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Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becom ...
. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
. Tiberius was born in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
in 42 BC. His father was the politician Tiberius Claudius Nero and his mother was
Livia Drusilla Livia Drusilla (Classical Latin: LIVIA•DRVSILLA, LIVIA•AVGVSTA; 30 January 59/58 BC – 28 September AD 29), also known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the Julian family in AD 14, was the wife of the ...
, who would eventually divorce his father, and marry the future-emperor Augustus in 38 BC. Following the untimely deaths of Augustus' two grandsons and adopted heirs,
Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by the parents of a Ancient Rome, Roman child. It was first bestowed on the ''dies lustri ...
and
Lucius Caesar Lucius Caesar (17 BC – 20 August AD 2) was a grandson of Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the R ...
, Tiberius was designated Augustus' successor. Prior to this, Tiberius had proved himself an able diplomat, and one of the most successful
Roman general Roman generals were often career statesmen, remembered by history for reasons other than their service in the Roman Army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...
s: his conquests of
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
,
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...
,
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, firs ...

Raetia
, and (temporarily) parts of
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "barbarian") is a geographical name used by ...

Germania
laid the foundations for
the empire
the empire
's northern frontier. Early in his career, Tiberius was happily married to Vipsania, daughter of Augustus' friend, distinguished general and intended heir,
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (; 63 BC – 12 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, and architect who was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to the Roman emperor Augustus. He was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable build ...
. They had a son,
Drusus Julius Caesar Drusus Julius Caesar (14 BC – 14 September AD 23), was the son of Emperor Tiberius, and heir to the Roman Empire following the death of his adoptive brother Germanicus in AD 19. He was born at Rome to a prominent branch of the ''Roman gens, ...
. After Agrippa died, Augustus insisted that Tiberius divorce Vipsania and marry his own daughter (Tiberius' step-sister)
Julia Julia is usually a feminine given name. It is a Latinate feminine form of the name Julio (given name), Julio and Julius. (For further details on etymology, see wikt:Iulius#Latin, Wiktionary entry “Julius”.) The given name ''Julia'' had been ...
. Tiberius reluctantly gave in. This second marriage proved scandalous, deeply unhappy, and childless; Julia was sent into exile. Tiberius adopted his nephew, the able and popular
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: '' ...

Germanicus
, as heir. On Augustus' death in AD 14, Tiberius became ''
princeps Princeps (plural: principes) is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the ...
'' at the age of 55. Tiberius seems to have taken on the responsibilities of head of state with great reluctance, and perhaps a genuine sense of inadequacy in the role, compared to the capable, self-confident and charismatic Augustus. From the outset, Tiberius had a difficult, resentful relationship with his senate, and suspected many of plotting against him. Nevertheless, he proved to be an effective and efficient administrator. However, after the deaths of his nephew Germanicus in 19 AD and his son Drusus in 23 AD, Tiberius became still more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD he removed himself from Rome and left administration largely in the hands of his controversial
praetorian prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
s
Sejanus Lucius Aelius Seianus (3 June 20 BC – 18 October AD 31), commonly known as Sejanus (), was a Roman soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. An Equites, equestrian by birth, Sejanus rose to power as Praetorian Prefect, prefec ...
, whom he later had executed for treason, and Sejanus' replacement,
Macro Macro (or MACRO) may refer to: Science and technology * Macroscopic The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which objects or phenomena are large enough to be visible with the naked eye, without magnifying optical instruments. It is the o ...
. When Tiberius died, he was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Germanicus' son
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
, who managed to squander much of the wealth that Tiberius had accumulated in the public and Imperial coffers through his lavish building projects and varyingly successful military endeavours. Tiberius allowed his own worship as a divinity (''divus'') in only one temple, in Rome's eastern provinces, while he promoted the cult to the deceased Augustus throughout the empire. When Tiberius died, he was given a sumptuous funeral befitting his office, but no divine honours. He came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive and somber ruler who never really wanted to be emperor;
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
called him "the gloomiest of men."


Early life


Family and youth

Tiberius was born in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
on 16 November 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero and
Livia Drusilla Livia Drusilla (Classical Latin: LIVIA•DRVSILLA, LIVIA•AVGVSTA; 30 January 59/58 BC – 28 September AD 29), also known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the Julian family in AD 14, was the wife of the ...

Livia Drusilla
. Both of his biological parents belonged to the ''
gens Claudia The gens Claudia (), sometimes written Clodia, was one of the most prominent patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usa ...
'', an ancient
patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Patrician (post-Roman Europe), the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval a ...
family that came to prominence in the early years of the republic. His mother was also a member of the Livii family, an ancient plebeian but prominent family, through the adoption into it of his maternal grandfather. Little is recorded of Tiberius' early life. In 39 BC, his mother
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminating a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people calle ...

divorce
d his biological father and, though again pregnant by Tiberius Nero, remarried to
Octavian Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate (the first phase of the Roman Empire) has consolidated ...

