Claudia Marcella Major
Claudia Marcella Major (PIR2 C 1102; Major Latin for the elder, born 41 BC) also known as Claudia Marcella Maior; Marcella Maior; Claudia Marcella the Elder and Marcella the Elder.
Marcella belonged to the generation whose childhood was marred by the violence of the civil wars of the Roman Republic. Her first marriage took place to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 28 BC. She was his second wife. Augustus held Agrippa in the highest place of honor. Agrippa was a military man loyal to Octavian throughout the civil war. The marriage of Marcella and Agrippa probably occurred because of the strong bond between the two men. Marcella brought Agrippa a tie to an elite republican family and to Augustus himself, for she was Augustus's niece. Although Agrippa was older than Marcella but austere, he appeared to be a good husband to Marcella.
Marcella and Agrippa had children, however it is uncertain whether any of them survived to adulthood. A daughter was born to them, retrospectively called Vipsania Marcella Agrippina, in order to differentiate her from her half-sisters. This daughter Vipsania Marcella apparently married Q. Haterius (cos. suf. 5), by whom she had a son, D. Haterius Agrippa (cos. AD 22), born no earlier than 11 BC. A surviving fragment of a papyrus of the oration Augustus delivered at the funeral of Agrippa early in 12 BC. reveals that the general Publius Quinctilius Varus was a son-in-law of Agrippa because he married one of the Vipsania sisters, but probably the daughter mentioned in Cornelius Nepos's Atticus. In 23 BC the brother of Marcella, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, died and thus widowed Marcella’s paternal cousin Julia the Elder. In 21 BC, Agrippa divorced Marcella to marry Julia the daughter of Augustus.
After Marcella divorced Agrippa, Octavia Minor received Marcella back in her house. Octavia Minor married Marcella to the future consul Iullus Antonius, the second son of Mark Antony from his third wife Fulvia who was held in high regard by Augustus. Marcella bore Iullus Antonius one son. The son Lucius Antonius was sent to study in Marseilles (not an official exile) sometime after the disgrace of his father. In 2 BC, Iullus Antonius was forced to commit suicide after being found guilty of adultery with Julia the Elder.
Prior to 1939, scholars believed that Marcella married a third husband after the death of Iullus Antonius, namely the Roman Senator and her distant maternal relative, Setus Appuleios, the grandson of Octavia Major—the older half-sister of her mother. This is clearly wrong, because Marcella was the aunt of Appuleius, and aunt-nephew marriage was considered incest and therefore illegal. Sir Ronald Syme rightly doubted this marriage, although Michael Grant put it in his genealogical tables in his translation of Tacitus. (The daughter of Appuleius, Appuleia Varilla has been shown to be Quinctilla, also the mother of his son.) Therefore, after the death of Iullus, nothing more is known on Marcella.
|Ancestors of Claudia Marcella Major|