In the following year Tiberius held his third, Germanicus his second,
consulship. Germanicus, however, entered on the office at Nicopolis,
a city of Achaia, whither he had arrived by the coast of Illyricum,
after having seen his brother Drusus, who was then in Dalmatia, and
endured a stormy voyage through the Adriatic and afterwards the Ionian
Sea. He accordingly devoted a few days to the repair of his fleet,
and, at the same time, in remembrance of his ancestors, he visited
the bay which the victory of Actium had made famous, the spoils consecrated
by Augustus, and the camp of Antonius. For, as I have said, Augustus
was his great-uncle, Antonius his grandfather, and vivid images of
disaster and success rose before him on the spot. Thence he went to
Athens, and there, as a concession to our treaty with an allied and
ancient city, he was attended only by a single lictor. The Greeks
welcomed him with the most elaborate honours, and brought forward
all the old deeds and sayings of their countrymen, to give additional
dignity to their flattery.

Thence he directed his course to Euboea and crossed to Lesbos, where
Agrippina for the last time was confined and gave birth to Julia.
He then penetrated to the remoter parts of the province of Asia, visited
the Thracian cities, Perinthus and Byzantium; next, the narrow strait
of the Propontis and the entrance of the Pontus, from an anxious wish
to become acquainted with those ancient and celebrated localities.
He gave relief, as he went, to provinces which had been exhausted
by internal feuds or by the oppressions of governors. In his return
he attempted to see the sacred mysteries of the Samothracians, but
north winds which he encountered drove him aside from his course.
And so after visiting Ilium and surveying a scene venerable from the
vicissitudes of fortune and as the birth-place of our people, he coasted
back along Asia, and touched at Colophon, to consult the oracle of
the Clarian Apollo. There, it is not a woman, as at Delphi, but a
priest chosen from certain families, generally from Miletus, who ascertains
simply the number and the names of the applicants. Then descending
into a cave and drinking a draught from a secret spring, the man,
who is commonly ignorant of letters and of poetry, utters a response
in verse answering to the thoughts conceived in the mind of any inquirer.
It was said that he prophesied to Germanicus, in dark hints, as oracles
usually do, an early doom.

Cneius Piso meanwhile, that he might the sooner enter on his design,
terrified the citizens of Athens by his tumultuous approach, and then
reviled them in a bitter speech, with indirect reflections on Germanicus,
who, he said, had derogated from the honour of the Roman name in having
treated with excessive courtesy, not the people of Athens, who indeed
had been exterminated by repeated disasters, but a miserable medley
of tribes. As for the men before him, they had been Mithridates’s
allies against Sulla, allies of Antonius against the Divine Augustus.
He taunted them too with the past, with their ill-success against
the Macedonians, their violence to their own countrymen, for he had
his own special grudge against this city, because they would not spare
at his intercession one Theophilus whom the Areopagus had condemned
for forgery. Then, by sailing rapidly and by the shortest route through
the Cyclades, he overtook Germanicus at the island of Rhodes. The
prince was not ignorant of the slanders with which he had been assailed,
but his good nature was such that when a storm arose and drove Piso
on rocks, and his enemy’s destruction could have been referred to
chance, he sent some triremes, by the help of which he might be rescued
from danger. But this did not soften Piso’s heart. Scarcely allowing
a day’s interval, he left Germanicus and hastened on in advance. When
he reached Syria and the legions, he began, by bribery and favouritism,
to encourage the lowest of the common soldiers, removing the old centurions
and the strict tribunes and assigning their places to creatures of
his own or to the vilest of the men, while he allowed idleness in
the camp, licentiousness in the towns, and the soldiers to roam through
the country and take their pleasure. He went such lengths in demoralizing
them, that he was spoken of in their vulgar talk as the father of
the legions.

Plancina too, instead of keeping herself within the proper limits
of a woman, would be present at the evolutions of the cavalry and
the manoeuvres of the cohorts, and would fling insulting remarks at
Agrippina and Germanicus. Some even of the good soldiers were inclined
to a corrupt compliance, as a whispered rumour gained ground that
the emperor was not averse to these proceedings. Of all this Germanicus
was aware, but his most pressing anxiety was to be first in reaching

This had been of old an unsettled country from the character of its
people and from its geographical position, bordering, as it does,
to a great extent on our provinces and stretching far away to Media.
It lies between two most mighty empires, and is very often at strife
with them, hating Rome and jealous of Parthia. It had at this time
no king, Vonones having been expelled, but the nation’s likings inclined
towards Zeno, son of Polemon, king of Pontus, who from his earliest
infancy had imitated Armenian manners and customs, loving the chase,
the banquet, and all the popular pastimes of barbarians, and who had
thus bound to himself chiefs and people alike. Germanicus accordingly,
in the city of Artaxata, with the approval of the nobility, in the
presence of a vast multitude, placed the royal diadem on his head.
All paid him homage and saluted him as King Artaxias, which name they
gave him from the city.

Cappadocia meanwhile, which had been reduced to the form of a province,
received as its governor Quintus Veranius. Some of the royal tributes
were diminished, to inspire hope of a gentler rule under Rome. Quintus
Servaeus was appointed to Commagene, then first put under a praetor’s
The Annals by Tacitus