Tiberius Chat One
Massie and Suetonius
256lines of discussion for Jan. 2, 2001

20:30 Torrey Philemon enters...
20:31 Torrey Philemon: Tiberius chat starting at 8:30 pm....I'll be away the next 10 minutes but please start without me, even if it means talking to yourself <-:  
20:36 Morgana Flavius enters...
20:37 Morgana Flavius: Hello!
20:46 Zoe Xanthippos enters...
20:47 Zoe Xanthippos: Hi!  I was going to apologize for being late but seems I'm not
20:48 Zoe Xanthippos: Happy New Year to you!
20:49 Torrey Philemon: I'm here now. Happy new year, both of  you!
20:50 Torrey Philemon: We're in the month ruled by Roman god Janus, who is two-faced <-:
20:52 Morgana Flavius: Happy new year and new millennium for both of you!
20:54 Torrey Philemon: Topics, anyone? You were both right about Suetonius. I had only read half of his chapter on Tiberius, and he definitely draws a nasty portrait of Tiberius' later reign in the second half. Didn't get a chance to read more than a little of Tacitus so far.
20:55 Morgana Flavius: Yes, I read Suetonius and most of Tacitus' Annals. Both give a terrible description of Tiberius.
20:55 Torrey Philemon: I so much liked Massie's book......I  want to believe that Tiberius was really a good guy, and was just maligned by history. But he apparently had a very dark side.........and persecuted a lot of people.
20:56 Morgana Flavius: However, despite seeing many references to Tacitus as Tiberius' "detrator" for the posterity, I think that Suetonius' account of the old emperor's vices is far more derrogatory than the innuendos of Tacitus.
20:56 Torrey Philemon: Massie and the Baker book provide a much more positive picture....... I wonder what the more favorable earlier sources were. It's hard to know what to trust.
20:58 Morgana Flavius: Apparently, the "dark" side of Tiberius surfaced sometime after his marriage to Julia. Not that she would be the only one to be blamed. I read an interesting paper, saying that what drove Tiberius underground was...
20:58 Torrey Philemon: Yes, Suetonius goes into graphic description of Tiberius' pornographical and sadistic tendencies. But Tacitus wrote many decades later, and apparently had his own political agenda,  descending from Agrippina....... Baker at points out distortions by Tacitus and Suetonius but I don't know his other sources.....
20:59 Torrey Philemon: My impression was that his dark side surfaced much later than his marriage to Julia. Descriptions of the first decade of his reign are fairly positive. He was a very competent leader.
20:59 Torrey Philemon: Say more, Morgana......
20:59 Morgana Flavius: the intolerable climate in the imperial palace, with the clash between the Julian (lead by Julia and perhaps by Augustus too) and the Claudian (lead mostly by Livia) parties in the dynastic
21:00 Morgana Flavius: ...war for the succession caused by Augustus.
21:01 Zoe Xanthippos: I also like Massie's portayal of Tiberius.  Perhaps because he did not have the "media personality" that Augustus had, his talents for administration were buried by bad press from people whom he offended.  Being by nature a serious and scholarly man, and a loner by preference, his social skills were lacking
21:01 Torrey Philemon: There was a very negative propaganda campaign against him led by various factions - friends of Julia, then friends of Gaius, then Agrippina and party, then the Senate. How do we find the real man under all the negative publicity?
21:02 Morgana Flavius: This palace intrigue could have been the real reason for Tiberius first burst of rage and maybe the real reason behind his decision to go to Rhodes.
21:02 Torrey Philemon: Ah, Zoe, you're after my heart! I too want to defend Tiberius and the fact that a man can be competent and just without putting on the fake political persona! (Do I hear the wails of the Gore supporter within me? )
21:03 Morgana Flavius: Julia and Tiberius were already married for 5 years when he went to Rhodes.
21:03 Torrey Philemon: Yes, Morgana, I read too that the death of Augustus unleashed hatred against him, as did the later death of Germanicus.
