How was Tiberius personally

The problem of the succession to Tiberius and the work of Sejan

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2) The principle of Augustan coinage

3) Tiberius

4) Sejan

5) The death of Drusus

6) The elimination of Agrippina

7) Can a knight become a princeps?

8) The year

9) Conclusion

10) Bibliography and sources

1 Introduction

After the victory against Antony and his suicide in the year 30 BC1 Octavian had the gates of the Temple of Jan in the Roman Forum close, a sign that from now on there should be peace in the Roman Empire. Despite a triumphant return to Rome, he faced a major problem. On the one hand, he had to create a state order that was acceptable to the Roman people, but on the other hand it also did justice to the fact that the balance of power in recent history had shifted in favor of the commanders of the legions. An official sole rule was out of the question for him, as this would have turned the people against him. His solution was to shape an entire epoch of Roman history: the principate. In this he succeeded in uniting both republican and monarchical elements and at the same time giving the impression that the republic had been restored. A major problem for the principate, however, was the issue of succession planning. In the following, the principle of the Augustan style will first be presented, then the life of Tiberius, successor of Octavian2, being represented. In order to illustrate the successor problem with Tiberius, the rise and work of the Praetorian prefect Sejan is then briefly discussed, the conclusion should be the question of whether a Roman knight can become a princeps.

2) The principle of Augustan coinage

After defeating the murderers of Caesar, Augustus returned to Rome. He was now faced with the question of how the Roman state should look in the future. Open sovereignty was out of the question for him, the murder of Caesar had been a warning example, and the Roman people would hardly have tolerated him as a dictator. The vast expansion of the Roman Empire also required a large number of legions, which would have enabled their commanders to be proclaimed emperor again and again. So Augustus had to place the greater part of the Roman army under the command of a single one. That in turn would have meant giving the Roman people the feeling of being ruled by a dictator or a king. Augustus found the solution in giving his powers back to the Senate and then having the Senate give him back the powers he needed to rule alone, without at the same time giving the people the impression that he was a dictator because his Powers were officially handed over by the Senate and, according to public statements, he would only have accepted the powers at the request of the Senate. The so-called imperium proconsulare gave Augustus the opportunity to take command of the troops in all provinces that were formally subordinate to the emperor. In fact, Augustus had the supreme command of most of the army, since most of the troops were stationed in provinces on the border and these were subordinate to the emperor.3 The second enormously important part of the principate was the tribunicia potestas. It gave the institution the authority and powers of a tribune of the people, so that on the one hand it could prevent laws, but on the other hand it could also convene the Senate and the People's Assembly and propose these laws.4 Augustus thus succeeded in formally re-establishing the republic, while he and his successors actually held power in their hands as sole rulers.

3) Tiberius

Tiberius was born in 42 BC. Born in Rome, his father, Tiberius Claudius Nero, was initially a follower of Gaius Julius Caesar, but in the course of the civil war he turned against him and, after his assassination, even suggested to the Senate that the murderers be regarded as liberators and rewarded.5 After Augustus came to power and when the father did not resign from his position as praetor at the end of his term of office, the family had to flee to Sicily. A return to Italy was only possible when Augustus, Marcus Antonius and Sextus Pompey agreed a peace treaty that also included an amnesty for refugees. Back in Italy, Livia, Tiberius' mother, aroused the interest of Augustus and he forced Tiberius Nero to divorce her in order to be able to marry her himself. This made Tiberius his stepson and from then on lived in the Augustus house6where his political career began at the early age of nine when he gave the funeral oration at the funeral of his biological father.7 He was also allowed to take part in Augustus' triumphal procession after the victory over Marcus Antonius at Actium, and at the age of 19 he was already accepted into the senatorial class as quaestor who was responsible for the grain supply.

