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Ancient Rome – Who is Tiberius?
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/29/12
By: Yona Williams

Following the rule of Augustus (from 14 to 37 AD), Tiberius came into power – begrudgingly claiming the position of Roman emperor. By birth, he was a Claudian – the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and livia Drusilla – and when his mother married Augustus, he became the stepson of Octavian. In this article, you will learn more about this former emperor of Rome.

Tiberius wasn’t interested in doing any good or making improvements for the people, he simply wanted to take advantage of the luxuries that came with being an emperor. He left all of the ruling and 'hard work' to the senate. Because of this, the senate despised their leader. They would criticize the emperor to the rest of Rome, which got so bad that he could no longer trust that he'd stay safe in the city. He decided to leave for the island of Capri for his own protection.

Before retiring to the island of Capri, Tiberius led a civil and military career that included negotiating peace and campaigning in other lands. At one point, he would appear in court as an advocate. In 20 BC, he was sent to the east under Marcus Agrippa – who was a close friend and general of Augustus. At this time, the Parthians had captured the legions that were under the command of several generals. Tiberius engaged in a great deal of negotiations over many years. He then led a force into Armenia with a goal to most likely establish the land as a Roman client-state, which could become a threat on the Roman-Parthian border. Augustus was able to drum up a compromise where the legions were returned and Armenia stayed a neutral territory between the two powers.

The tasks of ruling Rome went to his captain of the guard, Lucius Sejanus. He erected statues of the captain all over the city. Tiberius was now seen as a retired leader, as he stayed in Capri to lead a long life. He only returned to Rome for a couple of times.

Living on Capri was good for the emperor, as he built a large villa for himself that was called Villa Jovis (which translated into the Villa of Jupiter). Tiberius then became known for his fondness of young children. He would swim naked in waters with toddlers, young boys and even infants. He was also known for raping the young. Even when he was in his late 70s, the man enjoyed having sex with young children.

Additional Facts about Tiberius

•    Tiberius married the daughter of Augustus (Julia the Elder), and was later adopted by Augustus. This act led to him officially becoming a Julian, where he was then called Tiberius Julius Caesar.

•    Tiberius died on March 16 in 37 AD – at the age of 77 years old. He was buried at the Mausoleum of Augustus, which was located in Rome.

•    After the emperor died, his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Caligula, would become the new ruler of Rome.


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