21:04 Morgana Flavius: I'd like to think that Tiberius was a good man too. But he probably had a "split personality" problem...
21:04 Morgana Flavius: In one of my posts at our Tiberius' board, I listed the ancient sources who were more favorable to Tiberius.
21:04 Torrey Philemon: Rhodes or Capri, Morgana? Didn't he go to Rhodes when the problems with Julia were at a peak...... then Capri later in his reign? (I'm getting the islands mixed up myself)
21:05 Morgana Flavius: And indeed, the personal agendas of historians must be taken into consideration too.
21:06 Torrey Philemon: Ah Morgana, I'll have to reread your posts. I'm interested in those sources...... My sense is that he underwent a long, slow deterioration......Suetonius said he was devasted when Livia showed him letters from Augustus that were negative about him, and that that was a reason for his final self-exile. 
21:07 Morgana Flavius: I'm talking about Rhodes now. His "voluntary exile" when things with Julia were at a peak, yes.
21:07 Torrey Philemon: Yes, Morgana, it would be interesting to know more the personal agendas of historians like Tacitus and Suetonius. What their bias was from the start (and Zoe, I sense that you too were intrigued by the scholarly dimensions of Tiberius. Apparently he spent most of his time in Rhodes in philosophical study. How delightful!)
21:08 Torrey Philemon: Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. And I'm the one that suggested we focus on his early to middle years tonight....
21:08 Morgana Flavius: Also, feel free to take a look at my web working page for Suetonius, Tacitus, and Livy (a comparative table) at
21:09 Morgana Flavius: http://pages.ancientsites.com/~Morgana_Flavius/history/historiography.html
21:10 Torrey Philemon: Ohh! Wonderful! I didn't know you had that page, Morgana.....(Zoe, are you still with us?)
21:11 Zoe Xanthippos: All through Massie's book, Tiberius is the reluctant prince.  His mother goads him into his duty.  Tiberius really wants to engineer a return to the days of the Republic but the times have moved too far beyond that form of government.  He was good at the military side of things.  Maybe this was because it was more cut and dired than political maneouvering.  Something happened, one responded.  Where with the Senate there was endless posturing andmaniputating which took skills he just didn't have.
21:11 Morgana Flavius: I could not find any online text written by Tiberius' favorable historians: Philon of Alexandria and Seneca. Apparently Plutarch was favorable to Tiberius too.
21:12 Morgana Flavius: (That page I did during this long weekend, as I was reading Tacitus)
21:13 Zoe Xanthippos: hmmm, cut and Dried
21:13 Torrey Philemon: Yes, I get the impression that he was a very reluctant ruler too, Zoe. Baker's biography stresses that he has a very strong sense of duty and justice however, and was very motivated by doing what was right, even though against his own self-interest (like promoting Germanicus instead of his own son)..... Gee, Zoe, I just found your recent post!
21:14 Morgana Flavius: I liked Massie's approach to Tiberius too. And I wonder who his sources were... (a pitty he didn't do like M.George and C.McCullough, including bibliography in the end of his books...)
21:15 Morgana Flavius: Here's something I found that can also explain the dubious behavior of Tiberius:
21:15 Zoe Xanthippos: last minute posting, as usual *s*
21:16 Morgana Flavius: (and let's bear in mind that Suetonius and Tacitus were closely connected to the Senatorial class, which suffered a lot from Tiberius' undecided personality)
21:18 Morgana Flavius: Before Tiberius, there had not been any transfer of power (like the Principate) in Rome before. All they had seen till then was the transfer of the Republican offices and magistrates.
21:19 Morgana Flavius: So, when Tiberius went to the Senate for the first time, after Augustus' death, neither him nor the Senators knew what to do...
21:20 Morgana Flavius: And perhaps in an attempt to imitate the tactful Augustus, Tiberius donned the mask of the reluctant public servant...
21:20 Torrey Philemon: (Zoe, I think you have your sources reversed. It's Suetonius that goes into detail about Tiberius' degenerate sexual activities.....I just read it, several pages)
21:20 Morgana Flavius: ...and rather than tactful, he came across to the senators as obdurate and obtructive.
