Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (63 B.C. to 12 B.C.) was the longtime friend of Augustus (then called Octavian), the man who would become the first Emperor of Rome. While his family had acquired wealth, they were of low birth, which would affect how easily Agrippa could rise in society. Fighting under Julius Caesar against the forces of Pompey, Agrippa distinguished himself. He fought on the side of Augustus in his military confrontations with Lucius Antonius and Fulvia, the wife of Mark Antony during the Perusian war of 41 B.C. (Antony himself did not get involved in the conflict.) By the time war broke out between Mark Antony and Augustus, Agrippa was Augustus' main general. It was under his leadership that Augustus won the crucial Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. and secured for himself the role as the first Emperor soon thereafter.
Marcus was also called upon to help Augustus with administrative duties in the new Roman Empire. An apparent falling out between him and the bloodline of Augustus, the popular Marcellus, led to Agrippa being given assignments away from Rome, but upon the untimely death of Marcellus, Agrippa was recalled. He married into the imperial family when Augustus gave him his daughter Julia in marriage, a marriage that produced 3 sons. All were to die, it is believed due to the manueverings of Livia to make sure her son would be the next Emperor over the bloodline of Augustus.