Divus Augustus AE As. Struck 34-37 AD by Tiberius
Obverse: DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER, radiate head left
Reverse: S-C, winged thunderbolt. RIC 83 (Tiberius)
Tiberius (November 16, 42 BC – March 16, 37 AD) was a Roman Emperor from
14 AD to 37 AD. Born Tiberius Claudius Nero, a Claudian, Tiberius
was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother
divorced Nero and married Octavian, later known as Augustus, in 39 BC,
making him a step-son of Octavian.
Tiberius would later marry Augustus' daughter (from his marriage to Scribonia),
Julia the Elder, and even later be adopted by Augustus, by which act he
officially became a Julian, bearing the name Tiberius Julius Caesar.
The subsequent emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty
of both families for the following thirty years; historians have named
it the Julio-Claudian dynasty. In relations to the other emperors
of this dynasty, Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula,
paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero.
Tiberius was one of Rome's greatest generals; his conquest of Pannonia,
Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily, parts of Germania, laid the foundations
for the northern frontier. But he came to be remembered as a dark,
reclusive, and sombre ruler who never really desired to be emperor; Pliny
the Elder called him tristissimus hominum, "the gloomiest of men."
After the death of Tiberius’ son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23 AD, he became
more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD Tiberius removed himself from
Rome and left administration largely in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian
Prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro.
Caligula, Tiberius' grand-nephew and adopted grandson, succeeded Tiberius
upon his death.
Tiberius was born in Rome on 16 November 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero
and Livia Drusilla. In 39 BC his mother divorced his biological father
and remarried Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus shortly thereafter, while
still pregnant with Tiberius Nero's son. In 38 BC his brother, Nero
Claudius Drusus, was born.
Little is recorded of Tiberius's early life. In 32 BC Tiberius at
the age of nine, delivered the eulogy for his biological father at the
rostra. In 29 BC, both he rode in the triumphal chariot along with
their 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 chaos again. 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.
Civil and military career:
Shortly thereafter Tiberius began appearing in court as an advocate, and
it is presumably here that his interest in Greek rhetoric began.
In 20 BC, Tiberius was sent East under Marcus Agrippa. The Parthians
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
Marc Antony (36 BC).
After a year of negotiation, Tiberius led a sizable force into Armenia,
presumably with the goal of establishing it as a Roman client-state and
ending 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’s close friend
and greatest general, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. He was appointed
to the position of praetor, and 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 BC he discovered the sources of the Danube, and soon afterwards 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,
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 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 the Marcomanni 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.
Retirement to Rhodes (6 BC):
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's 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 had found himself married to a woman he loathed, who publicly
humiliated him with nighttime escapades in the Forum, and forbidden to
see the woman he had loved.
Whatever Tiberius's motives, the withdrawal was almost disastrous for Augustus's
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's
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's
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.
Heir to Augustus:
With Tiberius's 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's 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's 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, at the age of 75. He was buried with all
due ceremony and, as had been arranged beforehand, deified, his will read,
and Tiberius confirmed as his sole surviving heir.
Emperor (14–37 AD)
The Senate convened on 18 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.
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 in 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
its 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, Germanicus celebrated a triumph in
Rome in AD 17, the first full triumph that the city had seen since Augustus's
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.
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 seems to 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 altogether to the island of Capri.
Tiberius in Capri, with Sejanus in Rome:
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, 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, 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
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 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.
Plot by Sejanus against Tiberius:
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 with an eye towards placing 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 a number of 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 Gaius
Caligula. Those who stood in his way were tried for treason and swiftly
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. 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 several modern historians. The prominent ancient historian
Edward Togo Salmon notes in his work, 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
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 with 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
Little was done to either secure or indicate how his succession 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 his own grandson, Tiberius Gemellus. However, only a half-hearted
attempt at the end of Tiberius' life was made 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.[
Death (37 AD):
Tiberius died in Misenum on 15 March AD 37, in his seventy eighth year.