21:22 Morgana Flavius: Tacitus describes Tiberius' first speech to the Senate, refusing all the titles the senators wanted to bestow him. And the senators were sure that they were acting according to Augustus' will...
21:22 Morgana Flavius: and Tiberius' constant refusals made the senators very confused.
21:23 Morgana Flavius: Probably that first meeting between the Senate and the new emperor established the whole pattern for their later interaction...
21:23 Torrey Philemon: Morgana, do you think Tiberius donned the mask of the reluctant public servant or that he WAS a reluctant public servant? Considering that he could thrive for 7 years as an introspective scholar in Rhodes, my guess is that he was RELUCTANT ....
21:25 Zoe Xanthippos: I must say here that I have not read the whole book yet.  I have completed Chapter 2 in Book 2. 
21:25 Morgana Flavius: So, frustration on the part of both the Senate (not knowing what to do) and Tiberius (not knowing how to convey - without being too direct - what he wanted, made the relation between senators and emperor a very painful one...
21:27 Morgana Flavius: I think Tiberius played the reluctant sucessor. He knew he had to take that office (no matter how he personally may have not wanted it). But he also knew that if he took it for granted, he would have to face rebellions. He learned the lesson from Augustus, but he was not the good actor that Augustus was...
21:28 Torrey Philemon: Zoe, if you've read Suetonius and Tacitus, you're ahead of the game. I've just read Massie and Suetonius, but am behind in Tacitus..........(Just found Morgana's post in which she mentions other more favorable sources. Now I want to know how to get hold of them. What writing by Plutarch for example is about Tiberius? And where in Seneca and Pliny? )
21:29 Morgana Flavius: After Augustus adopted Tiberius and everybody "knew" that he was Augustus' successor, Augustus and Tiberius lived together for approximately 10 years.
21:30 Morgana Flavius: 10 years as the "heir of the throne" were more than enough to convince Tiberius that he would have to take the office or... someone else would.
21:31 Torrey Philemon: And if someone else did, perhaps his life would be forfeit.
21:32 Zoe Xanthippos: I think that it important the Tiberius believed in the concept of the Republic.  Earlier in the book, he discussed politics with Agrippa (would Agrippa really have been talking to him about this and also about Augustus?).  Agrippa says in answer to Tiberius' question, "So what is the empire"? "Only immature states can be either democracies or monarchies.  We have grown beyond both these forms of government.  The classic Greek delineation of types of state no longer applies, for we are not even an oligarchy as they understood the term.  We are perhaps a constellation of powers...."
21:32 Torrey Philemon: (By the way, Zoe, thanks for the Grant recommendation. I don't have his book on the Caesars but he probably has material on Tiberius in some of his other books about that time)
21:33 Torrey Philemon: Tiberius was in a contradictory position. He believed in a republic but was being forced to be a monarch who had to protect himself against enemies in the Senate. Yet apparently he treated the Senate with great respect and did not try to control it as Augustus had.
21:35 Zoe Xanthippos: According to Michael Grant, Tiberius presented his communications in such a pedantic was that he was often misunderstood, if indeed, he was understood at all, therefore coming across as a hypocrite.  Therefore, while he was truly reluctant to give up his own life of learning to become an emporer, with all of the inherent demands, he was aslo trying to communicate his desire for a return to the Republic.  The Senate, unfortunately, has become so accustomed to being led by Augustus, that it had no concept of Tiberius' ideals.
21:37 Torrey Philemon: That sounds very believable to me, Zoe. Well said.
21:37 Zoe Xanthippos: (Yes, Torrey, I noticed that, but I am quoting Grant here, I can go backk and refute myself later) *s*
21:39 Torrey Philemon: (Morgana just icqed me to say she crashed out of A.S. and will be returning soon)
21:42 Morgana Flavius enters...
21:43 Torrey Philemon: Have you found and read other sources on Tiberius besides Tacitus and Suetonius, Zoe? I really liked Massie so much but now I'm really wanting to find his sources.....
