|Reign||17 September 14 – 16 March 37|
|Born||16 November 42 BC|
Rome, Italy, Roman Republic
|Died||16 March AD 37 (aged 78)|
Misenum, Italy, Roman Empire
|Roman imperial dynasties|
27 BC – AD 14
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 stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father was the politician Tiberius Claudius Nero and his mother was Livia Drusilla, 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 and Lucius Caesar, Tiberius was designated Augustus' successor. Prior to this, Tiberius had proved himself an able diplomat, and one of the most successful Roman generals: his conquests of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and (temporarily) parts of Germania laid the foundations for 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. They had a son, Drusus Julius Caesar. After Agrippa died, Augustus insisted that Tiberius divorce Vipsania and marry his own daughter (Tiberius' step-sister) Julia. 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, as heir. On Augustus' death in AD 14, Tiberius became princeps 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 prefects Sejanus, whom he later had executed for treason, and Sejanus' replacement, Macro. When Tiberius died, he was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Germanicus' son Caligula, whose lavish building projects and varyingly successful military endeavours drained much of the wealth that Tiberius had accumulated in the public and Imperial coffers through good management.
Tiberius allowed the worship of his divine Genius in only one temple, in Rome's eastern provinces, and promoted restraint in the empire-wide cult to the deceased Augustus. 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 called him "the gloomiest of men."
Tiberius was born in Rome on 16 November 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. Both of his biological parents belonged to the gens Claudia , an ancient patrician 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 divorced his biological father and, though again pregnant by Tiberius Nero, remarried to Octavian, later known as Augustus. In 38 BC his brother, Nero Claudius Drusus, was born. In 32 BC, Tiberius, at the age of nine, delivered the eulogy for his biological father at the 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.
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 Agrippa 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, and was granted the right to stand for election as praetor and consul five years in advance of the age required by law. Similar provisions were made for Drusus.
Shortly thereafter Tiberius began appearing in court as an advocate, and it was presumably at this time that his interest in Greek rhetoric began. In 20 BC, Tiberius was sent east under Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The Parthian Empire had captured the standards of the legions under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus (53 BC) (at the Battle of Carrhae), Decidius Saxa (40 BC), and Mark Antony (36 BC). After a year of negotiation, Tiberius led a sizable force into Armenia, presumably to establish it as a Roman client state 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.
Tiberius married Vipsania Agrippina, the daughter of Augustus' close friend and most famed general, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. BC he discovered the sources of the 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, was born.He was appointed to the position of praetor, and was sent with his legions to assist his brother Drusus in campaigns in the west. While Drusus focused his forces in Gallia Narbonensis and along the German frontier, Tiberius combated the tribes in the Alps and within Transalpine Gaul, conquering Raetia. In 15
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. Suetonius claims that when Tiberius ran into Vipsania again, he followed 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 and Germania, both areas highly volatile and of key importance to Augustan policy.
In 6 BC, Tiberius launched a pincer movement against the Marcomanni. Setting out northwest from Carnuntum on the Danube with four legions, Tiberius passed through Quadi territory in order to invade Marcomanni territory from the east. Meanwhile, general Gaius Sentius Saturninus would depart east from Moguntiacum on the Rhine with two or three legions, pass through newly annexed Hermunduri 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 (tribunicia potestas) and control in the East, all of which mirrored positions that Agrippa had previously held. However, despite these successes and despite his advancement, Tiberius was not happy.
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. 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 and Lucius, 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 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, forbidden to see the woman he loved, found himself married to a woman he loathed, and publicly humiliated by her nighttime escapades in the Roman Forum.
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 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 survive.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 Ostia 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.
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. 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, the son of his brother Drusus and Augustus' niece 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, a younger brother of Gaius and Lucius, was disowned by Augustus and banished to the island of 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 or possible upheaval. However, according to Suetonius, after a two-year stint in Germania, which lasted from 10–12 AD, "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 on the conclusion of the lustral ceremonies." 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 cremated with all due ceremony and, as had been arranged beforehand, deified, his will read, and Tiberius, now a middle-aged man at 55, was confirmed as his sole surviving heir. Tiberius peacefully took power with no challenged rivals, including his nephew and adopted son Germanicus.