Octavian
, later known as Augustus. In 38 BC his brother,
Nero Claudius Drusus Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (14 January 38 BC – summer of 9 BC), also called Drusus the Elder, was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th ce ...
, was born. In 32 BC, Tiberius, at the age of nine, delivered the
eulogy A eulogy (from εὐλογία, ''eulogia'', Ancient Greek language, Classical Greek, ''eu'' for "well" or "true", ''logia'' for "words" or "text", together for "praise") is a Speech (public address), speech or writing in praise of a person or ...
for his biological father at the
rostra The rostra ( it, Rostri, links=no) was a large platform built in the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metrop ...

rostra
. In 29 BC, he rode in the triumphal chariot along with his adoptive father Octavian in celebration of the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium.Suetonius, ''The Lives of the Twelve Caesars'', Tiberius 6


Questions over succession

In 23 BC, Emperor Augustus became gravely ill, and his possible death threatened to plunge the Roman world into even more civil conflict. Historians generally agree that it is during this time that the question of Augustus' heir became most acute, and while Augustus had seemed to indicate that
AgrippaAgrippa may refer to: People * Agrippa (mythology), semi-mythological king of Alba Longa * Agrippa (astronomer), Greek astronomer from the late 1st century * Agrippa the Skeptic, Skeptic philosopher at the end of the 1st century * Agrippa Meneniu ...
and Marcellus would carry on his position in the event of his death, the ambiguity of succession became Augustus' chief problem. In response, a series of potential heirs seem to have been selected, among them Tiberius and his brother Drusus. In 24 BC, at the age of seventeen, Tiberius entered politics under Augustus' direction, receiving the position of
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
,Velleius Paterculus, ''Roman History'
II.94
/ref> and was granted the right to stand for election as
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
and
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

consul
five years in advance of the age required by law.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
9
/ref> Similar provisions were made for Drusus.


Civil and military career


Early career

Shortly thereafter Tiberius began appearing in court as an
advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law English law is the common law List of national legal systems, lega ...

advocate
, and it was presumably at this time that his interest in Greek
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
began. In 20 BC, Tiberius was sent east under
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (; 63 BC – 12 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, and architect who was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to the Roman emperor Augustus. He was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable build ...
. The
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
had captured the standards of the under the command of
Marcus Licinius Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the into the . He is often called "the richest man in Rome." & .. Trivia-Library. '. 1975–1981. Web. 23 December 2009."Ofte ...

Marcus Licinius Crassus
(53 BC) (at the
Battle of Carrhae The Battle of Carrhae () was fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the ancient town of Carrhae (present-day Harran, Turkey). The Parthian general Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force under the comma ...
), Decidius Saxa (40 BC), and
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
(36 BC). After a year of negotiation, Tiberius led a sizable force into
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...
, presumably to establish it as a Roman
client state A client state, in international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activ ...
and end the threat it posed on the Roman-Parthian border. Augustus was able to reach a compromise whereby the standards were returned, and Armenia remained a neutral territory between the two powers.


Marriage

Tiberius married
Vipsania Agrippina Vipsania Agrippina (; 36 BC – 20 AD) was the first wife of the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, ...
, the daughter of Augustus' close friend and most famed general,
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (; 63 BC – 12 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, and architect who was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to the Roman emperor Augustus. He was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable build ...
.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
7
/ref> He was appointed to the position of
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
, and was sent with his legions to assist his brother Drusus in campaigns in the west. While Drusus focused his forces in
Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...
and along the German frontier, Tiberius combated the tribes in the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
and within
Transalpine Gaul Gallia Narbonensis can be seen in the south of modern-day France as a Roman province. Gallia Narbonensis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin w ...
, conquering Raetia. In 15 BC he discovered the sources of the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
, and soon afterward the bend of the middle course. Returning to Rome in 13 BC, Tiberius was appointed as consul, and around this same time his son,
Drusus Julius Caesar Drusus Julius Caesar (14 BC – 14 September AD 23), was the son of Emperor Tiberius, and heir to the Roman Empire following the death of his adoptive brother Germanicus in AD 19. He was born at Rome to a prominent branch of the ''Roman gens, ...
, was born. Agrippa's death in 12 BC elevated Tiberius and Drusus with respect to the succession. At Augustus' request in 11 BC, Tiberius divorced Vipsania and married Julia the Elder, Augustus' daughter and Agrippa's widow. Tiberius was very reluctant to do this, as Julia had made advances to him when she was married, and Tiberius was happily married. His new marriage with Julia was happy at first, but turned sour. Reportedly, Tiberius once ran into Vipsania again, and proceeded to follow her home crying and begging forgiveness; soon afterwards, Tiberius met with Augustus, and steps were taken to ensure that Tiberius and Vipsania would never meet again. Tiberius continued to be elevated by Augustus, and after Agrippa's death and his brother Drusus' death in 9 BC, seemed the clear candidate for succession. As such, in 12 BC he received military commissions in
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
and
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "barbarian") is a geographical name used by ...

Germania
, both areas highly volatile and of key importance to Augustan policy.


Military campaigns

In 6 BC, Tiberius launched a
pincer movement The pincer movement, or double envelopment, is a maneuver warfare, military maneuver in which forces simultaneously attack both flanking maneuver, flanks (sides) of an enemy formation. This classic maneuver holds an important foothold throughou ...
against the
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Soc ...
. Setting out northwest from
Carnuntum Carnuntum (Carnous, Καρνους, in Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), ...

Carnuntum
on the Danube with four legions, Tiberius passed through
Quadi The Quadi were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic lang ...
territory in order to invade Marcomanni territory from the east. Meanwhile, general
Gaius Sentius Saturninus Gaius Sentius Saturninus (fl. late 1st century BC – 1st century AD) was a Roman senator and military officer who was appointed Roman consul in 19 BC. He served as the proconsular governor of Africa (Roman province), Africa, and later as imperial ...
would depart east from
Moguntiacum Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...
on the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
with two or three legions, pass through newly annexed
Hermunduri The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in an ...
territory, and attack the Marcomanni from the west. The campaign was a resounding success, but Tiberius could not subjugate the Marcomanni because he was soon summoned to the Rhine frontier to protect Rome's new conquests in Germania. He returned to Rome and was consul for a second time in 7 BC, and in 6 BC was granted
tribunician power Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeians The plebeians, also called plebs, were, in ancient Rome In historiography, anci ...

tribunician power
''(tribunicia potestas)'' and control in the East,Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LV.9
/ref> all of which mirrored positions that Agrippa had previously held. However, despite these successes and despite his advancement, Tiberius was not happy.


