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

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Coin of Marc Antony and Octavia, Ephesus, 39 B.C. (Photo: courtesy of CNG Coins, used with permission)

Octavia
b. 69 B.C., Nola, Italy; d. 11 B.C., Rome

Octavia, also called Octavia the Younger, was the sister of Augustus (Octavian), the first Roman emperor (ruled 27 B.C.–A.D. 14). Widowed in 40 B.C., she married Marc Antony to consolidate a political alliance between him and her brother. Octavia acted as a political advisor in Rome both during and after her marriage, which resulted in divorce in 32 B.C., when Antony left her for Cleopatra. Octavia was a popular and respected figure in Rome, evident by the fact that following her funeral in 11 B.C., her brother Augustus bestowed the highest honors upon her, declaring her a goddess and building temples in her name.

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