Sabina, Poppaea

Sabina, Poppaea,

first the mistress and afterwards the wife of Nero. Her father was T. Ollius, who perished at the fall of his patron Sejanus, and her maternal grandfather was Poppaeus Sabinus, whose name she assumed. Poppaea had been originally married to Rufius Crispinus, by whom she had a son; but she afterwards became the mistress of Otho, a boon companion of Nero, by whose means she hoped to attract the notice of the emperor. Obtaining a divorce from Rufius, she married Otho. Her husband's lavish praise of her charms made the emperor anxious to see her. Her conduct had the desired effect. Nero removed Otho out of the way by sending him to govern Lusitania, A.D. 58. Poppaea now became the acknowledged mistress of Nero, but was anxious to be his wife. As long, however, as Agrippina, the mother of Nero, was alive, she could scarcely hope to obtain this honor. Through her influence Nero was induced to put his mother to death, in A.D. 59, and in A.D. 62 he put away Octavia, on the plea of barrenness. and married Poppaea a few days afterwards. Not feeling secure as long as Octavia was alive, she worked upon the fears and passions of her husband until she prevailed upon him to put the unhappy girl to death in the course of the same year. Poppaea was killed by a kick from her husband in a fit of passion (A.D. 65). Her body was not burned, according to the Roman custom, but embalmed, and was deposited in the sepulchre of the Julii. She received the honor of a public funeral, and her funeral oration was pronounced by Nero himself. The only class in the empire who regretted her may have been the Jews, whose cause she had defended (Josephus, Life, § 3; Ant. 20, 8, 11).

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