• Problems in the East.
  • It had started back in 15, when the Parthians expelled their king, Vonones.
  • Although I’ve also read 12.
  • Vonones was the eldest son of Phraates iv and had been handed over to Augustus as a hostage in the 20s BCE along with his three brothers.
  • After the assassination of Orodes III in about 6 CE, the Parthians applied to Augustus for a new King from the house of Arsaces.
  • Augustus sent them Vonones I, but they ended up hating him; he had been educated as a Roman, and was despised by the Parthian nobility as a Roman stooge.
  • “Where,” they asked, “was the glory of the men who slew Crassus, who drove out Antonius, if Caesar’s drudge, after an endurance of so many years’ slavery, were to rule over Parthians.”
  • The Parthians summoned Artabanus III, another Arsacid prince, who had grown up in Scythia.
  • He came and kicked out Vonones, who went into exile in Armenia where the throne happened to be vacant and he said “that’ll do pig, that’ll do”.
  • But Tiberius refused to recognize him as king, while Artabanus too showed no signs of accepting the situation.
  • The governor of Syria, Silanus, afraid that he might find himself involved in a Parthian war in defence of Vonones’ claim, summoned him to Syria and kept him under guard, albeit with the honour due to his rank.
  • For the moment Tiberius did nothing, because other problems besides that of Armenia soon arose in the East.
  • The empire had just acquired a new province, Cappadocia, which had been ruled for fifty years by its king, Archelaus.
  • Tiberius had once defended Archelaus, but during his voluntary exile at Rhodes, Archelaus hadn’t come to visit.
  • He didn’t text. Didn’t reply to his Snapchat dick pix.
  • Archelaus had been told by friends of Augustus that Gaius Caesar going to be THE MAN and being too nice to the disgraced Tiberius might be dangerous.
  • Tiberius remembered, and he did NOT forgive.
  • there was a shortage of funds for military pay
  • And now Archelaus was at his mercy.
  • Livia wrote to him, summoning him to Rome.
  • The letter did not attempt to gloss over Tiberius’ hostility, but promised that the king could hope for clemency if he came to Rome to plead his cause in person.
  • Archelaus quickly obeyed, but was coldly received by Tibbo and soon found himself accused before the senate, on what charge is uncertain.
  • Some say plotting revolution.
  • Anxiety and old age did their work, and Archelaus died before any verdict was reached, either a natural death or by his own hand.
  • Tiberius declared his intention of turning the kingdom into a province and announced that the new revenues would make it possible to reduce the tax on the sale of goods throughout the empire from 1 per cent to 1/2 per cent.
  • At the same time the deaths of Antiochus iii of Commagene and Philopator ii of Cilicia had led to trouble in their kingdoms, where the nobles were eager for Roman rule but the mass of the people was loyal to the dynasties.
  • The provinces of Syria and Judaea too were clamouring for a reduction in their tribute.
  • So the time had come for a member of the princeps’ family to visit Asia Minor and make some attempt to restore order.
  • Tiberius raised the question in the senate and argued that the problems of the Orient could be solved only by the wisdom of Germanicus.
  • He  claimed he was too old for the task, his other son Drusus too young.
  • Although Drusus would have been about 30 at this stage so give me a break.
  • Germanicus was only a year older than him.
  • Tiberius’ reasons for this choice were no doubt complex.
  • His duty to emphasize Germanicus’ position as heir by entrusting him with honourable and important missions, his eagerness to exploit a pretext that would separate Germanicus from the armies of the Rhine without any loss of face on the prince’s part, the fact that, although only a couple of years older than Drusus, in character Germanicus was quite genuinely more suitable for this task: all these considerations will in some measure have influenced the princeps.
  • So, by decree of the senate, Germanicus was granted imperium maius (extraordinary command)  in the provinces on the other side of the Adriatic, greater than that of all governors with whom he might come into contact, whether they held their appointments from the senate or directly from the princeps.
  • Then Tibbo recalled the legate of Syria, Silanus.
  • Silanus had been in the province since 11.
  • And Syria was an awful place to be stationed.
  • But his daughter was betrothed to Germanicus’ eldest son Nero, and this connection was the only explanation men could find for his recall at precisely this time.
  • But really Tibbo had another reason to recall him.
  • He replaced him in Syria with Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, consul with Tiberius himself in 7 BCE, a man notorious for his savage tongue and independence of spirit.
  • Now – don’t confuse this CP with the CP who was Julius Caesar’s father in law.
  • That was Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus.
  • He was Calpurnia’s father.
  • And is believed to have been the owner of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum.
  • This Piso is related but not directly.
  • They are both Calpurnii Pisones.
  • But this new Piso isn’t him so just forget about the old Piso.
  • In with the new Piso, out with the old Piso.
  • This new Piso’s father was ALSO Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso.
  • What happened to Gnaeus as a name?
  • Remember what it means?
  • birthmark.
  • I’m bringing it back.
  • His grandfather was also Gnaeus CP
  • Grandaddy was one of the participants in the Catiline Conspiracy.
  • So Cicero probably had him strangled.
  • Our Piso’s father – we’ve talked about him before.
  • He was an enemy of the first triumvirate who fought on the side of Pompey during the civil war.
  • He survived and was given amnesty by big Julie.
  • After Caesar’s assassination, he joined up with Cassius and Brutus.
  • He again commanded troops and again was pardoned, this time by the Second Triumvirate.
  • Then he stayed out politics until Augustus made him consul in 23 BCE when Augustus was on his deathbed.
  • He handed over all of the official documents to Piso.
  • But gave his ring to Agrippa.
  • You gave your ring to me in Vegas, Ray.
  • But surprise! Augustus didn’t die.
  • And we don’t hear anything more about Piso the father.
  • Now we have Piso the grandson.
  • He had a brother, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, who was an augur and became consul in 1 BC
  • Our Piso was in charge of the imperial mint and in 7 BC he was made consul with Tiberius, and was sent by Augustus as legate to Hispania.
  • At some date between 5 BC and AD 2 he was admitted to the College of Pontiffs.
  • And he was married to Plancina, a woman of noble rank and wealth,  sister of Plancus the consul of 13 and she was a personal friend of Livia
  • Tacitus claims Piso looked down on Tiberius and his sons as inferiors.
  • Tacitus describes him as ‘a man of violent temper, without an idea of obedience, with indeed a natural arrogance’.
  • His nickname was “Piso Shit”.
  • He’s such a Piso Shit.
  • He came from a patrician family with a known streak of independence and a propensity for superciliousness. (behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others)
  • I think this is the same Piso who, when Tibbo said he was going to vote about the fate of Marcellus, the guy who knocked off the head of a statue of Augustus, asked him if he was going to vote first or last, so Piso would know how to vote.
  • Piso was convinced that he had been appointed to keep Germanicus in check.
  • Perhaps Tiberius was afraid that Germanicus would, if left to his own devices, quickly win a place in the hearts of the troops in Syria similar to that he had secured in the affections of the legions of the Rhine.
  • His chief concern will have been to introduce as their immediate commander a close friend of his own, who would provide an alternative focus of loyalty.