21:45 Morgana Flavius: Here I am... after getting a blue screen and all the other goodies that we're entitled to for using B.Gates' software...
21:46 Morgana Flavius: I agree with you Zoe. The general characterization of Tiberius as a man incapable of being clear as to what he really wants, probably comes from his inner desire to free the Senate... a desire he was sure he could not openly convey though...
21:48 Zoe Xanthippos: I have Tiberius, the Politician by Barbara Levick but have not begun.  I swear I'm going to read the Dio as soon as I finish the Massie (yes, I know I've been going to do that for forever) and post on what he has to say on all our friends.  I read the Grant today to get a whole picture of Tiberius since I knew I couldn't finish the Massie and the Grant was short
21:48 Morgana Flavius: I think that Plutarch wrote about Tiberius... he has his "Lives" about Roman emperors and other Roman illustrious men.
21:50 Zoe Xanthippos: Anyone who could possibly have remembered the Republic as more than history was likely dead if not close to it.  It wasn't real to these senators.  They were products of Augustus rule
21:51 Morgana Flavius: Barbara Levick's seems to be a good bio on Tiberius. I read a good article on Tiberius, with lots of notes linking back to Levick.
21:51 Zoe Xanthippos: Even if Tiberius could openly convey it, and I don't know what would really have stopped him, he was looked to as the ruler, they just didn't get it. 
21:53 Morgana Flavius: Plutarch did not write a bio on Tiberius (as he did for Julius C. and M. Antony, for ex.); but he probably mentioned Tiberius in his other bios.
21:54 Torrey Philemon: Zoe, I got the Levick book too and intend to read it after Tacitus and the rest of Baker. What Dio work is about Tiberius?
21:56 Morgana Flavius: If Tiberius openly told the senate that they had been (and still were) slaves to the principate and that they were now free to return to the Republic, what do you think would happen to the big empire? Zoe, do you think that such a big empire could have been ruled by a regime where the highest authority changed every year?
21:56 Torrey Philemon: (Morgana I hope you'll continue your historiography and maybe do an article eventually on the different biases/slants/perspective of the different historians. I'm learning how important it is to take into account the biases of the historians........I wonder if there's a book out about the Roman historians which could help us understand how to   interpret them.
21:58 Morgana Flavius: The Republic (as it was conceived in ancient Rome, not in modern terms) was good for a city, not for a big empire (my opinion, but I am not a politics... just repeating what I have heard...)
21:58 Zoe Xanthippos: Dio wrote volumes and volumes of histories.  I was missing the volume containing Augustus for the longest time but it finally came right before Christmas.  I like to read things in order.  Apparently rigid here.  There are 3 volumes that cover the relationship of Julius and Cleopatra, Augustus and Tiberius.  And it goes on aand on
21:59 Morgana Flavius: That article, in the vines, about Suetonius and the comparison with other authors re Tiberius, made me want to research more about the authors I was reading (mainly Suetonius and Tacitus).
22:00 Morgana Flavius: Here's what the Vines article says about Dio:
22:00 Torrey Philemon: Zoe, if it's not any trouble, can you give me the url at Amazon at some point of the Dio book that's most about Tiberius? I can't tell from the book descriptions which each is about, since there's rarely any annotations.
22:01 Morgana Flavius: He was a Greek, from Bithynia, who became a Senator (here you may have a hint as how he would view Tiberius).
22:01 Zoe Xanthippos: No, Morgana, I don't think the Republican concept could have dealt with a nation of Empire size.  I agree with what Agrippa told Tiberius.  And I think Tiberius knew this to be true.  He truly believed in the concept, the ideal, as well as personally not wanting to be the ruler of such a thing
22:01 Torrey Philemon: (The Baker book, originally published in 1929, is good but has almost no sources listed in it either)
22:02 Morgana Flavius: Dio eventually became a consul in 229 AD (lived long after Tiberius)
22:02 Morgana Flavius: Dio wrote a History of Rome from its beginnings to his own lifetime under Septimius Severus (3rd century AD).
