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Gneo Domizio Corbulo: "Axios! I am worthy!"

He had to be a Caesar, but he was a great general whose name has crossed the centuries becoming a symbol of moral integrity: his name was Gneus Domitius Corbulo. It was belonging to a smaller branch of the gens Domizia, the Calvinii; his father was Gneo Domizio Corbulo, praetor (magistrate) under Tiberio, his mother was Vistilia, of the Vistilii of magisterial rank. He was born around 5 A. D. , during the principality of Augusto, the mother was a matron who got married six times and giving to Corbulo a family of five brothers - they held several offices and between them there was also Publio Pomponio Secondo, the dramatist - and a single sister, Milonia Cesonia, future wife of the emperor Caligola who appointed him consul in 39. Caligola and Cesonia were murdered in 41 and Corbulo was marginalised from the palace and became a senator without any task. Until the 47 when it was recalled by Claudio who sent him like Legatii Augustii (Regional military Commander in Chief) in Germania Inferior (modern Netherland).
He was over 40 years old but was a strong man, so much taller than the soldiers could see him also when get dismounted, and it did the whole cursus honorum first serving in the legions then to become a quaestor when he was 25 years old, then become aedile and praetor (low and high rank magistrate) reaching the consulate to 34 years. It had kept the physical fine appearance maintaining the military training that were obligatory for all the men of the classes raised up to 46 years.

In 47 in the Province of the Germania Inferior the already subdued populations of the Cheruscii were in agitation, fights were in course between several factions for the power; besides the territories of the Belgian Gaul were terrified by the raids of the Caucii a pirates population , guided by Gannascus suddenly arrived through the Rhine and his affluents. The Roman Legions assigned to that province were without commander for a long time because Quintus Sanavius Maximus had died when reached Castra Vetera (today Xanten), where there was the Command of the Military District of the Germania Inferior; after the campaign of Aulo Gabinio in 41 AD – that had repressed another revolt of the Caucii and retaken the last missing eagles of the legions of Publius Quinctilius Varus - in this camp were quartered the legio V Alaudae, veteran legion (formed by Julius Ceasar during his campaign) that was occupying the right side of the field and the legio XV Primigenia on the left side. Both legions were composed for the most part by Italians, considered two of the best legions of the empire, still the long inactivity and the absence of order had strongly mined their military and combat efficiency.
Corbulo demonstrated here his skill as commander: he brought back the discipline in the quartered legions – V Alauda and XV Primigenia at Castra Vetera, I Germanica in Bonna (modern Bonn) and XVI Gallica quartered near the modern Neuss – breaking off the personal initiatives and the sacks, punishing the laxity of soldiers, imposing the training to the marches and to the use of the weapons. The rigours and the firmness with which he was treating soldiers together with demonstrative punishments, like the condemnation to death of two soldiers who pawned in the excavation of the trench had not thei equipment with them, they fed the idea of the general who is inflexible with his men and terribly with the enemies.
With him there arrived in Germany also Italicus, the nephew of Arminius who had been educated in Rome, called by the same Cheruscii, which because of internal fights had no-one who could be their king and were hoping that he was putting an end to the fights; Italicus managed at first to reconcile his people but he wasn't able to govern them and later a revolt broke-up, the new king was able to manage this revolt only calling for help the neighbours Longobards ...

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by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 01/04/2015)