Agrippa

(Marcus Vispanius Agrippa)

63–12 BC
Civilization: Roman — Rome
   Field of Renown:  military — General
Era:  Augustus
Pantheon in Rome
INTERIOR OF THE PANTHEON (RESTORED).

Agrippa was a close friend and advisor of Octavius (later Augustus). During the period of 43 to 31 B.C., while Octavius was consolidating power in Rome, Agrippa was his top general. He assisted Octavius at the Battle of Philippi against Cassius. He put down several rebellions, the most significant of which was against Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey, who had taken command of the island of Sicily, and had a large fleet. Agrippa defeated him in several naval battles in 36 B.C. and put an end to the rebellions. Agrippa also led the naval operation against Antony at the Battle of Actium.

In times of peace Agrippa also held various offices in support of Augustus. He was governor of Gaul, and later, as aedile, began construction of the Julian aqueduct, which became the most important source of fresh water in Rome. He also undertook the construction of several other important public buildings including the first public bath, a large granary behind the forum (used for distributing corn to the masses), and the Parthenon. He was consul in both 28 and 27 B.C., and after that was the most trusted and powerful minister of Octavius (by now Augustus). When Augustus was ill or indisposed, (as he was for nearly a year in 23 B.C.), Agrippa was the head of state. Agrippa was also on friendly terms with Jews and was a supporter of Herod the Great.

In 21 B.C. Agrippa married Julia, the recently widowed daughter of Augustus. Theirs was not a happy marriage, but it did produce five children, including Agrippina the Elder, and several sons. Although Agrippa's sons were heirs to the empire, only one outlived Augustus, and he was done in by Tiberius and Livia. Agrippa died of an illness in 12 B.C.


Key events during the life of Agrippa:


Year
Event
44 BC
Returned with Octavius to Rome, after the assssination of Caesar.
43 BC
Tribune.
40 BC
Praetor.
38 BC
Governor of Gaul.
36 BC
Defeated the son of Pompey in naval battles off Sicily.
33 BC
Aedile. Constructed the Julian aqueduct.
31 BC
Commanded fleets at the Battle of Actium.
28 BC
Consul.
27 BC
Consul.
  Constructed the Parthenon, first public baths, and a public granary behind the forum.
23 BC
Head of state during illness of Augustus.
21 BC
Married Julia, daughter of Augustus, for political reasons.
  Produced three sons and two daughters, who were grandchildren of Augustus.
12 BC
Died of illness.


Image Links


The Pantheon
 in The Story of the Romans

Interior of the Pantheon (Restored)
 in The Story of the Romans


Contemporary
Short Biography
Augustus Caesar First emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Maecenas Advisor and ambassador of Augustus. Patron of art and literature.
Julia Caesara Profligate daughter of Augustus Caesar. Fell from grace and was banished from Rome.
Sextus Pompeius Son of Pompey, who led a revolt against Augustus in 36 B.C.
Herod the Great King of the Jews, friend of Agrippa.