Agrippina IIAgrippina II
Mother of Nero
16 -32 A.D.

Nero was a monster of inequity. His reign was a carnival of crime. Who and what was the mother of this man? She was born in a Roman camp on the shores of the Rhine. Her fiery and ambitious spirit was probably stimulated by her father’s conquests. After the death of her father she was driven into exile by her brother, Caligula, who accused her of conspiracy.

After some years, Agrippina married, for her second husband, her uncle Claudius, who had become emperor. She ruled him absolutely, and when she thought he had lived long enough caused him to be poisoned in order that she might obtain the throne for her son Nero. Claudius had a son, Britannicus, by his first wife. Messalina, who was therefore the rightful heir of the throne. He was put out of the way his father had been, by whose hand we cannot say.

Agrippina was inordinately ambition for her son Nero. She was in many respects a woman of ability in affairs of state. Her ambition was at last gratified in seeing her son proclaimed as emperor. But she could not readily relinquish her power, and so there arose jealousy between mother and son. She was warned of the danger,, but explained, “Let me perish, but let Nero reign!”

The son who had reached the throne by his mother’s crimes, turned against her and plotted her death. He caused a boat to be constructed that it would easily fall to pieces in a slight storm. This occurred as Agrippina was crossing the gulf of Baiæ. Instead of drowning she swam ashore, and later was brutally murdered. Her unscrupulous ambition for her son had its grim recompense.

For ten years she was the virtual ruler, that is, for the last five years of her Claudies’ life and the first five years of Nero’s occupation on the throne, and her reign, though marked by domestic crimes, was a prosperous one for the state.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.