Nero Claudius Drusus
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Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (38–9 BC), also called Drusus the Elder, was a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
politician and military commander. He was a patrician
Claudian Claudius Claudianus, known in English as Claudian (; c. 370 – c. 404 AD), was a Latin poet associated with the court of the Roman emperor Honorius (emperor), Honorius at Mediolanum (Milan), and particularly with the general Stilicho. His work, ...
on his birth father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a
plebeian In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizenship, Roman citizens who were not Patrician (ancient Rome), patricians, as determined by the capite censi, census, or in other words "commoners". Both ...
family. He was the son of
Livia Drusilla Livia Drusilla (30 January 59 BC – 28 September AD 29) was a Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus Caesar. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the J ...
and the legal stepson of her second husband, the Emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
. He was also brother of the Emperor
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...
, father to both the Emperor
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
and general
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was an ancient Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania. The son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia the Younger, Germanicus was born into an influential branch of the Patric ...
, paternal grandfather of the Emperor
Caligula Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August 12 – 24 January 41), better known by his nickname Caligula (), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 until his assassination in 41. He was the son of the popular Roman general Germanicu ...
, and maternal great-grandfather of the Emperor
Nero Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus ( ; born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68), was the fifth Roman emperor and final emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, reigning from AD 54 unti ...
. He launched the first major Roman campaigns across the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...
and began the conquest of
Germania Germania ( ; ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania''), or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman province of the same name, was a large historical region in nort ...
, becoming the first Roman general to reach the
Weser The Weser () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without ...
and
Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landloc ...
rivers. In 12 BC, Drusus led a successful campaign into Germania, subjugating the Sicambri. Later that year he led a naval expedition against Germanic tribes along the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
coast, conquering the Batavi and the
Frisii The Frisii were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta and the Ems (river), River Ems, and the presumed or possible ancestors of the modern-day ethnic Dutch people, Du ...
, and defeating the
Chauci The Chauci (german: Chauken, and identical or similar in other regional modern languages) were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems (river), Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ...
near the mouth of the Weser. In 11 BC, he conquered the Usipetes and the Marsi, extending Roman control to the Upper Weser. In 10 BC, he launched a campaign against the Chatti and the resurgent Sicambri, subjugating both. The following year, while serving as
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin plural ''consules'') was the title of one of the two chief Roman magistrate, magistrates of the Roman Republic, and subsequently also an important title under the Roman Empire. The title was used in other European ...
, he conquered the Mattiaci and defeated the
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people * * * that established a powerful kingdom north of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running ...
and the
Cherusci The Cherusci were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Germanic tribes, tribe that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany in the area of the Weser River and present-day Hanover during the first centuries BC and AD. Roman histori ...
, the latter near the Elbe. However, Drusus died later that year.


Early life


Childhood

Drusus was the youngest son of
Livia Drusilla Livia Drusilla (30 January 59 BC – 28 September AD 29) was a Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus Caesar. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the J ...
from her marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero, who was legally declared his father before the couple divorced. Drusus was born between mid-March and mid-April 38 BC, three months after Livia married
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
on 17 January. Gerhard Radke has proposed the date of 28 March as his most likely
birthday A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person, or figuratively of an institution. Birthdays of people are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with birthday gifts, birthday cards, a birthday party, or a rite of passage. Many re ...
,At ''Divus Claudius'
11.3
Suetonius says that Claudius as emperor commemorated the birthday ''( dies natalis)'' of his father Drusus on the same date as that of
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
, his maternal grandfather, whose birthday on 14 January, ca. 83 BC, had been decreed as a "defective" day ''( dies vitiosus)'' by Augustus (
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (), also known as Dio Cassius ( ), was a Roman historian and senator of maternal Greek origin. He published 80 volumes of the History of ancient Rome, history on ancient Rome, beginning with the arrival of Aeneas in Italy. The ...
br>51.9.3
. However, since Drusus's birth is also recorded as occurring within the third month after Livia's marriage to Augustus on 17 January, Radke proposes that Claudius used the astronomical discrepancies between the pre-Julian calendar under which Antony was born and the
Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Roman consul Julius Caesar in 46 BC, was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek mathematics, Greek mathematicians and Ancient Greek astronomy, as ...
in effect at the time of Drusus' birth, to show that had the two been born under the same calendar, they would have shared a birthday. Gilbert Radke (1978), "Der Geburtstag des älteren Drusus," ''Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft'' 4 (1978), pp. 211–213. Reviewing these theories, Anthony A. Barrett still considers 14 January the most probable birthdate, explaining the apparent three-month discrepancy as referring to Livia's betrothal, not her marriage .
while Lindsay Powell interprets Ovid's ''Fasti'' as indicating a date of 13 January. Rumors arose that Augustus was the child's real father, although impossible as Livia was already pregnant when she met her future husband, (Emperor Claudius nonetheless encouraged the rumor during his reign to create an impression of more direct lineage from Augustus). Drusus was raised in Claudius Nero's house with his brother, the future emperor
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...
, until his legal father's death. The two brothers developed a famously close relationship that would last the rest of their lives. Tiberius named his eldest son after his brother, although eldest sons were usually named after their father or grandfather. Drusus named his second son (future emperor Claudius) after Tiberius.


