This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
LIVIA having married Augustus when she was pregnant was, within three months afterwards, delivered. of Drusus, the father of Claudius Caesar, who had at first the praenomen of Decimus, but afterwards that of Nero; and it was suspected that he was begotten in adultery byhis father-in-law. The following verse, however, was immediately in every one's mouth: “τοῖς εὐτυχοῦσι καὶ τρὶμηνα παιδία.
” “Nine months for common births the fates decree;
But, for the great, reduce the term to three.
” This Drusus, during the time of his being quaestor and praetor, commanded in the Rhaetian and German wars, and was the first of all the Roman generals who navigated the Northern Ocean.1 He made likewise some prodigious trenches beyond the Rhine,2 which to this day are called by his name. He overthrew the enemy in several battles and drove them far back into the depths of the desert. Nor did he desist from pursuing them, until an apparition, in the form of a barbarian woman, of more than human size, appeared to him, and, in the Latin tongue, forbad him to proceed any further. For these achievements he had the honour of an ovation and the triumphal ornaments. After his praetorship, he immediately entered on the office of consul, and returning to Germany, died of disease, in the summer encampment, which thence obtained the name of "The Unlucky Camp." His corpse was carried to Rome by the principal persons of the several municipalities and colonies upon the road, being met and received by the recorders of each place, and buried in the Campus Martius. In honour of his memory, the army erected a monument, round which the soldiers used, annually, upon a certain day, to march in solemn procession, and persons deputed from the several cities of Gaul performed religious rites. The senate likewise, among various other honours, decreed for him a triumphal arch of marble, with trophies, in the Appian Way, and gave the cognomen of Germanicus to him and his posterity. In him the civil and military virtues were equally displayed; for, besides his victories, he gained from the enemy the Spolia Opima,3 and frequently marked out the German chiefs in the midst of their army, and encountered them in single combat at the utmost hazard of his life. He likewise often declared that he would, some time or other, if possible, restore the ancient government, On this account, I suppose, some have ventured to affirm that Augustus was jealous of him and recalled him; and because he made no haste to com ply with the order, took him off by poison. This I mention, that I may not be guilty of any omission, more than because I think it either true or probable, since AugustuS loved him so much when living that he always, in his wills made him joint-heir with his sons, as he once declared in the senate; and upon his decease extolled him in a speech to the people, to that degree, that he prayed the gods "to make his Caesars like him, and to grant himself as honourable an exit out of this world as they had given him." And not satisfied with inscribing upon his tomb an epitaph in verse composed by himself, he wrote likewise the history of his life in prose. He had by the younger Antonia several children, but left behind him only three, namely, Germanicus, Livilla and Claudius.
3 The Spolia Opima were the spoils taken from the enemy's king, or chief, when slain in single combat by a Roman general. They were always hung up in the Temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Those spoils had been obtained only thrice since the foundation of Rome: the first by Romulus, who slew Acron, king of the Caeninenses; the next by A. Cornelius Cossus, who slew Tolumnius, king of the Veientes, A.U.C. 318; and the third by M. Claudius Marcelluls, who sles Viridomarus, king of the Gauls, A.U.C. 330.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.