A Star in the Imperial Shadows, and Dutiful Son of a Roman Emperor: Castor, or Drusus the Younger | Ancient Origins Members Site


A Star in the Imperial Shadows, and Dutiful Son of a Roman Emperor: Castor, or Drusus the Younger

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Deriv; Julius Caesar Drusus (13 BC–23 CE). Procession on the Ara Pacis in background

A Star in the Imperial Shadows, and Dutiful Son of a Roman Emperor: Castor, or Drusus the Younger

The people of ancient Rome knew of a tragic hero Drusus (Drusus the Elder), the younger brother of Tiberius who died in a campaign. But there was another, younger and lesser known, Drusus in Tiberius’ family. He was Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Younger, nicknamed Castor), the only son of Tiberius. The elder Drusus may have been a hero, but Castor seemed to be mostly overlooked first by his own family, and then by future historians.

Born from the union of Tiberius, stepson of Augustus and Vipsania, daughter of Marcus Agrippa, Castor seemed to be well-positioned for greatness. His marriage to Livilla, the granddaughter of Mark Antony and the sister of Germanicus also strengthened his place within the imperial family. However, these advantages, as well as the fact that Castor himself was a capable statesman, did not serve him at the end and he was easily eclipsed by Germanicus. His death, rumored to be by poison in the hands of his own wife, aroused no suspicions at the time, which may be an indication of his poor health.

Parents of Castor. Bust of Tiberius [left] and wife Vipsania [right]

Parents of Castor. Bust of Tiberius [left] and wife Vipsania [right] (Public Domain)


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