Tacitus and Suetonius on Tiberius

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Tacitus and Suetonius on Tiberius

Background

Tiberius was the son of Livia, who later married Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. Tiberius had a brilliant military record, and, with is younger brother Drusus, helped to carry out the expansion of the Roman Empire along the Danube and into Germany. In 11BC, Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce his wife Vipsania, and marry Augustus daughter Julia. Tiberius was then adopted along with Agrippa Postumus after the death of the previous heirs Agrippa the elder, Gaius and Lucius. After Augustus death, Tiberius became emperor in 14 AD, and had an initial positive and even calm rule, however he became increasingly unpopular, along with his dependence on Sejanus, the head of the Praetorian Guard. In 27AD Tiberius retired to Capri, and never went back to Rome, he died in 37AD and left the empire in the hands of Caligula.

 

Accession and Major Events of Tiberius Reign

Suetonius

Section 15; “before 3 years had passed [from Tiberius returning to Rome] Gaius and Lucius were both dead; Augustus then adopted Tiberius as a son, along with Agrippa Postumus…and Tiberius himself was obliged to adopt his nephew Germanicus.”

Section 73; he died when he was 77 and reigned for nearly 23 years. “some believe that he ad been given a slow, wasting poison by Caligula”.

 

Tacitus

Page 96 - 97; Postumus’ slave Clemens wanted an uprising and vengeance against Tiberius. “He stole Agrippa’s ashes” and then grew his hair and beard to make himself look more like Postumus. Many people believed this and wanted to follow Clemens to overthrow Tiberius, but the emperor then ordered him to be killed “in a secluded part of the palace” so as not to create public tension.

Treason Trials

Page 90- 92; The treason trials of Libo Drusus began with Catus and Trio accusing him of subversive plotting and associations with astrologers predictions etc. Libo eventually killed himself and his property was divided among the accusers.

Page 102; There was a matuing in the treason trials and adultery laws which affect Augustus’ niece Appuleia Varilla for example. She was charged for “speaking insultingly about the Divine Augutsus’ as well as Tiberius and his mother, and for committing adultery”.

 

Administration of Rome, Italy and Empire (Provinces and Military Triumphs)

Suetonius

Section 8; Tiberius was given a commission to “reorganize the defective grain supply and to inquire into the state of slave barracks throughout Italy” Showed he was being given responsibilities.

Section 9; Tiberius had many military triumphs; “restored the kingdom of Armenia”, “collected the lost standards from the Parthians”, “governed Transalpine Gaul”, “took 40,000 German prisoners”.

Section 16; There was “the Illyrian revolt, which he [Tiberius] was sent to surpress, and which proved to be the most bitterly fought of all foreign wars since Rome had defeated Carthage”. Tiberius conducted this war for 3 years, then managed to “reduce the whole of Illyricum…to complete submission.”

Section 37; Tiberius made Rome safer by “decreasing the distance between

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