Name

According to
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly referred to as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historian who wrote during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre ...
, Drusus was originally given the name ''Decimus Claudius Drusus'' but it was later changed to ''Nero Claudius Drusus''. It is not known when or why the change occurred. The names were unusual at the time, both putting heavy emphasis on his maternal ancestry by using Livia's father's
cognomen A ''cognomen'' (; plural ''cognomina''; from ''con-'' "together with" and ''(g)nomen'' "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. Initially, it was a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became here ...
instead of that of her husband; in his original name the use of the
praenomen The ''praenomen'' (; plural: ''praenomina'') was a given name, personal name chosen by the parents of a Ancient Rome, Roman child. It was first bestowed on the ''dies lustricus'' (day of Lustratio, lustration), the eighth day after the birth of a ...
Decimus was also atypical for prevalent families of the late Republic; the eventual use of his father's cognomen Nero as a praenomen was highly unconventional as well. Livia may have passed down her fathers cognomen to her son simply because besides her adoptive brother Marcus Livius Drusus Libo there was no one else to pass it down for the future. C. J. Simpson asserted that there are three moments in history where the name change is probable to have happened; when his brother
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...
was adopted by Marcus Gallius, when their father died in 33 BC, or when he assumed the toga virilis. Simpson personally argued against the time of adoption of his brother as a plausible time for his name change since Simpson believed the event may even have happened before Drusus was born, he also rejected the point of death of their father as likely since it would have probably have brought attention to the circumstances surrounding Livia's divorce and remarriage which had become a part of
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
's propaganda at the time. Simpson stated that in his opinion Livia chose the names Decimus and Drusus for her younger son to minimize association with her ex-husband after she married Octavian due to the former's poor status at the time, but that several years after the man's death it was opportune to emphasize her younger son's connection with his elder brother and that the name change was probably done upon him assuming the toga virilis.


Marriage

Drusus married
Antonia Minor Antonia Minor (31 January 36 BC - 1 May 37 AD) was the younger of two surviving daughters of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor. She was a niece of the Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the ...
, the daughter of
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
and Augustus' sister, Octavia Minor, and gained a reputation of being completely faithful to her. Their children were
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was an ancient Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania. The son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia the Younger, Germanicus was born into an influential branch of the Patric ...
,
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, a daughter named Livilla ('little Livia'), and at least two others who did not survive childhood. After Drusus' death, Antonia never remarried, though she outlived him by nearly five decades. Three emperors were direct descendants of Drusus: his son
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, his grandson
Caligula Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August 12 – 24 January 41), better known by his nickname Caligula (), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 until his assassination in 41. He was the son of the popular Roman general Germanicu ...
, and his great-grandson
Nero Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus ( ; born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68), was the fifth Roman emperor and final emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, reigning from AD 54 unti ...
.