Midlife


Retirement to Rhodes

In 6 BC, on the verge of accepting command in the East and becoming the second-most powerful man in Rome, Tiberius suddenly announced his withdrawal from politics and retired to
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Gre ...

Rhodes
. The precise motives for Tiberius's withdrawal are unclear. Historians have speculated a connection with the fact that Augustus had adopted Julia's sons by Agrippa,
Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by the parents of a Ancient Rome, Roman child. It was first bestowed on the ''dies lustri ...
and
Lucius Lucius ( el, Λούκιος ''Loukios''; ett, Luvcie) is a male given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a as well, and differentiates that pe ...
, and seemed to be moving them along the same political path that both Tiberius and Drusus had trodden. Tiberius' move thus seemed to be an interim solution: he would hold power only until his stepsons would come of age, and then be swept aside. The promiscuous, and very public behavior of his unhappily married wife, Julia, may have also played a part. Indeed,
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
calls it Tiberius' ''intima causa'', his innermost reason for departing for Rhodes and seems to ascribe the entire move to a hatred of Julia and a longing for Vipsania. Tiberius had found himself married to a woman he loathed, who publicly humiliated him with nighttime escapades in the
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citize ...

Roman Forum
, and forbidden to see the woman he had loved. Whatever Tiberius' motives, the withdrawal was almost disastrous for Augustus' succession plans. Gaius and Lucius were still in their early teens, and Augustus, now 57 years old, had no immediate successor. There was no longer a guarantee of a
peaceful transfer of power A peaceful transition or transfer of power is a concept important to democracy, democratic governments in which the leadership of a government peacefully hands over control of government to a newly-elected leadership. This may be after elections o ...
after Augustus' death, nor a guarantee that his family, and therefore his family's allies, would continue to hold power should the position of ''
Princeps Princeps (plural: principes) is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the ...
'' survive. Seager 2005, p. 26. Somewhat apocryphal stories tell of Augustus pleading with Tiberius to stay, even going so far as to stage a serious illness. Tiberius' response was to anchor off the shore of until word came that Augustus had survived, then sailing straightway for Rhodes. Tiberius reportedly regretted his departure and requested to return to Rome several times, but each time Augustus refused his requests.


Heir to Augustus

With Tiberius' departure, succession rested solely on Augustus' two young grandsons, Lucius and Gaius Caesar. The situation became more precarious in AD 2 with the death of Lucius. Augustus, with perhaps some pressure from Livia, allowed Tiberius to return to Rome as a private citizen and nothing more. In AD 4, Gaius was killed in Armenia, and Augustus had no other choice but to turn to Tiberius.Tacitus, ''Annals'' Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
15
/ref> The death of Gaius in AD 4 initiated a flurry of activity in the household of Augustus. Tiberius was adopted as full son and heir, and in turn he was required to adopt his nephew
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: '' ...

Germanicus
, the son of his brother Drusus and Augustus' niece
Antonia Minor Antonia Minor (31 January 36 BC - 1 May AD 37) was the younger of two surviving daughters of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor. She was a niece of the Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the ...

Antonia Minor
. Along with his adoption, Tiberius received tribunician power as well as a share of Augustus' ''maius imperium'', something that even Marcus Agrippa may never have had. In AD 7,
Agrippa Postumus Marcus Agrippa Postumus (12 BC – AD 14),: "The elder Agrippa died, in the summer of 12 BC, while Julia was pregnant with their fifth child. The boy was very likely born sometime after June 26 of the following year. When his grandfather adopted ...
, a younger brother of Gaius and Lucius, was disowned by Augustus and banished to the island of
Pianosa Pianosa () is an island in the Tuscan Archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterran ...

Pianosa
, to live in solitary confinement. Thus, when in AD 13, the powers held by Tiberius were made equal, rather than second, to Augustus' own powers, he was for all intents and purposes a "co-Princeps" with Augustus, and, in the event of the latter's passing, would simply continue to rule without an
interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin ''i ...

interregnum
or possible upheaval. However, according to
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
, after a two-year stint in Germania, which lasted from 10–12 AD,Speidel, Michael Riding for Caesar: The Roman Emperors’ Horse guards19 "Tiberius returned and celebrated the triumph which he had postponed, accompanied also by his generals, for whom he had obtained the triumphal regalia. And before turning to enter the Capitol, he dismounted from his chariot and fell at the knees of his father, who was presiding over the ceremonies.” "Since the consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and hold the census with him, he set out for
Illyricum Illyricum may refer to: * Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of peopl ...
on the conclusion of the lustral ceremonies."Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
21
/ref> Thus, according to Suetonius, these ceremonies and the declaration of his "co-Princeps" took place in the year 12 AD, after Tiberius' return from Germania. "But he was at once recalled, and finding Augustus in his last illness but still alive, he spent an entire day with him in private." Augustus died in AD 14, a month before his 76th birthday. He was buried with all due ceremony and, as had been arranged beforehand,
deified Apotheosis (, from gr, ἀποθεόω/ἀποθεῶ, label=none, link=no, lit='to deify', transliteration=apotheoo/apotheo; also called divinization and deification from ) is the glorification of a subject to divine level and most commonly, t ...

deified
, his will read, and Tiberius, now a middle-aged man at 55, was confirmed as his sole surviving heir.


