Germanicus was the very popular nephew of Emperor Tiberius and grandson of Livia by her first marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero. Germanicus gained popularity through his excellence as a leader in the Roman army on the frontiers. The Roman social and political system had a way of blending family relationships and political relationships in a way we would find very confusing today. Tiberius and Nero Claudius Drusus were both sons of Livia and Tiberius Claudius Nero. Livia divorced T. Claudius Nero and married Octavian (later Augustus) in 38 B. C. This was done not because of her loss of love for one man and finding it with another, but because of political convenience. Again, for political reasons (mainly to ensure a smooth succession), Augustus compelled his adopted son to adopt his own nephew Germanicus to be his son and heir. Tiberius was not happy about this requirement at all, and rumors perpetuated by writers such as Tacitus and Suetonius would have us believe that Tiberius was somehow responsible for Germanicus' death in A. D. 19; but there is no real evidence to support these accusations. Later, Germanicus' widow Agrippina Senior began publicly accusing Tiberius of Germanicus' murder, and she was subsequently tried for treason. In truth, Germanicus was a popular and competent military leader who would probably have caused trouble for Tiberius in the event that he had lived, whether or not he intended to. He pushed back the German tribes beyond the Rhine as far as the Elbe and was later transferred to an Eastern post where he died of a mysterious illness.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This magnificent coin, minted during the reign of his son Caligula, is a magnificent memorial to Germanicus passed down from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation. - (C.2015)