Three Daughters Of Saintly Germanicus And Sisters Of Decadent Caligula

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Detail from a Pompeii Love Song by Ettore Forti (19th century) (Public Domain)

Three Daughters Of Saintly Germanicus And Sisters Of Decadent Caligula

At the height of the Roman Empire, Germanicus Julius Caesar was unanimously regarded as one of the greatest soldiers the Empire had ever produced. Ancestry was very important to the Romans and Germanicus had an impressive pedigree, as the son of Nero Claudius Drusus, who in turn was the son of Livia Drusilla (wife of Emperor Augustus) and the younger brother of eventual Emperor Tiberius. Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia (Emperor Augustus' sister), was Germanicus' mother. The agnomen Germanicus, the name which he was known for, was a hereditary name bestowed upon his father in recognition of his conquests in Germany.

Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, by Peter Paul Rubens (1614) National Gallery of Art Andrew W. Mellon Fund  (Public Domain)

Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, by Peter Paul Rubens (1614) National Gallery of Art Andrew W. Mellon Fund  (Public Domain)

Tiberius, Germanicus' paternal uncle who succeeded Augustus as the emperor of Rome a decade later, adopted Germanicus in 4 AD. It was understood that he would be his uncle's heir when the time came for him to be Emperor of Rome. This was Augustus' wish as Augustus had adopted Tiberius as part of the succession preparations on the condition that Tiberius should adopt Germanicus, thus putting him next in line after Tiberius. Also that same year, a marriage was arranged between Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agripinna. Agrippina and their children were always by Germanicus' side when he held subordinate posts on the Danube frontier under Tiberius from 7 to 9 AD. The troops were immensely impressed by Germanicus' family's novel, although potentially perilous, arrangement. Of his nine children, only six of Germanicus' children reached adulthood: Nero Julius Caesar, Drusus Caesar, Gaius Caesar (the future Emperor Caligula), the future Empress Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla, and Julia Livilla.


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