|Roman imperial dynasties|
|Augustus||27 BC – AD 14|
Year of the Four Emperors
Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus (Latin: Tiberius Caesar Drusi filius Tiberii Augusti nepos divi Augusti pronepos, –37/38) 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 (or forced to kill himself) in late 37 or early 38.10 October AD 19
Gemellus was born the son of Drusus Julius Caesar and Livilla on 10 October AD 19, the same day his uncle Germanicus died in Syria. His paternal grandparents were emperor Tiberius and his wife, Vipsania Agrippina, with his maternal grandparents being general Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor.He was the twin brother of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Germanicus II Gemellus and the younger brother of his sister Julia. The birth of Gemellus and his twin were celebrated by Tiberius, who claimed that never before in the history of Rome had twins been born to a man as high in rank as Drusus, and the event was commemorated on the reverse of coins. His twin died while still a child in 23.
As a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Gemellus was a close relative of all five Julio-Claudian emperors. On his father's side, he was the grandson of emperor Tiberius, and his adoptive great-grandfather was the founder of the Roman Empire, Augustus. On his mother's side, he was the nephew of Claudius, the maternal uncle of Nero, and the cousin of Caligula.
In the spring of 22, his father Drusus received tribunicia potestas (tribunician power) from the Senate, a clear sign that Drusus was Tiberius' heir.However, the following year marked a turning point for his father when his dispute with the powerful praetorian prefect Lucius Aelius Sejanus reached a critical point. In the account of Tacitus, Sejanus began plotting against Drusus to secure his position. On 14 September 23 his father died from what passed as natural causes. According to Cassius Dio and Tacitus, his father was poisoned by his wife Livilla at the behest of Sejanus. The exact cause of the feud is unknown.
His father's death not only devastated Tiberius but also challenged the future of the principate. Tiberius still trusted Sejanus and had no suspicion. Since Gemellus was too young, Tiberius adopted his grandchildren by Germanicus, Nero and Drusus, and recommended them to the Senate.Nero was given the office of quaestor five years in advance and was married to Gemellus' sister Livia to combine the families of both possible successors. However, neither would live to succeed Tiberius.
By 26, the emperor had withdrawn from politics altogether and moved to Capri, leaving the management of the empire to Sejanus who then began eliminating other members of the imperial family. In 28/29, Nero was charged by the Senate with homosexuality for which he was exiled to the island of Ponza. Germanicus' son Drusus was imprisoned within the dungeon under the Imperial palace on the Palatine Hill, where he starved to death not long after. Nero died in exile in 33. Suetonius says Tiberius promoted the rise of Sejanus to secure the succession of Gemellus, his natural grandson, at the expense of Germanicus' sons Nero and Drusus.
Sejanus remained powerful until his sudden downfall and summary execution in October 31, the exact reasons for which remain unclear.On 26 October 31, just eight days after his death, his wife Apicata committed suicide. According to Cassius Dio, she left a message for the emperor: his son had been murdered by his wife Livilla and her lover, Sejanus. The story should be read with caution. Levick says that Sejanus must have murdered Drusus in self-defense because only Tiberius stood between the Praetorian Prefect and the end of his career at the hands of Drusus. Furthermore, he says it is even less likely that Livilla would have been complicit in the destruction of her family, the key to her children's future. Levick dismisses the accusation of Apicata as the revenge of a woman whose husband left her for another.