22:03 Morgana Flavius: Dio probably used the same sources as Tacitus and Suetonius, which were extant in his day.
22:03 Zoe Xanthippos: I'll leave the url tomorrow on the Tiberius board.  I have to go through the index volume and the print is too small for this late a night.
22:04 Morgana Flavius: Dio (as well as all the others - Tacitus and Suetonius as well) writes good and bad things about Tiberius.
22:05 Torrey Philemon: I haven't read Dio yet, but have been suspect yet because modern historians point out how melodramatic he is and how he obviously distorts the facts.
22:05 Morgana Flavius: Dio also sees Livia as entirely evil (the poisoner of Augustus and the whole train of his successors, except Tiberius)
22:06 Torrey Philemon: (Don't want to put you to any trouble, Zoe. Maybe I'll search at Amazon.com again and then ask you which of the few Dio books they have is the right one to get)
22:06 Morgana Flavius: (sorry got carried away by Dio, LOL!)
22:07 Morgana Flavius: Ah, here's one for you, Torrey:
22:07 Torrey Philemon: Personally I'm not fond of Livia either. She appears to have been a  dominating, overcontrolling mother. I doubt if she had Tiberius' needs at heart - just her own ambition for him and herself via him.
22:07 Morgana Flavius: Velleius Paterculus is the ONLY COMPLETELY FAVORABLE source on Tiberius.
22:09 Morgana Flavius: Now let's see Velleius' background: he was a praetor under Tiberius -- aha! lived and wrote in Tiberius' time; how could he say anything against him? ;-)
22:11 Torrey Philemon: Personally I'm more inclined though to believe historians that wrote at the same time as the person they're describing....history gets more distorted when written second and third and fourth hand etc.
22:11 Torrey Philemon: Here's a question for both of you. What would you say were the POSITIVE qualities of Tiberius?
22:12 Morgana Flavius: Now... back to Massie: didn't any of you find it strange that Massie does not mention that famous episode of Tiberius weeping when he saw Vipsania at a dinner party, after their divorce?
22:13 Zoe Xanthippos: (it's not trouble Torrey, I just can't do it now)*s*
22:13 Morgana Flavius: Positive qualities of Tiberius: he was an extremely capable general; during his reign, the provinces enjoyed one of the best times in their lives, as Tiberius' g
22:14 Morgana Flavius: Positive qualities of Tiberius: he was an extremely capable general; during his reign, the provinces enjoyed one of the best times in their lives, as Tiberius' provincial governors were very good ones.
22:14 Torrey Philemon: Doesn't Massie make a brief reference to that scene?  (There's certainly a good movie of the week in the Tiberius/Vipsania story)
22:16 Morgana Flavius: About historical distortions, Torrey, it seems that people who wrote about their own times were somehow intimidated by the current authorities... "free press" seems to be a 'dream' of our modern times only... ;-)
22:16 Zoe Xanthippos: he was a good administrator, at least in the beginning.  While he didn't initiate large public works projects as did Augustus, he was very good at maintaining the status quo and the treasury was full when he died.  Most of the trouble associated with his reign was only felt by the noble class in Rome.  The provinces prospered under Tiberius
22:16 Torrey Philemon: Understood, Morgana. I guess we can't trust accounts written either during their time or afterwards, which means no sources are reliable!
22:17 Morgana Flavius: I was looking forward to read Massie on the Tiberius/Vipsania dinner meeting after the divorce... I got a bit frustrated...
22:18 Torrey Philemon: Ohh, I just looked up Roman Historians at Amazon.com. Look at this Grant book --  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415117704/
22:19 Morgana Flavius: Another thing that called my attention in Massie: in his Augustus, he says in one of Julia's letters from her exile, that Iullus Antonius had died in a very noble way. In Tiberius, he says that Iullus died at an ignoble fashion...
22:20 Morgana Flavius: I think Grant is THE guy to read about Rome!
