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The Timeline of the Life of Tiberius,|
the Second Roman Emperor
The second wife of Octavian (Caesar Augustus), Livia Drusilla, had two children, Tiberius and Drusus.
Drusus was a very successful general campaigning in what became
Germany. However while on campaign he was thrown from his horse and died of his injuries a
few days later. Tiberius was in the military as well and took over
the command of the Roman troops in Germany after his brother's death.
Tiberius, despite having become in effect the second emperor of Rome, did not seem to have led
a happy successful life. He seemed to have been a victim of his mother's (Livia Drusilla) ambitions.
- 42 BCE: Tiberius, whose birth name was Tiberius Claudius Nero, was born on November 16th.
He was named after his father who was a fleet captain in the forces of Julius Caesar. His mother
was Livia Drusilla, a cousin of his father and a very young bride.
Tiberius' father supported Mark Antony in the civil wars that broke out after the Triumvirate of
Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus broke up. When Octavian's forces defeated those of
Mark Antony and Cleopatra Tiberius' family had to flee Rome. They fled first to Sicily and then to Greece.
- 39 BCE: Octavian grants amnesty to those who supported his opponents in the Civil Wars. Tiberius'
family was allowed to return to Rome. But in Rome Livia attracted the attention and admiration of Octavian.
Shortly after Octavian's wife gave birth to his daughter Julia Octavian divorced. He then force Tiberius'
father to divorce Livia Drusilla even though she was then about six months pregnant. Octavian then
married Livia, making her in effect but not in name the Empress of Rome.
Tiberius lived with his father and when Livia's second child, a son named Drusus, was born that child
also lived with his father.
- 33 BCE: Tiberius' father dies and his two sons go to live with their mother and Octavia, effectively
the Emperor of Rome. Octavian's daughter Julia was there also and a cousin of hers named
Marcellus. Marcellus was the son of Octavian's sister Octavia. The boys were educated to be
important officials in the government of Rome and from an early age they took part in public
ceremonies and met influential people from Rome and elsewhere.
- 27 BCE: Octavian went on an inspection tour of Roman outposts in Gaul. He took Tiberius and
Marcellus with him and they learned the rudiments of managing troops. Upon their return
Octavian sanctioned the marriage of his daughter Julia with Marcellus. She was about twelve years
- 23 BCE: Marcellus dies. Marcellus was the son of
Octavian's sister Octavia. This left Octavian without
an obvious male heir to his power within his family. His longtime friend and military genius, Marcus Agrippa, was the only
man who could maintain the loyalty of the army as his successor. Agrippa already had superior
status to the elected proconsols of Rome and had been sent to the East as a deputy of
Caesar Augustus to deal with problems there.
- 21 BCE: Agrippa marries Julia. She is about 18 and he is the age of her father, about 42.
Marcus Agrippina has a daughter by a previous marriage, Vipsania Agrippina. Tiberius
marries her and it appears to have been a love match.
- 20 BCE: Tiberius is given his first command, to pacify Pannonia on the Adriatic Coast. His forces
complete this assignment and Tiberius has earned a reputation for efficient and considerate care of
his troops. He is awarded the right to a procession of triumph.
- c. 17 BCE: Agrippa and Julia had two sons, one born in 20 BCE and the other in 18 BCE.
Augustus eager to have male heirs to whom
he could pass on his power adopted those two sons and renamed them Gaius Caesar and
- 16-15 BCE: Augustus sent Tiberius and Drusus into what are now Switzerland, Austria
and Bavaria to subdue the Germanic tribes there. They were successful and the Roman empire
was extended to the upper reaches of the Danube River.
- 12 BCE: Augustus becomes Pontifex Maximus, the chief priest of the Roman religion
after Lepidus, who had been a member of the Triumvirate with Octavian and Mark Antony, dies.
Agrippa also dies. Augustus wanting to ensure that one of his descendants will rule Rome
forces his daughter, the widow of Agrippa, to marry Tiberius, his stepson. Neither of the
pair desired this marriage. Tiberius was already happily married to a daughter of Agrippa. He
nevertheless divorced his wife and married Julia. He was 30 and she was 27. Tiberius immediately left on a military expedition
to subdue hostile elements in the area that is now Croatia, Serbia and Hungary.
- 9 BCE: Drusus, Augustus' other stepson, was commanding a Roman expedition across the
Rhine River into what is now Germany and extending Roman control up to the Elbe River.