Tiberius also managed to achieve a certain number of honors in the field of military successes, for example as a military tribune he took part in a campaign by Augustus to Spain, led a campaign against the Armenian kingdom and achieved the Roman standard through diplomatic means to bring back that Antony, Crassus and Saxa had lost to the Parthians.8

Tiberius was first married to Vipsania Agrippina, daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, one of Augustus' closest confidants. From this marriage also comes Tiberius' son Drusus, of whom we will speak in connection with Sejan. By order of Augustus, however, Tiberius later had to divorce Vipsania and marry the Princeps' daughter, Iulia. The princeps had initially married his daughter to Agrippa, who was considered the successor candidate for the often seriously ill Augustus, especially since the princeps adopted him and made him his representative and thus the first candidate for the successor by being awarded the imperium proconsulare and the tribunicia potestas. But when Agrippa in 12 BC Died on a campaign in the Balkan region9, Augustus faced the problem that the succession was now open again, since he was with the sons of Agrippa10 Had heirs, but they weren't old enough to rule alone. A placeholder had to be found who would manage the official business until the heirs had reached the required age. Tiberius was the logical choice for this post, as he was the leading general of the empire after Agrippa's death and Augustus could not override him in the succession plan11. The possible fate of Tiberius as regent for Gaius or Lucius should not be discussed at this point, his future would in any case have been very uncertain as soon as one of the two intended heirs had reached the required age.12 But since both Lucius and Gaius died soon after13 Augustus' plans were upset and he was ultimately forced to adopt Tiberius. This in turn had to adopt Germanicus, his nephew, because he was married to Agrippina, the daughter of Agrippa and Juliet. The bloodline of Augustus would therefore survive in Germanicus sons.14 Tiberius was only intended by the Princeps as a temporary solution should he die before Germanicus was old enough to rule.

Shortly before Augustus' death, the powers of Tiberius, the tribunicia potestas and the imperium proconsulare maius were extended by ten years, and when the Princeps finally died in 14 the Senate finally appointed Tiberius as his successor.

4) Sejan

Sejan, who around the year 20 BC. was born in Etruscan15 was Praetorian prefect under Tiberius, initially together with his father Seius Strabo16. After Augustus' death he was commissioned by Tiberius to end the uprising of the Pannonian legions with his son Drusus in Germania.17 When there were uprisings in Egypt, Strabo was appointed as praefectus Aegypti to bring the province to rest. Sejan stayed in Rome, he was now the sole commander of the imperial guard.18

Erhard Meissner describes the further rise of Sejan: “In the year 21, when Tiberius was in Capri, Sejan practically ran state affairs. He solved the tasks to the satisfaction of the princeps, because he then received the ornamenta praetoria, in public Tiberius spoke highly of him several times. [...] When Sejan was careful to prevent major damage during the fire of the Pompey Theater, his statue was erected there, [...]. "

The further ascent or the intentions of Sejan will not be discussed at this point, as the intentions are dealt with in a separate chapter and the ascent is not the main topic of the housework.

5) The death of Drusus

Sejan's steep rise in the favor of Tiberius naturally made enemies for him, within the Senate, but also within the imperial family. The relationship with Drusus, the son of Tiberius must have been good at the beginning, Tiberius would hardly have given his son one of his enemies as support to end the mutiny in Pannonia. With the increasing influence of Sejan on Tiberius, their relationship worsened, however, Drusus complained, he felt downgraded and less respected compared to Sejan. The upsets even went so far that there was a physical argument between the two.19


1 In the following B.C. abbreviated

2 In the following named by his honorary title: Augustus

3 Lacey: Augustus, p.134ff.

4 Lacey: Augustus, p.154ff.

5 Suet. Tib. 4.1.

6 Seager: Tiberius, p.10f.

7 Suet. Tib. 6.4.

8 Seager: Tiberius, p.15ff.

9 Cass.Dio 54.28.

10 Gaius and Lucius Caesar

11 Seager: Tiberius, p.25.

12 Seager: Tiberius, p.33.

13 Seager: Tiberius, p.35.

14 Seager: Tiberius, p.36.

15 Meissner: Sejan, p.3.

16 Meissner: Sejan, p.4.

17 Meissner: Sejan, p.4.

18 Henning: Seianus, p.20.

19 Tac.ann. 4,3,2; Cass.Dio 57,22,1. It is difficult to say from whom the aggression is originating, with Cassius Dio Sejan beats Drusus, with Tacitus it is exactly the other way round. I think the version of Tacitus is more likely, Sejan would hardly have risked his reputation with Tiberius by physically attacking his son.

End of the reading sample from 16 pages