Germanicus

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A bust of Germanicus in the British Museum

Germanicus (15 B.C. to 19 A.D) was a famous Roman of the Imperial family in the early Roman Empire. The son of Drusus and Antonia he had the bloodline of both Augustus and the Claudian line through Augustus' wife Livia. Immensely popular among the people of Rome, who followed each of his triumphs in pacifying the Germanic tribes after the disastrous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D and re-establishing Roman control to the Rhine River. His great uncle Augustus had Tiberius adopt him as his son and heir to the Emperorship. According to Tacitus, Germanicus was a Republican at heart.

Upon the death of Augustus, the legions of the Rhine proclaimed Germanicus as Emperor over the unpopular Tiberius, but he wouldn't hear of it instead commanding that they swear loyalty to Tiberius. Sent to the East to look after the Roman provinces there, and also be out of the way, he was poisoned and died within a few short years. Public outcry caused the Syrian governor Piso to be called for trial, but Piso committed suicide first. Piso's family was allowed to keep all of its wealth. It is commonly believed that Tiberius had Germanicus killed and Piso, who he had appointed to Syria only 2 years earlier, was his agent. Tiberius later had the wife of Germanicus, Agrippina, banished. She died while in exile.

Germanicus had famous relatives as well. His son was the Emperor Caligula, a period of darkness for the Empire while his younger brother Claudius, was the Emperor after Caligula and the Emperor Nero was his grandson.

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