FYI August 20, 2017

AD 14 – Agrippa Postumus, adopted son of the late Roman emperor Augustus, is executed by his guards while in exile under mysterious circumstances.
Agrippa Postumus (26 June 12 BC – 20 August AD 14), also referred to as Postumus Agrippa, was a son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. He was originally named Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Postumus in honor of his father, who died shortly before Postumus’ birth. After the deaths of his older brothers, Lucius (d. AD 2) and Gaius Caesar (d. AD 4), Postumus was adopted by his maternal grandfather, the Roman emperor Augustus. In accordance with Roman naming conventions, Postumus’ name was changed to Marcus Julius Caesar Agrippa Postumus. At the time Augustus considered Postumus as a potential successor, but banished him from Rome in 9AD, for reasons that remain unknown. This, in effect, though not in law, cancelled his adoption and virtually assured Tiberius’ position as Augustus’ sole heir. Postumus was ultimately executed by his own guards shortly after Augustus’ death in AD 14.

Postumus was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the first imperial family of the Roman Empire. His maternal grandparents were Augustus and Scribonia, Augustus’ second wife. He was also a maternal uncle of the emperor Caligula, the son of Postumus’ sister Agrippina the Elder. Nero, the last Julio-Claudian emperor, was a great-nephew of Postumus on the side of his mother (Caligula’s sister), Agrippina the Younger.

Early life and personality

Agrippa Postumus was born on 26 June 12 BC during the early period of the Roman Empire. His father, the Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, died in the same year shortly before the birth of Postumus. As a result, Agrippa’s posthumous son was given the name Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Postumus. His mother was Julia the Elder, daughter of the first Roman emperor Augustus and his second wife Scribonia.[1] Postumus was the third son and last child of Agrippa and Julia; his older siblings were Gaius Caesar, Julia the Younger, Lucius Caesar, and Agrippina the Elder. His brothers, Gaius and Lucius, were both adopted by Augustus before Postumus was born. At first Augustus opted to not adopt Postumus so that Agrippa had at least one son to carry on his family name. However, the untimely deaths of Lucius (d. AD 2) and Gaius (d. AD 4) consequently led Augustus to finally adopt Postumus, as well as his stepson Tiberius by his third marriage to Livia Drusilla. Upon his adoption into the Julii Caesares, Postumus assumed the name Marcus Julius Caesar Agrippa Postumus. As with Gaius and Lucius, Augustus adopted Postumus and Tiberius as his heirs.

According to the historian Erich S. Gruen, various contemporary sources state that Postumus was a “vulgar young man, brutal and brutish, and of depraved character”.[2] The Roman historian Tacitus defended him, but his praise was slight: [He was] the young, physically tough, indeed brutish, Agrippa Postumus. Though devoid of every good quality, he had been involved in no scandal.[3]

No clear consensus has ever emerged as to why in 9 AD Augustus banished Postumus to the small island of Planasia (near Elba). Tacitus suggests that Augustus’ wife Livia always disliked and shunned Postumus, as he stood in the way of her son Tiberius succeeding to power after Augustus. A banishment (and eventual execution) for merely being rude and unpleasant, though, is a harsh sentence. Thus some modern historians theorise that Postumus may have become involved in a conspiracy against Augustus.[4] Alternatively, it is speculated that Postumus may have had learning difficulties. Postumus was held under intense security.[5]

Postumus’ sister Julia the Younger was banished around the same time (8 AD) and her husband, Lucius Aemilius Paullus was executed in a conspiracy against Augustus.[6] Also, a conspiracy to rescue Postumus and Julia was planned and was foiled.[6]

In any case, Postumus’ banishment did ensure Tiberius’ priority as the heir of Augustus. Tacitus reports a rumor that Augustus paid a highly covert visit to the island in 13 AD to apologise to his adopted son and to give him notice of plans to return him to Rome.[7] Augustus allegedly travelled to Planasia with a trusted friend, Paullus Fabius Maximus, and swore him to secrecy about the matter; Maximus then told his wife, Marcia, who mentioned it to Livia. Maximus was soon found dead, and Marcia subsequently claimed she was responsible for his death. Cassius Dio’s version [8] reports the island visit as fact, though the brief account is likely based on Tacitus’ account [9] and does not mention Fabius and Marcia. It is dubious whether this tale has any veracity.

