Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Livia Drusilla

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Livia Drusilla
b. 58 B.C., Rome; d. A.D. 29, Rome

Livia Drusilla was an enormously powerful woman in the imperial Roman government. In 38 B.C., she divorced her first husband, by whom she bore two sons, and married her lover Octavian, later the emperor Augustus (ruled 27 B.C.–A.D. 14). During the next fifty years, Livia functioned as his counselor and confidante, and allegedly plotted the deaths of numerous contenders in the line of succession. After Augustus' death, her son Tiberius took the throne, but Livia's ambition reportedly drove him away from Rome. When she died, in A.D. 29, he vetoed all the honors and titles that the Senate wished to bestow upon her. These were not granted until thirteen years later, during the reign of her grandson, Claudius.

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