(Tiberius Claudius Nero)


Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome. He was the stepson of Augustus Caesar, and only inherited the imperial throne due to the premature deaths of several other nephews and grandsons of Augustus, who had been in line for the honor. Tiberius was unusually reserved by nature and for this reason was never particularly popular with either the citizens of Rome or the army, but he was for the most part a competent administrator and the empire continued in relative stability under his leadership.

Tiberius was the subject of several scandals throughout his life, but historians vary in how much blame they assign to him. His notoriously unhappy marriage to Julia, the daughter of Augustus, caused him to go into self-imposed exile on Rhodes for seven years, but in that case most of the fault lay with his wife. The rumors of his involvement in the death of Germanicus have never been substantiated, but his subsequent power struggles with the family of Germanicus continued throughout most of his reign. Finally, the affair involving his trusted lieutenant Sejanus, which resulted first in the death of his own son Drusus, and later in a general purge of the family and friends of Sejanus was a great disaster for Rome, but Sejanus is generally held to be the culprit. Finally, the reason for his self-imposed seclusion on the island of Capri was never well understood, and so rumours of all sorts of atrocities have been spread, but none is well founded.

Key events during the life of Tiberius:

20 BC
Campaigned in Armenia.
19 BC
Governor of Transalpine Gaul.
12 BC
Served with brother Drusus on the Rhine and Danube.
12 BC
Married Julia, daughter of Augustus against his will.
Death of brother Drusus in Germany.
Elected consul.
Retires to Rhodes for seven years, to escape unhappy marriage.
Returns to Rome, secures a divorce, adopted as heir to the empire.
Succeeds to imperial throne on the death of Augustus.
Death of Germanicus, next heir to the imperial throne.
Death of son Drusus
Retires to Capri. Sejanus left in charge in Rome.
Arrested and imprisoned Agrippa, wife of Germanicus, and son Nero.
Sejanus was tried for treason and executed, along with his children and friends.
Murdered while on death bed to hasten succession.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Mutiny  in  Pictures from Roman Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Rise and Fall of Sejanus  in  Pictures from Roman Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Tiberius at Capri  in  Pictures from Roman Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Varus Avenged  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber

Image Links

 in Pictures from Roman Life and Story

Tiberius at Capri
 in Greatest Nations - Rome

Short Biography
Augustus Caesar First emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Germanicus Roman military hero and heir to the throne. Probably murdered.
Sejanus Leader of Praetorians. Conspired to seize the throne from Tiberius.
Julia Caesara Profligate daughter of Augustus Caesar. Fell from grace and was banished from Rome.
Agrippina the Elder Granddaughter of Augustus Caesar; accused Tiberius of killing her husband Germanicus.