6. The Times of Tiberius

TiberiusBoy TiberiusBustCoin DrususElderCoin VipsaniaAgrippa GermanicusAgrippinaElder Sejanus Sejanus-RomeMAP DrususYoungLivilla

Bust of Tiberius in early adolescence

Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar was 53 when—as the "last man standing"— he acceeded to the principate after Augustus.


Right: Tiberius's beloved first wife Vipsania, daughter of Marcus Agrippa, as identified in a group of portraits on the Ara Pacis in Rome. They were foced by Augustus to divorce so Tiberius could marry the widowed Julia; he hated her.

Tiberius was devastated by his the death of his brother Drusus (the Elder, seen in a coin) in 9 BC.

Publically adored, Germanicus 

and his wife Agrippina. When Germanicus died in mysterious circumstances in Syria, Agrippina blamed Tiberius for his murder. Her public campaign of several years finally drove the emperor to give his praetorian prefect Lucius Aelius Sejanus (left, thought to be his likeness) the freedom to act. Sejanus rapidly had Agrippina and her sons, Nero and Drusus Julius, eradicated. Only the youngest, Caligula, survived.


   Sejanus was responsible for

   concentrating the Praetorian

   Guard in a brand new camp outside the Servian Wall. Suitably, he came to a sticky end.

Tiberius's son Drusus (the Younger) and his wife Julia Livilla, the sister of Germanicus and Claudius. She was alleged to have had an affair with Sejanus and helped the prefect poison her husband.

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Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England