The First Ladies of Rome is a richly detailed historical picture of some of those great women of Rome, born or married into the house of the caesars. Opening at the dawn of the imperial age, the story begins with the rise of Livia, the first 'first lady', and proceeds to ghost the timeline of imperial Roman history through six dynasties, to Galla Placida, captured by a rampaging Goth horde only to rise to prominence as one of the last empresses.
In this remarkable book Annelise Freisenbruch casts a spotlight into every corner of the private and public lives of some of the most intriguing women in history, showing how they were moulded to meet the political requirements of their emperors, be they fathers, husbands, brothers or lovers. But these women proved to be liabilities as well as assets, and The First Ladies of Rome unveils a full range of characters whose identities were to reverberate through the ages, from the virtuous consort, the sexually voracious schemer and the savvy political operator, to the flighty bluestocking, the religious icon and the romantic heroine. It also delves into their everyday lives and the world of Rome u taking in education, clothing, health, sex lives, slaves, children, marriages, deaths, and their pivotal roles as political, artistic and architectural patrons.
Using a full spectrum of the most up-to-date literary, artistic, archaeological and epigraphic evidence, this book reveals for the first time the rich kaleidoscopic history of these women's lives, and the vivid and complex role of the empresses as political players on Rome's greatest stage.