An Emperor Of Rome Tiberius, born Nov. 16, 42 B. C, died March 16, A. D. 37. His full name was Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar. He was the eldest son of Claudius Tiberius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His father divorced his wife in order that she might be married to Augustus; and when he died, in 33 B. C, his funeral oration was pronounced before the rostra by his son, then only nine years old. Tiberius was educated by the emperor with princely care. In 29 he accompanied Augustus in his triumplal entry into Rome, and subsequently married Vipsania Agrippina, by whom he had a son named Drusus; but in 11 he was compelled by the policy of Augustus to divorce her, much against his will, and marry the beautiful but dissolute Julia, daughter of the emperor. In spite of her licentiousness he seems to have lived peaceably with her for a year, and had by her one child which did not live; and after that event the feelings of dislike between them gradually increased until they led to a virtual separation. As military tribune Tiberius made his first campaign in the Cantabrian war.
In 20 he went to Asia Minor, restored Tigranes to the throne of Armenia, and compelled the Parthians to give up the eagles taken from Crassus; in 15 he and his brother Drusus carried on a war against the Alpine nations of Rhaetia, and the exploits of the two were celebrated by Horace. In 13 Tiberius became consul with P. Quintilius Yarns; in 11 conducted the war against the revolted Dalmatians and the Pannonians; and in 9, when Drusus was fatally injured in Germany, he hastened from Pavia to the place where his brother was dying, and after- his death conveyed the body to Rome, walking all the way before it on foot, and on arriving in that city pronounced over it a funeral oration in the forum. He returned to Germany, gained several victories, and crossed the Rhine; but in 7 he went back to Rome, celebrated his second triumph, and was made consul a second time. In 6 he obtained tribuni-tian power for five years, but suddenly formed the resolution of retiring to Rhodes. According to Tacitus, this was to get away from the licentiousness of his wife; but other authorities say it was on account of the jealousy between himself and the grandsons of Augustus. At Rhodes he resided eight years, living in a very simple style.
While he was absent his wife was banished (2 B. C.) to the island of Pandataria, and at the expiration of his tribu-nitian power Tiberius asked leave to return to Rome; but permission was not granted till A. D. 2, and then only on condition that he would take no part in public affairs. The death of the two older grandsons of Augustus virtually left Tiberius the succession to the throne, and in A. D. 4 he was adopted by Augustus. From this time to the death of the emperor he was constantly employed in military operations. He conquered all Illyricum, gained great victories over the Germans and the Dalmatians, and in 12 celebrated his fourth triumph. His military successes were all-important, as the loss of Varus and his legions in Germany had placed the empire in danger. In 14 he started for Illyricum to conduct the war in that quarter, when he was recalled by the death of Augustus to ascend the throne. One of the first acts of his reign was to put to death Agrippa Postumus, the only surviving grandson of Augustus, alleging that the execution was in accordance with the wishes of the late emperor. The first years of his reign were marked by prudence and moderation.
He rejected all flattery from the senate, placed in office the most worthy persons, and made efforts to relieve the scarcity of bread constantly recurring in Rome. Meanwhile a mutiny of the legions in Pannonia was only quelled by the energy of Drusus, the emperor's son, and the terror inspired by a solar eclipse. Undor the influence of Sejanus, who had become his favorite, the natural severity of his temper began soon to degenerate into cruelty. The election of magistrates was taken from the popular assembly and transferred to the senate, which sat simply to register the decrees of the emperor. The charges of Ioesa majestas, by which all persons suspected of impugning by word or deed the majesty of the emperor were tried, were prosecuted with great rigor. A secret organization of dela-tores, or spies, was formed, and their infernal machinations exposed the life, the fortune, and the honor of every Roman citizen to hourly danger. After the death of Ger-manicus (see Germanicus) the emperor surrendered himself more and more to the influence of Sejanus. By his advice the praetorian cohorts, stationed hitherto in various parts of the city, were assembled in one camp, in the vicinitv of Rome. At the same time the power of the empire was thoroughly maintained in the provinces, and two revolts in 21, one on the Moselle headed by Julius Floras, and the other among the AEdui headed by Julius Sacrovir, were put down and their leaders forced to slay themselves to escape from the imperial troops.
In 23 Sejanus caused the death of Drusus by poison. Whether Tiberius felt any sorrow or not, he certainly manifested none; and when the people of Troas sent him a message of condolence, he sneeringly sent back an answer of condolence on the death of their fellow citizen Hector. In 2G the emperor finally departed from Rome. He first went to Campania, and there issued an edict commanding the people not to molest his retirement, and in the following year went to the island of Capreae (Capri). The early part of his reign had been marked by a strict regard for external decency, and a stringent law had been passed against courtesans; but his last years were spent in the most infamous pleasures. Caprea) became the haunt of disgusting debauchery, especially after the death of Livia Drusilla in 29, who had always exercised much influence over her son. In 30 he banished Agrippina, the widow of Germanicus, and afterward caused the assassination of two of her sons. Henceforth Sejanus had the full control of affairs of state. The employment of delatorez gave him abundant means of getting rid of obnoxious individuals on false charges. Tiberius, who had been suspecting for some time the plots of his minister, managed to get rid of Sejanus in 31, and the favorite and all his family were destroyed.
In the mean time the emperor became, in the words of Pliny, "the most wretched of men." In the remarkable letter sent to the senate, which Tacitus has preserved, he begins with a frank avowal of his misery. "What to write to you," he says, " or how to write, I know not; and what not to write at this time, may all the gods and goddesses torment me more than I daily feel that I am suffering, if I do know." About this time he went once more to Campania, and occasionally came as near Rome as his gardens on the Vatican. But his privacy was never disturbed; soldiers were placed so as to prevent any one from coming near him. He had been remarkable for beauty and majesty of person, but dissipation had covered his face with ugly blotches, and his body was bent nearly double. At Astura he was attacked by illness, and he reached Misenum to die in the villa of Lucullus. According to Tacitus, it was left to fate to determine his successor. On March 16 he had a fainting fit, and as he was thought dead, Caius Caligula, the son of Germanicus, was saluted as his successor; but the emperor suddenly recovering, a quantity of clothes was thrown over him and he was left alone. There is another account of his death.
The people hailed the event with delight, and the cry of "Tiberius to the Tiber" was heard constantly in the streets of Rome. He however had a public burial. The chief authorities for his life are Suetonius, Dion Cassius, and above all Tacitus. He wrote a commentary of his own life, Greek poems, an ode on the death of L. Caesar, and several epistles and orations, either to the senate or on occasion of funerals. The crucifixion of Christ took place during his reign. - See Tiberius' Leben, Regierung und Character, by Adolf Stahr (Berlin, 1874).