Since his youth, the Afrikaans poet and intellectual N.P. van Wyk Louw (1906–1970) was interested in Roman history, which resulted in a number of literary works. In his verse drama Germanicus (1956) Louw utilises historical evidence to portray central events during the life of the cultivated young Roman general Germanicus Julius Caesar (16/15 B.C.–19 A.D.) during a restless era. According to the classical scholar P.J. Conradie, Louw used three sources to write his drama, namely the first two books of the Annales of Tacitus, the biographies of Tiberius and Caligula, the son of Germanicus, by Suetonius and the fifty-seventh book of Dio Cassius’s Roman history. Louw also utilises, to a lesser extent, other sources to colour in the world of his characters as convincingly as possible. By using methods that are applied by present-day historians, this article looks critically at the way in which Louw applies historical material in his drama and the value of a literary text such as this for our understanding of Roman history.