Mysterious Death case- “Death by Fright”

One of the only characters in history that has only been killed by being poisoned through frightening was the legendary 1st century Roman general, Germanicus (15BC-19AD). Germanicus’ death happened on October 10, 19 AD in Antioch, Syria but the case of the death happens to be unclear and remains to be one of history’s most unsolved death cases. The whole story of Germanicus, his rise to power, death, and the aftermath of it is all covered up in No Budget Film’s (Youtube) Lego film, “Some Justice” based on the epic I, Claudius. The whole story of this takes place back in the time of the Roman Empire when it was still new, not yet a 100 year yet but already facing nerve-racking scandals and threats that could shake it down. The Lego film “Some Justice” is a Lego period action and drama film directed by Powee Celdran starring an enable voice cast of Gaston Roxas, Powee Celdran, Nuni Celdran, Michael Zeitouni, Jag Manuel, Francis Ventura, and Santiago Roxas, set in the Imperial era of ancient Rome. SPQR Banner

Germanicus and his army in Lego
Germanicus and his army in Lego
Lego film, Some Justice poster
Lego film, Some Justice poster

The whole story of the mysterious and unsolved death of the Roman war hero Germanicus is told in story many year later by his brother, Claudius Caesar (Emperor Claudius I) who had unexpectedly been made emperor of Rome. Claudius writes in his books that his brother, Germanicus (full name: Drusus Claudius Nero Germanicus) was Rome’s greatest general and war hero by wining great victories in his battles successfully conquering lands in Germany and bringing Roman control, however what happened to him in Antioch, being frightened to death was one of the most disastrous things that could happen. Germanicus, however as a war hero and general has another long but fascinating background stories, beginning as an unknown and new war commander having his first chance to command an army and win the battle when a terrible disaster happened to the Roman army in a conquest in Germany. This disaster, which happened to the Roman army in 9AD, was the Teutoburg forest campaign where the Roman legion was wiped out by hiding German skirmishers as the Romans were betrayed by their German allied forces leading them into a trap. The Romans were quickly wiped out and the previous general killed himself out of defeat but some surviving soldiers led by a young and inexperienced officer, Cassius led the escape and made it back to Rome reporting to the emperor, Augustus about the defeat, which made him panic but afterwards he found a solution, which was to retake the woods of Germany. In order to do this, he sent Germanicus, then not that well known but confident that he could take back the lost lands, which were once Rome’s, Augustus at the same time trusted Germanicus in this as he had great confidence in him. In 12AD, Germanicus having control of the 2nd legion stationed in Germany set out on his conquest to retake the Teutoburg forest no matter how dangerous it could be. In his conquests in Germany, Germanicus’ wife, Agrippina came along with him and stayed behind at the forts although she had a desire for fighting that she always wanted to join the battle but it was too dangerous for her, although in the forts, she practiced sword and shield skills with the soldiers while Germanicus went on his minor campaigns. When it came to the major campaign in taking back the Teutoburg forest, his officer Cassius who had survived the battle showed Germanicus and his army the way through the forest as they saw the scenes of the massacre of the Roman troops and soon enough, he was able to defeat the Germans and avenged Rome’s defeat in the forest. Shortly afterwards, the German campaign continued on when Germanicus’ legion pushed their campaign forward as there were more lands in Germany, east of the Rhine that were still dangerous and not yet under Roman control. To put an end to the wars and pressure on Rome in the German frontiers, Germanicus went off to battle one more time to finally face off the German tribes of the Suebi and Cherusci beyond the Rhine and expand Roman territory until the Weser River. In the next campaign at the Weser River, Germanicus and his legions were well prepared to face whatever the Germans have to attack them and here the German tribes were twice more fierce and savage. Even with the Romans all set for battle, however their leader Germanicus had been hit in throat by a German skirmisher in a previous battle and the night before got a fever, which made less energetic and soft in voice during battle and at the same time couldn’t give commands clearly but his soldiers still followed his commands as he still spoke with his strong German accent. When the Romans marched through the woods, they were not surprised with the Germans’ surprise attacks and the Romans made their way defeating the Germans throughout the forest until reaching the German camp where Germanicus got of his horse clashing with the German war chief, the leader of the tribe, who was the fierce warrior Ingomer. Earlier, Ingomer rapidly wiped out the Roman troops but the Romans retaliated and wiped out the German army while Germanicus and Ingomer dueled to the death until Ingomer found out all his troops were gone causing him to escape into the woods going insane. When the battle was finished, the officer Cassius was first to notice it that Rome has succeeded and conquered the German woods then Germanicus spoke to his troops that they have won as the Roman standard was planted on the German camp claiming it for Rome, afterwards, the Roman troops made it back to Rome with a triumphal entrance in the streets of Rome with the crowds cheering for them. When Germanicus got to the senate house, the senate awaited him and so was the emperor Augustus himself, here Germanicus was given recognition, which includes his name, derived from the lands he conquered. After his great conquests, Germanicus had grown extremely popular and thought by everyone as hero, however it was becoming dangerous for him already as others thought he had been rising to power so quickly that it would be dangerous for Rome.

