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Good article Germanicus has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.


I have a huge doubt about Germanicus: his name. I have looked all the sources and in the internet for his real name and found nothing. Germanicus is the nickname the senate gave him after the successes in Germania. Anyone knows? Muriel Gottrop

about Germanicus' real name, it is supposed to have been Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus (he inherited his father's triumphal name) before his addoption by the future emperor Tiberius. drusus might have named his son this way and his brother named his first son after him in response to this. after addoption his name appears in the historic sources as Germanicus Caesar.


"Tiberius" was the praenomen of Germanicus's younger brother (later the Emperor Claudius). 21:18, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Both brothers were given the praenomen "Tiberius", in honour of their uncle. The man we called Germanicus had the cognomen "Nero", and the man we call Claudius had the cognomen "Drusus"; until Germanicus was adopted by Tiberius and became a Caesar, whereupon Claudius took on the cognomen of Nero.

Interestingly, the tripartite naming scheming for Roman boys seems to have been abandoned by the Julio-Claudians (tho' the women were still named traditionally) after Gaius Julis Caesar his adoptive son & heir Augustus.

Germanicus, the brother of Emperor Claudius I, was given the name at birth (tho he later earned it with his victories over the Germans in vengeance for the massacre in the Teutoburgerwald.

Germanicus was not named a "Caesar." The use of the title "Caesar" for the heir apparent did not appear until the Later Empire when it became the title given to the heir (blood or adoptive) of the Emperor (called the Augustus).

The system (the tetrarchy was formalized by Diocletian (284-305). He appointed a colleague, thus creating a dyarchy (tho' in reality, the Diocletian was the senior), with both Augusti appointing Caesars as aids and successors. The system only worked once, when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated and the Caesars Constantius "Chlorus" and Galerius succeeded them. Only temporarily, as everyone knows. The civil wars would resume with the death of Constantius I Chlorus, ending only 18 years later with the victory of the great Constantine and the establishment of Christianity...

PainMan 01:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


"...Drusus Caesar and Nero Caesar, assassinated by Tiberius..."

This is a bit of an overstatement. Someone with editing powers needs to rephrase this.


Do people feel that Germanicus was assasinated? If so do you reckon it was all the doing of Piso or did Piso receive instructions for the death of Germanicus from Tiberius?

by ????

Do people feel that Germanicus was assasinated? If so do you reckon it was all the doing of Piso or did Piso receive instructions for the death of Germanicus from Tiberius?

Robert Graves certainly thought he was murdered; as anyone whose read or seen I, Claudius realizes. And no one disputes Graves' achievements as a classicist.

Graves' sources is Suetonius. I think it also fits in with a pattern: every one of Augustus' blood or adoptive heirs died before he did; i.e.: Marcellus, Gaius, Lucius and Postumus Agrippa; Marcus Agrippa, father of the last three, despite his very humble, plebian origians, it's clear that between 23BCE & 13BCE had Augustus died, Agrippa would have wielded supreme power, probably as some sort of "regent" for his sons, it would have been interesting to see what fig leaf the Julio-Claudians would have covered that with!

Upon Augustus' death, the younger Agrippa was murdered by Livia or Tiberius; leaving only the latter, his stepson by Livia, to suceed him. It was put about that Augustus' will had ordered the execution. As with so many details of Roman history, this must remain the provence of inference & supposition. However, people are convicted on circumstantial evidence everyday...

Even given the low life expectancy of the Roman era (the average is thought to have been in the 20s) cannot account for so many deaths. The situation curiously foreshadows what happened to Louis XIV's heirs; all of his heirs except the infant Louis XV died suspiciously close together--at the same time a series of poisonings and suspected poisonings were occurring among the highest nobility. When the inquiry appeared on the verge of implicating Louis' chief mistress Madame de Montespan, he quashed the investigation, destroyed the evidence and had a well-known poison maker burnt alive.

