Mike O'Donnell | Jan. 18, 2018

Octavius divorced his wife Scribonia, obviously a writer, to marry Livia Drusilla, not a writer but active on social media nevertheless, ending the fragile peace that existed between the son of the greatest general the Roman Republic ever saw, Pompey, and the Second Triumvirate, a hastily created junta of three war lords whose stated objective was to avenge the assassination of Julius Caesar but in reality was a way for the three generals to purge the country of their less-close friends.

Gaius Octavius was born into an old and wealthy equestrian family with the one distinctive plus being that his maternal great uncle, Julius Caesar, ended up naming Octavius in his will as the adopted son and heir. Octavius was 19 when Caesar died and so joined the Second Triumvirate as the junior member behind Mark Antony (no, not the singer) and Marcus Lepidius. Following the victory of the Second Triumvirate at the Battle of Philippi, when the three defeated Brutus and his band of merry stabbing men, the three declared 300 senators and 2,000 powerful equestrians as “enemies of the state” before confiscating first their property and then their lives. Thence they divided the Roman Republic amongst the three of them, each going their own separate way.

The Triumvirate eventually tore itself apart because of the competing ambitions of each of the members. Lepidius was driven into exile and stripped of his title. Marc Antony was defeated at the Battle of Actium and decided to take his own life. This left Octavius, soon to be known as Augustus, as the first Roman Emperor and ruler of all things Roman from 27 BC until his death in 14 BC when, after several months of gradually declining health, he reportedly died after eating poisoned figs prepared by his wife in a very early case of assisted suicide. The last words of Octavius were: “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.” But publicly, his last words were said to be: “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble” which scanned a lot better and sold a lot more t-shirts in the forum.

But back to the big divorce that precipitated a quick, little war between the Triumvirate and Sextus Pompeius, who was hanging out in Syria at the time and blocking grain shipments to Rome after hearing that Octavius divorced Scribonia, who was Sextus’ daughter.

Soon after Brutus and all his alleged friends were hatched and dispatched, Livia Drusilla returned to Rome with her husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero, and many thousands of other Romans once a general amnesty was announced and all the people who fled Rome after Caesar’s assignation could return. She was personally introduced to Octavius at a line dancing event one Saturday night and even though she already had one son (the future emperor Tiberius) and was pregnant with a second son at the time, Octavius was smitten and fell head over toga in love with her even though he was still married to Scribonia, who was also coincidentally pregnant at the time.

On the very day that Scribonia gave birth to their new daughter Julia, Octavius divorced Scribonia and ‘highly recommended’ that Tiberius Claudius Nero divorce Livia, which he did (the wimp), opening the door for Octavius to marry Livia that same day, January 17, 38 BC, when Livia was about six months pregnant. Tiberius was required to “give away” the bride, and the new couple, Octavius and Livia, remained happily married for the next 51 years. (Side note: this is still one of the records for Roman couples, even today!)

Anyway, what has any of this to do with anything related to what goes on in the wonderful world of Colorado Lending Source? “Absolutely nothing!” if I may quote a phrase from an Edwin Starr hit single from 1970. But because neither of my two readers studied the classics in their youth, which is a shame and potentially explains much that is both wrong and right with the world today, the sole objective of today’s blog is to briefly introduce you to the royal wedding that launched the first ever Roman emperor. This was also the wedding that ended up launching a thousand ships and can be directly and historically traced to the here-and-now. 

And as Edwin Starr himself wrote: “Peace, love and understanding. Tell me, is there no place for them today (?)”

And aren’t those words that all three of us can live by? I know I do.