Tiberius, Claudius Nero [Tiverii]

The standard Russian form of the emperor's name would be Tiberii. Bulgakov uses an unusual spelling adapted from Greek or from later Roman pronunciation.

Born 42 BC, Tiberius succeeded Augustus as Emperor of Rome 14-37 AD. In the 20s Tiberius came under the influence of the equestrian prefect of the guard Sejanus, who encouraged informers to gather information against those hostile to the Emperor. These real and imagined enemies were prosecuted under the law of treason (lex de maiestate imminuta), as speaking against the Emperor was seen as harmful to the majesty of the state. The result was that the law was applied any time it seemed necessary to eliminate an aristocratic, clever, independent, or rich man. Brokgauz-Efron points out that the need to avoid denunciation for any careless word hindered the development of Roman prose and poetry.

Image at right from Justin Paola's Visual Compendium of Roman Emperors

In 26 Tiberius left Rome for the island of Capri. According to some, he suffered from leprosy and had a sore on his face.

Read more about Tiberius at De Imperatoribus Romanis

Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus, b. Nov. 16, 42 BC, d. Mar. 16, AD 37, was the second emperor (r. AD 14-37) of Rome. He was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla, who later married Octavian (see Augustus, Roman Emperor). In 12 BC, Tiberius was forced to marry Augustus's daughter, Julia. In the event of Augustus's death he was to act as tutor of Augustus's grandsons by Julia's previous marriage. Tiberius resented his role, and from 6 BC to AD 2 he lived in retirement in Rhodes. After the premature deaths of the grandsons, Augustus adopted (AD 4) Tiberius and recognized him as his successor.

Tiberius was an accomplished general. He quelled revolts in the Danubian provinces (12-9 BC), fought in Germany (9-7 BC, AD 4-6) and elsewhere, and won the allegiance of his soldiers. When Augustus died, Tiberius was already in possession of the chief military command; after a show of reluctance, he let the Senate proclaim him emperor. A scheming and suspicious ruler, Tiberius instituted a reign of terror, especially after 23, when Sejanus, prefect of the Praetorian guard, became his chief advisor. Numerous senators, and also members of the family of his nephew Germanicus Caesar, were accused of treason and executed; in 31 Sejanus met the same fate. Tiberius ruled from AD 26 until his death in seclusion on Capri; he was succeeded by Caligula.

Jerzy Linderski, from the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1997.

Bibliography: Levick, Barbara M., Tiberius the Politician (1976); Seager, Robin, Tiberius (1972).