Presentation on theme: "January 26 th, 2012. Did Augustus’ family life always live up to the ideal he was trying to create? Did Augustus live up to his own moral ideals? What."— Presentation transcript:
January 26 th, 2012
Did Augustus’ family life always live up to the ideal he was trying to create? Did Augustus live up to his own moral ideals? What were some of Augustus favorite leisure activities? Does Augustus misrepresent his actions before 27 BCE? Augustus was clearly more than the “first among equals,” despite his public image. How did this happen? Does Suetonius include rumor and innuendo in his narrative? Explain. What are some of the sources that Suetonius uses in order to reconstruct the life of Augustus? Is Suetonius’ reconstruction believable? Explain.
Suetonius, Life of Tiberius. Tacitus, Annals of Imperial Rome, 1-6. Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Objectivity problematic.
B. 42 BCE to Tiberius Claudius Nero & Livia Drusilla. 39 BCE – Marriage of Livia Drusilla and Octavian. 29 BCE – Rode in Octavian’s Actium triumph. 27 BCE – Toga Virilis. 24 BCE – Quaestorship; privilege of standing for praetorship and consulship 5 years before legal age. 20 BCE – Sent to Parthia; recovered standards lost with Crassus and Antony; granted praetorship. 19 BCE – Governor of Gallia Comata; marriage to Vipsania (aka. Agrippina) BCE – Alpine Tribes. 13 BCE – Consul. 12 BCE – Death of Agrippa; Tiberius divorces Vipsania & marries Julia. 12 BCE – 6 BCE – Campaigning in Panonia and Germany (Consul in 7 BCE; Tribunicia Postestas in 6 BCE). 6 BCE – 2CE – Retirement/Exile? On Rhodes. 2-4 CE – Lucius (2) and Gaius (4) dead; Tiberius adopts Germanicus; Augustus adopts both; Proconsular Imperium + Tribunicia Postestas for 5 years; Subjugation of Cherusci. 6-7 CE – Tiberius subdues Panonian revolt; exile of Agrippa Postumus. 9CE – Triumph of Tiberius for Panonia; Teutoburg Disaster CE – Tiberius reorganizing Rhine defenses. 13 CE – Proconsular Imperium & Tribuncia Potestas renewed without limit. 14 CE – Augustus dead (Aug 19); Tiberius Emperor.
14 – Appeared before Senate; Augustus’ will read; Disdain to rule (?); Imitation of Augustus; Rhine mutiny – Germanicus given proconsular imperium (campaigns in Germany); Triumph of Germanicus (17); Germanicus in Asia (18); Death of Germanicus (Tiberius suspected). 21 – Tiberius withdraws to Campania. 22 – Drusus given Tribunicia Potestas. 23 – Death of Drusus (attributed to Sejanus, Praetorian Prefect); Concentration of Praetorian Guard in Rome – Growing influence of Sejanus; Sejanus plotting against Agrippina and her children; Sejanus seeks marriage with Livilla,Drusus’ widow, (25); Tiberius withdraws to Capri (27) Wife (Agrippina the Elder) and son (Nero) of Germanicus exiled; second son (Drusus) imprisoned. 30 – Sejanus betrothed to daughter of Livilla & Drusus Sejanus given proconsular imperium; Sejanus tried and executed for murder of Drusus – Mass arrests, trials, and executions of those connected to Sejanus. 37 – Death of Tiberius; Gaius (son of Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus) emperor.
Relatively inactive (Augustus’ will?) – Punitive campaigns in Germany – Nationalist revolt in Gaul led by Julius Sacrovir – Ongoing resistance in Africa led by Tacfarinas.
Political and military inertia. Fraudulent pretense toward republicanism. Court intrigue. Cruelty and repression through maiestas (i.e. treason) courts; delatores.