The 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 (a crown made from laurel and 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. His direct orders were rather vague, inspiring debates on what he actually meant, rather than passing his legislation.In his first few years, Tiberius seems to have wanted the Senate to act on its own, rather than serve his imperial will, as it had served Augustus. According to Tacitus, Tiberius derided the Senate as "men fit to be slaves".
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 and Tiberius's son, Drusus Julius Caesar, were dispatched with a small force to quell the uprising and bring the legions back in line.
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. Additionally, Tacitus records the capture of the Teutoburg forest and the reclaiming of Roman standards lost years before by Publius Quinctilius Varus, when three Roman legions and their auxiliary cohorts had been ambushed by Germanic tribes.
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, 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, the governor of Syria, of poisoning him.Germanicus celebrated a triumph in Rome in AD
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.
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. 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) and a Hellenised lifestyle.
Lucius Aelius Sejanus had served the imperial family for almost twenty years when he became Praetorian Prefect 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 responsible for the defense of the city, and had moved it from encampments outside of the city walls into the city itself, 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, 26, Sejanus was left in charge of the entire state mechanism and the city of Rome.and Sejanus became more and more visible as Tiberius began to withdraw from Rome altogether. Finally, with Tiberius's withdrawal in AD
Sejanus's position was not quite that of successor; he had requested marriage in AD 25 to Tiberius's niece, Livilla, 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 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 and two of her sons, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Caesar 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, Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla, and Julia Livilla were the only survivors.
In 31, Sejanus held the consulship with Tiberius in absentia,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 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 themselves, or serving as regent to the young Tiberius Gemellus or possibly even 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. As commander of the Praetorian Guard, he was replaced by Naevius Sutorius Macro.
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,
Executions were now a stimulus to his fury, and he ordered the death of all who were lying in prison under accusation of complicity with Sejanus. There lay, singly or in heaps, the unnumbered dead, of every age and sex, the illustrious with the obscure. Kinsfolk and friends were not allowed to be near them, to weep over them, or even to gaze on them too long. Spies were set round them, who noted the sorrow of each mourner and followed the rotting corpses, till they were dragged to the Tiber, where, floating or driven on the bank, no one dared to burn or to touch them.
However, Tacitus' portrayal of a tyrannical, vengeful emperor has been challenged by some historians: Edward Togo Salmon notes in A history of the Roman world from 30 BC to AD 138:
In the whole twenty two years of Tiberius' reign, not more than fifty-two persons were accused of treason, of whom almost half escaped conviction, while the four innocent people to be condemned fell victims to the excessive zeal of the Senate, not to the emperor's tyranny.
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,and most of all his paranoia. 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.
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,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 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, the sole surviving son of Germanicus, or Tiberius' own grandson, Tiberius Gemellus.However, Tiberius only made a half-hearted attempt at the end of his life to make Caligula a quaestor, 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.
Tiberius died in Misenum on 16 March AD 37, some months before his 78th birthday. 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 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.
In his will, Tiberius had left his powers jointly to Caligula and Tiberius Gemellus.Caligula's first act on becoming Princeps was to void Tiberius' will.
Had he died before AD 23, he might have been hailed as an exemplary ruler. Despite the overwhelmingly negative characterization left by Roman historians, Tiberius left the imperial treasury with nearly 3 billion sesterces upon his death. Rather than embark on costly campaigns of conquest, he chose to strengthen the existing empire by building additional bases, using 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, Suetonius, Cassius Dio and Marcus Velleius Paterculus. Fragmentary evidence also remains from Pliny the Elder, Strabo and Seneca the Elder. Tiberius himself wrote an autobiography which Suetonius describes as "brief and sketchy", but this book has been lost.
The most detailed account of this period is handed down to us by Tacitus, whose Annals dedicate the first six books entirely to the reign of Tiberius. Tacitus was a Roman senator, born during the reign of 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, Fabius Rusticus and 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, and the growing tyranny 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:
His character too had its distinct periods. It was a bright time in his life and reputation, while under Augustus he was a private citizen or held high offices; a time of reserve and crafty assumption of virtue, as long as Germanicus and Drusus were alive. Again, while his mother lived, he was a compound of good and evil; he was infamous for his cruelty, though he veiled his debaucheries, while he loved or feared Sejanus. Finally, he plunged into every wickedness and disgrace, when fear and shame being cast off, he simply indulged his own inclinations.
