The Portico of Octavia. Pen on paper.
Il Portico d'Ottavia
Monument
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Dedication: To the sister of the Emperor Augustus
The portico was built in honour of the sister of Augustus, Octavia, shortly after her death. Octavia was a useful diplomatic tool, as was any female member of a powerful Roman family, a position complicated by the shifting alliances of the 1st century bc. Her first marriage was to an influential senator called Gaius Claudius Marcellus, their son would later be a favourite of Augustus and give his name to the nearby Theatre of Marcellus. Julius Caesar attempted to force Octavia to divorce and marry the recently widowed Pompey to reinforce the two men's alliance. Later, for the same reason, Augustus ordered the now widowed Octavia to become Anthony's fourth wife. As the alliance decayed, Anthony moved to Egypt, divorcing Octavia in favour of Cleopatra.