Emperor


Early reign

The
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
convened on 17 September, to validate Tiberius's position as Princeps and, as it had done with Augustus before, extend the powers of the position to him. These proceedings are fully accounted by Tacitus. Tiberius already had the administrative and political powers of the Princeps, all he lacked were the titles—Augustus, Pater Patriae, and the
Civic Crown The Civic Crown ( la, corona civica) was a military decoration Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement.United States Department of Defen ...
(a crown made from
laurel Laurel may refer to: Plants * Lauraceae, the laurel family * Laurel (plant), including a list of trees and plants known as laurel People * Laurel (given name), people with the given name * Laurel (surname), people with the surname * Laurel (musi ...
and
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
, in honor of Augustus having saved the lives of Roman citizens). Tiberius, however, attempted to play the same role as Augustus: that of the reluctant public servant who wants nothing more than to serve the state. This ended up throwing the entire affair into confusion, and rather than humble, he came across as derisive; rather than seeming to want to serve the state, he seemed obstructive. He cited his age as a reason why he could not act as Princeps, stated he did not wish the position, and then proceeded to ask for only a section of the state. Tiberius finally relented and accepted the powers voted to him, though according to Tacitus and Suetonius he refused to bear the titles Pater Patriae, Imperator, and Augustus, and declined the most solid emblem of the Princeps, the Civic Crown and laurels. This meeting seems to have set the tone for Tiberius's entire rule. He seems to have wished for the Senate and the state to simply act without him and his direct orders were rather vague, inspiring debate more on what he actually meant than on passing his legislation. In his first few years, Tiberius seemed to have wanted the Senate to act on its own, rather than as a servant to his will as it had been under Augustus. According to Tacitus, Tiberius derided the Senate as "men fit to be slaves".


Rise and fall of Germanicus

Problems arose quickly for the new Princeps. The Roman legions posted in Pannonia and Germania had not been paid the bonuses promised them by Augustus, and after a short period of time mutinied when it was clear that a response from Tiberius was not forthcoming.
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: '' ...

Germanicus
and Tiberius's son,
Drusus Julius Caesar Drusus Julius Caesar (14 BC – 14 September AD 23), was the son of Emperor Tiberius, and heir to the Roman Empire following the death of his adoptive brother Germanicus in AD 19. He was born at Rome to a prominent branch of the ''Roman gens, ...
, were dispatched with a small force to quell the uprising and bring the legions back in line.Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LVII.6
/ref> Rather than simply quell the mutiny, however, Germanicus rallied the mutineers and led them on a short campaign across the Rhine into Germanic territory, stating that whatever treasure they could grab would count as their bonus. Germanicus's forces crossed the Rhine and quickly occupied all of the territory between the Rhine and the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
. Additionally, Tacitus records the capture of the
Teutoburg forest The Teutoburg Forest ( ; german: Teutoburger Wald ) is a range of low, forested hills in the Germany, German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Until the 19th century, the official name of the hill ridge was Osning. It was renamed ...
and the reclaiming of Roman
standards Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined relationship to a unit of ...
lost years before by
Publius Quinctilius Varus Publius Quinctilius Varus (46 BC – AD 9) was a Roman general and politician under the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of d ...
,Tacitus, ''Annals'' II.41 when three Roman legions and their auxiliary cohorts by Germanic tribes.Tacitus, ''Annals'' Germanicus had managed to deal a significant blow to Rome's enemies, quell an uprising of troops, and returned lost standards to Rome, actions that increased the fame and legend of the already very popular Germanicus with the Roman people. After being recalled from Germania, Germanicus celebrated a triumph in Rome in AD 17, the first full triumph that the city had seen since Augustus' own in 29 BC. As a result, in AD 18 Germanicus was granted control over the eastern part of the empire, just as both Agrippa and Tiberius had received before, and was clearly the successor to Tiberius. Germanicus survived a little over a year before dying, accusing
Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
, the governor of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, of poisoning him. The Pisones had been longtime supporters of the Claudians, and had allied themselves with the young Octavian after his marriage to Livia, the mother of Tiberius. Germanicus's death and accusations indicted the new Princeps. Piso was placed on trial and, according to Tacitus, threatened to implicate Tiberius. Whether the governor actually could connect the Princeps to the death of Germanicus is unknown; rather than continuing to stand trial when it became evident that the Senate was against him, Piso committed
suicide Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition t ...

suicide
. Tiberius may have tired of politics at this point. In AD 22, he shared his tribunician authority with his son Drusus, and began making yearly excursions to Campania that reportedly became longer and longer every year. In AD 23, Drusus mysteriously died, and Tiberius seems to have made no effort to elevate a replacement. Finally, in AD 26, Tiberius retired from Rome to an imperial villa-complex he had inherited from Augustus, on the island of
Capri Capri ( , ; ; ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Capri
. It was just off the coast of Campania, which was a traditional holiday retreat for Rome's upper classes, particularly those who valued cultured leisure (
otium ''Otium'', a abstract term, has a variety of meanings, including leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, resting, contemplation and academic endeavors. It sometimes, but not always, relates to a time in a person's after prev ...
) and a Hellenised lifestyle.Tacitus, ''Annals'' IV.67


