Germanicus

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Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 16 BC. or 15 BC. – 10 October AD 19), commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Lugdunum, Gaul, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle. He received the agnomen Germanicus in 9 BC, when it was posthumously awarded to his father in honour of his victories in Germania.

Germanicus was the grandson-in-law and great-nephew of the Emperor Augustus, nephew and adoptive son of the Emperor Tiberius, father of the Emperor Caligula, brother of the Emperor Claudius, and the maternal grandfather of the Emperor Nero.

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Family and early life

Germanicus was raised and educated in Rome. His parents were the general Nero Claudius Drusus (son of Empress Livia Drusilla, third wife of Emperor Augustus) and Antonia Minor (the younger daughter of the triumvir Mark Antony and Octavia Minor, sister of Augustus). Livilla was his sister and the future Emperor Claudius was his younger brother.

Germanicus married his maternal second cousin Agrippina the Elder, a granddaughter of Augustus, between 5 and 1 BC. The couple had nine children. Two died very young; another, Gaius Julius Caesar, died in early childhood. The remaining six were: Nero Caesar, Drusus Caesar, the Emperor Caligula, the Empress Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla, and Julia Livilla. Through Agrippina the Younger, Germanicus was the Emperor Nero's maternal grandfather.

Germanicus became immensely popular among the citizens of Rome, who enthusiastically celebrated his military victories. He was also a favourite with Augustus, his great-uncle, who for some time considered him heir to the Empire. In AD 4, persuaded by Livia, his wife, Augustus decided in favour of Tiberius, his stepson from Livia's first marriage to Tiberius Nero. However, Augustus compelled Tiberius to adopt Germanicus as a son and to name him as his heir (see Tacitus, Annals IV.57). Upon this adoption, Germanicus's name was changed to Germanicus Julius Caesar. He also became the adoptive brother of Tiberius's natural son Drusus the Younger.

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