“Tiberius did not hesitate to exercise imperial power immediately by calling on the Praetorians to provide him with a bodyguard; which was to be emperor in fact and appearance. Yet a long time elapsed before he assumed the title of Emperor. When his friends urged him to accept it he went through the farce of scolding them for the suggestion, saying that they did not realize what a monstrous beast the monarchy was; and kept the Senate guessing by his carefully evasive answers and hesitations, even when they threw themselves at his feet imploring them to change his mind. This made some of them lose patience, and in the confusion a voice was heard shouting: ‘Oh, let him either take it or leave it!’ And another senator openly taunted him with: ‘Some people are slow to do what they promise; you are slow to promise what you have already done.’ Finally, with a great show of reluctance, and complaints that they were forcing him to become a miserable and overworked slave, Tiberius accepted the title of Emperor; but hinted that he might later resign it. His actual words were: ‘Until I grow so old that you may be good enough to grant me a respite.’” (Suet. Tib. 24. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
“He even made a pretense at restoring popular liberties by seeing that the Senate and magistrates enjoyed their former dignities; and by referring all public business, however important or unimportant, to the House, asking for advice in every matter that concerned the national revenue, the allocation of monopolies, and the construction or repair of public buildings. He actually consulted them about the drafting or disbanding of troops, the stationing of legions and auxiliaries, the extension of military commands, the choice of generals to conduct particular campaigns, and how to answer letters from foreign potentates. When a cavalry general was accused of robbery with violence, Tiberius did not take summary action but ordered him to plead his case before the Senate. He always entered the House unattended, except for one day when he was sick and carried in on a litter; even then he dismissed his bearers immediately.” (Suet. Tib. 30. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
“At Rome, however, consuls, senators, and p255knights were rushing into slavery. The more exalted the personage, the grosser his hypocrisy and his haste, — his lineaments adjusted so as to betray neither cheerfulness at the exit nor undue depression at the entry of a prince; his tears blent with joy, his regrets with adulation. The consuls, Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Appuleius, first took the oath of allegiance to Tiberius Caesar. It was taken in their presence by Seius Strabo and Caius Turranius, chiefs respectively of the praetorian cohorts and the corn department. The senators, the soldiers, and the populace followed. For in every action of Tiberius the first step had to be taken by the consuls, as though the old republic were in being, and himself undecided whether to reign or no. Even his edict, convening the Fathers to the senate-house was issued simply beneath the tribunician title which he had received under Augustus. It was a laconic document of very modest purport:— "He intended to provide for the last honours to his father, whose body he could not leave — it with was the one function of the state which he made bold to exercise." Yet, on the passing of Augustus he had given the watchword to the praetorian cohorts as Imperator; he had the sentries, the men-at ‑ arms, and the other appurtenances of a court; soldiers conducted him to the forum, soldiers to the curia; he dispatched letters to the armies as if the principate was already in his grasp; and nowhere manifested the least hesitation, except when speaking in the senate. The chief reason was his fear that Germanicus — backed by so many legions, the vast reserves of the provinces, and a wonderful popularity with the nation — might prefer the ownership to the reversion of a throne. p257He paid public opinion, too, the compliment of wishing to be regarded as the called and chosen of the state, rather than as the interloper who had wormed his way into power with the help of connubial intrigues and a senile act of adoption. It was realized later that his coyness had been assumed with the further object of gaining an insight into the feelings of the aristocracy: for all the while he was distorting words and looks into crimes and storing them in his memory.” (Tacitus, Annals
Is this characterization of Tiberius fair? If not, where do you think it comes from?
The Sejanus Effect. Depression. Roman Understanding of Personality Formation.
“Tiberius asked the Senate to choose him a Council of Foreign Affairs, consisting of twenty men – in addition to certain old friends and members of his military staff – only two or three of whom died natural deaths. All the rest he killed, one way or another; including Aelius Sejanus, who dragged several of his colleagues to ruin with him. Tiberius felt no affection for Sejanus, but had given him plenary powers as being efficient and cunning enough to do what was required of him – namely, to make away with Germanicus’ children and ensure that Tiberius’ true grandson and namesake (i.e. Tiberius Gemullus) should become the next emperor.” (Suet. Tib. 55. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
“The consulate of Gaius Asinius and Gaius Antistius was to Tiberius the ninth year of public order and of domestic felicity (for he counted the death of Germanicus among his blessings), when suddenly fortune disturbed the peace and he became either a tyrant himself or the source of power to the tyrannous. The starting-point and the cause were to be found in Aelius Sejanus, prefect of the praetorian cohorts. Of his influence I spoke above: now I shall unfold his origin, his character, and the crime by which he strove to seize on empire.” (Tacitus, Annals
Dark, Brooding, and Cruel. Autocratic inclinations. Duplicitous. Vengeful. Sexual perversion. Associated with his stay on Capri.