Career

Augustus bestowed many honors on his stepsons. In 19 BC, Drusus was granted the ability to hold all public offices five years before the minimum age. When Tiberius left Italy during his term as praetor in 16 BC, Drusus legislated in his place. He became quaestor the following year, fighting against
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north with Vindelicia, on the so ...
n bandits in the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
. Drusus repelled them, gaining honors, but was unable to smash their forces, and required reinforcement from Tiberius. The brothers easily defeated the local Alpine tribes. Drusus arrived in Gaul in late 15 BC to serve as ''legatus Augusti pro praetore'' (governor on Augustus' behalf with the authority of a praetor) of the three Gaulish provinces. His contribution to the ongoing building and urban development in Gaul can be seen in the establishment of the ''pes Drusianus'', or ‘Drusian
foot The foot (plural, : feet) is an anatomical structure found in many vertebrates. It is the terminal portion of a limb (anatomy), limb which bears weight and allows animal locomotion, locomotion. In many animals with feet, the foot is a separate o ...
’, of about , which was in use in Samarobriva (modern
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune in northern France, located north of Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fra ...
) and among the Tungri. From 14 to 13 BC, Augustus himself was also active in Gaul, whether in Lugdunum (modern Lyon) or along the Rhine frontier. As governor of Gaul, Drusus made his headquarters at Lugdunum, where he decided to establish the ''concilium Galliarum'' or ‘council of the Gaulish provinces’ sometime between 14 and 12 BC. This council would elect from its members a priest to celebrate games and venerate
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
and
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
as deities every 1 August at the altar of the three Gauls that Drusus established at Condate in 10 BC. Drusus' son Tiberius—the future emperor
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
—was born in Lugdunum on the same day that this altar was inaugurated.