Claudius Caesar in Lego narrates the story
Claudius Caesar in Lego narrates the story
Romans and Germans clash in battle (Lego)
Romans and Germans clash in battle (Lego)
Germanicus' triumphal parade in Lego
Germanicus’ triumphal parade in Lego
Germanicus and Ingomer duel (Lego)
Germanicus and Ingomer duel (Lego)
Lego Germanicus figure
Lego Germanicus figure
Germanicus leading his forces
Germanicus leading his forces
Map of the German campaign
Map of the German campaign

With Germanicus’ popularity, the crowds and citizens of Rome and the whole empire thought of him as a hero but at the same time, Rome’s powerful and long time politicians thought of him as a threat to their power as he rose to power quickly at a younger age and those Roman senators haven’t had any great achievements even at an older age, at the same time Germanicus had gone arrogant and big headed from all his achievements. When the emperor Augustus died in 14AD, it was Germanicus’ uncle, Tiberius followed Augustus as Roman emperor but at the same time Tiberius was one ruler who was always pressured, lacked ambition, was weak with power, and did not want to be emperor in the first place, in fact it was his mother that was motivating him and taking control of him so she could rule through him. Tiberius also envied Germanicus’ popularity, although a Roman senator, Piso requested to Tiberius that Germanicus must be sent away as he would be a threat to the Roman senate an the emperor, at the same time Tiberius ha plans to send him away to Syria and appoint him as governor so he wouldn’t be involved in the politics of Rome. When Germanicus was appointed governor of Syria in 1n 18AD, Piso had already been governor at the same time, which made Germanicus remove him from his position, this then brought more hate on Germanicus from Piso. On October 10, 19AD when Germanicus returned back home to his house in Antioch after watching over the city, his officer Cassius (with the Indian accent) reports to him that he has found signs of trouble inside the house and that he must be careful when entering. Germanicus did not believe the trouble inside the house and feeling proud and nothing could stop him, he just entered. When Germanicus entered the house, he suddenly felt nauseous and his vision changed seeing things going around and his heart started pounding, after a while he saw items that scared him a lot such as skeletons, decaying animal corpses, and his name written with blood on bones, this then started frightening him. When his wife came in, she asked if anything was wrong, he simply said everything is scaring him and he feels like he’s being poisoned, shortly after he went to the bed and felt something different, his heart pounded faster and stopped, moments later he passed out and never woke up again. When the family entered, including his brother Claudius and the officer Cassius, Germanicus had died already, Agrippina commanded that the corpse of Germanicus must be placed in the city square to show the marks of poisoning. Afterwards, Germanicus funeral happened in the streets of Antioch, here his ashes were already placed in an urn and Agrippina held it speaking to the people that their hero is dead and it is time to avenge his death. The ashes were then brought back to Rome and the people out of anger began uprisings against emperor Tiberius thinking he planned the death of Germanicus, their hero. Here Tiberius was greatly pressured since he did not plan it, but at the same time, Germanicus’ family avenged his death by planning out a trial on whoever was behind the poisoning.

Lego Germanicus setting sail
Lego Germanicus setting sail
Portrait of Germanicus and wife Agrippina the Elder by Rubens
Portrait of Germanicus and wife Agrippina the Elder by Rubens
Lego Germanicus and Cassius outside the house
Lego Germanicus and Cassius outside the house
Death of Germanicus in Lego
Death of Germanicus in Lego
Lego Agrippina at Germanicus' funeral
Lego Agrippina at Germanicus’ funeral
Claudius at Germanicus' funeral
Claudius at Germanicus’ funeral
Germanicus' deathbed in Leg
Germanicus’ deathbed in Lego
Death of Germanicus painting
Death of Germanicus painting

At the dinner table, Germanicus’ family, Agrippina and Claudius, and his cousin Castor, who was his lawyer at the same time and Tiberius’ son, discussed the trial. Here they came up with the plan to charge Piso for having Germanicus poisoned as they suspected it was Piso who was behind it since he hated Germanicus most. Claudius suggested that Piso must be tried at the senate and Tiberius himself must directly make the decision and speak to Piso directly. The trial of Piso then began, Castor was the one who presented the case made against Piso, however Piso disagreed with them saying it was all nonsense and he had proof of Germanicus ordering him to leave having letter with the imperial seal. The senate then panicked about thinking what was in the leeters, however Tiberius ordered them to keep quiet as he also had a strong speaking talent (with a Russian accent) and ordered the trial to be called doff for the day. Later that day, Tiberius’ top agent and head advisor behind his rule, Sejanus came to Piso’s house and asked for the letter to bring to Tiberius so he could read it. The next day, the trial resumed and there was still no evidence on the death of Germanicus and who was behind it, certainly there was a person behind it, but to get the trail quickly finished, Tiberius denied Piso’s request to save him and made him fail the trial leading him to suicide. The truth behind Germanicus’ poisoning and frightening to death was that Piso was actually paid off to join the plot of an ex- German war chief turned into a mercenary who wanted revenge on Germanicus. This person behind the death was the war chief Ingomer, mentioned earlier who lost his lands to the Romans and was forced to escape, here he got back at Germanicus. However, it was Germanicus’ 7-year-old son, Caligula who hated him as well so he suggested to Ingomer that Germanicus must be killed by fright. It was later discovered that the war chief was behind it but he drowned himself in order to not face trial, the case was in a way solved and Germanicus’ death was avenged.

Planning out the trial
Planning out the trial
Lego Emperor Tiberius
Lego Emperor Tiberius
Piso's trial in Lego
Piso’s trial in Lego
Based on I, Claudius- Germanicus' death by Caligula
Based on I, Claudius- Germanicus’ death by Caligula

The whole case of Germanicus’ death has been one of the most mysterious but thrilling death cases of all time, as it had been so hard to discover but it was very unlikely that it was his son, a noticeable enemy, and long time enemy behind it all. On the other hand, Germanicus life and achievements was an interesting story, since he had gained many achievements especially in war at a young age, he was the Alexander the Great of Rome and similar to Alexander, Germanicus’ death came unexpectedly at a young age (32). The whole story of this however, remains to be one of the most memorable in the timeline of the empire’s ruling dynasty throughout Roman history.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s