In the year 9 BCE. Drusus dies after being thrown by a horse. Tiberius journeyed to be
by his side. As a gesture of the strength of his love for his brother Tiberius walks all the way
back to Rome in front of the
wagon carrying his brother's body. When Tiberius loved he loved exceedingly strongly.
Tiberius replaced Drusus as the commander of Roman forces in
- 6 BCE: Tiberius was made tribune of the Roman Senate, a position of significant
power. An infant son of Julia and Tiberius dies.
- Tiberius generally stayed away from Rome on military assignments. However when he was
once in Rome he sees his former wife Vipsania and weeping follows her through the streets.
Augustus hears of it and orders Tiberius never to see Vipsania again.
- 5 BCE: Tiberius retires to the Isand of Rhodes, alledgedly because of the public
attention Augustus was showing in that year to Gaius Caesar, the older of the two sons of Agrippa and Julia
which Augustus had adopted.
This attention indicated that Augustus intended to make Gaius Caesar his heir.
Tiberius is without any assignment and
becomes withdrawn and depressed at Rhodes.
- 2 BCE: Augustus held a public ceremony in the honor of Lucius Caesar, the younger of his adopted sons.
- 2 CE: Lucius Caesar, the younger adopted son of Augustus, dies in West in the city of Marseille where he had been
sent by Augustus. Lucius was about 20 years of age.
Augustus banishes Julia to an island off the coast of
Italy. The banishment of Julia was because of her notorious promiscuity. Augustus referred to her
as "a disease of my flesh." He allows Tiberius to return to Rome.
- 4 CE: Gaius Caesar, who had been sent by Augustus to the eastern provinces of the Empire,
died there at an age of about 24.
Augustus adopted Tiberius as his son and heir and conferred powers on Tiberius nearly equal to
his own. Augustus was about 67 years of age and Tiberius was 42. Tiberius in turn adopted
Germanicus, the son of his dead brother Drusus.
- 9 CE: Tiberius is given the command of an army to defeat a rebellion in Germany led by
Arminius. This rebellion had already destroyed three Roman legions. Tiberius successfully
carried out this assignment.
- 14 CE: Augustus dies and the Senate names Tiberius his successor. Tiberius is 56 years of age.
Tiberius keeps the Senate under control by keeping the Praetorian Guard always within marching
distance of Rome.
- The Charcter of the Reign of Tiberius: Tiberius was cautious about military ventures and public projects. He did strengthen
the Roman navy but ended the gladitorial games. As a consequence
the funds available in the Roman treasury vastly increased during his reign.
For a short period of time Tiberius banished the entire Jewish community from Rome.
In Rome the punishment for crimes by people of the upper class was generally fines or
confiscation of wealth. Charges of crimes could not only be brought against someone
by the public presecutors but also by any private citizen. If someone was found guilty
of crimes those bringing the charges
could share the proceeds. The process was called delation. This led to spurious
charges and extortions.
- 23 CE: Tiberius' son and heir dies. Tiberius becomes withdrawn and leaves the
governing of Rome to Sejanus, the commander of the Praetorian Guard.
- 27 CE: Tiberius leaves Rome to tour southern Italy. He stops off at the island
of Capri and decides to stay there. He has palaces and prisons built on Capri.
He has art treasures brought to Capri.
He is afflicted with a skin disease that makes him horrible to look at. He
becomes a monster in terms of his appearance as well as his behavior.
- 31 CE: Tiberius is elected consul of Rome for the fifth time and he allows
Sejanus to be elected co-consul. The command of the Praetorian Guard
is turned over to a man named Macro. Sejanus is running Rome and has
golden statues of himself erected. His birthday is declared a holiday.
Sejanus requests permission from Tiberius to marry the widow of
his son Drusus, Livilla. Tiberius grants that permission.
Evidence is brought to Tiberius that Sejanus had collaborated
with Livilla, his son's wife, in murdering Drusus, his son.
With the aid of Macro, the successor to Sejanus as commander of
the Praetorian Guard, Tiberius has a letter secretly brought to the
Senate in which he denounces Sejanus and calls for his execution.
The Senate complies and Sejanus' execution is carried out immediately.
- 37 CE: Tiberius at age 79 took part in a ceremony in which he
had to throw a javelin. He wrenched his shoulder badly and fell
into a coma. The Praetorian Guard declared the grandson of
Tiberius' bother Drusus to be emperor. This is the man known
to history by his nickname of Caligula, (little boots).
However, Tiberius came out of his coma and asked for food.
The next day, Macro, the head of the Praetorian Guard came
to see Tiberius. Macro chose to end Tiberius' rule by