Co'rbulo, Cn. Domi'tius
a son of Vestilia, wio was married first to Herdonius, afterwards to Pomponius, and at last to Orfitus.
He was accordingly a brother of Caesonia, the wife of Caligula.
He was invested with the praetorship as early as the reign of Tiberius, and after the expiration of this office was commissioned by Tiberius and afterwards by Caligula to superintend the improvement of the high-roads in Italy, which the carelessness of the magistrates had allowed to fall into decay. While engaged upon this undertaking he committed acts of cruelty and extortion, probably in compliance with commands which he received from Caligula, who rewarded his proceedings with the honour of consul suffectus in A. D. 39.
In the reign of Claudius, however, he was taken to account for these proceedings, and those who had been injured by him were indemnified as far as was possible. In 47, however, Corbulo obtained the command of an army in Germany, and fought with great success against the Chuaci under their leader Gennascus.
He maintained excellent discipline among his troops, and acted with great caution and courage. His success excited either the fear or jealousy of Claudius, for he was commanded to lead his army back to the western banks of the Rhine. Corbulo obeyed, though with reluctance, as his career was thus checked without any necessity; but to prevent his soldiers from becoming demoralized by inactivity, he made them dig a canal between the Meuse and the Rhine, of 23,000 paces in length, in order to prevent the inundation of the country by the tide of the sea. In 54, shortly after the accession of Nero, Corbulo was entrusted with the supreme command against the Parthians, whose king, Vologeses, had invaded Armenia and expelled its king, Rhadaamistus, who was under the protection of the Romans.
But as Vologeses was engaged in quelling an insurrection of his own son, Vardanes, he withdrew his troops from Armenia, and gave the most distinguished members of the family of the Arsacidae as hostages to the Romans.
But, a few years later, A. D. 58, the war broke out afresh, and Corbulo fought with great success against Tiridates, the brother of Vologeses, who now claimed the throne of Armenia. Corbulo took the towns of Artaxata and Tigranocerta, and secured the throne to Tigranes, to whom Nero had given the kingdom of Armenia. In 63, Vologeses and Tiridates renewed the war; and, as Corbulo had to protect Syria, Caesennius Paetus was sent into Armenia; but he conducted the war with so much inability and want of success, that Corbulo was in the end glad to see Vologeses willing to conclude a treaty by which both the Romans and Parthians were obliged to evacuate Armenia. But Tiridates soon after took possession of Armenia, and then sent an insulting letter to Rome, requesting Nero's sanction to his title of king of Armenia.
This conduct occasioned a renewal of the war, and Corbulo marched with a strong army into Armenia.
But the Parthians had become tired of incessant warfare : they sued for peace, and Tiridates condescended to lay down his crown before a statue of Nero, in order to receive it back at Rome from the hands of the emperor himself. Corbulo sent Annius, his son-in-law, to accompany Tiridates to Rome, in order to attest his own fidelity to the emperor.
Corbulo was one of the greatest generals of the time, and amid the universal hatred which Nero had drawn upon himself, Corbulo remained faithful to him. His power and influence with the army were very great, and if he had placed himself at the head of an insurrection, he would have been sure of obtaining the imperial dignity.
But he seems never to have entertained such a thought: the reward he earned for his fidelity was--death. For, in A. D. 67, when Nero was in Greece, he invited Corbulo to come to him.
As soon as the latter landed at Cenchreae, Nero gave orders for his execution. When Corbulo was informed of his fate, he plunged his sword into his breast, exclaiming, " Well deserved !" (Plin. Nat. 2.70
; Tac. Ann. 3.31
, &c., 13.6, &c., 34, &c., 14.23, &c., 15.1, &c., 26, &c., Hist.
2.76; D. C. 59.15
, &c., 63.17; Frontin. Straieg.
4.2, 7, 2.9, 4.1.)