June 13, 2007

Year-by-Year: 2 AD

Quirinius advises Gaius. Tiberius gets back to Rome. And Caesar’s grandsons each face a fatal disaster.

In January, 2 AD, Jesus was 7 years and 7 months old.

In mid-April, Joseph & Mary went up to Jerusalem for Passover. This is the fifth year Jesus stays in Galilee by himself, because of Joseph’s feelings about Judea.

Archelaus was even calling himself “Herod” now. So Joseph made absolutely sure he couldn’t finish what his daddy tried to do – by killing Jesus!

By the way, this is Archelaus’ sixth Passover over Judea. So 2 AD is the 6th year of his rule.


The big events this year are all about Tiberius and his two step-sons, the Emperor’s heirs.

So let’s jump right into the action!


Gaius wintered in Antioch without a chief advisor for some time.

He’d made peace with Tigranes in Syria, and with Phrataces at the Euphrates, last year. So neither Armenia or Parthia was a threat, anymore. Since there wasn’t a war going on, Augustus let Gaius go awhile on his own.

And then war broke out, all over again!

By late winter, Tigranes died, fighting barbarians on his far-eastern border. Gaius sent the news to Augustus, and waited for instructions.

In Rome, Caesar got the news at the onset of Spring. Quickly, the Emperor picked a replacement King for Armenia, and a new advisor for Gaius. The new King was a Mede named Ariobarzanes. And the new advisor was a Proconsul who’d recently won a difficult war in the East, in Galatia!

Publius Sulpicius Quirinius sailed from Italy as soon as the weather was safe enough. He made it to Antioch, Syria by the end of May.

And so Quirinius introduced himself to Gaius Caesar.

By that time there was a new rebellion going on in Armenia. The Emperor’s instructions were for Gaius & Quirinius to march into Media and get Ariobarzanes (who’d spent time in Rome, with Augustus, at one time). Then, they had to march the Mede into Armenia and stay long enough to make sure the Armenians were going to support their new King.

Simple as mud, it was sure to fail.

What Augustus didn’t realize is that the Armenians would rebel as soon as they heard the new King was a Mede.

And Gaius was bound for disaster.

But before all that happened – before Gaius & Quirinius left Syria – the new chief advisor had news for his commander, young Caesar.


Quirinius had stopped on Rhoads, before he made it to Syria. And he’d seen Tiberius, there.

Somehow, Quirinius convinced Gaius that his stepfather was willing to live quietly in Rome. He told Gaius the things Tiberius admitted to Augustus (last year). And he advised the young Caesar that Lollius had probably made up the worst rumors, about the Exile.

Whatever finally did it, Gaius said okay.

The Emperor’s condition had been met. Tiberius could go home. And Quirinius suggested the young man should put it in writing to Augustus, before they marched East, into war.

This is NOT a small thing. And it’s thanks to Quirinius.

But exactly what happened next… is still a mystery!


Gaius & Quirinius marched into Media. They found Ariobarzanes and brought him along. They got to Armenia and announced he was King.

Then everything went crazy!

The Armenians revolted. A man named Addon became their leader, and wound up inside a city named Artagira. Then Gaius’ Legions besieged Artagira, with Addon inside it.
And here is the hard-to-believe part.

During the siege, Addon invited Gaius to come close to the wall and talk.
Gaius must not have known what an awful idea that was. Or else, maybe, he got some bad advice…

The Emperor-in-training went up to see Addon. The rebel king took out a hidden sword. And Gaius barely escaped, with a major wound.

The wound was large, bad, and nearly fatal. It was the kind of wound that takes a long time to heal, and threatens your life the whole time, until it heals.

Clearly, Gaius made a very bad decision.

It’s a real mystery how Quirinius ever let Gaius go up to that wall…


Meanwhile, at about the same time as Gaius got wounded, Livia was welcoming Tiberius back into Rome.

The Emperor’s step-son promised to stay out of public life. He moved to a smaller home, kept mostly to himself, and spent time with his natural son, Drusus, and his personal astrologer, Thrasyllus.

Shortly after Tiberius’ return, sad news came to Rome... but not about Gaius!

Augustus had sent his other grandson, Lucius, on a mission to Spain. The ship had stopped at Massilia, on the way. At that port, Lucius came down with a sudden, mysterious illness. And then he died.

It was shortly after this shocking news that Rome found out about Gaius, too. And since it all happened so close to Tiberius’ homecoming, people just naturally began to talk.

There were lots of rumors that Livia had something to do with it. But no one was ever quite able to prove it.

We only know one thing for sure, that Livia did this year.


Before winter, the Emperess of Rome paid a visit to the family of a poor, sad teenage girl.

The girl’s name was Amelia Lepida. She was sad because her husband-to-be had just died in Massilia, on his way to Spain! And since Livia had helped Augustus arrange the betrothal between Amelia & Lucius, it was Livia who felt bound to go offer comfort to the family, when Lucius died that Autumn.

By the way, Livia did encourage the family to find a new husband for young Amelia. And early next year, they’ll settle on someone. Actually, with Livia’s help, they’re going to pick a man who wasn’t even in Rome to meet the girl, when he agreed.

By early next year, Amelia Lepida is going to become engaged… to the Proconsul Quirinius!

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