Regardless of Augustus’ supposed visit, the emperor died the following year without having removed Postumus from Planasia and without including him in his will. Around Augustus’ death, Postumus was executed by his guards with some accounts contradicting whether it happened before or after. Accounts are also inconsistent on who ordered the death and these existed almost from the start, when Tiberius immediately and publicly disavowed the act upon being notified of it.[10] Some suggested that Augustus may have ordered the execution, while others place the blame on either Tiberius or Livia (with or possibly without Tiberius’s knowledge),[11] taking advantage of the confusing initial political situation upon Augustus’ death.[12]

Postumus was impersonated after his death by the former slave Clemens, who according to Cassius Dio, resembled him to a certain extent. Clemens gathered a significant band of followers to his cause, but was eventually captured and executed by Tiberius.

In fiction
Robert Graves’ work I, Claudius presents Postumus in a positive light, as a boyhood friend of Claudius. He suggests that, through Livia’s influence, Augustus grew to dislike him, and Graves creates a fictional incident in which Postumus is framed by Livia and her granddaughter Livilla for attempted rape of the latter. Postumus tells Claudius of Livia’s plans and advises him to play the fool. Graves also claims that Postumus escaped execution by impersonating the freed slave Clemens, spending time on the run, but eventually being captured and executed by Tiberius.

The television adaptation by Jack Pulman retained Postumus being framed for the assault on Livilla, and the visit later to Planasia by Augustus, but removed his fictional survival. He is killed by Sejanus on Planasia after Augustus’s death. The character is portrayed by John Castle.

Agrippa Postumus was portrayed by English actor Derek Newark in the 1968 ITV historical drama The Caesars. In this series Postumus was sentenced to death by Augustus, who decided to permanently remove his only remaining grandson as an obstacle to the succession of Tiberius.


1927 – Peter Oakley, English soldier and blogger (d. 2014)
Peter Oakley (20 August 1927 – 23 March 2014) was a pensioner from Bakewell, Derbyshire, England. He was better known by his pseudonym geriatric1927 on the video sharing website YouTube.[1]

Making his YouTube debut in August 2006 with Telling it all, a series of five-to-ten minute autobiographical videos, Oakley gained immediate popularity with a wide section of the YouTube community.[2] Amongst the autobiographical details revealed in his videos are that he served as a radar mechanic during World War II, that he had a lifelong love of motorcycles, and that he lived alone as a widower and pensioner.

His unforeseen rise has been widely reported by international media outlets and online news sources and blogs.[3] After resisting all media attention for a long time (including requests for interviews, photographs, and attempts to identify him), insisting that he only wished to converse with the YouTube community in an informal and personal way, Oakley finally gave his first interview, for the BBC’s The Money Programme, which was aired on BBC Two on 16 February 2007.

By mid-2006, Oakley was the most subscribed user on YouTube. His rise to the #1 position took place in just over a week. In the process, he displaced users who had been around since the site’s launch over a year before, including NBC-signed Brooke Brodack. In November that year he had 30,000 subscribers. By June 2012, Oakley had recorded over 350 videos.

Oakley was later diagnosed with cancer which was too far advanced for treatment. He posted his final video on 12 February 2014, and died a month later on the morning of 23 March 2014.[4]

Telling It All
After Oakley’s introductory video, “First Try”, which has been viewed over three million times, he began producing his successful autobiographical series, Telling It All. These pushed him into Internet celebrity almost overnight, gaining mention in various media, such as BBC News and GMTV, as well as prompting the creation of websites bearing his user name. In “Telling it all 7”, Oakley repudiated those sites, saying he was in no way affiliated with them and had no say or control over their content.