Tiberius in Capri, with Sejanus in Rome

Lucius Aelius Sejanus Lucius Aelius Sejanus (3 June 20 BC – 18 October AD 31), commonly known as Sejanus (), was an ambitious soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman ...
had served the imperial family for almost twenty years when he became
Praetorian Prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
in AD 15. As Tiberius became more embittered with the position of Princeps, he began to depend more and more upon the limited secretariat left to him by Augustus, and specifically upon Sejanus and the Praetorians. In AD 17 or 18, Tiberius had trimmed the ranks of the
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
responsible for the defense of the city, and had moved it from encampments outside of the city walls into the city itself,Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
37
/ref> giving Sejanus access to somewhere between 6000 and 9000 troops. The death of Drusus elevated Sejanus, at least in Tiberius's eyes, who thereafter refers to him as his 'Socius Laborum' (Partner of my labours). Tiberius had statues of Sejanus erected throughout the city, and Sejanus became more and more visible as Tiberius began to withdraw from Rome altogether. Finally, with Tiberius's withdrawal in AD 26, Sejanus was left in charge of the entire state mechanism and the city of Rome. Sejanus's position was not quite that of successor; he had requested marriage in AD 25 to Tiberius's niece,
Livilla Claudia Livia Julia (Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, in ...
, though under pressure quickly withdrew the request. While Sejanus's Praetorians controlled the imperial post, and therefore the information that Tiberius received from Rome and the information Rome received from Tiberius, the presence of
Livia Livia Drusilla (30 January 59 BC – 28 September 29 AD) was Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Roman emperor, Emperor Augustus. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal Adoption in ancient Rome, adoption into the Julian fam ...

Livia
seems to have checked his overt power for a time. Her death in AD 29 changed all that. Sejanus began a series of purge trials of Senators and wealthy equestrians in the city of Rome, removing those capable of opposing his power as well as extending the imperial (and his own) treasury. Germanicus's widow
Agrippina the Elder Vipsania Agrippina (also, in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
and two of her sons,
Nero Julius Caesar Nero Julius Caesar (c. AD 6–31) was the adopted grandson and heir of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his st ...
and
Drusus Caesar Drusus (Julius) Caesar (c. AD 8 – 33) was the adopted grandson and heir of the Roman emperor Tiberius, alongside his brother Nero Julius Caesar, Nero. Born into the prominent Julio-Claudian dynasty, Drusus was the son of Tiberius' general and h ...
were arrested and exiled in AD 30 and later all died in suspicious circumstances. In Sejanus's purge of Agrippina the Elder and her family,
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
, Agrippina the Younger,
Julia Drusilla Julia Drusilla (16 September AD 16 – 10 June AD 38) was a member of the Roman imperial family, the second daughter and fifth child of Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Ro ...
, and
Julia Livilla Julia Livilla ( – ) was the youngest child of Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Ge ...
were the only survivors. In 31, Sejanus held the consulship with Tiberius ''
in absentia is Latin for absence. , a legal term, is Latin for "in the absence" or "while absent". may also refer to: * Award in absentia * Declared death in absentia, or simply, death in absentia, legally declared death without a body * Election in absen ...
,''Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
65
/ref> and began his play for power in earnest. Precisely what happened is difficult to determine, but Sejanus seems to have covertly attempted to court those families who were tied to the Julians and attempted to ingratiate himself with the Julian family line to place himself, as an adopted Julian, in the position of Princeps, or as a possible regent.
Livilla Claudia Livia Julia (Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, in ...
was later implicated in this plot and was revealed to have been Sejanus's lover for several years. The plot seems to have involved the two of them overthrowing Tiberius, with the support of the Julians, and either assuming the
Principate The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republ ...
themselves, or serving as regent to the young
Tiberius Gemellus Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...

Tiberius Gemellus
or possibly even
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
. Those who stood in his way were tried for treason and swiftly dealt with. In AD 31 Sejanus was summoned to a meeting of the Senate, where a letter from Tiberius was read condemning Sejanus and ordering his immediate execution. Sejanus was tried, and he and several of his colleagues were executed within the week.Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LVIII.10
/ref> As commander of the Praetorian Guard, he was replaced by
Naevius Sutorius Macro Quintus Naevius Cordus Sutorius Macro (21 BC – 38 AD) was a Praetorian prefect, prefect of the Praetorian Guard, from 31 until 38, serving under the Roman Emperors Tiberius and Caligula. Upon falling out of favour, he committed suicide. Biograph ...
. Tacitus claims that more treason trials followed and that whereas Tiberius had been hesitant to act at the outset of his reign, now, towards the end of his life, he seemed to do so without compunction. The hardest hit were those families with political ties to the Julians. Even the imperial magistracy was hit, as any and all who had associated with Sejanus or could in some way be tied to his schemes were summarily tried and executed, their properties seized by the state. As Tacitus vividly describes, However, Tacitus' portrayal of a tyrannical, vengeful emperor has been challenged by some historians:
Edward Togo Salmon Edward Togo Salmon, also known as E. T. Salmon, (May 29, 1905, in London, England – 1988) was an ancient historian best known for his work on the Samnites and the Romanization of Italy. Life Salmon was born in London, England, and was given ...
notes in ''A history of the Roman world from 30 BC to AD 138'': While Tiberius was in Capri, rumours abounded as to what exactly he was doing there. Suetonius records the rumours of lurid tales of sexual perversity, including graphic depictions of child molestation, and cruelty,Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu
43
/ref> and most of all his paranoia.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberiu

/ref> While heavily sensationalized, Suetonius' stories at least paint a picture of how Tiberius was perceived by the Roman senatorial class, and what his impact on the Principate was during his 23 years of rule.


