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Tiberius' full name was Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar, he was born on 16th November 42 BC, the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia, shortly before his mother married Emperor Augustus, and received an excellent education.
In 11 AD, he was compelled by Augustus to divorce his wife Vipsania Agrippina, and to marry Julia, the Emperor's daughter and widow of Agrippa. Although this marriage was disharmonious, it brought Tiberius into closer contact with the imperial family. He was sent by Augustus on many successful military campaigns. Tiberius was appointed consul twice, received the tribunician power, victory parades in Rome, but in 5 BC retired to Rhodes, with the Emperor's permission. This seems to have been to get away from his wife, and also because Augustus's grandson's were approaching maturity, and would have posed a threat to Tiberius.
After the deaths of Lucius Caesar in 2 AD, and Caius Caesar in 4 AD, Augustus adopted Tiberius as his heir. From this adoption until the death of Augustus, Tiberius was in charge of the Roman armies. On the death of Augustus on 19th August 14 AD, Tiberius was recalled to Rome by his mother Livia, and took the imperial power without any opposition, although pretending great reluctance. One of his first acts as Emperor was to put to death Postumus Agrippa, the surviving grandson of Augustus, alleging that this was done at the command of the late emperor.
The Rhine armies wished to reject Tiberius, but their commander Germanicus remained loyal to Tiberius, his uncle, and restored discipline. Germanicus died in 19 AD, and was believed to have been poisoned on the orders of Tiberius, relieving him of any rival claim to the throne.
From this point, Tiberius became even more tyrannical, and many senators were put to death on a charge of treason against the emperor.
Although Tiberius possessed a suspicious nature, for many years he left matters of government to Sejanus, and retired to Campania, and later Capreae. After the death of Livia, Sejanus plotted the destruction of Agrippina and her children, but was rewarded by Tiberius with an ignominious death in 31 AD.
Tiberius died on 16th March 37, at Misenum, at the age of 78. He was succeeded by his Caius (Caligula), the son of Germanicus.
In his lifetime, Tiberius wrote a brief commentary of his own life, which was studied by Domitian and Suetonius. He also wrote Greek poems and other works.
The Tribute Penny
The Biblical story in which Jesus Christ was asked about the fairness of Roman taxation is assumed to relate to a coin of Tiberius, who was the Roman Emperor at the time. Christ asked whose head was on the coin, and being informed it was Caesar's, replied, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's...". The coin which to which he was referring is assumed to be a silver denarius of Tiberius with the reverse type of Pontifex Maximus.
Roman Emperors Portrait Gallery
You may wish to visit our portrait gallery of Roman emperors. Although it is not complete, we add new and better coins when we can. We are always keen to buy superior quality Roman coins to upgrade our photo gallery.
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