Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Early Roman Empire

On the nearby Chart #7 is the famous Cleopatra, continued from Chart #5. Follow the line of descent from her and Mark Anthony's daughter Cleopatra Selene to Caius Julius Alexio who married the daughter of Emperor Claudius.

The Tusculum portrait, the only surviving sculpture of Caesar made during his lifetime
Source: By Gautier Poupeau from Paris, France - C├ęsar, CC BY 2.0,
Julius Caesar had two known natural children - Caesarion by Cleopatra, who was killed when he was 17 years old and Julia, who married Pompey the Great, but died with her child while giving childbirth. Thus there are no further descendants of Julius Caesar. There are suspicions however, that three of his mistress Servilia's children were actually his, including Junia Tertia, the wife of Cassius, as well as Brutus, both leading instigators of the plot to kill Caesar.

However, I am descended from Julius Caesar's sister, Julia, who married Marcus Atius Balbus. As you can see in Chart #7, Julia is the ancestor of the first 5 Roman Emperors. Mark Anthony and Octavia were the ancestors of 4 of them, while Octavia was the sister to the first, Augustus. Julia and Julius Caesar's ancestry supposedly go back to Numa Pompilius, the 2nd legendary King of Rome on their paternal grandmother's side, and back to Ascanius, the grandson of King Priam of Troy on their paternal grandfather's side. We will probably revisit the genealogy of the legendary founders of Rome in a later blog.

In this chart you can see the relationships of the first five Roman Emperors - labeled with a number in parenthesis after their common name.
  1. Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, who married Scribonia, a great-granddaughter of Pompey the Great, the highly successful military commander. Augustus and Scribonia's daughter Julia married Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was a close friend and adviser to Augustus. Another daughter where I can trace my ancestry is Vipsania Agrippina who married Germanicus.
  2. Tiberius, one of Rome's greatest generals, was married twice, but had only one child, Drusus Julius Caesar, whose descent is shown in Chart #7.
  3. Caligula is always ranked as one of the worst Roman Emperors. He was best known for his scandals - killing people on a whim, turning the palace into a brothel, incest, appointing his horse as a consul and priest, and other outlandish acts. He was harsh to the Senate and other nobility and was eventually assassinated. So far I have not seen that he had any children, so I am not descended from him. But his sister, Julia Agrippina  was married to the Emperor Claudius.
  4. Claudius and Julia had a daughter, Servilia married to Appius Calpurnius Piso, King of Syria who in turn had a daughter, Claudia, that married Alexio II, who was descended from, and the ancestor to, the Priest-Kings of Emesa, which was the old name for the current city of Homs in Syria. We will discuss in a later blog the "legendary" daughter, Genuissa who married the British King, Arviragus.
  5. Nero, like Caligula, also is considered one of the worst Emperors. Nero is known as a persecutor of the early Christians and instrumental in the deaths of both Peter and Paul. He extensively tortured and executed Christians after the Roman fire of 64 CE.
Returning to the Alexio II of Emesa, mentioned above, his ancestors were the Priest-Kings of Emesa, although his father, Sohaemus, was the last acting ruler as from Alexio to  Lucius Julius Aurelius, they served only in a ceremonial role. As seen in the chart, Sohaemus' mother was a 2nd-great-granddaughter of Herod the Great, connecting us back to Chart #2.

This chart (#7) continues with the descent to the Bishops of Lyon and ends with Aurelianus, the Archbishop of Arles in modern day France. These are the ancestors of Charlemagne, the famous  first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In later blogs we will show more of his ancestry on several of his lines.

Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.

Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software:

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