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Agrippina the younger

Agrippina Minor (Latin for "the younger") (A.D. 16-59), called "Agripinilla" to distinguish her from her mother, was the daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina Major, a sister of Caligula and sister-in-law of Tiberius, a niece and wife of Claudius, and the mother of Nero. She was born at Oppidum Ubiorum on the Rhine, afterwards named in her honour Colonia Agrippinae (modern Cologne, Germany).

Her life was notorious for intrigue and perfidy. By her first husband, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, she was the mother of the emperor Nero (born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus).

She was the niece of the Emperor Claudius, whom she married in about 47 A.D. She persuaded Claudius to adopt Nero -- thereby placing him in the line of succession to the Imperial throne. She is then believed to have poisoned Claudius in 54 A.D., and Nero became emperor. For a time she ruled the Empire through Nero, but he broke away from her influence.

According to Roman historians (and recounted by historical fiction writer Robert Graves in his novel Claudius the God), she regained her influence for a time by permitting him to commit incest with her, but he soon tired of her and conspired against her life, just as she had conspired against her husband, the emperor Claudius.

That legend says that when the Emperor's soldiers came to kill her, Agrippinilla pulled back her clothes and ordered them to stab her in the belly which had housed so monstrous a son.


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