Friday, March 27, 2015
Synopsis: The death of Tiberius, elevation of Caligula, and final years of King Ptolemy I.
“Ptolemy, whom (Caligula) invited from his kingdom, and received with great honors, he suddenly put to death, for no other reason, but because he observed that upon entering the theatre, at a public exhibition, he attracted the eyes of all the spectators, by the splendor of his purple robe.” – Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, XXXV
“Meanwhile Gaius sent for Ptolemy, the son of Juba, and on ascertaining that he was wealthy put him to death.” – Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book 59
Heirs of Mark Antony:
Friday, March 13, 2015
Synopsis: The end of Tacfarinas, and the bloody co-rule of Tiberius and Sejanus.
“Then, as the campaign had demonstrated Ptolemy’s good-will, an old-fashioned distinction was revived, and a member of the Senate was dispatched to present him with the traditional bounty of the Fathers, an ivory scepter with the embroidered robe, and to greet him by the style of king, ally and friend.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book IV
“There followed from now onward a sheer and grinding despotism: for, with Augusta still alive, there had remained a refuge; since deference to his mother was ingrained in Tiberius, nor did Sejanus venture to claim precedence over the authority of a parent. But now, as though freed from the curb, they broke out unrestrained.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book VUpdated Julio-Claudian Family Tree:
Friday, February 27, 2015
Synopsis: The ongoing rebellion of Tacfarinas, and the death of Juba.
“For Tacfarinas, in spite of many repulses, having first recruited his forces in the heart of Africa, had reached such a pitch of insolence as to send an embassy to Tiberius, demanding nothing less than a territorial settlement for himself and his army, and threatening in the alternative a war from which there was no extrication.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book IIIhttp://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B10_Insurgo.mp3
Friday, February 13, 2015
Synopsis: Germanicus travels to Syria to assume his Eastern Imperium.
“‘The prime duty of friends is not to follow their dead with passive laments, but to remember his wishes and carry out his commands. Strangers themselves will bewail Germanicus: you will avenge him – if you loved me, and not my fortune. Show to the Roman people the granddaughter of their deified Augustus, who was also my wife; number her six children: pity will side with the accusers, and, if the murderers allege some infamous warrant, they will find no credence in men – or no forgiveness!’ His friends touched the dying hand, and swore to forgo life sooner than revenge.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book II
Updated Near Eastern Family Tree:
Updated Map of the Near East:
Friday, February 6, 2015
The story of Germanicus is one of the great Roman tragedies. While the House of Octavian was consistently beset by scandals and misfortunes, the Germanicus affair represented a major turning point in both the reign of Tiberius and the legitimacy of the Julio-Claudians. Before Germanicus, the Principate was viewed with respect tinged with fear. After Germanicus, fear became dominant. Before Germanicus, most Romans were at least willing to give Tiberius a chance. Afterward, they just hoped to survive him.
I knew from the start of the new series that I wanted to cover the story of Germanicus in some depth. In linking it to the story proper, the closest connection was Ptolemy. They were both grandsons of Mark Antony, were roughly the same age, both began their military careers at the same time, and (as it turned out) spent roughly six years growing up together in Rome, in the household of Antonia Minor. But in the end, the story of Germanicus is so powerful and self-contained, that I decided to take a minor detour from the storyline to give it its due. Not something I’m planning to do often, but, well…Germanicus!
So this is just a short note to let you know that, Germanicus aside, the focus of the series will continue to be the descendants of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. And their grandson Ptolemy still has a few adventures to come over the next few decades. All that said, please enjoy next week’s episode, “Germanicus.”
Thanks again for listening!Scott C.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Synopsis: The death of Octavian, elevation of Tiberius, and early military careers of Germanicus and Ptolemy.
“Even during the years when he lived at Rhodes, in ostensible retirement and actual exile, (Tiberius) had studied nothing save anger, hypocrisy, and secret lasciviousness.” - Tacitus, The Annals, Book I
“Yet the temper of the soldiers remained savage, and a sudden desire came over them to advance against the enemy: it would be expiation of their madness; nor could the ghosts of their companions be appeased till their own impious breasts had been marked with honorable wounds. Falling in with the enthusiasm of his troops, (Germanicus) laid a bridge over the Rhine, and threw across twelve thousand legionaries.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book I