Roman Empire Tiberius Denarius 14 - 37 AD

Obv: Laureated head right "TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS"
Rev: Livia seated right "PONTIF MAXIM"

. Metal: Silver 3.8 grams, 18 mm diameter. Condition: Abt VF

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History of Tiberius

He was born in 42 BC, his mother Liva later married Augustus and thus Tiberius became stepson of the first emperor of Rome. Tiberius was not a politician, but a soldier and was field commander in Germany, Balkans and Parthia. In 16 BC he was appointed as Governor of Gaul and in 15 BC with the help of his brother Drusus he conquered new territory in the Alps. For this Tiberius was given his first consulship in 13 BC. The following year he was forced by Augustus to divorce his beloved wife and marry Augustus' widowed daugher Julia, this made him guardian of Augustus' grandchildren (the apparent heirs).. Tiberius hated the new relationship and spent most of his time on military campaigns. In 6 BC, he requested permission to retire from public life and moved to Rhodes where he resided for 8 years. In 2 AD he returned to Rome and shortly after both of Augustus' grandsons died and Livia convinced Augustus to choose Tiberius as his successor. In 4 AD, Augustus reluctantly made Tiberius his heir, but added "this I do for reason of state". Augustus apparently did not think much of Tiberius and on his death bed said "Alas for the Roman people, to be ground by jaws that crunch so slowly". When Augustus died on 19 August 14 AD, Tiberius at the age of 57 was the clear successor, but there was no precedence for a heiriditary emperor. Tiberius himself wanted to pretend that he was only "First citizen" and was a supporter of republican traditions, but there was no doubt where the power lay.

Tiberius was not a statesman and in the early years relied heavily on his son Drusus and his adoptive son Germanicus, but both died in 19 AD. Politically Tiberius wanted to rule with the co-operation of the Senate, however he became frustrated when they refused to act and annoyed when they did. Tiberius' basic approach to government was to keep control of affairs without intervening more than was necessary. This led to accusations of hypocrisy as he seemed to allow the Senate freedom of action but continued to hold all the real power. Tiberius and the Senate grew further apart and there was an upsurge in suspicion and treason trials. Tiberius gave more and more power to the infamous Sejanus and when Tiberius moved permanently to Capri in 26 AD all access to the emperor was under Sejanus' control. In 31 AD, Tiberius raised Sejanus to the rank of Senator and made him co-consul, but within a a few months he had begun to doubt his decision with rumors that Sejanus was planning to sieze power for himself. Sejanus was tricked and hauled away to his death.

On 16 March 37 AD, Tiberius died according to Tacitus, at first Tiberius was thought to have died from illness, but after Caligula had taken his ring and been acclaimed emperor, Tiberius awake. Caligula was terrified, but the commander of the praetorian guard "Macro" smothered the old man with a cusion. The news was received with joy.