The deaths of his cousins elevated Gemellus and his older cousin Gaius Caesar (Caligula). As there was no formal mechanism for succession, the only legal way he could promote an heir who was too young to share the political powers of emperor was to bequeath his estate upon which much of the Roman state had come to depend. According to Suetonius, Tiberius had suspicions of Gaius but he detested Gemellus as he believed him to be the result of an adulterous affair by his mother. Gemellus' young age was another factor in the advancement of Caligula, who was made quaestor in 33. The two were summoned by Tiberius to Capri in 35 where they were made joint-heirs to his estates.Tacitus records that while they were in Capri, Tiberius looked at Caligula in tears, with Gemellus in his arms, and told him:
You will kill him, and another will kill you.— Tacitus, Annals VI.46
Tiberius died on 16 March 37, and Caligula became Emperor. He accomplished this with the aid of Praetorian prefect Macro and the consuls of 37 who agreed to nullify Tiberius' will, thereby allowing him to inherit all of the estates which otherwise would have been divided with Gemellus.Gemellus was formally granted his toga virilis (toga of manhood), was adopted by Caligula, co-opted into the Arval Brethren, and given the title of princeps iuventutis (leader of the youth). His tirocinium, the public ceremony where young men donned the toga and became eligible for military service, was held in July 37, and a congiarium of 75 denarii was distributed to each citizen by Caligula. Comments by Tacitus and Suetonius that he was still a child this year, despite the fact that he was 18, may refer to his mental development. This would explain why he had not yet received the toga of manhood.
It is possible that his adoption meant an official recognition and acceptance as Caligula's heir. Philo saw this as a ploy to put Gemellus under Caligula's patria potestas (power of a father), and perhaps to convince the Senate to go along with nullifying Tiberius' will.Adopting Gemellus gave Caligula time to deal with the succession issue.
Following an illness suffered by Caligula, Gemellus was put to death in late 37 or early 38. Cassius Dio places his death and that of Caligula's father-in-law Marcus Junius Silanus in the events of late 37. Their replacements in the Arval Brethren were not found until 24 May 38. He goes on to explain that Gemellus waited for a chance to benefit from Caligula's illness.According to Philo, Caligula's pretended reason was a conspiracy. Suetonius says that Gemellus took medicine for a chronic cough, and that the smell was detected; leading to accusations of taking an antidote for poison. He was ordered by Caligula to commit suicide for which soldiers gave him a sword, and had to help him because he is said to have not known how to kill himself with it.
Dio notes that Gemellus was charged with praying for and anticipating Caligula's death.Historian Anthony Barrett observes that Gemellus would have represented Caligula during his illness at non-political events with his uncle Claudius representing the emperor at games. He suggests that Caligula viewed anything Gemellus did in his name with paranoia, although Gemellus' only named supporter (to the extent that he should co-rule with Caligula) was Aulus Avilius Flaccus, the prefect of Egypt.
No mention of his death was made by Caligula to the Senate and Gemellus' stone makes no mention of his adoptive relation to the emperor. It reads:
Ti(berius) Caesar / Drusi Caesaris f(ilius) / hic situs est
"Here lies Tiberius Caesar, son of Drusus Caesar."
|— CIL VI, 00892||—Barrett 2002, p. 75|
Gemellus is played by Douglas Melbourne in the episode "Zeus, by Jove!" of the 1976 BBC TV series I, Claudius .
Gemellus is played by Leon Wadham in Season 3 of the Netflix TV series Roman Empire .
Gemellus is played by Bruno Brive in the 1979 Penthouse film Caligula .
|Ancestors of Tiberius Gemellus|
Vipsania Agrippina, commonly referred to as Agrippina the Elder, was a prominent member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was born in c. 14 BC the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a close supporter of Rome's first emperor Augustus, and Augustus' daughter Julia the Elder. At the time of her birth, her brothers Lucius and Gaius were the adoptive sons of Augustus and were his heirs until their deaths in AD 2 and 4, respectively. Following their deaths, her cousin Germanicus was made the adoptive son of Tiberius as part of Augustus' succession scheme in the adoptions of AD 4 in which Tiberius was adopted by Augustus. As a corollary to the adoption, Agrippina was wed to Germanicus in order to bring him closer to the Julian family.
