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Livia Justina


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LIVIA JUSTINA

27 | 4th March 48CE | Senatore | Matron | Heterosexual | Original | Noémie Schmidt

 

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Personality

If the Livia of twenty years ago and the current Livia were to meet, they would hardly believe they were the same person. Unfortunate life events have forced Livia to adapt and reinvent herself, and each time the end result has differed markedly from the starting point. To those who only know her superficially, she is a quiet and withdrawn thing whose favourite pastime appears to be sewing, leaving some to wonder if she is trying to live up to the deified Augusta of the same name. When in more familiar company, glimpses of the inquisitive and outgoing child she once was surface occasionally. Regardless of who she is with, Livia makes the effort to commit to (an unfortunately good) memory small details and information about the other party; not only does this leave them with a favourable impression of her but it also allows her to direct the spotlight away from herself and onto others.

Livia measures her words and acts carefully and holds tightly on to what little measure of control she is afforded. The gaiety and spontaneity of her youth eventually gave way to calculations and worst-case scenarios; her passivity and hesitance to act before all outcomes and consequences are accounted for are not innate, but acquired. She possesses an attention to detail in everything she does, be it from making additions to the hem of a palla to giving orders to her slaves. Perhaps because of this, combined with the few opportunities she has to be the one in charge and her need for someone else to be the weakest link for once, slaves find her a hard mistress to please.

 

Appearance

A blonde like some of her relatives, Livia’s hair is long and naturally wavy, its curls exaggerated by elaborate styling. Whereas she used to take pride in it and would gladly spend hours having it cared for by ornatrices, nowadays it looks rather dull, with only a passable amount of effort put into it. Her green eyes, once shrewd and vivacious, seem tired and lifeless. Livia’s smiles are few, quick and short and she finds it safer to chuckle lightly when something amuses her than to break out in full-fledged laughter.

Petite and slender at just 157 cm, Livia cuts no imposing figure. Her body has not changed much in the last ten years – no sagging breasts, rounded hips or flabby belly -, but the same cannot be said of her posture: though she still sits and stands up straight, she almost always lowers her head to avoid eye contact and appears to be lost elsewhere within her mind, mostly uninterested in what goes on around her. Her garments are of fine quality but sober in colour and fashion, although the accompanying jewellery is often more eye-catching and intricate.

 

Family

Father: Marcus Horatius Justinus (alive, 63)

Mother: Livia Calavia (deceased in the Civil War)

Siblings:

Publius Horatius Justinus (alive, b. 35 AD)
Horatia Justina (alive, b. 42 AD)
Lucius Horatius Justinus (alive, twin brother)

 

Spouse: Gnaeus Hortensius Clarus (b. 43 AD, d. 70 AD)
                Secundus Quinctilius Varus (b. 28 AD)

Children:

Early miscarriage (69 AD)
Stillborn daughter (70 AD)

Extended family

Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus (brother-in-law via Horatia)
Titus Calpurnius Praetextatus (nephew)
Calpurnia Horatia (niece)

Tertius Quinctilius Varus (brother-in-law via Secundus)
- Teutus Quinctilius Varus (nephew-in-law)
- Antonia Varia (niece-in-law)

Quinctilia Varia (sister-in-law via Secundus)
- Sergia Auletia (niece-in-law)
- Marcus Sergius Auletius (nephew-in-law and lover)

Other:

 

History

CHILDHOOD [48 – 60 AD]

Livia Justina was the last-born of the four Justini siblings, a few minutes after her twin brother Lucius and with an even better pair of lungs despite her small size. Named for her mother, who fell ill shortly after the birth but eventually recovered somewhat, Livia grew up a curious and lively child, constantly asking questions about everything and anything and keeping up with her brothers and their boisterous playing whilst their older sister Horatia kept a watchful eye on them. She remembers little of her earlier years in Rome but has fond memories of the family’s time in Hispania and the freedom to run about and play that she and Lucius had there. Eventually they returned to Rome, where Livia began her incursions in the world of learning. Unlike Horatia with her fondness for reading, Livia preferred more active pursuits like swimming or playing ball and discovered a natural talent for sewing and weaving.

TEENAGE YEARS [60 – 66 AD]

Puberty brought not only its own set of worries, but also a deeper understanding of the turmoil Roman society is plunged into. Between half of her family leaving for Greece for a couple of years and all the rioting and constant fighting for power in Rome, Livia grew up far more cautious and fearful than she should have had to, keeping a low profile and urging her twin to do the same. Their mother was added to the long, long list of victims of the civil war on one fateful day, and Livia struggled with vivid nightmares of the violent demise for months on end. Peace was finally achieved after years of fighting as Quintus Caesar was victorious and life could start to resume its normal pace. For Livia this meant that the much delayed affair of finding a suitable husband and becoming a proper and virtuous matron began in earnest.

ADULTHOOD [67 AD - present]

In 67 AD and after a great deal of persuading and convincing her father, Livia married Gnaeus Hortensius Clarus, heir to an old and distinguished family and five years her senior. Having already caught one another’s eye at several occasions long before the wedding, the couple’s impressions were confirmed as they quickly grew fond of each other and had a happy marriage in between Gnaeus’ career-related absences. Their bliss was marred by an early miscarriage in 69 AD, but Livia got pregnant again soon afterwards. However, news of Gnaeus’ sudden and unexpected death in Judea sent her into preterm labour and Livia gave birth to a daughter too premature to survive. The next two years saw Livia grieving deeply and undergoing drastic personality changes to the point where she avoided visits or gatherings and became somewhat of a recluse.

In a clumsy and misguided attempt to bring his youngest daughter out of her mourning and back into Roman society, her father arranges for her to marry Secundus Quinctilius Varus, paterfamilias and older than Livia by almost twenty years but still unmarried and childless. Too apathetic to fight the decision, Livia does as expected of her and exchanges vows with Secundus in 73 AD. The union could not have been more disastrous: her new husband is very prone to sudden, unpredictable and terrifying bouts of bad temper, fuelled by his past tribulations in Germania, and Livia grows even quieter and more withdrawn, trying her best not to provoke his fury. Unfortunately it is not always enough, and Livia has found herself slapped, kicked, dragged by the hair and on the receiving end of various indignities more times than she cares to count. Whereas a more spirited woman would have returned to her father’s house and demanded a divorce at once, Livia feels that the failure of yet another marriage would bring shame to her father and siblings as well as their families by association, and has subconsciously convinced herself that she deserves her fate for having failed to honour her first husband’s legacy and bring a living, healthy child by him into the world.

Her suffering has recently been somewhat alleviated by an illicit liaison: Livia has found a measure of compassion and solace in the arms of Marcus Sergius Auletius, the son of her husband’s sister and an ambitious young man who is none too fond of his uncle. For the time being only their respective body slaves are privy to the affair, although rumours may start to circulate should the pair grow bolder or less careful.

 

Liv | GMT+1 | PM here or DM Liv#5452

 

@Gothic

 

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