Germanicus is a playable and historical character featured in Total War: Arena. He is one of the three selectable Roman commanders.


Germanicus specializes in assault and heavy infantry tactics.

Commander OrdersEdit

  • Heavy Infantry Charge
  • Defensive Testudo
  • Attacking Testudo
  • Vengeance


Germanicus Caesar (15 BCE-19 CE) was a Roman general under the reign of emperors Augustus and Tiberius who avenged the Roman massacre by the Germans at Teutoburg Forest, recaptured two of the three lost standards of the legions, and was universally respected as a man of honor and courage. The ancient historians who wrote of him all present him as an exceptional general, eloquent speaker, a poet and playwright, and a charismatic leader. His actual birth name is unknown; `Germanicus’ is an honorary title given to him for his successful conquests in Germania. He was born to aristocracy. His father was Nero Claudius Drusus, brother of Tiberius Caesar and stepson of Caesar Augustus and his mother was the daughter of Mark Antony, Julius Caesar’s right-hand man. At a young age he showed great promise as a writer, speaker, and leader of men and Augustus, who had decreed Tiberius as his successor, had Tiberius adopt the young man as his heir and next in line to rule Rome.

Before the age of 20, Germanicus was serving with distinction under Tiberius when Tiberius was general of the Roman legions. When he was 20 he was made Quaestor, five years before the standard minimum age of 25, was allowed to skip the intermediate stage of Praetor, and was made a full Consul of Rome by the time he was 27. By this time he had already won the love of the people and, especially, his troops who would follow him into battle anywhere without hesitation and had also been rewarded for his services with a triumphalia in Rome with all attendant honors except for the parade, which was usually only reserved for a conquering emperor.

The popularity of Germanicus made Tiberius understandably nervous. Augustus was still ruling Rome but was advanced in years and Tiberius stood next in line. Tiberius was the complete opposite of Germanicus; he was not an effective public speaker, had little personal charm, and led by force of his own will instead of commanding loyalty from his troops through their respect. When Augustus made Germanicus governer of the Upper and Lower regions west of the Rhine River in Germania, it was probably a great relief to Tiberius and this relief would have been even greater when Augustus then died in the year 14 CE and Tiberius took the throne.

Whatever hopes Tiberius had of an easy rise to power were threatened, however, when Germanicus’ troops in Germany revolted in favor of Germanicus as emperor. Germanicus could have easily led his troops on Rome and been welcomed by the people, toppling Tiberius and claiming his place as supreme ruler. Instead, Germanicus defended Tiberius and the order of succession which Augustus had put in place. When his men pressed him further to take Tiberius’ place, Germanicus threatened to kill himself before he would commit treason. His men backed down and Germanicus, in an effort to both divert and reward them, led them on a campaign into Germany to recover the standards of the Roman legions which had been lost in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE.

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest was the greatest military disaster of the Roman Empire. Under the general Varus, three whole legions were destroyed when they were ambushed by the German tribes under the leadership of their general Arminius. Germanicus now led his army into the region of the Marsi tribe, defeated them in battle, burned their cities, and destroyed their lands. Moving on, he then defeated the Chatti tribe, showing them no quarter, and then marched on the Cherusci tribe – those who were held most responsible for the massacre of Varus’ legions – and destroyed them. Arminius, the mastermind behind the Teutorburg massacre, was of the Cherusci tribe and led them in battle against Germanicus – but without success. Germanicus was victorious in every engagement and Arminius was betrayed and killed by his own people.

Germanicus then led his troops to the site of the Teutoburg massacre where he gathered up the remains of those who had been killed in 9 CE and buried them with honors. The fact that Tiberius had never made the effort to do the same made Germanicus even more popular with the people and his recovery of two of the lost standards of Rome increased that popularity even more. In an effort to show his appreciation, and link himself to Germanicus’ glory, Tiberius rewarded him with a full triumph and invited the general back to Rome to receive his accolades. Germanicus was not finished killing and subjugating the German tribes, however, and declined. Tiberius insisted, without ordering, and Germanicus finally returned from the frontier in 17 CE.

His popularity with the people was so great, historians have suggested, that he was sent off again soon after to take control of the province of Syria. Tiberius sent along his friend, Calpurnius Piso, provincial governor of the Syrian region, and many speculated that this was done to keep an eye on Germanicus. Piso’s wife, Plancina, and Germanicus’ wife, Agrippina, instantly disliked each other and contributed to the already uneasy relationship between the two men. Germanicus did not make the situation any better when he left Piso to take care of the duties of the province and went on a sight-seeing tour to Greece and Egypt. Under the edict of Augustus, no Roman was allowed in Egypt except the emperor and so Germanicus’ visit there concerned Tiberius. To make matters worse, Germanicus behaved in the way he was accustomed, without reserve, and was instantly adored by the Egyptians in Alexandria. Further, when he found that the people were hungry and grain was in short supply, he opened the grain storehouses and had the food distributed – as an emperor and friend of the people would do.

When Germanicus finally returned to his office in Syria he found that Piso had canceled the orders and arrangements he had put in place and was effectively ruling without him. He officially broke ties with Piso and banished him from his company. The story becomes unclear at this point since it seems Germanicus may have returned from Egypt already feeling ill but the rumor circulated that he had been poisoned by Piso’s wife. He became increasingly unwell and, after charging his generals with the task of avenging his murder at Piso’s hand and saying good-bye to his wife and children, he died in 19 CE on 10 October.

All of Rome mourned the loss of Germanicus and Piso was charged with treason and murder. Considering the popularity of Germanicus, there was no chance that Piso would receive a fair trial and, when he realized this, he killed himself in prison. After the death of Tiberius, Rome was ruled by Germanicus’ son, Caligula who had earned his name (“little boots”) by dressing as a soldier and following his father on campaigns. Caligula was succeeded by Germanicus’ brother, Claudius, who was then succeeded by Germanicus’ grandson Nero. All three of these latter rulers very expressly associated themselves with the grand legacy of Germanicus Caesar even though none of them would achieve his popularity. The Julio-Claudian line of emperors ended with Nero but the fame of Germanicus, through his restoration of the honor of Rome in retrieving the lost standards, became legendary in Rome for centuries and remains so today.[1]




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