- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar

Essay by   •  December 9, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  3,185 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,019 Views

Essay Preview: The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar

Report this essay
Page 1 of 13

The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar



The Trial of Piso

The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso Pater has been reviewed in many ways in political history with an attempt to develop a new perceptive to it. The trial brings forward the changes that have taken place in the courtroom decision making from the traditional set up to the modern set up. It also develops questions regarding the proceedings of determining the guilty from the innocent. The Trial of Piso was carried out by Roman Senate under the ruling of Tiberius, who was Germanicus uncle and also Piso’s ally in political matters. Tiberius had developed his ruling and had his fair number of supporters including Livia, who was Augustus wife. However, he was careful not to interfere with the ruling because he wanted to gain the trust and confidence of the Romans.

This paper analyzes the development of Germanicus and Piso’s relationship by first narrating the crucial life events that occurred in Germanicus life. This development is important in identifying the points of interaction that may have fueled Piso’s urge to overthrow Germanicus.  Therefore, the paper provides the history and milestones of Germanicus as the main character and Piso as Tiberius ally in the political regime. Germanicus was a symbolic figure among the Romans in the AD generation. He is said to be diligent and charismatic in what he does, and he had a vision of a better Roman with good leadership that was influenced by Augustus and his father, Nero. His death was, therefore, tragic news to Romans, and this brought confusion, unrest and protests from his Roman followers who insisted finding justice (Coleridge, 1845).

The trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso is one of the greatest trials that took place in the Roman history and was meant to bring peace and balance to the Romans. Piso’s trial was enveloped with the accusation of poisoning Germanicus when Tiberius sent him to the East spy on Germanicus. Tiberius was Germanicus uncle who was alleged to be getting jealous due to Germanicus constant fame and rise to power in the Roman Empire. Germanicus followers in  Roman influenced Tiberius to try Piso with the charges of killing Germanicus. During the trial, Piso refused to accept the charges he was accused of,  causing the Romans to Rage and threaten to lynch him. This indicates the role of Piso in the Roman history as the power thirst individual who was against Germanicus development.

The life and achievements of Germanicus Caesar

Germanicus Julius Caesar is a great figure in the Roman history often praised for his vigor, charismatic and bravery at a young age. Germanicus parents were Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonio Minor and they gave him two names after his birth to make his existence significant in the emperor. He was named Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero and he changed his name to Germanicus Julius Caesar after he was adopted by his uncle, Tiberius as a son and heir (Ward, Heichelheim & Yeo, 2010). Augustus was an elderly Roman ruler who wanted to secure his kingdom and the ruling of Roman by having many heirs. He first started by adopting Tiberius as his stepson and molded him into a leader. Later on, he requested Tiberius to adopt Germanicus from Nero and Antonia so that he can have someone to help him when he (Augustus) finally died. Tiberius adoption process included him marrying Augustus niece Agrippina, the elder from his daughter Julia. August plan was successful, and Agrippina bore Germanicus 9 children whereby only six survived (Lindsay, 1995).  Augustus was happy and assured that the Roman Empire was in great hands (Hurley, 2004).

The achievements of Germanicus began soon after his father’s death whereby he sought to protect and lead the people of the Republic of Roman with diligence, peace and enlightened leadership. Germanicus believed in Augustus who had chosen Tiberius to rule in one section of the empire and was determined to ensure that Roman Empire had a ruler who maintained peace and justice during the time of his rulings (Collins, 2008).

Augustus greatly influenced the significantly proactive life of Germanicus. Germanicus believed that Augustus was a just and great leader since he had maintained peace and order in Roman Empire during his entire ruling. Therefore, Germanicus believed in Augustus who was Tiberius stepfather and was determined to ensure that Roman had a ruler who maintained peace and justice during even during the time of conflict and battle (Collins, 2008). Germanicus started serving in the empire at the age of 20 years, because of his outstanding services and active life; he was culminated in the consulship five years before the required age as it was written in the Empire constitution. His leadership skills were excellent, and he progressed from stage to stage with great ease and even skipped some stages because his services were considered to be above average.

Germanicus held the junior position in the consul for a while before being promoted to hold the subordinate commands in the Danube frontier where he worked alongside his uncle and father Tiberius. During this period, Germanicus worked diligently and proved himself worthy of leadership, and he was therefore given the trappings that symbolized victory and triumph (Hurley, 2004). For a while, Germanicus and Tiberius worked together, and it is probably at this juncture that Tiberius started second guessing Germanicus. Tiberius was transferred to Rhine frontier to attend to the emergency that had befallen Quinctilius Varus when his legion was trapped and massacred in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Germanicus joined Tiberius in AD 11 to help in restoring and reclaiming the battle that had affected Quinctilius Varus and at the same time help in rescuing the Roman military unit (Hurley, 2004).

Germanicus won the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest and helped in reclaiming the captured soldier, on hearing this Augustus was very impressed and proud of Germanicus. In the following years, AD 13, Augustus made Germanicus governor of Upper and Lower Germany, west of the Rhine, administratively part of Gallia and Belgica. This promotion awarded him eight armies that were attached to the provinces he was heading. Unfortunately, the death of Augustus in AD 14 triggered some uproar in the empire because to the shift in power and management. The people of Danube and some German frontiers started rebelling over poor pay, limited funds left under Augustus will and discharge of duty, and this caused unrest in the empire. On seeing this, the military in the west of the empire approached Germanicus and offered to make him commander of their army (Shotter, 1968).



Download as:   txt (19.3 Kb)   pdf (219.4 Kb)   docx (14 Kb)  
Continue for 12 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2015, 12). The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar. Retrieved 12, 2015, from

"The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar" 12 2015. 2015. 12 2015 <>.

"The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar.", 12 2015. Web. 12 2015. <>.

"The Trial of Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso for the Murder of Germanicus Julius Caesar." 12, 2015. Accessed 12, 2015.