Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the sister of Caligula. For the fictional character, see Drusilla (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Julia Drusilla (September, 16 - June 10, 38) was a daughter to Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. She had two sisters (Julia Livilla, Agrippina the younger) and five brothers (Tiberius and Gaius Julius, who died young; Nero, Drusus, and Gaius Germanicus). The last brother was nicknamed Caligula and later became the third Roman Emperor, reigning from March 28, 37 to January 24, 41.
Drusilla was born in Ambitarvium , north of the later city of Koblenz, Germany. She was married in 33 to Lucius Cassius Longinus. The couple divorced in 37. By that time Caligula had reputedly become a lover to all three of his sisters. He might have instructed the couple to divorce.
Shortly after, Drusilla had her second marriage to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. He was reputed to be a male lover to Caligula. Robert Graves' I, Claudius nicknamed him Ganymede after the male lover of Zeus. Lepidus's great-grandfather Lucius Paullus was son to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Appuleia, brother to the Marcus Aemilius Lepidus who had served as member of the Second Triumvirate and himself Consul in 50 BC. His grandfather Aemilius Lepidus Paullus had replaced Lucius Scribonius Libo as consul in 34 BC and served as censor in 22 BC. His paternal grandmother Cornelia was probably a member of the gens Cornelia. His father Lucius Aemilius Paullus served as a Consul in AD 1. His mother Vipsania Julia was daughter to a Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and a granddaughter of the Emperor Caesar Augustus.
Drusilla was reportedly her brother's favorite. She was also his lover. This role likely gained her influence over him as well as being a source of personal profit. However the activities between brother and sister were seen as incest by their contemporaries. Drusilla herself earned a rather poor reputation, and was even likened to a prostitute by later scholars.
She died on June 10, 38, reportedly from loss of blood during anal sex. In a more sinister account given by Suetonius, Drusilla became pregnant with Caligula's child, and in a panic he disembowelled her, believing that the child of their union was divine and so represented a threat to his throne. Nevertheless, Drusilla most likely died of the fever, which was rampant in those times.
Caligula never really recovered from the loss of the only person he ever truly loved. He buried his sister with the honors of an Augusta, acted as a grieving widower, and had the Roman Senate declare her a Goddess as "Diva Drusilla", apparently officially deifying his personal sex goddess. She was notably the first woman in Roman history to be deified.
A year later, Caligula named his only known daughter Julia Drusilla after his late favorite sister. Meanwhile, her widowed husband Marcus Aemilius Lepidus reportedly became a lover to her sisters Livilla and Agrippina in an apparent attempt to gain their support in succeeding Caligula. The conspiracy was discovered by Caligula while in Germania Superior during the autumn. Lepidus was swiftly executed.
Some suggest that Caligula was motivated by more than mere lust or love in pursuing relations with his sisters. He might instead have deliberately paterned himself after the Hellenistic Monarchs of the Ptolemaic dynasty where marriages between jointly ruling brothers and sisters had become tradition rather than sex scandals. This has also been used to explain his despotism being apparently more evident to his contemporaries than those of his predecessors Caesar Augustus and Tiberius. However, it is in fact very likely that Drusilla was the greatest love of Caligula's life, though it is uncertain whether incestuous relations actually occurred between the two.
Teresa Ann Savoy played Drusilla in the 1979 motion picture Caligula, which used the more plausible theory of Drusilla dying from the fever, though it did follow with a highly unlikely scene of Caligula licking her corpse in mourning and then having sex with it one last time (although the latter half of the sequence got deleted from all the released versions of the film), and Beth Morris played her in the 1976 miniseries adaptation of I, Claudius, where the disembowellment story was used though scenes alluding to it were cut from it before showing in the United States.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details