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Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo

Danube region can be traced back to the legions that fought under his command in Armenia.

of Corbulo

  • Corbulo was a brother.
  • Active c. 7 – 67.

TNMP 169

Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (Peltuinum c. 7 – 67) was a Roman general, brother-in-law of the emperor Caligula and father-in-law of Domitian. The emperor Nero, highly fearful of Corbulo’s reputation, ordered him to commit suicide, which the general carried out faithfully, exclaiming Axios, meaning ’I am worthy’, and fell on his own sword.

Following Claudius’ death in 54, the new emperor Nero sent him to the eastern provinces to deal with the Armenian question. After some delay, and reinforced by troops from Germania, in 58 he took the offensive, and attacked Tiridates, King of Armenia and brother of Vologases I of Parthia. Artaxata and Tigranocerta were captured by his legions (III Gallica, VI Ferrata, and X Fretensis), and Tigranes, who had been brought up in Rome and was an obedient servant of the government, was installed as king of Armenia.

In AD 61 Tigranes invaded Adiabene, an integral portion of the Parthian Kingdom, and a conflict between Rome and Parthia seemed unavoidable. Instead, Vologases thought it better to come to terms. It was agreed that both Roman and Parthian troops should evacuate Armenia, that Tigranes should be dethroned, and the rule of Tiridates recognized. The Roman government declined to accede to these arrangements, and Lucius Caesennius Paetus, governor of Cappadocia, was ordered to settle the question by bringing Armenia under direct Roman administration.

The protection of Syria claimed all of Corbulo’s attention in the meantime. Paetus, a weak and incapable commander who ’despised the fame acquired by Corbulo’, suffered a severe defeat at Rhandeia in AD 62, where he was surrounded and forced to capitulate to the Parthians and evacuated to Armenia. Command was again entrusted to Corbulo.

In AD 63, with a strong army, he crossed the Euphrates. Tiridates declined to give battle and arranged a peace. At Rhandea he laid down his diadem at the foot of the emperor’s statue, promising not to resume it until he received it from the hand of Nero himself in Rome.



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