Een Romeinse prins tussen Rijn en Elbe - Germanicus, Tacitus en de veldtochten in Germanië (14-16 n.C.) | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 124, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


The Roman general Germanicus (15 BCE-19 CE) gained unprecedented popularity during his lifetime. However, in dealing with the mutiny of the Rhine armies in 14 CE he did not show the determination which his popularity might lead us to expect. His campaigns against a German alliance led by Arminius can hardly be described as successful, and never resulted in the permanent subjection of Germany. Germanicus took several unnecessary risks which caused losses to the Roman treasury and military. This interpretation of Germanicus’ German command matches the current view that Tacitus does not present Germanicus as a glorious figure, but depicts his so-called hero often in a negative light. Nonetheless, according to Tacitus, the recall of Germanicus in 16 CE was the consequence of Tiberius’ fear of his nephew’s popularity and his own wish not to pursue a policy of expansion. Although the ending of Germanicus’ command, memorialized after his death in 19 CE in several monuments in honour of the deceased (as summarised in the Tabula Siarensis), meant the abrupt end of Roman campaigning in Germany, it is argued here that the recall of Germanicus should be considered a sensible measure, dictated by a pragmatic outlook on foreign affairs.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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