Tiberius

Augustus adopts Tiberius. June 26, 4 AD.

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, somethin...

Caligula Emperor. March 28, 37 AD.

When Tiberius died on 16 March 37 AD, his estate and the titles of the principate were left to Caligula and Tiberius’s own grandson, Gemellus, who were to serve as joint heirs. Although Tiberius was 77 and on his death bed, some ancient historians still conjecture that he was murdered. Tacitus writes that the Praetorian Prefect, Macro, smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula’s accession, much to the joy of the Roman people. Seneca the Elder and Philo, who both wrote during Tiberius’s reign, record Tiberius as dying a natural death. Backed by Macro, Caligula had Tiberius’s will nullified with regard to Gemellus on grounds of insanity, but otherwise carried out Tiberius’s wishes. Caligula accepted the powers of the principate as conferred by the sena...

Justin´s madness forces his abdication. December 7, 574.

  As insanity invaded the mind of Justin, he became aware that he had to name a colleague for succession of his throne. Passing over his own relatives, he raised, on the advice of his wife Sophia, the general Tiberius to be Caesar in December 7 574, adopting him as his son, and withdrew into retirement. According to John of Ephesus, as Justin II slipped into the madness of his final days he was pulled through the palace on a wheeled throne, biting attendants as he passed. He reportedly ordered organ music to be played constantly throughout the palace in an attempt to soothe his frenzied mind. The tardy knowledge of his own impotence determined him to lay down the weight of the diadem; he showed some symptoms of a discerning and even magnanimous spirit when he addressed his assembly, Y...

Domitian, Emperor. September 13, 81 AD.

After a short reign, Titus, the elder son of Vespasian, died unexpectedly as a result of a disease on the 13th September 81. Next day, his younger brother Domitian was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard, his reign being the longest since that of Tiberius and the last of the Flavian Dynasty. He is described by classical sources as a cruel and paranoid tyrant, comparing his vileness to that of Nero or Caligula. Nevertheless, this sources have proven to be not very objective, as they come from writers openly hostile to the emperor, and modern research has shown that he was a ruthless but efficient monarch that developed cultural and economic programs that set the foundation of a very prosperous 2nd century.

Julia Drusilla – June 10, 38 AD

Julia Drusilla was one of the daughters of Germanicus and Agrippina Senior. She was also the sister of Nero Caesar, Drusus Caesar, Caligula, Agrippina Junior and Julia Livilla. Born in 16 AD, she was only three when Germanicus died in Antioch. Drusilla and her siblings were brought back to Rome by their mother, from where they all lived in Germany. The children were raised by Agrippina Senior, with the help of their paternal grandmother, Antonia Junior. During 26 AD, the Praetorian Prefect, Sejanus, essentially was running Rome and the administration of it, thanks to Tiberius delegating so much responsibility to him. Although Sejanus was not in line for succession to the throne, he used his power to eliminate possible challengers. Agrippina Senior, Nero Caesar and Drusus Caesar were all ar...

Eagles Recovered – May 26, 17 AD

Publius Quinctilius Varus, born in 46 BC, came from a noble family and became a personal friend to both Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Roman emperor Augustus. He married Vipsania Marcella Agrippina, great-niece of Augustus and daughter of Marcus Agrippa. After she died, he married Claudia Pulchra, grand-niece of Augustus through Octavia the Younger. Varus was fast-tracked on his political career and finished his cursus honorem early when he was elected consul with Tiberius in 13 BC. He gave the eulogy at Marcus Agrippa’s funeral in 12 BC. In 8/7 BC, he was appointed governor of Africa and in 7/6 BC, moved on to governor of Syria with four legions at his command. It was here Varus was known for his harsh rule and high taxes. A revolt in Judaea after the death of King Herod the Great in 4 BC w...