“Tiberius did so many other wicked deeds under the pretext of reforming public morals – but in reality to gratify his lust for seeing other people suffer – that many satires were written against the evils of the day, incidentally expressing gloomy ears about the future; such as the following: ‘You cruel monster! I’ll be damned, I will, if even your own mother loves you still.’ ‘You are no knight – Caesar’s adopted son May own no cash to qualify as one; And banishment in Rhodes cancelled your right To be a citizen – far less a knight.’ ‘Saturn’s golden age has passed, Saturn’s age could never last; Now while Caesar holds the stage This must be an iron age.’ ‘He is not thirsty for neat wine As he was thirsty then, But warms him up a tastier cup – The blood of murdered men.’ ‘Here is a Sulla, men of Rome, surnamed Sulla the Fortunate – to your misfortune; Here is a Marius come back at last to capture Rome; here is an Antony Uncivilly provoking civil strife, His hands thrice dyed in costly Roman blood. Confess: ‘Rome is no more!’ All who return To reign, from banishment, reign bloodily.’” (Suet. Tib. 59. Trans. R. Graves, 1957).
“Soon Tiberius broke out in every sort of cruelty and never lacked for victims: these were, first, his mother’s friends and less intimate acquaintances; then those of Agrippina, Nero and Drusus; finally, those of Sejanus. With Sejanus out of the way his savageries increased; which proved that Sejanus had not, as some thought, been inciting him to commit them, but merely provided him the opportunity that he demanded. Nevertheless, in Tiberius’ dry, brief autobiography we find him daring to assert that Sejanus had been killed for persecuting Nero and Drusus; the fact being that he had himself put Nero to death when Sejanus was already an object of suspicion, and Drusus after he had fallen from power.” (Suet. Tib. 61. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
“On retiring to Capri he made himself a private sporting-house, where sexual extravagances were practised for his secret pleasure. Bevies of girls and young men, whom he had collected from all over the Empire as adepts in unnatural practices, and known as spintriae, would perform before him in groups of three, to excite his waning passions. A number of small rooms were furnished with the most indecent pictures and statuary obtainable, also certain erotic manuals from Elephantis in Egypt; the inmates of the establishment would know from these very exactly what was expected of them. He furthermore devised little nooks of lechery in the woods and glades of the island, and had boys and girls dressed up as Pans and nymphs posted in front of caverns or grottoes….” (Suet. Tib. 43. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
Depression (i.e. Retirement to Rhodes; Death of Drusus – cf. Suet.Tib. 41). Lies – Tales of sexual perversion often ascribed to hated autocrats; sources are lacking (i.e. only rumor and innuendo).
Simplistic. No allowance for growth and change. The later Tiberius determines the interpretation of the earlier Tiberius.
“ With Sejanus out of the way his savageries increased; which proved that Sejanus had not, as some thought, been inciting him to commit them, but merely provided him the opportunity that he demanded.” (Suet. Tib. 61. Trans. R. Graves, 1957)
“The son of Nero, on both sides he traced his origin to the Claudian house, though his mother, by successive acts of adoption, had passed into the Livian and, later, the Julian families. From earliest infancy he experienced the hazards of fortune. At first the exiled attendant of a proscribed father, he entered the house of Augustus in the quality of step- son; only to struggle against numerous rivals during the heyday of Marcellus and Agrippa and, later, of Gaius and Lucius Caesar; while even his brother Drusus was happier in the love of his countrymen. But his position was the most precarious after his preferment to the hand of Julia, when he had to tolerate, or to elude, the infidelities of his wife. Then came the return from Rhodes; and he was master of the heirless imperial house for twelve years, and later arbiter of the Roman world for virtually twenty-three. His character, again, has its separate epochs. There was a noble season in his life and fame while he lived a private citizen or a great official under Augustus; an inscrutable and disingenuous period of hypocritical virtues while Germanicus and Drusus remained: with his mother alive, he was still an amalgam of good and evil; so long as he loved, or feared, Sejanus, he was loathed for his cruelty, but his lust was veiled; finally, when the restraints of shame and fear were gone, and nothing remained but to follow his own bent, he plunged impartially into crime and into ignominy.” (Tacitus, Annals
Why was Augustus loved by so many while Tiberius was despised by so many? How would you characterize Tiberius’ family life? What impact did Tiberius’ family life have on his personality and his tenure as emperor? Are you skeptical of Suetonius’ and Tacitus’ depcition of Tiberius? How would you characterize the man and his reign?