Octavia Thurina Minor was born in 69 and lived until 11 BC. Throughout history, the woman who would become the fourth wife of Mark Antony was also known as Octavia the Younger and at times , simply Octavia. Her family tree was significant, as she was the sister of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus (also referred to as Octavian) and the half sister of Octavia Thurina Major.
In history, Octavia would become one of the most significant women throughout Roman history , gaining a level of respect that some women could only dream of. Her legacy would move supporters and those who would read about her in text to gather admiration for her humanity, nobility, and loyalty. She also helped to uphold the traditional ways of the female during her times.
As a child, Octavia came into the world in Nola, Italy as the full sister of Augustus and is known as the sole daughter born to Gaius Octavius out of his second marriage to Atia Balba Caesonia , who was the niece of Julius Caesar. Her Roman governor and senator father passed away in 59 BC, leaving her mother to later take another husband by the name of Lucius Marcius Philippus , a consul. As a youth, Octavia got a chance to see the world, as she spent most of her growing up years on the road with her parents.
Her first marriage took place between Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor and herself, which was an arrangement made by her stepfather before 54 BC. Text would describe Marcellus as a man that possessed consular rank, who was worthy of her hand in marriage. He was consul in 50 BC and could provide the status of a man who was born into a well-off and influential Claudian family who actually descended from an infamous general during the Second Punic War.
In 54 BC, rumors spread that her great uncle Caesar was quite interested in seeing her marry Pompey, who had recently lost his wife (Julia , actually Octavia’s cousin once removed). Yet, Pompey was not interested and this would cause a rift between Octavia’s husband and Caesar, especially during his consulship of 50 BC. However, Marcellus would pass away when Octavia was 29. They had been together since she was 15 years old. Together, they brought three children into the world while she was in Italy – Claudia Marcella Major, Claudia Marcella Minor and Marcus Claudius Marcellus.
It was a Senatorial decree that would bring Octavia and Mark Antony together in the October of 40 BC. She became the fourth wife of Cleopatra’s last love. Since Octavia was pregnant with her Marcellus’ child, the marriage required the consent of the Senate. In the end, they were given the green light, as this politically arranged marriage was meant to ease the tension between Mark Antony and Octavia’s brother, Octavian. We learn throughout history, that she readily took on the role of a faithful and loyal wife.