Final years

The affair of Sejanus and the final years of treason trials permanently damaged Tiberius' image and reputation. After Sejanus's fall, Tiberius' withdrawal from Rome was complete; the empire continued to run under the inertia of the bureaucracy established by Augustus, rather than through the leadership of the Princeps. Suetonius records that he became
paranoid Paranoia is an instinct or thought process which is believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes and ultimately behavioral changes, such as ...

paranoid
, and spent a great deal of time brooding over the death of his son. Meanwhile, during this period a short invasion by Parthia, incursions by tribes from
Dacia Dacia (, ; ) was the land inhabited by the Dacians The Dacians (; la, Daci ; grc-gre, Δάκοι, Δάοι, Δάκαι) were a Thracians, Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the ar ...

Dacia
and from across the Rhine by several Germanic tribes occurred. Little was done to either secure his succession or indicate how it was to take place; the Julians and their supporters had fallen to the wrath of Sejanus, and his own sons and immediate family were dead. Two of the candidates were either
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
, the sole surviving son of Germanicus, or Tiberius' own grandson,
Tiberius Gemellus Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...

Tiberius Gemellus
. However, Tiberius only made a half-hearted attempt at the end of his life to make Caligula a
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
, and thus give him some credibility as a possible successor, while Gemellus himself was still only a teenager and thus completely unsuitable for some years to come.


Death

Tiberius died in
Misenum Miseno is one of the ''frazioni A ''frazione'' (plural: ) is a type of subdivision of a ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Impo ...
on 16 March AD 37, a few months before his 78th birthday.Tacitus, ''Annals'' VI.50, Tacitus relates that the emperor appeared to have stopped breathing, and that Caligula, who was at Tiberius' villa, was being congratulated on his succession to the empire, when news arrived that the emperor had revived and was recovering his faculties. Those who had moments before recognized Caligula as Augustus fled in fear of the emperor's wrath, while Macro took advantage of the chaos to have Tiberius smothered with his own bedclothes. Suetonius reports several rumours, including that the emperor had been poisoned by Caligula, starved, and smothered with a pillow; that recovering, and finding himself deserted by his attendants, he attempted to rise from his couch, but fell dead. According to Cassius Dio, Caligula, fearing that the emperor would recover, refused Tiberius' requests for food, insisting that he needed warmth, not food; then assisted by Macro, he smothered the emperor in his bedclothes. After his death, the Senate refused to vote Tiberius the divine honors that had been paid to Augustus, and mobs filled the streets yelling "To the
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπ ...
with Tiberius!"; the bodies of criminals were typically thrown into the river, instead of being buried or burnt. However, the emperor was cremated, and his ashes were quietly laid in the
Mausoleum of Augustus Cinerary urn of Agrippina which now rests in the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Capitoline Museums near the Tabularium. The Mausoleum of Augustus ( it, Mausoleo di Augusto) is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Cam ...

Mausoleum of Augustus
. In his
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator A testator () is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or at ...
, Tiberius had left his powers jointly to
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
and
Tiberius Gemellus Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...

Tiberius Gemellus
.Cassius Dio, ''Roman History'
LIX.1
/ref> Caligula's first act on becoming Princeps was to void Tiberius' will.


Legacy


Historiography

Had he died before AD 23, he might have been hailed as an exemplary ruler.Tacitus, ''Annals'' Despite the overwhelmingly negative characterization left by Roman
historians This is a list of historians only for those with a biographical entry in Wikipedia. Major chroniclers and annalists are included. Names are listed by the person's historical period Periodized human history Human history, or world history, ...
, Tiberius left the imperial
treasury A treasury is either *A government department related to finance and taxation, a Finance minister, finance ministry. *A place or location where treasure, such as currency or precious items are kept. These can be State ownership, state or roy ...

treasury
with nearly 3 billion
sesterces The sestertius (plural sestertii), or sesterce (plural sesterces), was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver Silver is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derive ...
upon his death. Rather than embark on costly campaigns of conquest, he chose to strengthen the existing empire by building additional bases, using
diplomacy Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the inte ...

diplomacy
as well as military threats, and generally refraining from getting drawn into petty squabbles between competing frontier tyrants. The result was a stronger, more consolidated empire, ensuring the imperial institutions introduced by his adoptive father would remain for centuries to come. Of the authors whose texts have survived, only four describe the reign of Tiberius in considerable detail:
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
,
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
,
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
and
Marcus Velleius Paterculus Marcus Velleius Paterculus (; c. 19 BC – c. AD 31) was a Roman historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and ...
. Fragmentary evidence also remains from
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
,
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
and
Seneca the Elder Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Elder (; c. 54 BC – c. 39 AD), also known (less correctly) as Seneca the Rhetorician, was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century B ...
. Tiberius himself wrote an autobiography which Suetonius describes as "brief and sketchy", but this book has been lost.


