Through the six marriages of his mother Vistilia (Plin. HN 7.162) was connected with many prominent families: one of his stepsisters married the emperor Gaius (1). Probably suffect consul ad 39, in 47 he was legate of Lower Germany when he successfully fought against the Chauci led by Gannascus, but was not allowed by Claudius to go further. A strict disciplinarian, he made his troops dig a canal between the Meuse and Rhine. Proconsul of Asia under Claudius, he was soon after Nero's accession made legatus Augusti pro praetore (in effect, governor) of Cappadocia and Galatia with the command against Parthia in the war about the control of Armenia. This started in earnest only in 58, when Corbulo had reorganized the Roman army in the east. He captured Artaxata and Tigranocerta, installed Tigranes as king of Armenia, and received the governorship of Syria. But Tigranes was driven out of Armenia, the war was renewed in 62, and at Corbulo's request a separate general, Lucius Caesennius Paetus, was sent to Armenia. After Paetus' defeat, Corbulo obtained in 63 a maius imperium (authority greater than that of any other magistrate in the area) and was again put in charge of Cappadocia–Galatia, as well as Syria. He restored Roman prestige, and concluded a durable agreement with Parthia: Tiridates, the Parthian nominee to the throne of Armenia, admitted a Roman protectorate. Corbulo probably did not abuse his popularity, but his son-in-law Annius Vinicianus conspired. In October 66 Nero invited Corbulo to Greece and compelled him to commit suicide. His daughter Domitia Longina became wife of Domitian in 70. It was the homage of the new dynasty to the name and influence of the greatest general of his time. The account of his achievements in Tacitus (Ann. bks. 12–15) and Cassius Dio (bks. 60–3) derives ultimately to a great extent from Corbulo's own memoirs.
Arnaldo Momigliano; Guy Edward Farquhar Chilver; Miriam T. Griffin
Subjects: Classical Studies.