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Antonia Minor
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Birth: Jan. 31
Regional unit of Athens
Attica, Greece
Death: May 1
Cittą Metropolitana di Roma Capitale
Lazio, Italy

Roman Aristocrat. Antonia Minor, also known as Antonia the Younger, was born on January 31, 36 BCE in Athens, Greece; the younger of two daughters born to Mark Antony and Octavia, the sister of Augustus. Antony had dominion over the eastern Roman provinces and Antonia never had an opportunity to know her father as he became involved with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII and subsequently divorced Octavia in 32 BCE. Antonia returned to Rome with her mother an older sibling being reared in the household of her uncle Augustus. Antonia is one of the most prominent Roman women. She is celebrated for her virtue and beauty. As mentioned, she was the youngest daughter to Octavia Minor and Mark Antony and was also the favorite niece of her mother's younger brother, Rome's first Emperor Augustus. In 16 BCE, she married Nero Claudius Drusus, the son of Augustus, second wife Livia. Drusus was a superb military leader who led the armies of Rome far into Germany, penetrating to the Elbe River. Antonia and Drusus had several children, three of whom lived to adulthood: Germanicus, the future emperor Claudius and Livilla. Drusus died in 9 BCE from injuries he received when he fell from his horse. Antonia, now the widow of a hero, never married again, even though Augustus suggested several dynastic marriages. She remained the embodiment of the Roman ideal of the chaste woman. Germanicus followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a great military leader and married Agrippina, the daughter of Agrippa (Augustus' greatest friend and the victor at Actium over Antony and Cleopatra) and Julia, the only child of Augustus. Together they had several children: Nero, Drusus, Agrippina Minor, Drusilla, Julia and Gaius (known also by his nickname Caligula). The accession of Tiberius as Roman emperor in 14 CE brought with it feuding among the imperial family over the legitimacy fell into feuding over who was the rightful heir of Augustus. Because Tiberius lacked any blood relationship to Augustus, Agrippina felt her husband Germanicus and his children were the rightful heirs. When Germanicus died in Syria in 19 CE, Agrippina provoked Tiberius and Livia by walking from Brindisium to Rome with the ashes of her husband. Antonia was persuaded not to attend her son's funeral, apparently siding with the emperor. The rift in the imperial family never healed, and the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus was to use the distrust and bitterness between Agrippina and Tiberius for his own ends. Eventually, Agrippina and her oldest son Nero were exiled for plotting against Tiberius. When Livia died in 29 CE, Antonia, as the senior woman in the household, inherited the role of respected queen mother. Caligula and Drusilla were entrusted to Antonia's care and her son Claudius, who also had lived with Livia, may have lived with his mother. Antonia probably was an important influence on Caligula. As a daughter of Marc Antony she would have made her grandson aware of the achievements of his famous ancestor. Antonia had close connections with eastern kings, particularly the family of Herod the Great. She was a half-sister to Cleopatra Selene, who married Juba II of Mauretania and a step-aunt to Pythodoris, wife of Polemo I of Pontus. Also, living with Antonia were the children of King Cotys of Thrace, who had been murdered around 19 CE. Rhoemetalces, Polemo and Cotys II probably knew Caligula well. The respect Caligula later felt for the client kings of Rome may stem from his years with Antonia. Antonia's most pivotal act was to inform Tiberius of a conspiracy against the emperor by his most trusted advisor, the notorious Praetorian Prefect Sejanus. Tiberius, now in self-imposed isolation on Capri, ordered Sejanus' execution. Livilla had long had a relationship with Sejanus, even carrying out the murder by poisoning of her husband Drusus, the son of Tiberius. The historians Josephus and Cassius Dio report that Antonia imprisoned her daughter and starved her to death as punishment. When Caligula became emperor, one of his first imperial acts was to grant his grandmother the title Augusta and give her all the honors that Livia had enjoyed. He made her a priestess of the cult of Augustus and gave her the privileges of the Vestal Virgins. The Acts of the Arval Brothers confirm that she received her title from Caligula because they record a sacrifice to Antonia Augusta on her birthday the following January. Antonia died on May 1, 37 CE, at the age of seventy-three. Perhaps Antonia made something of a nuisance of herself with suggestions and criticisms to the new emperor. Suetonius says Caligula insisted Marco be present when his grandmother Antonia requested a private interview and he drove her to suicide with insults and may have poisoned her. This is not possible since Caligula having arrived in Rome on March 28 and was absent almost all of April collecting the ashes of his mother and brother. When her son Claudius became emperor in 41 CE, he also conferred on his mother the name of Augusta and added a ceremonial carriage to transport her image in the Circus and established games to honor her birth. He also struck coins with her portrait. When she lived and after her death, Antonia Minor was held up as an example of old-fashioned virtue, a pillar of respectability in the imperial court.

Family links: 
  Marc Antony
Mausoleum of Augustus
Cittą Metropolitana di Roma Capitale
Lazio, Italy
Created by: David Wend
Record added: Jan 30, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 124364764
Antonia Minor
Added by: David Wend
Antonia Minor
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- David Wend
 Added: Feb. 1, 2016

- David Wend
 Added: May. 1, 2015

- David Wend
 Added: Jan. 31, 2015
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