Saturday, May 24, 2014

Strange saga of Roman leader Germanicus

It is the birthday of Roman general Germanicus Julius Caesar (15 BC), who distinguished himself in military campaigns along the Rhine River and in Gaul. He was nephew and adoptive son of Emperor Tiberius, who ruled the Roman Empire at the time Jesus Christ was crucified. For many years while Augustus was emperor, he considered Germanicus, his great-nephew, to be his heir but Augustus’ wife prevailed upon him to choose Tiberius, her son from another marriage. (Got that?) In any case, Germanicus died young, probably from poisoning, and scholars think Tiberius had something to do with it. Germanicus’ offspring didn’t turn out so great, either. One of his sons became the infamous Emperor Caligula, whose reign was marked with cruelty, sexual perversity, sadism, and extravagance. And one of Germanicus’ grandsons became the Emperor Nero, who was known for burning Christians alive to provide light for his garden.

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