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Drusus – Son

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Drusus bust left R

14 BC – 23 AD
son of Tiberius

Drusus was the son of Tiberius by his first wife, Vipsania. Named after his brother, Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusus the Younger was born about 14 BC. Drusus grew up at court and eventually married the granddaughter of Marc AntonyLivilla, daughter of Antonia. Livilla bore three children: a daughter Julia and twin boys named Gemellus and Drusus. Drusus died at a very young age, and Gemellus would later find himself unwanted and unloved by most members of his family.

drusus a

As his father, Tiberius, rose to power under Augustus, Augustus also looked upon Drusus favorably. In 11 AD, he was given the rank of Quaestor, and in 13 AD, he eventually served as Consul in 15 AD. In 14 AD, when his father succeeded Augustus to the throne, Drusus became the logical heir to his father.

Following Augustus’s death in 14 AD, Drusus was sent on an important mission to Pannonia to subdue the mutinied legions stationed there. Drusus succeeded in his mission, aided by bad weather and an eclipse, which proved to be the omen he needed. In 17 AD, Drusus was given special powers as governor of Pannonia.

TIBERIUS AE AS SPAIN Romula RPC74 Germanicus Drusus facing - R

As of Tiberius with his heirs
Germanicus & Drusus facing.

Drusus was not happy to find that the cousin Germanicus (father’s nephew), rising as the popular prince of the people. Germanicus was adopted by his father as his heir in 4 AD, and at the time,

Augustus had adopted Tiberius. Germanicus had been given a splendid triumph in 17 AD for his success in Germany. Nonetheless, Drusus maintained good relations with Germanicus and his family. In 19AD, following the death of Germanicus, Drusus became the center of attention in the ambitious plans of Tiberius’ right-hand man, the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard – Sejanus. His father finally granted him a triumph of his own for his success in Pannonia on May 28th, 20 AD.

Drusus Germanicus

Drusus disliked Sejanus intensely. He did not know the extent of his ambitions or his affair with his wife. Still, Drusus tried to warn his father about his reliance upon Sejanus, but Tiberius did not appreciate his concern. They apparently argued, and Drusus struck his father in the process. According to the historian Cassius Dio, Tiberius shouted at his son, saying,

“You will commit no act of violence or insubordination while I am alive, nor when I am dead either!”

Drusus had a reputation for being cruel and licentious to the point that, in Roman slang, an insult was to call someone Drusian.

Drusus the Younger son of Tiberius poised by Sejanus

Drusus – Poisoned by his Wife

In 22 AD, Tiberius finally granted Drusus the Tribunician Power. The following year, however, he fell victim to Sejanus, who conspired with his wife to poison him. Sejanus planned to marry Livilla and become the next heir to the throne. Thus, Sejanus systematically isolated Tiberius from his family and did everything he could to ensure the downfall of Germanicus’s wife, Agrippina, and their children. The plot came to light following a letter sent to Tiberius by Livilla’s mother, Antonia. Sejanus was put to death, but Tiberius did not move against Livilla out of respect for Antonia. However, Livilla was imprisoned by her own mother and either starved to death or perhaps committed suicide.

Monetary System

Mints: Rome

Obverse Legends



Drusus AE As by Tiberius

Æ As

Posthumous Issues

Drusus AE As by Titus

Æ As (Restitution by Titus)

Colonial Issues

Drusus AR Drachm - R

                AR Drachm (Caesarea) Drusus/Tiberius (RPC I 3621, RIC 86)
                AR Drachm (Caesarea) Drusus/Tiberius (RPC I 3622)
                AR Drachm (Caesarea) Drusus/Tiberius (RPC I 3622B, RIC87)
              Drusus Cyprus RPC 3923
           Æ16 CYPRUS, Koinon (Struck AD 22/3)(Bare hd rt / Zeus Salaminios stndg left) 1 RPC3923

Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong