DEATH OF GERMANICUS
SOON after the return of Germanicus from the north, the
news came that the Parthians were threatening an
invasion. Tiberius at once bade his adopted son go to
Asia and fight them; but he still felt very jealous of
 Germanicus, and it was said that he sent secret orders
to his agent, Piso, to kill the young prince.
Poor Germanicus, who little dreamed of these evil
intentions, took the cup of poison which Piso offered
him, and died soon after drinking it. His soldiers
were so furious at his death that they would have
killed the traitor had he not fled.
All the people at Antioch, where the noble prince had
died, mourned him. A solemn funeral was held, and his
ashes were placed in an urn, and given to Agrippina,
so that she might carry them back to Italy. Even the
enemies of Germanicus were sorry when they heard that
he had perished, and they showed their respect for his
memory by not fighting for several days.
Agrippina now sadly returned to Rome, carrying her
husband's ashes, and followed by her six young
children. She was met and escorted by crowds of
people, and all wept as she passed slowly by on her way
from the ship to the tomb of Augustus, where the ashes
of Germanicus were placed.
Even Tiberius made believe to be sorry. When Agrippina
came before him and accused Piso and his wife of
poisoning her husband, the emperor basely deserted them
both. A few days later Piso was found dead, his heart
pierced by a sword; and, although no one ever knew
exactly how this had happened, many of the Romans
believed that he had been killed by order of Tiberius.
After the death of Germanicus, Tiberius threw aside all
restraint and showed himself, as he was, a monster of
cruelty and vice. He chose servants who were as wicked
as he, and Sejanus, the captain of the Pretorian  Guard (as his bodyguard was called), was a man after
his own heart. This Sejanus, however, was ungrateful
enough to have Drusus, the emperor's son, secretly
poisoned; but everybody thought that the young prince
had died a natural death.
Sejanus, you must know, was as ambitious as he was
cruel. While he pretended to be very devoted to
Tiberius, he wished to be rid of the emperor so that he
might reign in his stead. He therefore began by
persuading his master to retire to the island of
Capri, where the climate was delightful, and from
whence the emperor could easily send his orders to
Sejanus, being left in Rome with full powers, then
killed all the people who would be likely to be in his
way. Among his victims were many friends of Germanicus
and some of the dead hero's children. Agrippina, the
widow of Germanicus, was banished to a barren and rocky
island, in the Mediterranean, where she is said to have
died of hunger and thirst.