Political Marriages Essay

969 words - 4 pages

The Aeneid was written during the time of Augustus (27 BC), the first Emperor of Rome. After Caesar’s death in 44BC, Augustus had the immense task of bringing Rome back to her original stability and unity that had been shattered during the Civil Wars and decline of her Republic. In the establishment of this empire Augustus had legislation encouraging marriage and the birth of children. Thus it makes sense that Virgil’s The Aeneid promoted the theme of marriage in a beneficial light. In Book 12 Aeneas was fated to marry Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus of Latium. By marrying Lavinia Aeneas would be in alliance with Latinus, conquering Latium to further the founding of Rome. Aeneas explains ...view middle of the document...

Their marriage is described as providing “a critical link between the republican past and the new empire.” Claudia Marcella was the great-granddaughter of Julia, Julius Caesar’s favorite sister, and her stepfather was Mark Antony; therefore her family was high in political prestige. Paullus Aemilius Lepidus had been consul suffectus (34 BC) and censer (22 BC), and his brother Marcus Aemilius Lepidus the triumvir had been part of the Second Triumvate with Octavian and Mark Antony, so Paullus was also of high political status. Additionally, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus all played important roles as leaders to Rome and establishing her Empire. Thus the importance of this marital alliance between Claudia and Paullus was to bring together two powerful republican houses, and due to the lineage of both families, it brought them closer to the rising imperial era in unity.
In addition, the political marriage of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Caecilia Metella in 88BC exemplified how marital alliances provided political foundations that allowed leadership. Caecilia was from the Metelli clan, a well-established political clan. Sulla had “married her [Caecilia Metella] to forge an alliance with her influential and wealthy family.” This alliance became beneficial to Sulla, and Rome, because the Metelli supplied political support and money, which assisted him in becoming consul. By reaching consulship Sulla then began to rise to power, and he eventually played a very influential role as a Roman Dictator. During his dictatorship in 88-79BC Sulla attempted to repair Rome’s destructed government and society. Such destruction had been caused by the Gracchi brothers (133-121BC) and her failing Republic. In his attempts to repair Rome Sulla reformed the government and removed harmful political leaders that posed a threat to the success of Rome. Yet, Sulla’s success would’ve been limited had he not...

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