Suetonius was an equestrian who held administrative posts during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. The Twelve Caesars details a biographical history of the principate from the birth of Julius Caesar to the death of Domitian in AD 96. Like Tacitus, he drew upon the imperial archives, as well as histories by Aufidius Bassus, Marcus Cluvius Rufus, Fabius Rusticus and Augustus' own letters.
His account is more sensationalist and anecdotal than that of his contemporary.[ who? ] 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.
One of the few surviving sources contemporary with the rule of Tiberius comes from Velleius Paterculus, 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 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.
According to the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth preached and was executed during the reign of Tiberius, by the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of 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, on the Western shore of the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Sea of Tiberias) was named thus by Herod Antipas in Tiberius's honour, . It is referred to in John 6:23 and 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 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 40s, in Caligula's reign, and was complete by around AD 70 (the destruction of Jerusalem).
The Christian Church's view of Tiberius has generally been favorable. The 2nd-3rd Century Christian apologist Tertullian said Tiberius approached the Senate with a request to acknowledge Christ as a deity, citing evidence of his miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection. Christian historian Eusebius said Pilate reported to Tiberius of the resurrection of Christ. Tiberius is said to have taken Pilate's report to the Senate.Tiberius had to be content with the protection of Christians from malicious prosecution by senators; St. Jerome adds that this was under the penalty of death. Both he and Eusebius included Tertullian's account in their respective histories of the Christian Church, but no evidence of such protection survives in Roman law. Crake describes the episode as essentially a comment on deification by decree of the senate", in which few "would take seriously even Tertullian's version of events" Translator G.A. Williamson said it "can be hardly doubted that Pilate sent such a report, but none of the extant versions is regarded as genuine." The Christian History Institute does not list Tiberius as a Roman emperor who persecuted Christians. The first Roman emperor listed is Claudius.
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 Republican-era building, identifiable as such by its brickwork and flooring, the Dionysian-themed landscape and nature frescos lining the walls are reminiscent of the illusionistic early Imperial paintings 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 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 officially worshipped as a living god. He promoted restraint in the official, empire-wide cult to the divinised Augustus, and established a priesthood, the Sodales Augustales, to administer its rites. He allowed a single temple to honour both his own genius and that of the Senate, at Smyrna
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.
Tiberius was married twice, with only his first union producing a child who would survive to adulthood:
Agrippina "the Elder" was a prominent member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Augustus' daughter, Julia the Elder. Her brothers Lucius and Gaius Caesar were the adoptive sons of Augustus, and were his heirs until their deaths in AD 2 and 4, respectively. Following their deaths, her second cousin Germanicus was made the adoptive son of Tiberius, Augustus' stepson, as part of Augustus' succession scheme in the adoptions of AD 4. As a result of the adoption, Agrippina was wed to Germanicus in order to bring him closer to the Julian family.
Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known by his nickname Caligula, was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 to 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
The Julio-Claudian dynasty comprised the first five Roman emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
The 30s decade ran from January 1, AD 30, to December 31, AD 39.
Livia Drusilla was Roman empress from 27 BC to AD 14 as the wife of Emperor Augustus. She was known as Julia Augusta after her formal adoption into the Julian family in 14 AD.
Antonia Minor was the younger of two surviving daughters of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor. She was a niece of the Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, mother of the Emperor Claudius, and maternal great-grandmother of the Emperor Nero. She outlived her husband Drusus, her oldest son, her daughter and several of her grandchildren.
Marcus Agrippa Postumus, later named Agrippa Julius Caesar, was a Roman nobleman who was the youngest son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder, the daughter and only biological child of the Roman Emperor Augustus. Augustus initially considered Postumus as a potential successor, and formally adopted him as his heir, but banished him from Rome in AD 6 on account of his ferocia. In effect, this action cancelled his adoption, and virtually assured Tiberius' emplacement as Augustus' sole heir. Postumus was ultimately executed by his own guards shortly after Augustus' death in AD 14.
Lucius Aelius Seianus, commonly known as Sejanus, was a Roman soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. An equestrian by birth, Sejanus rose to power as prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, of which he was commander from AD 14 until his execution for treason in AD 31.