Tacitus records that upon the news of his death the crowd rejoiced, only
to become suddenly silent upon hearing that he had recovered, and rejoiced
again at the news that Caligula and Macro had smothered him. This
is not recorded by other ancient historians apart from Suetonius and is
most likely apocryphal, but some historians consider it indicative of how
the senatorial class felt towards the Emperor at the time of his death.
After his death, the Senate refused to vote him divine honors, and mobs
filled the streets yelling "To the Tiber with Tiberius!" — in reference
to a method of disposal reserved for the corpses of criminals. Instead
the body of the emperor was cremated and his ashes were quietly laid in
the Mausoleum of Augustus, later to be scattered in AD 410 during the Sack
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 and have Gemellus executed.
Tiberius' heir Caligula not only spent Tiberius' fortune of 2,700,000,000
sesterces but would also begin the chain of events which would bring about
the downfall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in AD 68.
Were he to have died prior to 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. Of the authors
whose texts have survived, only four describe the reign of Tiberius in
considerable detail: Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio and 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.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus:
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 56 AD, 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 populi Romani
(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 Cluvius Rufus, Fabius Rusticus and Pliny the Elder (all of which
Tacitus' narrative emphasizes both political and psychological motivation.
The 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 23 AD.
The rule of Julio-Claudians is generally described as unjust and 'criminal'
by Tacitus. Even at the outset of his reign, he seems to ascribe
many of Tiberius' virtues merely 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
An example of Indo-Roman trade and relations during the period: silver
denarius of Tiberius (14–37) found in India and Indian copy of the same,
1st-century coin of Kushan king Kujula Kadphises copying a coin of Augustus.
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, Cluvius Rufus, Fabius Rusticus
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.
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.
Gospels, Jews, and Christians:
The Gospels mention that during Tiberius' reign, Jesus of Nazareth preached
and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor
of Judaea province. In the Bible, Tiberius is mentioned by name only
once, in Luke 3:1, which states that John the Baptist entered on his public
ministry in the fifteenth year of his reign. Many references to Caesar
(or the emperor in some other translations), without further specification,
would seem to refer to Tiberius. Similarly, the "Tribute Penny" referred
to in Matthew and Mark is popularly thought to be a silver denarius coin
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. Tiberius in 19 AD ordered Jews who were
of military age to join the Roman Army. Tiberius banished the rest
of the Jews from Rome and threatened to enslave them for life if they did
not leave the city.
There is considerable debate among historians as to when Christianity was
differentiated from Judaism. Most scholars believe that Roman distinction
between Jews and Christians took place around 70 AD. Tiberius most
likely viewed Christians as a Jewish sect rather than a separate, distinct
The palace of Tiberius at Rome was located on the Palatine Hill, the ruins
of which can still be seen today. No major public works were undertaken
in the city during his reign, except a temple dedicated to Augustus and
the restoration of the theater of Pompey, both of which were not finished
until the reign of Caligula. In addition, remnants of Tiberius' villa
at Sperlonga, which includes a grotto where the important Sperlonga sculptures
were found in fragments, and the Villa Jovis on top of Capri have been
preserved. The estate at Capri is said by Tacitus to have included
a total of twelve villas across the island, of which Villa Jovis was the
Tiberius refused to be worshipped as a living god, and allowed only one
temple to be built in his honor, 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.
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.
Tiberius has been represented in fiction, in literature, film and television,
and in video games, often as a peripheral character in the central storyline.
One such modern representation is in the novel I, Claudius by Robert
Graves, and the consequent BBC television series adaptation, where he is
portrayed by George Baker. George R. R. Martin, the author of The
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 historical drama 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,
in which he is played by Max von Sydow. In addition, Tiberius has
prominent roles in Ben-Hur (played by George Relph in his last starring
role), and in A.D. (played by James Mason).
Played by Ernest Thesiger, he featured in The Robe (1953). He was
featured in the 1979 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
Children and family:
Tiberius was married two times, with only his first union producing a child
who would survive to adulthood:
Vipsania Agrippina, daughter of
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (16–11 BC)
Julius Caesar (13 BC – 23 AD)
Julia the Elder, only daughter
of Augustus (11–6 BC)
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