chapter  1
3 Pages


Tiberius Caesar was an enigma to his contemporaries; subsequent generations have found this taciturn and reclusive figure no easier to fathom. When in ad 14, at the age of 56, he succeeded Augustus as princeps, he was a man of considerable – mostly military – experience; yet despite this, there were serious anxieties as to whether his character really suited him to the demands of the job, anxieties which he himself appears in some measure to have shared. According to Tacitus, some felt that Augustus had adopted him as his successor either because there was no satisfactory alternative or even so that a poor successor would shed a particularly favourable light on his own memory. To many, Tiberius’ reserved nature concealed haughtiness and arrogance, perhaps even a tendency to cruelty and perversion.