Agrippa: The Emperor Who Almost Was
By P.Y. Forsyth
Labyrinth, Issue 35 (1986)
Introduction: Augustus, the first Roman emperor, has what modern media analysts call a high “Q” quotient – that is, most people recognize his name even is they do not really know very much about him. Indeed, the achievement of Augustus in rescuing the Roman empire from political chaos and re-establishing it upon a firm political, economic and social basis cannot be minimized. Yet very few people today are aware of the fact that Augustus would probably have achieved none of this had it not been for a man named Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a boyhood friend who served Augustus long and well in both domestic and foreign affairs. Augustus himself, however, recognized his immense debt to Agrippa, and even considered designating him as the second emperor of Rome. Looking back at this turbulent period of Roman history, some modern historians in fact regret that such an elevation never took place.