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At Rhodes he fell in with Piso, whom he saved from danger of shipwreck, but Piso, not appeased by his generosity, hurried on to Syria, and, by every artifice and corruption, endeavoured to acquire favour for himself, and to heap obloquy on Germanicus. Plancina, in like manner, cast insult and reproach on Agrippina. Though this conduct did not escape the knowledge of Germanicus, he hastened to fulfil the object of his mission, and proceeded to Armenia, placed the crown upon the head of Zeno, reduced Cappadocia to the form of a province, and gave Q. Servaeus the command of Commagene. (Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 25.) He then spent the winter in Syria, where, without any open and violent rupture, he and Piso scarcely attempted to conceal in each other's presence their mutual feelings of displeasure and hatred. (Tac. Ann. ii. 57.) In compliance with the request of Artabanus, king of the Parthians, Germanicus removed Vonones, the deposed monarch, to Pompeiopolis, a maritime town of Cilicia. This he did with the greater pleasure, as it was mortifying to Piso, with whom Vonones was an especial favourite, from his presents and obsequious attention to Plancina.
In the following year, a. d. 19, Germanicus visited Egypt, induced by his love of travel and antiquity, and ignorant of the oifence which he was giving to Tiberius ; for it was one of the arcana of state, established by Augustus, that Egypt was not to be entered by any Roman of high rank without the special permission of the emperor. From Ca-nopus, he sailed up the Nile, gratifying his taste for the marvellous and the old. The ruins of Thebes, the hieroglyphical inscriptions, the vocal statue of Memnon, the pyramids, the reservoirs of the Nile, excited and rewarded his curiosity. He consulted Apis as to his own fortunes, and received the prediction of an untimely end. (Plin. H. N. viii. 46.)
On his return to Syria, he found that every thing had gone wrong during his absence. His orders, military and civil, had been neglected or positively disobeyed. Hence arose a bitter interchange of reproaches between him and Piso, whom he ordered to depart from Egypt. Being soon after seized with an attack of illness, he attributed his distemper to the sorcery practised against him by Piso. In accordance with an ancient Roman custom, which required a denunciation of hostility between private individuals as well as between states, in order that they might be fair enemies, Germanicus sent Piso a letter renouncing his friendship. (Suet. Col. 1 ; Tac. Ann. ii. 70.) It is remarkable that a similar custom existed in the middle ages, in the diffidatio or defiance of feudal chivalry, preparatory to private war. (Alien, On the Royal Prerogative, p. 76.) Whether there were real ground for the suspicion of poisoning which Germanicus himself entertained against Piso and Plancina, it is impossible now to decide with certainty. Germanicus seems to have been of a nervous and credulous temperament. He could not bear the sight of a cock, nor the sound of its crow. (Plut. de Invid. et Od. 3.) Wherever he met with the sepulchres of illustrious men, he offered sacrifices to their manes, (Suet. Cal. 1.) The poisoning which he now suspected was not of a natural kind: it was a veneficimn, partaking of magic, if we may judge from the proofs by which it was supposed to be evidenced:—pieces of human flesh, charms, and > maledictions, leaden plates inscribed with the name j
of Germanicus, half-burnt ashes moistened with putrid blood, and other sorceries by which lives are said to be devoted to the infernal deities, were found imbedded in the walls and foundations of his house. Feeling his end approaching, he summoned his friends, and called upon them to avenge his foul murder. Soon after, he breathed his last, on the 9th of October, a. d. 19, in the thirty-fourth year of his age, at Epidaphne near Antio-cheia. (Tac. Ami. ii. 72, 83; Kal. Antiat. in Orelli, Inscript. vol. ii. p. 401 ; DionCass. Ivii. 18; Seneca, Qu. Nat. i. 1 ; Zonar. xi. 2; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, 5 ; Plin. H. N. xi. 37, 71 ; Suet. Cal. 1.) His corpse was exposed in the forum at Antiocheia, before it was burnt, and Tacitus candidly admits (ii. 73) that it bore no decisive marks of poison, though Suetonius speaks of livid marks over the whole body, and foam at the mouth, and goes on to report that, after the burning, the heart was found unconsumed among the bones, — a supposed symptom of death by poison.
Germanicus, as he studiously sought popularity by such compliances as lowering the price of corn, walking abroad without military guard, and conforming to the national costume, so he possessed in an extraordinary degree the faculty of winning human affection. The savageness of his German wars fell heavily upon the barbarians, with whom he had no community of feeling. To those who came into personal communication with him, he was a mild-mannered man. Tacitus, whose accounts of his campaigns are full of fire and sword, of wide desolation and unsparing slaughter, yet speaks of his remarkable mansuetudo in liostes. In governing his own army his discipline was gentle, and he was evidently averse to harsh measures. He had not that ambition of supreme command, which often accompanies the power of commanding well, nor was he made of that stern stuff which would have enabled him to cope with and control a refractory subordinate officer with the cleverness and activity of Piso. He was a man of sensitive feeling, chaste and temperate, and possessed all the amiable virtues which spread a charm over social and family intercourse. His dignified person, captivating eloquence, elegant and refined taste, cultivated understanding, high sense of honour, unaffected courtesy, frank munificence, and polished manners, befitted a Roman prince of his exalted station, and seemed to justify the general hope that he might live to dispense, as emperor, the blessings of his government over the Roman world. He shines with fairer light from the dark atmosphere of crime and tyranny which shrouds the time that succeeded his death. The comparison between Germanicus and Alexander the Great, which is suggested by Tacitus (Ann. ii. 73), presents but superficial resemblances. Where can we find in the Roman general traces of that lofty daring, those wide views, and that potent intellect which marked the hero of Macedon ?
The sorrow that was felt for the death of Germanicus was intense. Foreign potentates shared the lamentation of the Roman people, and, in token of mourning, abstained from their usual amusements. At home unexampled honours were decreed to his memory. It was ordered that his name should be inserted in the Salian hymns, that his curule chair, mounted with crowns of oak leaves, should always be set in the public shows, in the