Julia Agrippina, also referred to as Agrippina the Younger, was a Roman empress and one of the most prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Her father was general Germanicus, one-time heir apparent to the Roman Empire under Tiberius; and her mother was Agrippina the Elder, a granddaughter of the first Roman emperor Augustus. She was the younger sister of emperor Caligula, the niece and fourth wife of emperor Claudius who succeeded Caligula, and the mother of emperor Nero, who succeeded Claudius.
Claudius was Roman emperor from AD 41 to 54. Born to Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor at Lugdunum in Roman Gaul, where his father was stationed as a military legate, he was the first Roman emperor to be born outside Italy. Nonetheless, Claudius was an Italic of Sabine origins and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37.
Caligula, formally known as Gaius, was the third Roman emperor, ruling from AD 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.
Germanicus Julius Caesar was a popular and prominent general of the Roman Empire, known for his campaigns in Germania. The son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia the Younger, Germanicus was born into an influential branch of the patrician gens Claudia. The agnomen Germanicus was added to his full name in 9 BC when it was posthumously awarded to his father in honor of his victories in Germania. In AD 4, he was adopted by his paternal uncle, Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus as Roman emperor a decade later. As a result, Germanicus became an official member of the gens Julia, another prominent family which he was related to on his mother's side. His connection to the Julii was further consolidated through a marriage between himself and Agrippina the Elder, a granddaughter of Augustus. He was also the older brother of Claudius, the father of Caligula, and the maternal grandfather of Nero.
The Julio-Claudian dynasty comprised the first five Roman emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. They ruled the Roman Empire from its formation under Augustus in 27 BC until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide. The name "Julio-Claudian" is a historiographical term derived from the two families which composed the imperial dynasty: the Julii Caesares and Claudii Nerones.
Tiberius Caesar Augustus was the second Roman emperor, reigning from AD 14 to 37. He succeeded his stepfather, Augustus.
Livia Drusilla, also known as Julia Augusta after her formal adoption into the Julian family in AD 14, was the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar throughout his reign, as well as his adviser. She was the mother of the emperor Tiberius, great-grandmother of the emperor Caligula, grandmother of the emperor Claudius and the great-great-grandmother of the emperor Nero. She was deified by Claudius who acknowledged her title of Augusta.
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 both maternal great-grandmother of the Emperor Nero. She outlived her husband, her oldest son, her daughter and several of her grandchildren.
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, usually called Britannicus, was the son of Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Valeria Messalina. For a time he was considered his father's heir, but that changed after his mother's downfall in 48, when it was revealed she had engaged in a bigamous marriage without Claudius' knowledge. The next year, his father married Agrippina the Younger, Claudius' fourth and final marriage. Their marriage was followed by the adoption of Agrippina's son, Lucius Domitius, whose name became Nero as a result. His step-brother would later be married to his sister Octavia, and soon eclipsed him as Claudius' heir. Following his father's death in October 54, Nero became emperor. The sudden death of Britannicus shortly before his fourteenth birthday is reported by all extant sources as being the result of poisoning on Nero's orders—as Claudius' natural son, he represented a threat to Nero's claim to the throne.
Marcus Agrippa Postumus, later named Agrippa Julius Caesar, 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 Sejanus, commonly known as Sejanus, was an ambitious 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 death in AD 31.
Claudia Livia Julia 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.
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.
Tiberius Claudius Drusus was the eldest son of the Roman Emperor Claudius with his first wife Plautia Urgulanilla. He had one younger sister, Claudia, who was repudiated by Claudius along with Plautia.
Ennia Thrasylla, also known as Ennia Naeva or Ennia Naevia, Ennia the wife of Macro, Ennia and Eunia was a Roman noblewoman who lived in the 1st century in the Roman Empire.
Lucius Annius Vinicianus was a Roman senator during the Principate. He is best known for his involvement in the assassination of Caligula and a rebellion against Claudius.
Tiberius GemellusBorn: 10 Oct 19 Died: 38
| Caesar of the Roman Empire |
37 – 38