37 – Caligula becomes Roman Emperor after the death of his great uncle, Tiberius.
Germanicus, the father of Caius Caesar, and son of Drusus and the younger Antonia, was, after his adoption by Tiberius, his uncle, preferred to the quasstorship five years before he had attained the legal age, and immediately upon the expiration of that office, to the consulship. Having been sent to the army in Germany, he restored order among the legions, who, upon the news of Augustus's death, obstinately refused to acknowledge Tiberius as emperor and offered to place him at the head of the state.
In which affair it is difficult to say, whether his regard to filial duty, or the firmness of his resolution, was most conspicuous. Soon afterwards he defeated the enemy, and obtained the honours of a triumph. Being then made consul for the second time, before he could enter upon his office he was obliged to set out suddenly for the east, where, after he had conquered the king of Armenia, and reduced Cappadocia into the form of a province, he died at Antioch, of a lingering distemper, in the thirtyfourth year of his age, not without the suspicion of being poisoned. For besides the livid spots which appeared all over his body, and a foaming at the mouth; when his corpse was burnt, the heart was found entire among the bones; its nature being such, as it is supposed, that when tainted by poison, it is indestructible by fire
|Title: The lives of the Roman emperors and their associates from Julius Cæsar (B. C. 100) to Agustulus (A. D. 476), Volume 1. Editor: J. Eugene Reed. Publisher: Gebbie & co., 1883. Original from: Pennsylvania State University. Digitized: Jan 20, 2010 Subjects: Emperors / History / Ancient / Rome / Roman emperors.|
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It was a prevailing opinion that he was taken off by the contrivance of Tiberius, and through the means of Cneius Piso. This person, who was about the same time prefect of Syria, and made no secret of his position being such, that he must either offend the father or the son, loaded Germanicus, even during his sickness, with the most unbounded and scurrilous abuse, both by word and deed; for which, upon his return to Rome, he narrowly escaped being torn to pieces by the people, and was condemned to death by the senate.
It is generally agreed, that Germanicus possessed all the noblest endowments of body and mind in a higher degree than had ever before fallen to the lot of any man; a handsome person, extraordinary courage, great proficiency in eloquence and other branches of learning, both Greek and Roman; besides a singular humanity, and a behaviour so engaging, as to captivate the affections of all about him. The slenderness of his legs did not correspond with the symmetry and beauty of his person in other respects; but this defect was at length corrected by his habit of riding after meals. In battle, he often engaged and slew an enemy in single combat. He pleaded causes, even after he had the honour of a triumph. Among other fruits of his studies, he left behind him some Greek comedies. Both at home and abroad he always conducted himself in a manner the most unassuming. On entering any free and confederate town, he never would be attended by any of his lictors. Whenever he heard, in his travels, of the tombs of illustrious men, he made offerings over them to the infernal deities.
be considered as a vulgar error; and if the heart was found entire, it must have been owing to the weakness of the fire, rather than to any quality communicated to the organ, of resisting the power of that element.
He gave a common grave, under a mound of earth, to the scattered relics of the legionaries slain under Varus, and was the first to put his hand to the work of collecting and bringing them to the place of burial. He was so extremely mild and gentle to his enemies, whoever they were, or on what account soever they bore him enmity, that, although Piso rescinded his decrees, and for a long time severely harassed his dependents, he never showed the smallest resentment, until he found himself attacked by magical charms and imprecations; and even then the only steps he took was to renounce all friendship with him, according to ancient custom, and to exhort his servants to avenge his death, if any thing untoward should befall him.
TEXT CREDIT: The lives of the Roman emperors and their associates from Julius Cæsar (B. C. 100) to Agustulus (A. D. 476), Volume 1