Antonia Major

Antonia Major (in Latin: Antonia Maior, PIR2 A 884) (born August/September 39 BC), also known as Antonia the Elder, was a daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor and a relative of the first Roman Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

She was a niece of the Emperor Augustus, step cousin of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal great-aunt of the Emperor Caligula, maternal aunt and great-aunt-in law of the Emperor Claudius, and paternal grandmother and maternal great-great aunt of the Emperor Nero.

It is a slight misnomer to call her Antonia Maior, because there was in fact an older half-sister by a previous marriage. This Antonia was the elder of two daughters of Antony and Octavia Minor, but the middle sister. Tacitus Ann. 4.44.2 and 12.54.2 may have confused the two younger Antonia sisters (of whom the younger is far more famous).

In Roman terms, the half-sister was the real Antonia Maior (but she is not famous), the middle Antonia (the subject of this entry) was properly Antonia Minor (the Younger), and her full-blooded sister was properly Antonia Tertia. Even a great historian like Tacitus may have been unaware of the oldest of the three sisters, or perhaps the court deliberately obscured her identity because she was not a niece of Augustus.

Antonia was born in Athens, Greece and after 36 BC her mother, along with her siblings and herself were brought to Rome. She was raised by her mother, her uncle and her aunt Livia Drusilla. According to Cassius Dio, after her father died, Augustus allowed her and her younger sister Antonia Minor to benefit from their father's estate in Rome.

Antonia was held in high regard like her sister Antonia Minor, the mother of the Emperor Claudius, who was celebrated for her beauty and virtue.

Read more about Antonia Major:  Progeny, Ancestry

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