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"Subsidia Dominationi: The Early Careers of Tiberius and Drusus Revisited"

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April 3, 2018

Speaker & Affiliation

Frederik J. Vervaet (University of Melbourne)


4:30 pm
Betts Auditorium


Whereas many aspects of the Augustan age continue to enjoy ongoing or renewed interest, the early careers of Tiberius Claudius Nero (16 Nov. 42 BCE) and Nero Claudius Drusus (March/April 38 BCE), Livia’s sons from her marriage to Ti. Claudius Nero (pr. 42), have not been subject to much discussion or controversy of late. On the one hand, this could, perhaps, be explained in that they were quite young during the formative stages of the so-called Augustan monarchy, the critical settlements being those of 27, 23 and 19 BCE, the eye-catchers par excellence in the political history of the early Augustan era. On the other hand, Livia’s sons only really emerge into the spotlight of both ancient sources and modern scholarship after the untimely passing of M. Vipsanius Agrippa in 12 BCE. This paper aims at revisiting the evidence for Tiberius’ and Drusus’ careers in the decade or so before the latter’s premature death in Germany in 9 BCE, the period preceding the rapid rise (and demise) of Gaius and Lucius Caesar. There are, indeed, strong indications that Livia’s sons played a far more important part than has hitherto been recognized, both in terms of their official position and their role in assisting Augustus with one of his most important political objectives, namely the imperial monopolization of the public triumph.