Nero Sacrificed His Mother for His Ambition of Rome’s Throne
Nero was prophesized by astrologers when he was born that he would become emperor but kill his mother, according to Tacitus (The Annals). Agrippina’s reply was “Let him kill me- provided he becomes emperor”. This reinforces Agrippina’s desire and ambition for Nero to gain this position. After Nero became emperor in AD 54 after Claudius’ death Agrippina exercised power through her influence on Nero by sending official letters to kings and governors and receiving the various embassies that came to Rome. Nero did not resent this influence at the time, instead honoring Agrippina on coins produced at the time where she appeared face to face. Nero and her name and title were given more prominence than that of Nero. However, when Agrippina attempted to share Nero’s imperial dais during a meeting.
With an Armenian embassy, Seneca quickly forestalled her by getting Nero to leave the dais and go fonNard to greet her. Both Seneca and Burrus believed that if the Armenians saw a woman sharing Nero‘s imperial dais, they might suspect the empire of weakness and take advantage of it. This was due to the fact that the “open political influence of women in Rome was forbidden” according to the historian, Bill Leadbetter. The event marked the beginning of Agrippina’s decline. This could be seen in the fact that coins produced during ADSS depict Nero’s head partly covering that of Agrippina and the written inscription gave pride of place to Nero.
It is believed that Agrippina lost control over nero when she interfered With his love affairs. Nero’s passion for an ex-slave girl called Acte was strongly resented by Agrippina, According to the historian, Koutsoukis, Agrippina tried hard to end the affair but her “foul temper” merely served to strengthen the relationship between Nero and Act. Then Agrippina changed her tactics and went so far as to offer her own bedroom for the couple’s lovemaking. After the death of Britannicus in AD55 (believed to have been poisoned by Nero), Agrippina began to fear for her own safety. She moved out of the palace and lived in her own mansion in Pincian Hill. During this time, Nero conceived another passion, Poppaea Sabina, the wife of one of his close friends Again, Agrippina opposed this since she felt sympathetic towards his estranged wife Octavia.
It was at this time that Nero concluded that Agrippina was intolerable and decided to kill her. Poison was the first choice, according to Tacitus but a death at the emperor’s table would not look fortuitous after. Britannicus died there and yet her criminal conscience would have kept her alert for plots. Also, no one could think of a way of stabbing her without detection and there was another danger- the selected assassin might “shrink“ from carrying out his orders. Then a scheme was put forward by Anicetus, an ex-slave who commanded the fleet at Misenum. Anicetus tutored Nero during his boyhood and Tacitus wrote that he and Agrippina hated each other.
The scheme was to build a ship that will carry Agrippina and during the journey, a section of the ship would become loose and hurl her into the water, According to Tacitus, Anicetus remarked. ”if a shipwreck did away. With her, who could be so unreasonable as to blame a human agency instead of Wind and Water?” Nero invited Agrippina to visit him at Lake Baiae, near the Bay of Naples. Where he was attending a festival. She came as requested and Nero personally greeted her and gave her the utmost care and attention, according to Suetonius.
When the feast was over. he escorted her to the boat and bade her farewell With “loving tenderness”. Agrippina was accompanied by two attendants- Crepenius Gallus and Acerronia, Sometime during the journey, the ceiling of the boat, which was loaded. With the lead, fell in and instantly killed Crepenius, Agrippina and Acerronia were protected by the projecting sides of the couch. Acerronia claimed that she was Agrippina in a desperate attempt to be saved but instead. she was dispatched with poles and oars Agrippina was silent so she was less recognised but received around in her shoulder. She learned and met up With a small boat that took her to safety. After that event, Agrippina sent a messenger named Agerinus to tell Nero that she escaped death. According to Koutsoukis.
Nero was aghast at the news and so he had one ol his men drop a sword near the unfortunate Agerinus and immediately arrested the man and charged him With attempting to kill him. Accusing his mother of being behind the “plot”, Nero sent anicetus and two naval officers to her mansron to execute her. According to Dio Cassius, Agrippina tore open her clothing, exposing her abdomen, and cried out, “Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero”. She was clubbed about the head and then dispatched With a sword. Nero is later said to have gazed over her corpse to satisfy himself that she was indeed dead remarking “I did not know I had so beautiful a mother.