chapter  2
12 Pages

Tiberius’ early life

Tiberius Claudius Nero, later to become Tiberius Caesar, was born on 16 November, 42 BC; this was the year which saw Octavian and Marc Antony inflict defeat upon Brutus and Cassius, thus finally avenging the murder of Julius Caesar two years previously. As a member of the Claudian family (gens Claudia), Tiberius could look back to a long line of famous, often brilliantly talented, ancestors. Few generations of the Roman republic had not seen a Claudian exercising a dominant or maverick role; they were a family firmly at the centre of the network of aristocratic patronage which had been the life-blood of the respublica. Tiberius’ parents were in fact both Claudians, though from different branches of the family. His father was, like Tiberius himself, called Tiberius Claudius Nero; his branch of the family was comparatively undistinguished. Some members had been active at the time of the Punic wars in the third century BC; more recently, only Tiberius’ paternal grandfather, also called Tiberius Claudius Nero, appears to have played an active role in politics (see Figure 1).