Evaluate the Significance of Agrippina's Marriages in Her Rise to Prominence.
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Agrippina the Younger’s three marriages were significant in her rise to prominence as they all served her political advancement; protection from enemies, fortune and eventually, power in politics. Her first marriage was to Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, a man seventeen years her senior, described as a “wholly despicable character” (Suetonius). Her second marriage was to Gaius Sallustius Passienus Crispus, cut short by his death, but gaining her immense fortune. Her third and final marriage was to her uncle, Emperor Claudius, giving her the political power she craved, just as her mother did before her.
Agrippina’s first marriage was at the age of 13, to Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, 30 years old at the time. Gnaeus was born into a famous,…show more content… The law at the time perceived their marriage as incestuous, as she was the daughter of Claudius’ brother, Germanicus. Despite this, by the assistance of Vitellius (a friend of Agrippina’s in the Senate) appealing their union as ‘commonplace’ in other countries (even Roman) that the marriage was enacted in principle and practice. Tacitus says that their marriage in AD49 “marked a real turning point” as Agrippina acquired power beyond her wildest dreams.
Claudius, as emperor, was told it was politically necessary to have a partner, upon Messalina’s death, to help function and protect the Principate, one of few reasons for his marriage to Agrippina. It was Pallas who presented Agrippina’s case (as she was an eligible woman) convincingly. Claudius could not ignore her ambitious nature, the fact she was politically skilled, and importantly; a woman of the Julian bloodline. Agrippina’s motives were concentrated solely on herself, and her son, Nero. Agrippina married her uncle in hope that Nero would inherit the Principate. She wanted to promote her son to become emperor (Suetonius), and aspired for political power for herself in regards to the Principate and Claudius. The power gave her the ability to dispose of any enemies who got in her way.
Not only did she develop a reputation for running the Principate (acknowledging, and avoiding Caligula’s mistakes), she controlled