Publius Cornelius Tacitus

The most detailed account of this period is handed down to us by
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, whose ''
Annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the History ...
'' dedicate the first six books entirely to the reign of Tiberius. Tacitus was a Roman senator, born during the reign of
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
in AD 56, and consul suffect in AD 97. His text is largely based on the '' Acta Senatus'' (the minutes of the session of the Senate) and the '' Acta Diurna'' (a collection of the acts of the government and news of the court and capital), as well as speeches by Tiberius himself, and the histories of contemporaries such as
Marcus Cluvius Rufus Marcus Cluvius Rufus was a Roman consul, senator, governor, and historian who was mentioned on several occasions by Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Josephus and Plutarch. Career Cluvius was Roman consul, consul ''suffectus'' prior to AD 65; from ...
,
Fabius Rusticus Fabius Rusticus was a Roman historian who was quoted on several occasions by Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by m ...
and
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
(all of which are lost). Tacitus' narrative emphasizes both political and psychological motivation. His characterisation of Tiberius throughout the first six books is mostly negative, and gradually worsens as his rule declines, identifying a clear breaking point with the death of his son Drusus in AD 23. Tacitus describes Julio-Claudian rule as generally unjust and "criminal"; he attributes the apparent virtues of Tiberius during his early reign to hypocrisy. Another major recurring theme concerns the balance of power between the Senate and the emperors,
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty Dishonesty is to act without honesty ''Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man'', attributed to J. H. W. Tischbein () Honesty or truthfulness is a facet Facets () are flat faces on geometric shapes. The org ...
, and the growing
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
among the governing classes of Rome. A substantial amount of his account on Tiberius is therefore devoted to the treason trials and persecutions following the revival of the ''maiestas'' law under Augustus. Ultimately, Tacitus' opinion on Tiberius is best illustrated by his conclusion of the sixth book:


Suetonius Tranquillus

Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
was an equestrian who held administrative posts during the reigns of
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
and
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
. ''
The Twelve Caesars ''De vita Caesarum'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
'' details a biographical history of the principate from the birth of
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
to the death of
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a v ...

Domitian
in AD 96. Like Tacitus, he drew upon the imperial archives, as well as histories by
Aufidius Bassus Aufidius Bassus was a Roman historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as ...
,
Marcus Cluvius Rufus Marcus Cluvius Rufus was a Roman consul, senator, governor, and historian who was mentioned on several occasions by Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Josephus and Plutarch. Career Cluvius was Roman consul, consul ''suffectus'' prior to AD 65; from ...
,
Fabius Rusticus Fabius Rusticus was a Roman historian who was quoted on several occasions by Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by m ...
and Augustus' own letters. His account is more sensationalist and anecdotal than that of his contemporary. The most famous sections of his biography delve into the numerous alleged debaucheries Tiberius remitted himself to while at Capri. Nevertheless, Suetonius also reserves praise for Tiberius' actions during his early reign, emphasizing his modesty.


Velleius Paterculus

One of the few surviving sources contemporary with the rule of Tiberius comes from
Velleius Paterculus Marcus Velleius Paterculus (; c. 19 BC – c. AD 31) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to '' ...
, who served under Tiberius for eight years (from AD 4) in Germany and Pannonia as praefect of cavalry and ''legatus''. Paterculus' ''Compendium of Roman History'' spans a period from the fall of
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
to the death of Livia in AD 29. His text on Tiberius lavishes praise on both the emperor and Sejanus. How much of this is due to genuine admiration or prudence remains an open question, but it has been conjectured that he was put to death in AD 31 as a friend of Sejanus.


Tertullian

Historically, the Christian Church's view of Tiberius has generally been favorable. According to 2nd-3rd Century Christian
apologist Apologetics (from Greek language, Greek , "speaking in defense") is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. List of early Christian writers, Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) w ...
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
, Tiberius went to the Senate and told the Senate of a favorable report from Palestine, that Christ was a deity. Tiberius favored Christ's divinity, but the Senate rejected Tiberius' proposal. Tiberius, however, held to his opinion that Christ was a divinity and threatened to punish those who accused Christians. At this time the Senate had the power to decree deification of people. Both
St. Jerome Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; c. 342–347 – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belo ...

St. Jerome
and
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...

Eusebius
quoted or repeated Tertullian's account concerning Tiberius and the deification of Christ in their respective histories of the Christian Church.Crake, J. E. A. “Early Christians and Roman Law.” Phoenix, vol. 19, no. 1, Classical Association of Canada, 1965, p. 61, https://doi.org/10.2307/1086690


Gospels, Jews, and Christians

According to the
Gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...

Gospel
s, Jesus of Nazareth preached and was executed during the reign of Tiberius, by the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea (Roman province), Judaea province. ''Luke 3:1'', states that John the Baptist entered on his public ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius' reign. The city of Tiberias (named after Tiberius), referred to in ''John 6:23'' is located on the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias and referenced in ''John 6:1''. The so-called "tribute penny" referred to in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark is popularly thought to be a silver denarius coin of Tiberius. During Tiberius' reign, Jews had become more prominent in Rome and Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus began proselytizing Roman citizens, increasing long-simmering resentments. In 19 AD Tiberius ordered Jews of military age to join the Roman Army. He banished the rest of Rome's Jewish population, on pain of enslavement for life. There were no systematic Roman persecutions of Christians under Tiberius after Crucifixion of Jesus, Christ's crucifixion in 30 AD. Jossa finds it "unthinkable" that Tiberius was aware of Christianity as a faith separate from Judaism. Most scholars believe that Roman distinction between Jews and Christians began in the 40's, in Caligula's reign, and was complete by around AD 70 (the destruction of Jerusalem).


