Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome and a highly-successful soldier whose reputation for arrogance and debauchery is probably unfounded.
Tiberius Claudius Nero was born on 16 November 42 BC. In 39 BC, his mother Livia divorced his father and married Octavian, the future emperor Augustus in 27 BC. Tiberius had a brilliant military career and with his younger brother Drusus helped carry out the expansion of the Roman empire along the Danube and into modern day Germany (16 BC - 7 BC, 4 AD - 9 AD).
In 11 BC, Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce his wife Vipsania and marry Julia, Augustus' daughter. In 6 BC, Tiberius abruptly retired to Rhodes. In 2 AD, he returned to Rome and in 4 AD, with Augustus's grandsons both dead, Tiberius was adopted as Augustus's son. Tiberius in turn adopted his nephew Germanicus (great-nephew of Augustus). He then went on campaign in northern Germany, securing the frontier and returning to Rome a hero.
Tiberius succeeded Augustus in 14 AD. Initially, his rule was positive. He improved the civil service and restored Rome's financial condition. However, Tiberius lacked Augustus' natural rapport with the Senate and he became increasingly unpopular. This contrasted strongly with the popularity of the charismatic Germanicus, his expected successor. When Germanicus died in 19 AD, it was widely believed that Tiberius had poisoned him in order that his own son, Drusus, should succeed. But in 23 AD, Drusus died, throwing open the question of the succession.
Tiberius's reliance upon the ambitious and brutal Sejanus, the head of the Praetorian guard (the imperial bodyguards), resulted in allegations of tyranny. In 27 AD, Tiberius retired to Capri, never returning to Rome. Two years later, realising that Sejanus was trying to seize power, Tiberius had him executed. In 35 AD, Tiberius made Gaius (son of Germanicus) and his own grandson, Gemellus, joint heirs.
Tiberius died on 16 March 37 AD and was succeeded by Gaius, also known as Caligula.
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