GERMANICUS (a.k.a. Germanicus Iulius Caesar) was regarded by many Romans as a hero in the mould of Alexander the Great. His untimely death, in suspicious circumstances, ended the possibility of a return to a more open republic and ambitions for the outright conquest of Germania Magna (Germany and The Netherlands). This, the first modern biography of Germanicus Caesar, is in parts a growing-up story, a history of war, a tale of political intrigue and a murder mystery. It is a natural sequel to the author's acclaimed book, EAGER FOR GLORY, which, for the first time, discussed the life of Germanicus' birth father, Nero Claudius Drusus.Born in 16 BC, Germanicus grew up to be a skilled diplomat and a bold general, but also a formidable courtroom advocate, poet and playwright. Marked out to be a successor to Augustus, he married Agrippina, the first emperor's granddaughter by whom he fathered nine children, including the future Emperor Caligula. His reputation and popularity were immense. He put down a mutiny of the Rhine legions, was responsible for avenging Rome's humiliating defeat at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest through victory at Idistaviso (AD 16), and the recovery of two of the three lost legionary eagle standards. Recognizing his achievements, the Emperor Tiberius - his adoptive father - granted him a full triumph, but refused to let him complete the reconquest of Germania, sending him instead to command the provinces in the East. Did Tiberius feel jealous and threatened? Germanicus' good fortune waned when he fell out with one of Tiberius' gubernatorial appointees, the arrogant patrician Calpurnius Piso. Germanicus' death in Syria under mysterious circumstances, aged 34, brought great outpourings of public grief and anger, with many suspecting murder on the orders of Tiberius. As Romans demanded justice Piso was put on trial, but he committed suicide - or was he murdered? - before the senate could reach a verdict.In this highly readable, fast paced account, historical detective Lindsay Powell details Germanicus' campaigns and battles in Illyricum and Germania; tracks him on his epic tour of the Eastern Mediterranean to Armenia and down the Nile; evaluates the possible causes of his death; and reports on the cruel fate his wife Agrippina and their children suffered at the hands of Praetorian Guard commander, and Tiberius' infamous deputy, Aelius Seianus.
LINDSAY POWELL is news editor of Ancient Warfare and has written for Military Heritage and Strategy & Tactics magazines, Pen and Sword Books, Osprey Publishing and UNRV.com. He is a member of the Classical Association and the Historical Writers' Association, and a Friend of The Vindolanda Trust.
He is a historical detective motivated to uncover and tell the stories of the under-reported personalities and events of history in the belief that they deserve to be told if our knowledge and understanding of the past is to be complete. A historian, researcher and writer by training and vocation, Lindsay has a particular passion for the military history of the Roman Empire. He scours ancient documents, inscriptions, coins and museums for stories, and archaeological, engineering, medical and scientific reports to reveal deeper truths.
He began writing EAGER FOR GLORY when researching the Battle of Teutoburg, AD9, and learned of the critical role Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Elder) played in establishing the Romans' presence in Germania Magna. He was astonished to find there was no book about him. EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror or Germania is the book he had hoped to find. "I think readers will be very surprised," he says, "at how important this relative of Augustus was in the formation of the early Roman Empire. He was a successful military commander, a gifted governor, a daring explorer, and a monumental builder. He was a loving husband and father, and a man admired by friend and foe alike. In this book I hope to have restored him to his rightful place in the eventful story of Ancient Rome".
The life of Drusus the Elder's son is the subject of Lindsay's latest book GERMANICUS. "Germanicus Caesar was Rome's most popular general who expunged the shame of the 'Varian Disaster' at Teutoburg in AD 9," says Lindsay. The book tells the story of how he was suddenly thrust into prominence, put down a mutiny of the Rhine legions, led military campaigns in Illyricum and Germania Magna, and earned a reputation as a formidable court advocate. Lindsay examines the possible causes of his mysterious death in Syria and follows the tragic fate of his wife and children. "GERMANICUS tells a compelling tale which inspired generations of painters and playwrights down the centuries and is told for the first time in this new biography," says Lindsay.
The author is currently working on a new book for Pen and Sword about Caesar Augustus' right-hand man, Marcus Agrippa. It is the first book in English since 1937 to describe the life and achievements of this important figure in Roman history. "The contribution of Marcus Agrippa to Augustus' success cannot be understated - in many ways he is the unsung hero," says Lindsay, "but it was clear from my research that he intended it to be that way". The book will be published in 2014 - the year of the bimillenary of Augustus' death.
Connections between the present and the past also fascinate him. Combining a researcher's skill at finding unexpected connections in everyday events and a historian's knowledge of source material, in ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas are Really Ancient, Lindsay takes a clear eyed and often witty look at modern times through the longer perspective of ancient history and reveals that, as the old adage goes, 'all things under the Sun, there's nothing new'. "Human societies have faced many of the same problems before," says Lindsay, "and if we're smart, we'll learn from the Past and pick the solutions that worked - and avoid those that didn't."
Lindsay divides his time between Austin, Texas and Wokingham, England.
Visit him at http://www.Lindsay-Powell.com/