June 13, 2007

Year-by-Year: 3 AD

Gaius clings to life in the East while Tiberius bides his time in Rome.

In January, 3 AD, Jesus was 8 years and 7 months old.

In the last days of March, Joseph & Mary went up to Jerusalem for Passover. But, for the sixth year in a row, Joseph is simply not taking any chances! He made a plan, in 4 BC, to keep Jesus away from Archelaus in Jerusalem. And he means to stick with it.

By the way, this April, Archelaus celebrates his 7th Passover in charge of Judea, marking his 7th year as ruler.

His time wasn’t going to be long.


Not much happened this year, except a stubborn wound refused to heal completely.

Somewhere in Armenia, the Emperor’s Heir was having trouble keeping up his strength. All winter long, he’d stayed near the Legions at the siege of Artagira. And then finally, around spring, the city gave in.

The Romans captured Addon, the Armenian rebel leader. They proclaimed Ariobarzanes the rightful King of Armenia . And the three Syrian Legions marched back to Syria, proclaiming Gaius “Imperator” along with Augustus.

But Gaius’ wound from last Autumn had gotten infected, over the winter. So now he was wounded and seriously ill. Some days, the pain even made it hard to think straight.

And it was in that state, some time after the siege, that Gaius made a huge decision.

He said he didn’t want to go back to Rome.

Gaius was getting some strange advice from certain advisors. Now, we don’t know which ones for sure. We don’t know if Quirinius agreed with their advice. But the end result was this odd decision.

Gaius wrote to Augustus and asked permission to retire in Syria, as a private citizen.


In Rome, the letter made Caesar grieve all over again, less than a year after Lucius’ death. The Emperor took Gaius’ request to the Senate and thought about it for a long time.

After a while, the Emperor wrote back. Augustus begged Gaius to come back to Italy before deciding what he wanted to do for sure.


Caesar’s letter reached his grandson by Autumn. And right away, Gaius dropped all his duties as Governor and left Antioch.

Of course, being so ill, he couldn’t travel very far, very quickly. Before sailing season ended this year, Gaius only managed to make it as far as Limyra, in Lycia.
The ship had to winter there , and the plan was to reach Italy as soon as possible, the next Spring.

But Gaius isn’t going to stay alive until spring.


We already mentioned that Amelia Lepida got engaged (long-distance) sometime this year, to Quirinius. The former bride-to-be of Lucius Caesar is now set to marry the advisor who oversaw the downfall of Gaius.

Livia did her wifely duties to comfort Augustus. The Emperess also tried to keep Tiberius’ name in play as much as possible. Not just around Rome, but especially the Palace!

But the 44 year old Tiberius didn’t do a single thing this year worth mentioning. Partly, he’d gotten used to doing nothing. But mainly, he just wasn’t stupid!
Right now, there was nothing he needed to do…

Late in 3 AD, Tiberius is only months away from being next-in-line for the Imperial Throne!

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton