Germanicus earned his surname over again by driving Arminius back; but he was more enterprising than would have been approved by Augustus, who thought it wiser to guard what he had than to make wider conquests; and Tiberius was not only one of the same mind, but was jealous of the great love that all the army were showing for his nephew, and this distrust was increased when the soldiers in the East begged for Germanicus to lead them against the Parthians. He set out, visiting all the famous places in Greece by the way, and going to see the wonders of Egypt, but while in Syria he fell ill of a wasting sickness and died, so that many suspected the spy, Cnaeus Piso, whom Tiberius had sent with him, of having poisoned him. When his wife Agrippina came home, bringing his corpse to be burnt and his ashes placed in the burying-place of the Caesars, there was universal love and pity for her. Piso seized on all the offices that Germanicus had held, but was called back to Rome, and was just going to be put upon his trial when he cut his own throat.
[Illustration: RUINS OF THE PALACES OF TIBERIUS.]
All this tended to make Tiberius more gloomy and distrustful, and when his mother Livia died he had no one to keep him in check, but fell under the influence of a man named Sejanus, who managed all his affairs for him, while he lived in a villa in the island of Capreae in the Bay of Naples, seeing hardly any but a few intimates, given up to all sorts of evil luxuries and self-indulgences, and hating and dreading every one. Agrippina was so much loved and respected that he dreaded and disliked her beyond all others; and Sejanus contrived to get up an accusation of plotting against the state, upon which she and her eldest son were banished to two small rocky isles in the Mediterranean Sea. The other two sons, Drusus and Caius, were kept by Tiberius at Capreae, till Tiberius grew suspicious of Drusus and threw him into prison. Sejanus, who had encouraged all his dislike to his own kinsmen, and was managing all Rome, then began to hope to gain the full power; but his plans were guessed by Tiberius, and he caused his former favorite to be set upon in the senate-house and put to death.
It is strange to remember that, while such dark deeds were being done at Rome, came the three years when the true Light was shining in the darkness. It was in the time of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilatus was propraetor of Palestine, that our Lord Jesus Christ spent three years in teaching and working miracles; then was crucified and slain by wicked hands, that the sin of mankind might be redeemed. Then He rose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven, leaving His Apostles to make known what he had done in all the world.