22:21 Morgana Flavius: So, like Gaius Ulpius wrote in his post in our Tiberius' board, it seems that Massie was (is) up to write his own series on the Lives of the Caesars... and he is certainly emulating all the contradictions of ancient sources. ;-)
22:22 Torrey Philemon: Here's another one on understanding the perspectives of the historians, but I agree with you Morgana that Grant is the way to go....  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415117747/
22:23 Torrey Philemon: Actually I think that Tiberius is Massie's best biography, of the three I've read. It reads like   believable history, and helps us experience Tiberius as a real person. Reminds me a bit of George and how she made Cleopatra and Antony's experience seem alive to us. 
22:23 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, Morgana I noticed both of those things.  It is strange that after developing the love between Tiberius and Vipsania, he allowed Tiberius to move on so quickly.  And I thought Iullus killed himself when he was about to be arrested? 
22:25 Zoe Xanthippos: To backtrack to the beginning of the Massie, don't you think his portrayal of Tiberius' relationship with Livia, as shown here, is a bit strange?  It certainly would have influenced the man he became.
22:26 Zoe Xanthippos: hmmm, what happened to the rest of it?
22:26 Torrey Philemon: Interesting Zoe, about Tiberius's trouble being primarily with the noble classes. Since the noble classes write the histories, we don't get the perspective  of the common man. And apparently Tiberius was fairly considerate of the common men, especially the soldiers.
22:26 Zoe Xanthippos: p 12  "I can recall my father on his knees clutching my mother's ankles and sobbing out his love for her.  She disengaged her legs:  he fell prostrate on marble."
22:26 Morgana Flavius: Hum... must look through my volumous notes on Augustus to find how Iullus died... but I think he was executed.
22:27 Zoe Xanthippos: p 12  Livia whipped Tiberius until he was in his teens, "the strange expression of her love:  each blow sang out that I should be her creature, hers alone.  We were joined together in a savage rite:  Claudian pride flayed Claudian pride, and called for a cry of mercy, which never came.  And then, afterwards, how sweet and honied the reconciliation."
22:27 Zoe Xanthippos: p 13  "We were joined in passion..."  Livia resented the intensity of her love for Tiberius.  Tiberius wasn't afraid of Livia, as was Augustus.  Tiberius knew himself to be her equal.
22:28 Torrey Philemon: It's my impression that Massie didn't say much about Tiberius and Vipsania because there are very few sources about them. Maybe he knew he'd have to fabricate more if he wrote more. I find myself wondering if he pined for her to some extent the rest of his life.
22:29 Morgana Flavius: Livia must have been a formidable woman... both in the good and bad sense (if formidable can have a bad sense...) I think that her relationship with Tiberius shaped a LOT of what he became, specially after he succeeded Augustus.
22:30 Torrey Philemon: I think that when Tiberius finally had real power he felt freer to set limits with Livia. In a way, in order to be his own men, perhaps he had to push his mother aside. She had some power over him as long as Augustus was alive, partly because she had some much influence over Augustus.
22:31 Zoe Xanthippos: That whole part just seemed really weird to me, something for a psychiatrist's couch
22:31 Torrey Philemon: Unfortunately his experience with her led him to make sure that women stayed in their place and didn't meddle in politics. He supported a few laws that were deleterious to women.
22:32 Morgana Flavius: Ah, Torrey, here we may find another explanation for Tiberius' lack of success in his communication with the Senate: probably, because he alienated Livia after Augustus death, the senators did not have the back resource to turn to Livia who would certainly tell them what Augustus really wanted...
22:33 Torrey Philemon: (I had a dominating controlling father, Zoe -  male Livia - so I can understand Tiberius' need to push Livia away as soon as he felt empowered to do so. It's also the Oresteian theme psychoanalytically - the need for the man to "kill off" the mother - especially the poisonous mother - in order to embrace his own manhood.
22:34 Morgana Flavius: Zoe, when I started to read Massie's Tiberius, and came across those parts about his early relationship with Livia, I thought that Massie was already patching his way to explain, in the end, how Tiberius had become such a vicious man!
