(Germanicus Julius Caesar)


Germanicus was the son of Drusus Senior, and a nephew of Tiberius. He had excellent leadership qualities and was widely respected both by the army and by the people of Rome. This popularity, of course, led to fatal jealousies. He married Agrippina the Elder, granddaughter of Augustus, and they had nine children. Germanicus started his military career in 8 A.D. and by the time of the death of Augustus, six years later, he was commander of the legions in Germany. There he put down a rebellion that occurred on the death of Augustus, and shortly after led the German legions to victory against Arminius (who had routed the Roman legions in Germany under Varus in 9. A.D.). He was then sent to the East where he fought several successful campaigns, before dying suddenly at the court of Piso, the governor of Syria. His death caused a great lamenting in Rome, since many people, including Agrippina, believed that he had been murdered on the orders of Tiberius. Although this was never proven, the charge caused a rupture that embroiled many members of Germanicus's family. His wife Agrippina and his eldest sons Nero and Drusus all died in confinement. His son Caligula, however, lived to succeed Tiberius as Emperor.

Key events during the life of Germanicus:

Adopted by his uncle Tiberius, to make him first heir to the throne.
Married Agrippina the Elder, who bore him nine children.
Served with distinction in Pannonia and Dalmatia.
As commander in Germany, put down a mutiny of the legions on death of Augustus.
Defeated German leader Arminius; avenged death of Varus.
Led armies against Cappadocia and Commagene.
Poisoned by Piso, governor of Syria.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Beyond the Rhine  in  Helmet and Spear  by  Alfred J. Church
Death and Burial of Germanicus  in  Pictures from Roman Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Varus Avenged  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Herman, the Hero of Germany  in  The History of Germany  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

Image Links

Statue of Germanicus
 in Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Rome

Triumph of Germanicus
 in The Story of the Romans

Segestes Surrendering his Daughter to Germanicus
 in Greatest Nations - Germany

The Retreat of the Troops of Germanicus
 in Greatest Nations - Germany

Thusnelda in the Germanicus Triumph
 in Historical Tales: German

Short Biography
Tiberius Second emperor. Stepson of Augustus. Retired to Capri.
Jacob Arminius Dutch Reformed theologian who opposed strict Calvinist doctrines and began and early split within the Dutch Reformed Church.
Agrippina the Elder Granddaughter of Augustus Caesar; accused Tiberius of killing her husband Germanicus.
Piso Governor of Syria who is thought to have poisoned Germanicus.