chapter  IV
7 Pages

THE END OF THE CONQUESTS. FROM TIBERIUS TO TRAJAN (14–117)

TIBERIUS,1 the heir appointed by Augustus, was also an “old Roman,” and had shown distinguished ability as a soldier. He was without great personal ambition, much more free than his predecessor from all vanity, cold and distant, simple and desirous of simplicity about him, shocked by the luxury displayed by rich provincials who were beginning to come to Italy and eclipse the Italians impoverished by civil wars and proscriptions; a prince, in fine, who refused to “shear his flock” and exact ruinous tribute. He showed great benevolence towards the Greeks, although he was inclined to react against Hellenic culture. He was a man of strict conscience, devoted to his duties, and his wisdom in practice was sustained by reflection. His dark misanthropy provoked him to acts of cruelty against this Roman society whose corruption sickened him; but to the end his strong intellect guaranteed firm government to the Empire and undeniable prosperity. Historical criticism has ceased to be misled about him by a tradition distorted through party spite,2 and his remarkable provincial administration now stands clearly revealed. He dreamed of no new conquest and never allowed himself to be influenced in that direction by his advisers.