22:36 Zoe Xanthippos: yes, this sort of early relationship with his mother would certainly explain his not allowing the senate to grant her the honors it wanted to and I can understand him wanting to loosen her grip, which he tried to do by physically distancing himself from her
22:36 Torrey Philemon: I   suspect that Tiberius felt more and more desperate and trapped and disenchanted as he got older. Disenchanted with politics, not able to trust anyone, wanting to get away from it all but being unable to. Bitter and trapped. (I think of people who've felt "stuck" in jobs they've hated for years, in order to support a family, and how they get negative and twisted)
22:37 Zoe Xanthippos: And between Livia's aspirations for him and Augustus lack of any other suitable heirs, they had more or less ruined his life for him
22:38 Torrey Philemon: Interesting that Massie completely ignores all the perverse sources about Tiberius......he does convey a man really committed to his ideals who is continually disenchanted but always trying to do the right thing, while being completely misunderstood and unfairly maligned all the while.
22:38 Zoe Xanthippos: yes, Torrey, I thought the same thing
22:39 Torrey Philemon: Who would he have been if not Augustus' heir? My guess is that he would have stayed in Rhodes and become a scholar. Maybe even one of the ancient philosophers we read today.
22:39 Zoe Xanthippos: about Massie setting us up for T's depravity in the end.  Since I have not got there yet, don't tell me
22:41 Torrey Philemon: Right Zoe, I wasn't going to say more. Massie does a very good job in regard to Tiberius' last decade, but I'll be quiet till you read it!
22:41 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, after the 8 was it? years he spent in study, he wouldhave been ready to try his hand at writing I would think.  Apparently he was already then taking an active part in symposia type discussions on a regular basis and holding his own and being listened to
22:44 Morgana Flavius: Hear, hear! It seems that Tiberius did write his own memoirs. But after his death, Caligula, his successor, destroyed all Tiberius' private papers in a public ceremony!
22:45 Torrey Philemon: Ah, I   read references to Tiberius' brief biography and wondered where it is.
22:46 Morgana Flavius: And the explanation Caligula offered for that was that in T's papers many evidences of senators' involvements in the death of Germanicus and other crimes were disclosed. So, to show good will towards the senate and the illustrious families of Rome, Caligula destroyed all the evidences of the past crimes, thus beginning all anew, with a "general amnestry". Clever, huh?
22:48 Morgana Flavius: Poor Tiberius... I do sympathize with his struggle to be understood... and be locked in the political affairs of his time (unwillingly)
22:48 Torrey Philemon: I have a strong desire to view Tiberius favorably but am most troubled by: a) the degenerate sexual stories - hard to believe there would be so many stories about it if there weren't some truth;  b) his persecution of the Jews (this really bothers me);  c) the supposed ease in his later life in which he killed people for minor offenses against him or the empire.
22:48 Torrey Philemon: Also I'm very curious about his involvement with astrology (Scribonius, Thrasyllus) and what led him to suddenly ban all astrology and oracles.
22:50 Morgana Flavius: Yes, the relation between Tiberius and the Jews... let's not forget that it was in Tiberius' time that Jesus was put to death... by Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea... Was everything really quiet in ALL provinces then?
22:51 Morgana Flavius: If we are to believe in what the Bible says, the Jews hated Tiberius (whom they called only Caesar)
22:51 Torrey Philemon: Suetonius and/or Tacitus blame Tiberius for the death of Agrippa Posthumus, then Gaius ( I think), Drusus and Nero (Germanicus' sons) and most certainly Germanicus. Yet the modern sources I read debunk these stories........Was there a movement afoot after Tiberius' death to blame him for everything to make others appear more innocent?
22:52 Morgana Flavius: I think that Tiberius banned all astrology and oracles exactly because Tiberius KNEW that it was a serious study and that the people who claimed to be astrologists were mostly charlatans.
