The move was altogether very bold; for this nomination of a child consul contradicted all the fundamental principles of the Roman constitution, and it would probably have been fatal to the party which evolved it, had not the indignant rage of Tiberius assured its triumph. Tiberius opposed this law, which he took as an offense, and he wished Augustus to oppose it, and at the outset Augustus did so. But then, either because Julia was able to bend him to her desires or because in the senate there was in truth a strong party which supported it out of hatred for Tiberius, Augustus at last yielded, seeking to placate Tiberius with other compensations. But Tiberius was too proud and violent an aristocrat to accept compensations and indignantly demanded permission to retire to Rhodes, abandoning all the public offices which he exercised. He certainly hoped to make his loss felt, for indeed Rome needed him. But he was mistaken. This act of Tiberius was severely judged by public opinion as a reprisal upon the public for a private offense. Augustus became angry with him and in his absence all his enemies took courage and hurled themselves against him. The honors to Caius Caesar were approved amid general enthusiasm and the Julian party triumphed all along the line; it reached the height of power and popularity, while Tiberius was constrained to content himself with the idle life of a private person at Rhodes.
[Illustration: A reception at Livia’s villa. The scene evidently is at Livia’s country palace at Prima Porta. Agrippa is seen descending the steps to be received by Augustus and Livia (who are not shown in the picture). The original of the status of Augustus, here shown, was found in the ruins of Livia’s villa close to the flight of marble steps and its base. The remains of the steps and the base of the statue are standing to-day at Prima Porta.]
But at Rome Livia still remained. From that moment began the mortal duel between Livia and Julia.
THE DAUGHTERS OF AGRIPPA
Tiberius had now broken with Augustus, he had lost the support of public opinion, he was hated by the majority of the senate. At Rhodes he soon found himself, therefore, in the awkward position of one who through a false move has played into the hands of his enemies and sees no way of recovering his position. It had been easy to leave Rome; to reenter it was difficult, and in all probability his fortune would have been forever compromised, and he would never have become emperor, had it not been for the fact that in the midst of this general defection two women remained faithful. They were his mother, Livia, and his sister-in-law, Antonia, the widow of that brother Drusus who, dying in his youth, had carried to his grave the hopes of Rome.