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15 Facts About Roman Emperor Tiberius

Tiberius is considered one of the greatest generals in Roman history. He is responsible for conquering Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and briefly Germania. Because of him, the Roman established a foundation in the north. However, the man spent a great deal of his life waiting in the wings to rule the empire. This article offers more information on this ancient Roman figure.

1. Tiberius served as Roman emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. He was born Tiberius Claudius Nero and took the name Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus when he was a ruler.

2. Interestingly, Tiberius never really wanted to be an emperor, and historical documents describe the ruler as being dark, reclusive, and not the happiest of leaders. In fact, Pliny the Elder once called him “the gloomiest of men.”

3. Some described Tiberius as lacking the political know-how like his predecessor Augustus. He was also noted as a jealous emperor. Since he harbored such feelings, it is no wonder that it is said that he distrusted the more popular Germanicus, who was his general.

4. Tiberius took the daughter of Augustus’s close friend and greatest general as his wife in 19 BC. Vipsania Agrippina was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. After guiding forces in the Alps and discovered the sources of the Danube, Tiberius returned to Rome in 13 BC. Around the same time, his son Drusus, was born.

5. When Tiberius’ son Drusus Julius Caesar died in 23, the ruler was greatly affected by the death. Although he was told not to, Tiberius decided to send himself into exile from Rome in 26. In his absence, his administration was left to Praetorian Prefects Sejanus and Macro, who were not described as the most honest of citizens.

6. With the death of Agrippa in 12 BC, Tiberius and Drusus moved up in the ranks of coming closer to ascending to the throne. At the request of Augustus in 11 BC, Tiberius was asked to divorce Vipsania and marry Julia the Elder, who was Augustus’ daughter and Agrippa’s widow. This would prove detrimental to Tiberius’ happiness, as he was not pleased with his marriage to Julia. The woman also did not produce any living heirs, as their only child together died in infancy. To make matters worse, Julia also had a reputation for having relationships with other men. Tiberius despised his wife, who publicly humiliated him and forbade him to have contact with any women he had loved.  

7. It is also said that Tiberius never got over Vipsania and one day, he crossed paths with her. He did not react well to the encounter and supposedly followed her home in tears and begging for forgiveness. Soon after, Tiberius met with Augustus and arrangements were made so that he would not bump into his former love again.