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Claudius Drusus, Nero

(38—9 bc)


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38–9 bc,

second son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla, younger brother of Tiberius, later emperor. After Tiberius Nero's death in 33 he was brought up by Octavian. In 19 he was permitted to stand for magistracies five years before the legal ages, and in 18 was quaestor. In 15 with Tiberius he subdued the Raeti and Vindelici, and established the later via Claudia Augusta over the Alps into Italy. In 13, left in charge of the Three Gauls, he organized a census and on 1 August 12 founded an altar to Rome and Augustus at Lugdunum. Augustus entrusted the conquest of Germany to him, while Tiberius subdued the Balkans (12–9). In 12, after routing two tribes that had raided Gaul, he sailed along a canal dug for the purpose, through the lakes into the sea, and won over the Frisii, who later helped him get away when his ships were stranded. He began the year 11 in Rome as urban praetor, then marched as far as the Weser, leaving forts behind him. After celebrating an ovatio and receiving ornamenta triumphalia he attacked the Chatti in 10 as proconsul, and returned to Rome with Augustus and Tiberius. In 9 as consul he fought his way to the Elbe; but died in camp after falling from his horse. Tiberius reached him before his death.

Drusus' conquests were extensive and well ‐garrisoned. The senate bestowed on him and his descendants the surname ‘Germānicus’; but the achievements in Germany were largely swept away with Quinctilius Varus in ad 9. He was popular, and his views considered ‘republican’; Tiberius disclosed to Augustus a letter expressing them. He was buried in Augustus' own mausoleum. An unknown poet wrote his mother the Consōlātio ad Liviam. His wife Antonia 2 bore him Germanicus—who, emulating his father, in ad 15–16 tried to recover Roman territory in Germany—Livia Iulia, and Claudius.


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