Gaius Caesar was the grandson and heir to the throne of Roman emperor Augustus, alongside his younger brother Lucius Caesar. Although he was born to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia, Augustus' only daughter, Gaius and his younger brother, Lucius Caesar, were raised by their grandfather as his adopted sons and joint-heirs to the empire. He would experience an accelerated political career befitting a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, with the Roman Senate allowing him to advance his career without first holding a quaestorship or praetorship, offices that ordinary senators were required to hold as part of the cursus honorum.
Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus was the son of Drusus and Livilla, the grandson of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousin of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin". His twin brother, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Germanicus II Gemellus, died as a young child in 23. His father and older cousins died, and are suspected by contemporary sources as having been systematically eliminated by the powerful praetorian prefect Sejanus. Their removal allowed Gemellus and Caligula to be named joint-heirs by Tiberius in 35, a decision that ultimately resulted in Caligula assuming power and having Gemellus killed in late 37 or early 38.
Claudia Livia was the only daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor and sister of the Roman Emperor Claudius and general Germanicus, and thus the paternal aunt of the emperor Caligula and maternal great-aunt of emperor Nero, as well as the niece and daughter-in-law of Tiberius. She was named after her grandmother, Augustus' wife Livia Drusilla, and commonly known by her family nickname Livilla. She was born after Germanicus and before Claudius.
Drusus Julius Caesar, was the son of Emperor Tiberius, and heir to the Roman Empire following the death of his adoptive brother Germanicus in AD 19.
Drusus Julius Caesar was the adopted grandson and heir of the Roman emperor Tiberius, alongside his brother Nero. Born into the prominent Julio-Claudian dynasty, Drusus was the son of Tiberius' general and heir, Germanicus. After the deaths of his father and of Tiberius' son, Drusus the Younger, Drusus and his brother Nero Caesar were adopted together by Tiberius in September AD 23. As a result of being heirs of the emperor, he and his brother enjoyed accelerated political careers.
Julia Livia, was the daughter of Drusus Julius Caesar and Livilla, and granddaughter of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. She was also a first cousin of the emperor Caligula, and niece of the emperor Claudius.
Vipsania Agrippina was the first wife of the Emperor Tiberius. She was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Pomponia Caecilia Attica, thus a granddaughter of Titus Pomponius Atticus, the best friend of Cicero.
Nero Julius Caesar was the adopted grandson and heir of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, alongside his brother Drusus. Born into the prominent Julio-Claudian dynasty, Nero was the son of Tiberius' general and heir, Germanicus. After the deaths of his father and of Tiberius' son, Drusus the Younger, Nero and his brother Drusus were adopted together by Tiberius in September AD 23. As a result of being heirs of the emperor, he and his brother enjoyed accelerated political careers.
Lucius Caesar was a grandson of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. The son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder, Augustus' only daughter, Lucius was adopted by his grandfather along with his older brother, Gaius Caesar. As the emperor's adopted sons and joint-heirs to the Roman Empire, Lucius and Gaius had promising political and military careers. However, Lucius died of a sudden illness on 20 August AD 2, in Massilia, Gaul, while traveling to meet the Roman army in Hispania. His brother Gaius also died at a relatively young age on 21 February, AD 4. The untimely loss of both heirs compelled Augustus to redraw the line of succession by adopting Lucius' younger brother, Agrippa Postumus as well as his stepson, Tiberius on 26 June AD 4.
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus was a patrician Roman senator, politician and general, praised by the historian Tacitus.
Julia the Elder, known to her contemporaries as Julia Caesaris filia or Julia Augusti filia, was the daughter and only biological child of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, and his second wife, Scribonia. Julia was also stepsister and second wife of the Emperor Tiberius; maternal grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and the Empress Agrippina the Younger; grandmother-in-law of the Emperor Claudius; and maternal great-grandmother of the Emperor Nero. Her epithet 'the Elder' distinguishes her from her daughter, Julia the Younger.
Octavia the Younger was the elder sister of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, the half-sister of Octavia the Elder, and the fourth wife of Mark Antony. She was also the great-grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, maternal grandmother of the Emperor Claudius, and paternal great-grandmother and maternal great-great-grandmother of the Emperor Nero.
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