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Could Augustus have had penchant for young girls?

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Young Octavian Augustus
Young Octavian Augustus

Octavian Augustus (63 BCE – 14 CE) like virtually every famous personage, and even more so the ruler had to reckon with numerous rumours about himself. One of them was allegedly the emperor’s adoration of deflowering virgins, whom Livia was to send him from various parts of the Empire.

It is worth mentioning that, according to the Romans, the woman was to remain a virgin until she got married, when the spouse was legally consumed on the wedding night. It is said that girls from the noble estate were married off at the age of 12. Taking into account the accusations described in Suetonius, one could even be tempted to say that the girls who were to be brought to August’s house could have been from 10 to 14 years old – and probably this was also accused of Octavian.

How much truth is there to tell? It is hard to say, as in the work of Suetonius you can find many accusations against Octavian: adultery, lavish lifestyle, gambling. It seems, however, that these rumours originated as snickers about his conservative approach to life and social reform.

  • Beryl Rawson, The Roman Family in Italy, 1999
  • Suetonius, Augustus, 71

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