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Nero Claudius Drusus (38)

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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. He launched the first major Roman campaigns across the Rhine and began the conquest of Germania, becoming the first Roman general to reach the Weser and Elbe rivers. In 12 BC, Drusus led a successful campaign into Germania, subjugating the Sicambri. Later that year he led a naval expedition against Germanic tribes along the North Sea coast, conquering the Batavi and the Frisii, and defeating the Chauci near the mouth of the Weser. In 11 BC, he conquered the Usipetes and the Marsi, extending Roman control to the Upper Weser. In 10 BC, he launched a campaign against the Chatti and the resurgent Sicambri, subjugating both. The following year he conquered the Mattiaci, while defeating the Marcomanni and the Cherusci, defeating the latter near the Elbe. However, Drusus died later that year, depriving Rome of one its best generals.

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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.


In 13 BC, Drusus was sent to govern Gaul to quell riots caused by the actions of a previous administrator. While there, a tribe of Germans entered Gaul and proceeded to attack Roman settlements. Drusus mobilized his legions and beat the invaders back across the Rhine. He penetrated deep into German territory, traveling as far as the North Sea and placing a yearly tribute on the Frisii. As a reward, Drusus was made praetor urbanus for 11 BC.

Drusus did not have it in him to stay in Rome. In the spring of his term, he set out for the German border once more. He pushed once more into the territory of the various German tribes, only stopping at the onset of winter. He was attacked while making his way back to Roman territory, but managed to rout the German force. His troops proclaimed him Imperator and he was granted triumphal ornaments, as well as the office of proconsul for the following year. In 10 BC, the Chatti joined with the Sicambri and attacked Drusus' camp, but were easily defeated. Drusus then went to meet Augustus and Tiberius in Lugdunum , and traveled with them to Rome. He was easily elected Consul for 9 BC, but once more left the city before assuming office. He once again smashed the Chatti, and then began a campaign against the Marcomanni, but was turned back across the Rhine. Drusus died soon after in consequence of a fall from a horse, lingering on for a month after the accident, by which point Tiberius had joined him. Interestingly, soon before his death he wrote a letter to Tiberius complaining about the style in which Augustus ruled. Suetonius reports that he had refused to return to Rome just before his death. Drusus' body was brought back to the city, and his ashes were deposited in the Mausoleum of Augustus. He remained extremely popular with the legionaries, who erected a monument in Moguntiacum on his behalf. Remnants of this are . His family was granted the hereditary honorific "Germanicus", which was given to his eldest son before passing to his youngest. Augustus later wrote a biography of him which did not survive.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Nero Claudius Drusus", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.