Archaeology

Possible traces remain of renovations by Tiberius in the Gardens of Maecenas, where he lived upon returning from exile in 2 AD. These persist inside the villa's likely triclinium-nymphaeum, the so-called Auditorium of Maecenas. In an otherwise Late Roman Republic, Republican-era building, identifiable as such by its brickwork and flooring, the Dionysian Mysteries, Dionysian-themed landscape and nature frescos lining the walls are reminiscent of the illusionistic early Imperial paintings Villa of Livia#Garden room fresco, in his mother's own subterranean dining room. Tiberius' palace in Rome was on the Palatine Hill; its ruins still stand. Tiberius built a temple in Rome to the deified Augustus, and restored the theater of Pompey, these works were not finished until the reign of Caligula. The remains of Tiberius' villa at Sperlonga include a grotto, where the fragmentary Sperlonga sculptures were found. The hill-top ''Villa Jovis'' retreat at
Capri Capri ( , ; ; ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Capri
has been preserved. The estate at Capri is said by Tacitus to have included a total of twelve villas, of which the ''Villa Jovis'' was the largest. Tiberius refused to be worshipped as a living god, and allowed only one provincial temple to be built in his honour, to be shared with cult to the senate's genius (mythology), genius, at Smyrna. The town Tiberias, in modern Israel on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, was named in Tiberius's honour by Herod Antipas.


Popular culture

Tiberius has been represented in fiction, in literature, film and television, and in video games, often as a peripheral character in the central storyline. The following is a list of appearances Tiberius made in popular culture. * He appears in the novel ''I, Claudius'' by Robert Graves, and the consequent BBC I, Claudius (TV series), television series adaptation, where he is portrayed by George Baker (actor), George Baker. * George R. R. Martin, the author of ''A Song of Ice and Fire'' series, has stated that central character Stannis Baratheon is partially inspired by Tiberius Caesar, and particularly the portrayal by Baker. * In the 1968 ITV (TV network), ITV historical drama ''The Caesars (TV series), The Caesars'', Tiberius (by André Morell) is the central character for much of the series and is portrayed in a much more balanced way than in ''I, Claudius''. * He also appears as a minor character in the 2006 film The Inquiry (2006 film), ''The Inquiry'', in which he is played by Max von Sydow. In addition, Tiberius has prominent roles in ''Ben-Hur (1959 film), Ben-Hur'' (played by George Relph in his last starring role), and in ''A.D. (miniseries), A.D.'' (played by James Mason). * He was featured in ''The Robe (film), The Robe'' (1953), played by Ernest Thesiger. * He was featured in the 1979 film Caligula (film), ''Caligula'', portrayed by Peter O'Toole. * He was an important character in Taylor Caldwell's 1958 novel, ''Dear and Glorious Physician'', a biography of St Luke the Evangelist, author of the third canonical Gospel. * He was played by Kenneth Cranham in ''A.D. The Bible Continues.'' * In the TV series ''Roman Empire (TV series), Roman Empire'', Tiberius was portrayed by Craig Walsh-Wrightson. In the 2021 TV series ''Domina (TV series), Domina'', he was played by Earl Cave. * The theft of the Gold Tiberius, an unintentionally unique commemorative coin commissioned by Tiberius which is stated to have achieved legendary status in the centuries hence, from a mysterious triad of occultists drives the plot of the framing story in Arthur Machen's 1895 novel ''The Three Impostors''.


Children and family

Tiberius was married twice, with only his first union producing a child who would survive to adulthood: *
Vipsania Agrippina Vipsania Agrippina (; 36 BC – 20 AD) was the first wife of the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, ...
, daughter of
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (; 63 BC – 12 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, and architect who was a close friend, son-in-law, and lieutenant to the Roman emperor Augustus. He was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable build ...
(16–11 BC) **
Drusus Julius Caesar Drusus Julius Caesar (14 BC – 14 September AD 23), was the son of Emperor Tiberius, and heir to the Roman Empire following the death of his adoptive brother Germanicus in AD 19. He was born at Rome to a prominent branch of the ''Roman gens, ...
(14 BC – 23 AD) (Had Issue) * Julia the Elder, only daughter of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
(11–6 BC) ** Infant son, (dubbed "Tiberillus" by modern historians), died in infancy.


See also

* Caesar cut * Clutorius Priscus * Julio-Claudian family tree * List of Roman emperors * List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources


Notes


References


Bibliography


Primary sources

*
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...

''Roman History'' Books 57–58, English translation
* Josephus
''Antiquities of the Jews'', Book 18, especially ch.6, English translation
*
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius

''Lives of the Twelve Caesars'', Life of Tiberius, Latin text with English translation
*
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, ''Annals''
I–VI, English translation
*
Velleius Paterculus Marcus Velleius Paterculus (; c. 19 BC – c. AD 31) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to '' ...

''Roman History'' Book II, Latin text with English translation


Secondary material

* * * * (Ernst Mason was a pseudonym of science fiction author Frederik Pohl) * * * * * * *


External links

*
"Tiberius (42 BC – 37 AD)"
at the BBC
"Maps of the Roman Empire under Tiberius at Omniatlas.com"
{{good article Tiberius, 42 BC births 37 deaths 1st-century BC Romans 1st-century Roman emperors Adult adoptees Ancient Roman adoptees Ancient Roman military personnel Burials at the Mausoleum of Augustus Capri, Campania Children of Augustus Claudii Nerones Husbands of Julia the Elder Imperial Roman consuls Imperial Roman praetors Jews and Judaism in the Roman Empire Julii Caesares Julio-Claudian dynasty People in the canonical gospels Roman-era Olympic competitors Roman quaestors Roman pharaohs