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Drusus (dro͞oˈsəs), Roman family of the gens Livius. An early distinguished member was Marcus Livius Drusus, d. 109? B.C., tribune of the people (122) with Caius Sempronius Gracchus (see under Gracchi). As a member of the senatorial party he led a successful attack on Gracchus by making more extreme democratic proposals than Gracchus had dared to. By these and other, more unscrupulous tactics, Drusus disgraced Gracchus. In 112, Drusus was made consul by the senatorial party. His son Marcus Livius Drusus, d. 91 B.C., was also a leader of the senatorial party. His policy was to win the people and the Italian allies over to the senate, so that the senate might recover from the knights (equites) the control of the courts. By a general increase in the franchise he won the support of the people and of the Italians, but the senate, alarmed over popular unrest, annulled Drusus' laws. The Italians were infuriated, and the Social War between Rome and the Italians broke out. Drusus was assassinated. A member of the family by adoption was Livia Drusilla, mother of Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, 38 B.C.–9 B.C., called Drusus Senior; he was the stepson of Augustus. He fought (15 B.C.) against the Rhaetians and gained much credit for his generalship. In 13 B.C.–12 B.C. he was in Gaul pacifying the tribes, and on his return to Rome he was made (11 B.C.) urban praetor. Returning to the provinces, he ravaged Germany E and N of the Rhine. He fortified the Rhine but put the Germans under no permanent subjection. He died in Germany. His brother was the emperor Tiberius. He married Antonia Minor, the daughter of Antony, and had three children, Germanicus Caesar, Livilla, and Claudius I. Tiberius' son, Drusus Caesar, d. A.D. 23, called Drusus Junior, served in the provinces—in Pannonia (A.D. 15) and in Illyricum (A.D. 17–A.D. 20). In A.D. 22 he was made tribune. Meanwhile, Sejanus, Tiberius' minister, had become jealous of Drusus' power and tried to turn Tiberius against him. Drusus may have been poisoned by Sejanus or by his wife under Sejanus' influence.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Rome the name (cognomen) of one branch of the Livian clan (gens) and certain members of the Claudian clan. Several famous Romans bore this name.

Marcus Livius Drusus Maior (born c. 154 B.C.; died c. 109 B.C.) was tribune in 122 B.C. at the same time as Gaius Gracchus, his political opponent; Drusus acquired the nickname “defender of the Senate.” He was consul in 112 B.C.

Marcus Livius Drusus Minor (born c. 124B.C.; died 91 or 90 B.C.) was the son of the former. As tribune in 91 B.C. he proposed laws to deprive the equestrian class of jurisdiction in the courts and to transfer it to the Senate (the latter was to have 300 members of the equestrian class added to it), to grant Italians the rights of citizenship, to establish colonies on the public lands of the Campania and Sicily, and to institute the sale of cheap grain to the plebeians. The equestrian class and many of the senators opposed the reforms of Drusus, and he was assassinated. His death served as a signal for the beginning of the war of the Italian tribes, the so-called Social War.

Nero Claudius Drusus (born 38 B.C.; died 9 B.C.), Roman general and stepson of Augustus. In the year 18 B.C. he became quaestor; in 15 B.C., together with his brother, the emperor Tiberius, Drusus waged war against the tribes of the Raeti and the Vindelici. In 13 B.C., after becoming commander in chief of the Roman army in Gaul, where he put the provincial administration in order, Drusus went on the offensive against the Germanic tribes. After crossing the Rhine in 12 B.C., he subdued the Germanic tribes of the Bructeri and Chauci. In 11 B.C. he reached the Weser River, and in 10 B.C. he organized an expedition against the Chatti tribes. In 9 B.C., when he was consul, Drusus defeated the Cherusci and Marcomanni and reached the Elbe River. He died on the return trip.

Julius Caesar Drusus (born c. 13 B.C.; died 23 A.D.), Roman general and son of Tiberius. In 14 A.D. he put down an uprising of the Pannonian legions. In 15 and 21 he was consul. From 17 to 20, Drusus governed the Roman province of Illyricum. He was poisoned by the praetorian prefect Sejanus.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Preliminary information about 'Sejanus:' Of the characters in the play the following are patriots, opposed to Sejanus: Agrippina, Drusus, the three boys, Arruntius, Silius, Sabinus, Lepidus, Cordus, Gallus, Regulus.
The name "Drusus," for example, occurs in both tables, and it may not be fully clear to the intended audience of undergraduates that these are two different individuals, Nero Claudius Drusus, the brother of Tiberius, and Julius Caesar Drusus ("Drusus the Younger"), the son of Tiberius.
That Drusus, as Tribune of the People, mixed bronze into the denarii that appeared to be made of pure silver?
THE CAVALCADE OF MAJOR PLAYERS in the drama of Rome march past in Mommsen's pages: the Brothers Graachi (Tiberius and Gaius), Marius, Sulla, Marcus Livius Drusus, and lesser figures, the acts of each assessed, their strengths and weaknesses recounted.
Phylogeography of the montane caddisfly Drusus discolor: evidence for multiple refugia and periglacial survival.
[Silius and Sabinus converse aside as Satrius and Natta are joined by Latiaris] (1.23) [Arruntius, Silius, Cordus, and Sabinus stand aside as Drusus and Haterius walk around the stage.
Historiography in Tacitus' Account of the Death of Drusus."
Livius Drusus, a tribune of the plebs proposed to give all Italians Roman citizenship but the Italians were against it as Appian notes:
Sejanus utters a brief prayer in Edemus's garden, where he awaits a meeting with Livia, wife of Drusus: "Prosper it, Pallas, thou that better'st wit; / For Venus hath the smallest share in it" (1.1.373-74).
Even the Emperor Tiberius reprimanded his son Drusus for not eating his greens, the Romans regarding cabbage as a medicine while the Greeks ate it to prevent drunkenness and, if that failed, as a cure for a hangover.