In the series, Oakley describes some of the major events and periods of his life, including

Growing up during World War II, and living as a young teen in Norwich,[5] which was bombed by the Luftwaffe.
His experience in the primary and secondary education system of England in the 1930s, and his fortunate (in his eyes) selection to have his education ‘extended’ past the age of 14, a privilege during the period reserved for children deemed to be intelligent.
His conscription into the British Army, and again his fortunate selection to be a radar technician, which occurred as a consequence of the aptitudes his superiors detected in him. This role kept him out of combat, for which he is grateful because he did not have to witness “the horrors of war”, but was nonetheless imperative for the war effort.
His return to civilian life and the job he had left behind.
A period of tertiary education in Leicester, England, where he met his future wife, and developed his passion for motorcycling.
His employment in Leicester as a public-health inspector.

In early 2010, entertainer Al Chantrey—a friend of Oakley’s and a fellow YouTube user—wrote and recorded a song for him which Oakley featured in several videos. The song, entitled ‘Telling It All'[6] (based on Oakley’s video series) talks about Oakley’s life. On 5 March 2014 Chantrey posted the song on his own channel on YouTube, accompanied by video footage of Peter as a tribute following the announcement of his illness.[7]

The videos all begin with what has become his catchphrase, “Hello, YouTubers”, or “Good evening, YouTubers”, and end with his thanking viewers for watching, and saying “Good-bye” in his soft voice.

Oakley was featured in a recent installment Yahoo! Current Buzz (which chronicles the top searches on the Internet), entitled “Retired and Wired”.[8]

Oakley’s YouTube success inspired other older people, particularly men with vast life experiences to share, to begin posting vlogs on it. Jonathan King credits him for starting his YouTube videos in 2006. A notable user influenced by Oakley was a World War II veteran, Martin H. Slobodkin (1920–2006), who, under the name MHarris1920, started to post his own blogs. Martin died in October 2006, and received an outpouring of tributes from other YouTube users after his wife, Teresa, posted a video announcing his death. His widow temporarily took over his blogs, but later closed this account. Another older person is Bernhard von Schwerin, who appears under the name bernie1927. He too was a World War II veteran, but on the German side. He was encouraged by Peter, and has talked about his youth and his many travels, and his emigration to the U.S. in 1951.

Oakley’s influence has not just inspired the older generation. Artist Annemarie Wright, 31, was so inspired by Oakley’s story that she dedicated a piece of artwork to him. The image is of Oakley to the lyrics of The Zimmers’ version of “My Generation”.

On 17 August 2006, Oakley uploaded an installment of his series, “Telling it all 7”, in which he made an important statement about how much attention he had received from the media over the previous days. Unlike earlier videos in the series, “Telling it all 7” was not an anecdote of his life, but focused solely on the media response he had gained. He mentioned that this is not what he sought or wanted. This video was leaked to the media because somebody reportedly intended to publish these videos—without permission from Oakley—for personal benefit. The upload included a clarification that any web sites using his username (geriatric1927) were in no way affiliated with him.[9] In “Telling it all 7”, he stated that he had received many messages from advertising companies, telephone companies, and newspaper companies that wanted to interview him. Oakley, however, was not interested, preferring to speak only to his fellow YouTubers, whom he considered his friends.

On 16 February 2007, Oakley made his first television appearance, on a special episode of the BBC’s The Money Programme called “Coming to Your Screen: DIY TV”. The program was taped in the autumn of 2006. He also featured in a radio interview for the BBC World Service.[10] In March 2007, Oakley announced that he was working on some television programmes about silver surfing.[11]

Oakley was part of a BBC documentary in which he was recruited as one of The Zimmers, a group of pensioners whom the documentary maker Tim Samuels brought together to sing The Who’s classic “My Generation” to highlight the plight of pensioners in modern Britain. The single was released in May 2007 to raise money for the charity Age Concern. As part of The Zimmers, Oakley recorded a version of the Alan Parsons Project’s song “Old and Wise”.[12] His work with the band took him to Washington, D.C. in September 2007, as a guest of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Oakley may have attended the 2008 World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, 23–27 January 2008, where the topic was “The Power of Collaborative Innovation”.[citation needed]

He appeared in a simulated vlog used as a TV advertisement for Telecom New Zealand starting in August 2008, talking about that company’s Internet protection suite.

Geriatric1927 on YouTube


“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive, and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).”
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