Germanic campaigns

Starting in 14 BC, Drusus built a string of military bases along the Rhine—fifty according to Florus—and established an alliance with the Batavi in preparation for military action in Germania Libera. He is likely to have had seven legions under his command. In spring of 12 BC, he embarked an expeditionary force, perhaps consisting of the Legiones I Germanica and V Alaudae, by ship from the vicinity of modern
Nijmegen Nijmegen (;; Spanish and it, Nimega. South Guelderish, Nijmeegs: ''Nimwèège'' ) is the largest city in the Dutch province of Gelderland and tenth largest of the Netherlands as a whole, located on the Waal (river), Waal river close to th ...
, making use of one or more canals he had built for the purpose. Drusus sailed to the mouth of the Ems and penetrated into the territory of the
Chauci The Chauci (german: Chauken, and identical or similar in other regional modern languages) were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems (river), Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ...
in present-day
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a States of Germany, German state (') in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the second-largest state by land area, with , and fourth-largest in populati ...
. The Chauci concluded a treaty acknowledging Roman supremacy, and would remain allies of Rome for years to come. As they continued to ascend the Ems, the Romans were attacked by the Bructeri in boats. Drusus' forces defeated the Bructeri, but, as it was now late in the campaign season, turned back for their winter quarters in Gaul, taking advantage of their new alliance with the
Frisii The Frisii were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta and the Ems (river), River Ems, and the presumed or possible ancestors of the modern-day ethnic Dutch people, Du ...
to navigate through the difficult conditions on the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
. As a reward for the successes of his campaign in 12 BC, Drusus was made '' praetor urbanus'' for 11 BC when he returned to Rome for the winter. News of Drusus' achievements—navigating the North Sea, carrying the Roman eagles into new territory, and fixing new peoples into treaty relations with Rome—caused considerable excitement in Rome and were commemorated on coins. In the spring of his term as ''praetor urbanus'', he set out for the German border once more. This time, he assembled a force consisting of all or part of five legions in addition to auxiliaries and, setting out from Vetera on the Rhine, ascended the River Lippe. Here he encountered the Tencteri and Usipetes, whom he defeated in two separate engagements. He reached the Werra Valley before deciding to turn back for the season, as winter was coming on, supplies were dwindling, and the omens were unfavorable. While his forces were making their way back through the territory of the
Cherusci The Cherusci were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Germanic tribes, tribe that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany in the area of the Weser River and present-day Hanover during the first centuries BC and AD. Roman histori ...
, the latter tribe laid an
ambush An ambush is a long-established military tactics, military tactic in which a combatant uses an advantage of concealment or the element of surprise to attack unsuspecting enemy combatants from concealed positions, such as among dense underbru ...
for them at Arbalo. The Cherusci failed to capitalize on their initial advantage, whereupon the Romans broke through their lines, defeated the Germanic attackers, and acclaimed Drusus as ''imperator''. To show his continued mastery of the ground, Drusus garrisoned a number of positions within Germania during the winter of 11–10 BC, including one somewhere in
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a States of Germany, state in Germany. Its capital city is Wiesbaden, and the largest urban area is Frankfurt. Two other major histor ...
and one in Cheruscan territory, probably either the camp at Haltern or that at Bergkamen-Oberaden, both in present-day North Rhine–Westphalia. He rejoined his wife Antonia and two children for a time in Lugdunum before the family returned to Rome, where Drusus reported to Augustus. Drusus was given the honor of an ovation, and for the second time, Augustus closed the doors of the Temple of Janus, signifying that the whole Roman world was then at peace. Drusus was granted the office of proconsul for the following year. In 10 BC, the Chatti joined with the Sicambri and attacked Drusus' camp, but they were driven back. Drusus pursued them, proceeding from the sites of present-day Mainz and Rödgen, where he set up a base of supply, to Hedemünden, where a strong new camp was established. Around this time, the canny
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people * * * that established a powerful kingdom north of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running ...
c king
Maroboduus Maroboduus (d. AD 37) was a king of the Marcomanni, who were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Suebian people. He spent part of his youth in Rome, and returning, found his people under pressure from invasions by the Roman empire between the Rhine and ...
responded to the Roman incursion by relocating his people ''en masse'' to
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...
. In summer of 10 BC, Drusus left the field in order to return to
Lugdunum Lugdunum (also spelled Lugudunum, ; modern Lyon, France) was an important Colonia (Roman), Roman city in Gaul, established on the current site of Lyon, France, Lyon. The Roman city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, but contin ...
, where he inaugurated the sanctuary of the Three Gaulish provinces at Condate on 1 August. Augustus and Tiberius were in Lugdunum for this occasion (when Drusus' youngest son Claudius was born), and afterwards Drusus accompanied them back to Rome. Drusus easily won election as
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin plural ''consules'') was the title of one of the two chief Roman magistrate, magistrates of the Roman Republic, and subsequently also an important title under the Roman Empire. The title was used in other European ...
for the year 9 BC. Once more he left the city before assuming office. His consulship conferred the chance for Drusus to attain Rome's highest and rarest military honor, the '' spolia opima'', or spoils of an enemy chieftain slain personally by an opposing Roman general who was fighting (as consuls did) under his own auspices. He quickly returned to the field, stopping to confer with his staff at Lugdunum and to dedicate a temple to Caesar Augustus at Andemantunnum, before rejoining his command at Mainz, from which the year's expedition departed in early spring. Drusus led the army via Rödgen through the territories of the Marsi and
Cherusci The Cherusci were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Germanic tribes, tribe that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany in the area of the Weser River and present-day Hanover during the first centuries BC and AD. Roman histori ...
until he even crossed the river
Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landloc ...
. Here he is said to have seen an apparition of a Germanic woman who warned him against proceeding farther and that his death was near. Drusus turned back, erecting a trophy to commemorate his reaching the Elbe, perhaps on the site of Dresden or Magdeburg. Drusus had sought out multiple Germanic (at least three) chieftains during his campaigns in Germany (12 BC–9 BC), engaging them in "dazzling displays of single combat". The sources are ambiguous, but suggest that he could have potentially taken the ''spolia opima'' from a Germanic king, thus becoming the fourth and final Roman to gain this honor. Regardless of whether he was actually able to take them in combat, however, Drusus' untimely death would prevent him from ever going through with the official ceremony. Notably, after Drusus' death, Augustus deposited the laurels from his ''fasces'' not in the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus as he had done in the past, but in the Temple of Jupiter Feretrius. J.W. Rich suggests that this action was done as an affirmation to Drusus' memory; had the young commander lived, he would have placed ''spolia opima'' in the temple himself.Rich, J. W. “Drusus and the Spolia Opima.” ''The Classical Quarterly'', vol. 49, no. 2, 1999, pp. 544–555. ''JSTOR'', www.jstor.org/stable/639878. Accessed 10 August 2020.


