippina: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire, Aggripina: Mother of Nero, and The Epigrams of Janus Pannonius. His papers can also be found in academic journals, like the American Historical Review and the American Journal of Philology. The primary focus of these works are on the politics that surrounded Roman noblemen and women, and their personal …show more content…
In this TV show, Livia was portrayed as a scheming woman symbolized by a snake in the opening credits who is obsessed with eliminating those who stood in her way, often times with poison. Barrett explains how he wrote this book in the hopes of correcting the many different accounts and impressions of Livia’s life that were created by the media. He admits that this is a hard task, especially when the media’s portrayal is more popular and well known. He admits, “truth is rarely stranger than fiction, and is usually far less exciting” (Barrett), although considering Livia’s position of nobility, Barrett firmly believes that she makes a fascinating character study. Contrary to popular belief, Livia contributed many things to the Roman Empire besides drama. In fact, she was widely thought to be the paragon of Roman womanhood in her day. She was quiet, submissive, and gracious, womanly traits that were all looked upon highly in this time period. But make no mistakes, this woman was highly involved in Roman politics through her husband, Augustus. She was able to project the image the public wanted, yet firmly influenced politics behind the scenes, first through her husband, and later her son, …show more content…
In an especially intriguing section, he discusses the monument Augustus commissioned, the Ara Pacis. In order to avoid scandal, yet still honor Livia, Augustus dedicated the monument on her birthday. He was able to ingeniously promote himself, and also his beloved wife without breaking Roman tradition by honoring a woman publicly or officially (Barrett). In a more outward display of affection, Augustus was also able to perform a similar maneuver by timing the dedication of the altar to his Numen on the anniversary of his wedding to Livia. By timing these very important events in the way that he did, Augustus makes his commitment and devotion to Livia very

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