Nero Claudius Drusus

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Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (14 January 38 BC – 14 September 9 BC), born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family. He was the stepson of the Emperor Augustus, brother of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandfather of the Emperor Caligula, father of the Emperor Claudius, and maternal great-grandfather of the Emperor Nero.

Contents

Childhood

Drusus was the youngest son of Roman Empress Livia Drusilla from her marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero. Drusus was born between 18 March 38 BC and 13 April 38 BC. He was born shortly after Livia divorced Tiberius Nero and married Augustus (17 January, 38 BC), giving rise to rumors that Augustus was the real father, although this is widely discredited by modern historians as Augustus had not yet met Livia when Drusus would have been conceived (During his reign, Claudius revived this rumor to give the impression that Augustus was his paternal grandfather in addition to being his maternal great-uncle). Before Augustus married Livia, Tiberius Claudius Nero was declared Drusus' biological father. According to Suetonius, he was born with the praenomen Decimus, but it was later changed to Nero. He was raised in Claudius Nero's house with his brother, the future emperor Tiberius, until his father's death. Drusus and his brother Tiberius developed a famously close relationship in this environment that would last the rest of their lives. Tiberius named his eldest son after his brother (a departure from Roman naming convention), and Drusus did likewise.

Marriage

Drusus married Antonia Minor, the daughter of Mark Antony and Augustus' sister, Octavia Minor, and gained a reputation of being completely faithful to her. Their children were Germanicus and Claudius, a daughter Livilla (Little Livia), and at least two others who did not survive infancy. After Drusus' death, Antonia never remarried, though she outlived him by nearly five decades. Three Emperors were direct descendants of Drusus, Claudius (his son), Caligula (Germanicus' son, Drusus' grandson), and Nero (Gremanicus' grandson, Drusus' great-grandson).

Career

Augustus bestowed many honors on his stepsons. In 19 BC, Drusus was granted the ability to hold all public offices five years before the minimum age. When Tiberius left Italy during his term as praetor in 16 BC, Drusus legislated in his place. He became quaestor the following year, fighting against Raetian bandits in the Alps. Drusus repelled them, gaining honors, but was unable to smash their forces, and required reinforcement from Tiberius. The brothers easily defeated the local Alpine tribes.

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