Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Corbulo was born in Italy, in a senatorial family. His father was his namesake and his mother was a Vistilia. The early career of Corbulo is unknown but he was consul with Caligula in 40. The emperor was his brother-in-law, due to his marriage with Milonia Caesonia, Corbulo's half sister. After Caligula's assassination, Corbulo's career went into a halt until, in 47, emperor Claudius makes him commander of the Germania Inferior armies, with base camp in modern Cologne. The new assignment was a difficult one and Corbulo had to deal with major rebellions and violence outbreaks coming from Cherusci and Chauci Germanic tribes. During his stay in Germania, the general ordered the construction of a canal between the rivers Rhine and Maas. This engineering work is still visible today and is named Corbulus' canal. Nowadays it runs between the cities of Voorburg and Leiden, in the province of Zuid-Holland, and is know as the "Vliet".
Corbulo returned to Rome, where he stayed until 52, when he was named governor of the Asia province. Following Claudius' death in 54, the new emperor Nero sent him to the eastern provinces to deal with the Armenian question. After some delay, he took the offensive in 58, and, reinforced by troops from Germany, attacked Tiridates. Artaxata and Tigranocerta were captured, and Tigranes, who had been brought up in Rome and was the obedient servant of the government, was installed king of Armenia.
In 61 Tigranes invaded Adiabene, an integral portion of the Parthian kingdom, and a conflict between Rome and Parthia seemed unavoidable. Vologaeses, however, thought it better to come to terms. It was agreed that both the Roman and Parthian troops should evacuate Armenia, that Tigranes should be dethroned, and the position 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 in the meantime claimed all of Corbulos' attention. Paetus, a weak and incapable man, suffered a severe defeat at Rhandea (62), where he was surrounded and forced to capitulate and to evacuate Armenia. The command of the troops was again entrusted to Corbulo. In 63, with a strong army, he crossed the Euphrates, but 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.
In 67 disturbances broke out in Judaea, but Nero, jealous of Corbulos' success and popularity, ordered Vespasian to take command of the Roman forces and summoned Corbulo to Greece. On his arrival at Cenchreae, the port of Corinth, messengers from Nero met Corbulo, and ordered him to commit suicide, which he obeyed.
Corbulo wrote an account of his Asiatic experiences, which is lost.
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