Vipsania Polla – Wikipedia

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Vipsania Polla was an ancient Roman woman of the late Republic, she was the sister of emperor Augustus’ right hand man Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. She is best known today for the construction of the Porticus Vipsania.


Early life[edit]

Polla was born in the Late Roman Republic to an plebeian family,[1][2] likely from Venetia or Histria. Her father was Lucius Vipsanius Major and her mother an unknown woman.[3] She had two brothers, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Lucius Vipsanius Minor.[4] Since Cassius Dio records her name as Polla and not Vipsania it’s possible that she used Polla as her praenomen. She is also the only notable woman of her gens to not have a cognomen derived from her brother’s name.[3]


Although Polla was a distinguished woman, little information about her has survived. She is remembered chiefly for overseeing construction of a monument called the Porticus Vipsania, a map of the Roman Empire engraved in marble.[5] Marcus Agrippa started the construction of this map before his death in 12 BC and Polla took over the project using the notes that he left behind.[6] It is likely that she also organized races in memory of her brother since he was a circus enthusiast.[7]

Later life[edit]

Sabina Tariverdieva has proposed that she was the woman married to Quintus Haterius instead of her niece.[8] Polla likely died some time around 7 BC.[9][10]

Cultural depictions[edit]

There have been attempts made to identify some women on the Ara Pacis as Polla.[11]Alfred von Domaszewski believed that she was the woman who touches the head of the boy next to Agrippa.[12][13]Ronald Syme strongly disagreed with this idea.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cairns, Francis (2012). Roman Lyric : Collected Papers on Catullus and Horace. Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 183. ISBN 978-3-11-026722-8. OCLC 775302026.
  2. ^ Reinhold, Meyer (1965). Marcus Agrippa : a biography. “L’Erma” di Bretschneider. OCLC 476600097.
  3. ^ a b Kajava, Mika (1995). “Roman Female Praenomina: Studies in the Nomenclature of Roman Women”. Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae. Institutum Romanum Finlandiae: 130. ISSN 0538-2270.
  4. ^ Powell, Lindsay (2015). Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473853812.
  5. ^ Fernández Valverde, Juan; Castillo, Alberto Marina; Moreno Soldevila, Rosario (2019). A Prosopography to Martial’s Epigrams. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 615. ISBN 9783110624755.
  6. ^ Swan, Peter Michael (2004). The Augustan Succession: An Historical Commentary on Cassius Dio’s Roman History Books 55-56 (9 B.C.-A.D. 14). Oxford University Press. p. 76. ISBN 9780195347142.
  7. ^ Swan, Peter Michael (2004). The Augustan Succession: An Historical Commentary on Cassius Dio’s Roman History Books 55-56 (9 B.C.-A.D. 14). Oxford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780195347142.
  8. ^ Tariverdieva, Sabina. “Децим Гатерий Агриппа (консул 22 г. н. э.): происхождение и родство с императорским домом / Decimus Haterius Agrippa (Cos. 22 AD): Origin and Kinship with the Emperor’s Family”. Вестник Древней Истории. 2014. № 1. C. 88-101.
  9. ^ Bianchetti, Serena; Cataudella, Michele; Gehrke, Hans-Joachim (2015). Brill’s Companion to Ancient Geography: The Inhabited World in Greek and Roman Tradition. Brill’s Companions in Classical Studies. BRILL. p. 221. ISBN 9789004284715.
  10. ^ Hoffsten, Ruth Bertha (1938). Roman Women of Rank of the Early Empire in Public Life as Portrayed by Dio, Paterculus, Suetonius, and Tacitus. University of Michigan: University of Pennsylvania. p. 6.
  11. ^ Crawford, John R. (1922). “A Child Portrait of Drusus Junior on the Ara Pacis”. American Journal of Archaeology. 26 (3): 307–315. doi:10.2307/497938. JSTOR 497938.
  12. ^ page: 62
  13. ^ Stern, Gaius. “Giorgio Monaco, “L’ iconografia imperiale nell’ Ara Pacis Augustae,” Bull. Com. 62 (1934), 17-40. [Translated by Gaius Stern as “Imperial Iconography on the Ara Pacis Augustae”]”. Bulletino Communale.
  14. ^ Syme, Ronald (1988). “Neglected Children on the Ara Pacis”. In Birley, Anthony Richard (ed.). Roman Papers. Roman Papers: IV-V. 1981-1985. Vol. 4 (illustrated ed.). University of Michigan: Clarendon Press. p. 428. ISBN 9780198148739.