Vipsania Agrippina

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"Vipsania" redirects here. For other women named Vipsania or Agrippina, see Agrippina.
Roman imperial dynasties
Julio-Claudian dynasty
Vipsania Agrippina
Augustus 27 BC14 AD
Tiberius 1437 AD
Caligula 3741 AD
Claudius 4154 AD
Nero 5468 AD
Gens Julia
Gens Claudia
Julio-Claudian family tree
Category:Julio-Claudian dynasty
Preceded by
Roman Republic
Followed by
Year of the Four Emperors

Vipsania Agrippina (/ˌæɡrəˈpnə, -ˈp-/; 36 BC – 20 AD) was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa from his first wife Pomponia Caecilia Attica, granddaughter of Cicero's friend and knight Titus Pomponius Atticus.[1] By marriage, she was a great-niece to Quintus Tullius Cicero.

Octavian and her father betrothed her to Tiberius before her first birthday. In approximately 19 BC she married Tiberius.[2] Their son Drusus Julius Caesar was born in 14 BC.

Agrippa died in March 12 BC. He was then married to his third wife, Julia the Elder, daughter of Augustus. Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce Vipsania and marry Julia. Tiberius reportedly loved Vipsania and disapproved of Julia. Vipsania was pregnant with a second child in 12/11 when the couple divorced. The second child did not survive.[3]

Tiberius divorced Vipsania against his will in 11 BC (non sine magno angore animi according to Suetonius) and never ceased to rue his action. On one occasion Tiberius caught sight of Vipsania and followed her with an intent and tearful gaze.[3] Precautions were taken to avoid further embarrassing meetings with her.

In 11 BC she married Gaius Asinius Gallus Saloninus,[4] a Senator and son of the famous orator Gaius Asinius Pollio. They had at least six sons. Vipsania Agrippina died in AD 20, a few days after the ovation of her son Drusus,[5] which took place on 28 May.

Tiberius hated Gallus, not least because Gallus claimed that Drusus was his own son. In 30, at Tiberius' instigation, the Senate was to declare Gallus a public enemy.[6] He died in prison in 33, of starvation.

Vipsania and Gallus' known sons were:

  • Asinius Saloninus or (Gnaeus Asinius Saloninus) (sometimes wrongly called Salonius), died in 22. Tacitus describes him as an ‘eminent’ person. Saloninus was intended to marry one of the granddaughters of Emperor Tiberius.[7]
  • Servius Asinius Celer. He was consul suffectus in 38. From Emperor Caligula he purchased a fish at an enormous price. He is mentioned in the satire, by Seneca, The Pumpkinification of Claudius, where he is listed among the many people killed by that emperor. His death probably occurred sometime before mid-47. Asinius Celer seems to have had a daughter by the name of Asinia Agrippina, though her existence is obscure.
  • Asinius Gallus or (Lucius Asinius Gallus) (sometimes wrongly called Gallo). In 46 he conspired against Claudius and was forced to go into exile. Cassius Dio (60.27.5) describes him as being "very small and ugly". Later rehabilitated, he became Consul in 62.
  • Gnaeus Asinius. His existence is recorded by the townsfolk of Puteoli, whose patron he was. Nothing else is known about him. He may have been identical with Asinius Saloninus or the foregoing Asinius Gallus. Since the Asinius Gallus seems to have been the Lucius Asinius Gallus who became a Consul in 60, by exclusion of parts the Gnaeus Asinius must be the Asinius Saloninus.

A descendant of Vipsania and Gallus, Pomponia Graecina, became a distinguished lady. Pomponia might have been a Christian and lived an unhappy long life. Pomponia married Aulus Plautius. Plautius was a general in the conquest of Britain, which he received as a military ovation. Nero murdered their son, reportedly because Agrippina the Younger, mother of Nero, was in love with him and encouraged him to bid for the throne.

Another descendant or otherwise relative, Gaius Asinius Lepidus Praetextatus (210 – after 242), became a Consul in 242, being the son of Gaius Asinius Lepidus, Suffect Consul of Rome in 222 and wife (Vettia) (born 190 or 195).

Tacitus states that Vipsania was the only one of Agrippa's children to die without violence.[8] She was one of the leading women of her time, and between 21-23, her son Drusus honored her memory with statues, coins and inscriptions.

Vipsania in popular culture[edit]

Robert Graves' novel I, Claudius mentions Tiberius following Vipsania with his eyes after their divorce, referencing Suetonius. Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Tiberius. 7.

The television adaptation went somewhat further, the first episode included a fairly lengthy scene between Tiberius and Vipsania on the eve of her second marriage, with Tiberius upset and regretting their divorce. She was played by Sheila Ruskin.


(See also Julio-Claudian family tree)


  1. ^ Nepos Atticus 12
  2. ^ Syme, The Augustan Aristocracy (1987), 314.
  3. ^ a b Suetonius Tiberius 7
  4. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 1.12
  5. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 3.19
  6. ^ Cassius Dio 58.3
  7. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 3.75
  8. ^ Tacitus Annals. 3.19.4-5.


  • Christian Settipani, Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne (France: Éditions Christian, 1989).
  • Christian Settipani, Continuite Gentilice et Continuite Familiale Dans Les Familles Senatoriales Romaines A L'epoque Imperiale, Mythe et Realite, Addenda I - III (juillet 2000- octobre 2002) (n.p.: Prosopographica et Genealogica, 2002).
  • Luíz Paulo Manuel de Menezes de Mello Vaz de São-Payo, A Herança Genética de Dom Afonso I Henriques (Portugal: Centro de Estudos de História da Família da Universidade Moderna do Porto, Porto, 2002).
  • Manuel Dejante Pinto de Magalhães Arnao Metello and João Carlos Metello de Nápoles, "Metellos de Portugal, Brasil e Roma", Torres Novas, 1998

External links[edit]

  • Roman coinage and additional information on Vipsania Agrippina can be seen at [1]