Famously known for being the mother of Nero, Julia Agrippina was a very clever and brave woman. She was the wife of Emperor Claudius, and she cunningly persuaded the emperor to adopt her son Nero in hopes that he would become the heir to Claudius's throne. It is largely believed that Claudius was eventually poisoned by Agrippina. Upon his death, Agrippina ensured that her son would become the emperor rather than Claudius's son Britannicus. The suspicious death of Britannicus make historians today wonder whether it was also caused by Agrippina. Because Nero was only sixteen when he began his rule, Agrippina exerted much influence over him and played a large role in politics behind the scenes. The years she ruled through her son are known to be the best times of Nero's reign, but Nero eventually had his own mother killed.
Livia Drusilla was first empress of Rome as she was the wife of Caesar Augustus. Livia diligently advised her husband about his political affairs, and Augustus is said to have trusted her implicitly as his counselor. She, too, like many other empresses is said to have had many of her husband's and son's political rivals. In order to ensure her first son Tiberius's eventual succession to the throne, she also refrained from having any children after her marriage to Augustus. To the public, Livia Drusilla was viewed as the quintessential woman; she was a devoted wife and mother. However, she was also respected for her considerable influence over Roman politics through her husband Augustus and son Tiberius. When Augustus was at the verge of death, Livia remained at his bedside, serving as the middleman in communication between him and his advisors. She also released bulletins on his health and governed over all his activities. She died at age 86 in 29 C.E.