Death and legacy

Drusus was returning from his advance to the Elbe when he fell from his horse, lingering on for a month after the accident, by which point Tiberius had joined him. Shortly before his death he wrote a letter to Tiberius complaining about the style in which Augustus ruled.
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly referred to as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historian who wrote during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre ...
reports that he had refused to return to Rome just before his death. Drusus' body was brought back to the city, and his ashes were deposited in the
Mausoleum of Augustus The Mausoleum of Augustus ( it, Mausoleo di Augusto, italic=no) is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Campus Martius in Rome, Italy. The mausoleum is located on the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, near the corner with Via ...
. He remained extremely popular with the legionaries, who erected a monument (the Drususstein) in ''Mogontiacum'' (modern
Mainz Mainz () is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Mainz is on the left bank of the Rhine, opposite to the place that the Main (river), Main joins the Rhine. Downstream of the confluence, the Rhine flows to the north-we ...
) on his behalf. Remnants of this are still standing. The Senate raised an arch on the
Appian Way The Appian Way (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around pre ...
in his memorySuetonius, ''Claudius'' I.1.3 (unrelated to the Arch of Drusus) which read "DE GERM" and depicted his Elbe trophy as well as him fighting on horseback, a testament to his personal bravery. They also posthumously granted him the hereditary honorific title "Germanicus", which was given to his eldest son before passing to his youngest. It would be used by many members of the
Julio-Claudian dynasty , native_name_lang=Latin, coat of arms=Great_Cameo_of_France-removebg.png, image_size=260px, caption=Great Cameo of France, The Great Cameo of France depicting emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius and Nero, type=Ancient Rome, Ancient Roman dynasty ...
, including its last three emperors: his grandson
Caligula Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August 12 – 24 January 41), better known by his nickname Caligula (), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 until his assassination in 41. He was the son of the popular Roman general Germanicu ...
, his son
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
, and his great-grandson
Nero Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus ( ; born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68), was the fifth Roman emperor and final emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, reigning from AD 54 unti ...
. Augustus later wrote a biography of him which does not survive. By Augustus' decree, festivals were held in Mogontiacum at Drusus' death day and probably also on his birthday. Drusus' mother
Livia Livia Drusilla (30 January 59 BC – 28 September AD 29) was a Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus Caesar. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the J ...
, much affected by the death of her second son, took the advice of the philosopher Areus to put up many statues and images of Drusus and speak often about him. The surviving Latin work '' Consolatio ad Liviam'' is framed as an
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the ...
ian message of consolation to Livia on this occasion, though it is generally considered a literary exercise "composed between the death of Livia D 29and that of Tiberius D 37. Augustus noted the successes of Drusus' campaigns—for which, as Drusus' superior, he took credit—in his '' Res Gestae Divi Augusti'', written in 14 AD: Upon
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...
' accession to the principate in 41 AD, his late father Drusus received new public honors, including annual games in the Circus Maximus on 14 January for Drusus' birthday, coin issues depicting Drusus' likeness and his commemorative arch, and the restoration of a monument near the Ara Pacis Augustae that featured a statue of Drusus. Claudius also completed a road from Italy into
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north with Vindelicia, on the so ...
that followed the route Drusus had taken and whose road-markers commemorated Drusus' achievements in the Alpine war. Such Claudian commemorations of Drusus' memory are thought to have become less prominent once Claudius had his own British triumph to celebrate.


Family tree


In popular culture

* He is a minor character in Robert Graves' historical novel '' I, Claudius'', as well as the BBC's adaptation of the same title in which he was played by Ian Ogilvy. * The annual festival celebrating Drusus' death is a main plot element in the second volume of ''the Romanike series'' by Codex Regius (2006-2014). * He is a prominent character in the ''Hrabam Chronicles'' by Alaric Longward (2016). * Drusus is also featured in the 2021 SFX TV series '' Domina'', which portrays him in his early teenage years. * A bust of Drusus was purchased in 2018 from a Goodwill shop in Texas for $34.99, being later identified as an authentic antique. It is presumed that the bust was taken by American soldiers during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
from
Aschaffenburg Aschaffenburg (; South Franconian German, South Franconian: ''Aschebersch'') is a town in northwest Bavaria, Germany. The town of Aschaffenburg is not part of the Aschaffenburg (district), district of Aschaffenburg, but is its administrative sea ...
,
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, where it will be returned in 2023.


See also

* Arch of Drusus


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * Rich, J. W. “Drusus and the Spolia Opima.” ''The Classical Quarterly'', vol. 49, no. 2, 1999, pp. 544–555. ''JSTOR'', www.jstor.org/stable/639878. Accessed 10 August 2020.


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Claudius Drusus, Nero 38 BC births 9 BC deaths Imperial Roman consuls Drusus Germanicus, Nero Julio-Claudian dynasty Ancient Roman generals 1st-century BC Romans Deaths by horse-riding accident in Germany Burials at the Mausoleum of Augustus Generals of Augustus Generals of Tiberius