PainMan 00:53, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


This article is well-written, but lacks specific citation, primary or secondary. Tacitus and Suetonius are mentioned in passing (no chapter or verse), and any mention of modern scholarship is absent. --Iacobus 02:05, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Compare the text in GERMANICUS with that in ARMINIUS - I think you won't stop laughing.
Germanicus: "Germanicus's leadership and command qualities were shown in full at the battle as his superior tactics and better trained and equipped legions inflicted huge casualties on the German army with only minor losses."
Arminius: "Neither convinced the other, and in the ensuing battle the Romans were able to cross the river, but with heavy losses."
Germanicus: "One final battle was fought at the Angivarian Wall west of modern Hanover, repeating the pattern of high German fatalities forcing them to flee."
Arminius: "Here, again, both sides suffered heavy loss, but Germanicus was unable once again to wipe out the Germanic forces, and his own losses must have been very severe by this time, for, although it was the height of summer, he once again beat a hasty retreat and completely abandoned all conquered territory."
Germanicus:"With his main objectives reached and with winter approaching Germanicus ordered his army back to their winter camps, with the fleet occasioning some damage by a storm in the North Sea."
Arminius: "his withdrawal route up the Ems river resulted in a catastrophe, as a ferocious storm scattered his fleet" vs. "
Germanicus: "Although only a small number of soldiers died it was still a bad ending for a brilliantly fought campaign. "
Arminius: "Emperor Tiberius denied his request to launch a further campaign the following year, realizing that any such effort would only invite further disaster." (talk) 22:06, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
It's not just that it's "funny" - this biased portrayal in favor of Germanicus is also factually incorrect as much as words like "brilliant(ly)" aren't NPOV, indicating that a lot here needs to be rewritten in accordance to actual historic scholarly knowledge. In fact, the article on Arminius has more actual historically accurate data on Germanicus' campaigns than this article on Germanicus itself. Germanicus did win battles against Arminius (while severely losing others, and ending some effectively in a tie), but he was most definitely not successful in his campaign objectives into Germania Magna, completely failing to revive the conquest of the territory east of the Rhine. He neither managed to convince Arminius to give in, nor did he capture or kill him, he failed to break the alliance of Germanic tribes and didn't manage to decisively decimate the Germanic forces, which continued to be a considerable threat and lead Rome to change its strategic approach from conquest and expansion to securing and controlling a border with only rather limited campaigns beyond it. The fact that he recovered only two of the three lost Eagles was considered a symbolic sign of failure, much like the fact that he found himself unable to rebuild the memorial tumulus at the Varus battle site after the Germani had first destroyed it. Tiberius considered Germanicus' campaigns as catastrophic and too costly, and recalled him with the promise of preserving his honor regardless. All this hogwash around Germanicus' "superiority" and "minor Roman losses" vs. "huge German(sic) casualties" and a "brilliantly fought campaign" smacks of fiction and propaganda and really ought to be trimmed down to sound more like what's really in the history books. (talk) 22:01, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Apart from the obvious differences in the Arminius/Germanicus articles the Germanicus article is missing two things: The near disaster of Caecina and the panic in Vetera when only Agrippina maiors intervention stopped the garrison from destroying the rhine bridge, saving the withdrawing legions. These incidents of 15 AD don't indicate a very succesful campaign of Germanicus. Considering Arminius being able to defeat Marobodus 17 AD his losses to Germanicus in 16 AD couldn't have been crippling. Germanicus led 8 Legions into Germania, a third of the imperial army, without lasting success. Compare this with Vespasians 3 legions (plus allies) in Iudaea or Traians 7 Legions in his first dacian war, both successful campaigns. Poliorketes (talk) 14:19, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Negative Assessment[edit]

David Shotter, in his biography of Tiberius, gives a more negative assessment of Germanicus' character and achievements than does this article. I have amended and added to reflect this view. Please do not edit these changes without citing secondary sources (Tacitus and Suetonius need to be taken critically). --Iacobus 02:41, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Agnomen "Claudianus"[edit]

Following Germanicus' adoption by Tiberius and the name change resultant on his transferral from the gens Claudia into the gens Julia, he was known thereafter only as Germanicus Julius Caesar. He did not bear the agnomen "Claudianus". I have edited appropriately. (talk) 00:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC) Catiline63

Please do not revert to include the name agnomen Claudianus - Germanicus never bore the name. From his birth in 16/15 BC to the death of his father in 9 BC, he was named Nero Claudius Drusus (less likely Tiberius Claudius Nero). From 9 BC until his adoption in AD 4, he was Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (again, less likely Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus). From his adoption to his death in AD 19, he was Germanicus Julius Caesar.

The most basic books on the Julio-Claudian family will attest to Germanicus nomenclature (e.g. Robin Seager's "Tiberius" (1975); B. Levick's "Tiberius: The Politician" (1976); and Anthony Barrett's "Caligula: the Corruption of Power" (1986), to name but three of the more accessible - and professional - works). If you have a reputable reference for "Germanicus Claudianus" please give it - you have an important discovery on your hands! (talk) 16:00, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Catiline63

Year of birth not certain[edit]

This is disputed. While the date is known to be 24 May, the year may be either 16 BC (thus B. Levick (1966) Drusus Caesar and the adoptions of AD 4. Latomus 25: 227-255) or 15 BC (thus G.V. Sumner (1967) Germanicus and Drusus Caesar. Latomus 26: 413-423). I have edited to reflect this. (talk) 16:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Catiline63

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 17:54, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Removing assessment of German campaign[edit]

"Germanicus was a fool in the eyes of Tiberius and the senate which feared the Germans undescribably. But in the eyes of the citizens of Rome, the soldiers of Rome, and the commanders under and above Germanicus he was a brilliant strategist. By contradicting the bureaucrats and invading Germania, Germanicus Ceasar was the only commander of Rome to ever pass the Rhine and come back successful."

I have excised the above text from the article because it is unreferenced, poorly written, and contradicts the assessment of the only referenced source for the article (David Shotter's book on Tiberius). Please do not include this assessment in article without citing a secondary source.--Iacobus (talk) 05:43, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

This needs to be removed:[edit]

"...but Tiberius' jealousy and fear of his cousin's popularity and increasing power was the true motive."

Its pure speculation and assumption. Tiberius allowed Germanicus a Triumph, he was given control of whole easter part of the empire and was considered his heir. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Germanicus was born in Rome[edit]

He was born in Lugdunum, Gaul [...] is false.


  • The Oxford companion to German literature. Page: 275
  • Looting of Bones in the Teutoburg Forest. Page: 102

How many eagles?[edit]

The lead suggests Germanicus recovered all three of the eagles lost at Teutoburg, but by the end of paragraph three, when he is recalled by Tiberius, he had only found two. -- (talk) 10:40, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Fixed. -- (talk) 09:25, 24 December 2015 (UTC)