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Tiberius (42 BC – 37 AD) – The second emperor of Rome, who ruled from 14 AD until his death in 37 AD. full history

Tiberius (42 BC – 37 AD) – The second emperor of Rome, who ruled from 14 AD until his death in 37 AD. full history

By salamanPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
Tiberius (42 BC – 37 AD) – The second emperor of Rome, who ruled from 14 AD until his death in 37 AD. full history

Tiberius was born in 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. He was the stepson of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, and the brother of Drusus Julius Caesar. Tiberius began his military career as a commander in Spain, where he distinguished himself in battle against the Cantabrians. He also served in Germany and the Balkans, where he continued to gain military experience and acclaim.

In 14 AD, Augustus died, and Tiberius was named his successor as the second emperor of Rome. He initially refused the position, but eventually accepted it after being convinced by the Senate and the Praetorian Guard. Tiberius' reign was marked by several military campaigns, including the suppression of revolts in Pannonia and Illyricum and a campaign against the Germanic tribes.

Despite his military successes, Tiberius was not popular with the people of Rome. He was known for his cold and aloof personality, which contrasted sharply with Augustus' affable and charismatic persona. Tiberius also had a strained relationship with the Senate, which was exacerbated by his refusal to grant them more power and his harsh treatment of political opponents.

Tiberius' reputation was further tarnished by the influence of Sejanus, the commander of the Praetorian Guard, who became increasingly powerful during Tiberius' reign. Sejanus was widely despised by the people of Rome, and his influence over the emperor led to a wave of political purges and executions. Eventually, Tiberius became suspicious of Sejanus and ordered his arrest and execution, ending his reign of terror.

Tiberius' personal life was also marked by controversy. He had a strained relationship with his mother, Livia, who was widely rumored to have poisoned several of his rivals. Tiberius also had a series of sexual scandals, including accusations of rape and incest with his niece, Julia the Elder. These scandals further damaged his reputation and led to his increasing isolation from the people of Rome.

Tiberius retired to the island of Capri in 26 AD, where he lived out the rest of his life in relative seclusion. He continued to be involved in the affairs of Rome through correspondence with his advisers, but he played a largely passive role in the administration of the empire. Tiberius died in 37 AD, and was succeeded by his grandnephew, Caligula.

In conclusion, Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome, who ruled from 14 AD until his death in 37 AD. He was a skilled military commander, but his reign was marked by controversy and political instability. He had a strained relationship with the Senate and was unpopular with the people of Rome due to his cold and aloof personality. Tiberius' reputation was further damaged by the influence of Sejanus, who became increasingly powerful during his reign. His personal life was marked by scandal and controversy, including accusations of sexual misconduct and his strained relationship with his mother. Tiberius retired to the island of Capri, where he lived out the rest of his life in relative seclusion.

iberius and the Empire

Three main aspects of Tiberius's impact on the empire deserve special attention: his relative military inertia; his modesty in dealing with offers of divine honors and his fair treatment of provincials; and his use of the Law of Treason ( maiestas ).

At the meeting of the Senate in September A.D. 14 when Augustus's will was read, another document was produced. It was a sort of posthumous "State of the Empire" address that listed all the resources, army postings, etc. of the state. Part of the document urged future rulers to leave things as they were, and not to expand the empire further. This so-called "Testament of Augustus" appears to be the basic reason why Tiberius did not expand the empire, though the authenticity of the "Testament" itself has divided scholars. Nevertheless, throughout his reign, Tiberius embarked on no major wars of conquest, although he did order punitive campaigns against the Germans across the Rhine in A.D. 14-16; the suppression of a Gallic national revolt under Julius Sacrovir in A.D. 21-22; and the suppression of a persistent guerilla war in North Africa under Tacfarinas in A.D. 17-24. Tiberius seemed adept at choosing provincial governors, with some notable exceptions, and his diplomatic management of potentially disruptive instabilities in Armenia was exemplary -- no Roman intervention in force was required. [[26]]

In general, Tiberius dealt fairly and well with the provincials. The emperor's absence from Rome hardly affected the majority of the empire's population, for whom the emperor was already a shadowy and distant figure. His generally sound choices of provincial governors have already been noted. When the provincials overstepped themselves and offered Tiberius divine honors, or other tributes that struck him as excessive, he declined to accept. Tacitus and Suetonius infer hypocrisy, but there is no reason to suspect that the lugubrious emperor was not acting in good faith in abiding by Augustus's precedent, which was always a paramount concern for him.

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