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Friday, February 6, 2015

The Germanicus Thing

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.

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