Ashes to Ashes – April 4, 37 AD

The Roman Emperor, Tiberius, was smothered to death by Marco (and possibly Caligula) on March 16, 37 AD. The Senate rejoiced and refused to vote to grant Tiberius with divine honors and mobs filled the streets with chants to throw his body in the Tiber. Instead, Tiberius was cremated and his ashes were interred at the Mausoleum of Augustus on April 4. The ancient Romans commonly cremated the royal family members upon their death. The building used for the funeral pyre was called an ustrinum. The ustrinum of the House of Augustus was located near the Mausoleum of Augustus. It was described by Strabo as “a travertine enclosure with a metal grating and black poplars planted inside it”. In 1777, while excavating at the corner of Corso and Via degli Otto Cantonia, a fine alabaster urn and six l...

Tiberius – March 16, 37 AD

Tiberius Claudius Nero was born in 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla in Rome. In 39 BC, Livia Drusilla divorced the elder Tiberius, while already pregnant, and married Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the future emperor of Rome. Drusilla gave birth to Nero Claudius Drusus in 38 BC. Although little is recorded of the early life of Tiberius, he gave the eulogy of his natural father in 32 BC, at the age of nine. In 29 BC, Tiberius and Drusus rode in the triumphal chariot with their stepfather during the parade celebrating Octavian’s defeat of Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium. Octavian successfully brought about the end of the civil wars and transitioned the Roman world through the end of the Imperatorial Period to the beginning of the Roman Empire in 27 BC. Augustu...

Galba Born – December 24, 3 BC

Servius Sulpicius Galba was born on December 24, 3 BC in Terracina, Italy to C. Sulpicius Galba and Mummia Achaica. His family was well-connected – his paternal grandfather was Servius Sulpicius Galba, praetor in 54 BC and his maternal grandfather was politician Quintus Lutatius Catulus. Galba’s mother died shortly after his birth and his father remarried Livia Ocellina, a distant relative of the Roman empress Livia. Livia adopted Galba and he changed his name to Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba. In his youth, Galba was remarked by both Augustus and Tiberius to have great abilities and destined to be important.  This  is a category of  silver denarius. Galba married Aemilia Lepida, who was connected through the marriages of some of her relatives to various members of the house of Julii...

Germanicus Poisoned – October 10, 19 AD

Germanicus was the son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor. Born in Rome in 15 BC, he was the great-nephew of the emperor Augustus, who convinced his step-son and heir, Tiberius, to adopt him as his heir. Germanicus married his second cousin, Agrippina Senior, Augustus’s granddaughter, and had nine children with her. Germanicus was an accomplished general in the Roman army and was beloved by Romans. He traveled with Tiberius in 5 AD to Pannonia and Germany to deal with rebellions and returned to the area in 14 AD as the commander of the forces in Germania Inferior. This is a category of  Germanicus coins. While stationed in Germany, Germanicus managed to recover the legionary eagles lost by Varus during the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest seven years earlier. This increased his popula...

Easter Sunday

Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of Judaea, and governed during the reign of Roman emperor, Tiberius. The four Christian Gospels all agree Pilate did not want to have Jesus Christ executed, but relented to the crowds who demanded it. The Gospels tell: Matthew: Pilate symbolically washes his hands to show he didn’t want to be held responsible for the execution of Jesus and was only doing what was demanded of him. Mark: Jesus was innocent of plotting against the Roman Empire and Pilate agreed and didn’t want to condemn him. Luke: Not only did Pilate find Jesus innocent of plotting against the Empire, but Herod Antipas of Galilee agreed. John: Quotes Pilate as saying “I find no guilt in Him [Jesus]” and asks the Jews if he should be freed. Matthew 22:15-22            Paying the Imperial T...

Octavian and Livia Married – January 17, 38 BC

During the period of the Second Triumvirate, Tiberius Claudius Nero was fighting on the side of Julius Caesar’s assassins, against the triumvirs. After the Battle of Philippi, he continued to fight on the side of Lepidus and Marc Antony against Octavian. When the triumvirs came to a peace agreement, and the proscriptions began, Tiberius Claudius Nero was forced to flee Italy with his wife, Livia Drusilla, and son and future emperor, Tiberius. In 40 BC, Octavian married Scribonia, relative of Sextus Pompey. It was a political maneuver, but it did result in the only known offspring Octavian would foster – a daughter named Julia (the Elder or Major). In 39 BC, a general amnesty was announced between the triumvirs and the Pompeian faction. During this time, Tiberius Claudius Nero returned to R...

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