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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Matrons of Awesome XIII: Between the Dynasties

October 1st, 2011 at 18:48

This one’s short. This is all we have about these three, apart from a coin or two that just confirms the below information.

38. Manlia Scantilla

Wife of Didius Julianus, who came the throne suddenly and left equally suddenly, in a pool of blood. He ruled for 30 days or so, and took the time to give his wife and daughter the title Augusta.

39. Didia Clara

Daughter of Didius Julianus. When he died in the aforementioned pool of blood, the supporters of his successor Pertinax went after Manlia Scantilla and Didia Clara… and removed the title of Augusta from Didia Clara. Yep, that’s all they did.

A long way from murdering Caligula’s baby in her bed, to end his biological line…

I find it awfully interesting that Manlia Scantilla is not said to have lost her title, but Didia Clara is. This led me to a vital point in my thesis, about the meaning of Augusta, which I won’t bore you with right now. But it seems evident to me that Didia Clara being of childbearing age made a big difference.

40. Titiana

Wife of Pertinax. Didn’t get to be Augusta. Pertinax also refused to give his son the traditional “heir” title of Caesar, saying “When he has earned it.” We presume that this is also the reason why Titiana didn’t get to be Augusta straight away.

She might have earned the title in time, of course, but they didn’t have much in the way of time. Pertinax and his family lasted longer than the Didii Julianuses, but not by much. A new dynasty was on the horizon, and they carried a big sword…

NEXT: A Surfeit of Julias

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The Matrons of Awesome series was originally posted on Livejournal (LJ user: cassiphone) in March 2006 for Women’s History Month.

I’m reprinting the (reworked) series as part of my Rock The Romanpunk week in celebration of my short story collection, Love and Romanpunk, which was published by Twelfth Planet Press earlier this year and is now available globally as an e-book as well as a pretty imperial purple print edition. Thanks to Wizard’s Tower Bookstore you can also now purchase it for the Kindle.

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