period: Poppaea Sabina

Poppaea Sabina

Poppaea Sabina, later Poppaea Augusta Sabina, (30–65 CE) was a Roman Empress as the second wife of the Emperor Nero. Prior to this she was the wife of the future Emperor Otho. The historians of antiquity often described her as a beautiful woman who used intrigues to become empress.

According to Tacitus, Poppaea was ambitious, ruthless, and bisexual. He claimed that Poppaea was the reason that Nero murdered his mother Agrippina in 59 CE though the timing makes this particular allegation unlikely to be true. Tacitus also claimed that Poppaea pressured Nero to divorce and later execute his first wife and stepsister Claudia Octavia in order to marry Poppaea; whether that is true or not Nero married Poppaea two weeks after the divorce. Josephus, on the other hand, described her as a deeply religious woman who urged Nero to show compassion to the Jewish people.

The movies & TV shows

Boudica (2003): Kara Tointon appears briefly as Poppaea. Coming soon …

The Silver Chalice (1954): Shirley Patterson appears briefly as Poppaea. Gordon Bau was the makeup artist.

Fiddlers Three (1944): A wartime Tommy Trinder movie in which a pair of sailors on shore leave take a Wren to Stonehenge only to get trapped in a time warp and finding themselves caught up in the machinations between Nero and Poppaea (Frances Day) in Ancient Rome. Tom Shenton was the makeup artist.