22:53 Torrey Philemon: Was Tiberius the ruler when Jesus was killed? For some reason I thought Jesus died under Caligula (excuse my ignorance here. I'm Jewish not Christian though so am feeling guilty about liking Tiberius).
22:54 Torrey Philemon: Yet Tiberius spent a lot of time while in Rhodes studying astrology and was close friends with Thrasyllus the astrologer who lived with him. So he went through some disillusionment here too.
22:55 Morgana Flavius: Well, Tacitus most certainly was biased towards blaming Tiberius for the death of Germanicus, as this was the version Agrippina (G's wife) spread all over Rome. That Germanicus had been killed by poison, the killer was Piso and his wife Plancina, and that they were acting under the orders of either Livia or Tiberius or both.
22:55 Zoe Xanthippos: but Massie believes that Augustus had A. Posthumus killed:  p 136  The Senate declared Augustus to be a god.  Tiberius ponders what they would have said if they had known that one of his final acts was to dispose of Agrippa Posthumus.
22:56 Torrey Philemon: Yes Massie - and Baker - say that it was probably Augustus' act, and that Livia may have been behind it. But Suetonius says it was Tiberius' act.
22:57 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Jesus was killed during Tiberius' reign. But I am personally convinced that Tiberius didn't know anything about that minor Jewish prophet... too small an issue to take to the emeperor's attention.
22:58 Zoe Xanthippos: From the Grant again:  p 93  "Germanicus had apparently died a natural death, and Tiberius never asserted that Piso had murdered him, though he could not forgive the governor for starting a private war."
22:59 Torrey Philemon: Tiberius was really caught in the middle in the Piso debacle ....... Also I'm reading contradictory stories about Germanicus. That he was not at all a competent general or leader, really bungled in Germany, but was very well-liked and popular........on the other hand, that he was a great hero, known for his glorious victories.
23:01 Morgana Flavius: On Postumus death, Tacitus does his most to disculpate Augustus and blame the murder on Livia and Tiberius.
23:01 Torrey Philemon: (My God, folks, how did it get to be 11pm? Have we been chatting for 2 1/4 hours? Where did the time go? We haven't even had our silliness break)
23:01 Zoe Xanthippos: I agree with that, Morgana, it has only assumed large proportions as Christianity has become a major world religion.  Tiberius probably was never consulted or informed.  It's only hindsight that made it an improtant event.  In it's own time, jesus death would not have been remarked upon any further than in his own circle of followers, certainly not in Rome, except for whatever unrest it caused among the populace of the province of Judea, and then for only that
23:03 Torrey Philemon: Just noticing how I have emotional biases in regard to history, and attachments to particular historical figures, and how easy it is when there are several possible interpretations about someone to choose the one that I want to believe - the negative interpretation if I don't like the person, the positive interpretation if I do. Undoubtedly the historians were very influenced by their own biases.....not to mention the biases and circumstances of their time period.
23:03 Morgana Flavius: And Suetonius says states that Postumus was killed by a centurion, at the order of Augustus and Livia, but is not sure if Tiberius was also involved.
23:03 Zoe Xanthippos: Perhaps, Tiberius being so ponderous and serious, we cannot escape into silliness in this one.  His influence from the grave..
23:04 Torrey Philemon: I agree with both of you.....that Jesus was probably of very little insignificance in Rome at that time.....
23:05 Zoe Xanthippos: I would think that with Augustus' fixation on his successor that he would have done in A. Posthumus.  He wouldn't have wanted to entrust his legacy of Rome to someone, who by all reports was missing a number of screws
23:06 Morgana Flavius: Agree with Zoe on Christ; agree with Torrey on historian's bias
23:07 Zoe Xanthippos: Later emperors were so much more affected by the cult of Jesus since they were always trying to change everyone's beliefs to theirs and causing public disruption.  But in the early stages, his death was not notable in Rome.
23:07 Morgana Flavius: And yet, (still on Postumus) why would Augustus keep him alive just to have him killed after his death?
23:08 Torrey Philemon: in the Bible, Luke 3:1-2  "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, {2} in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. "
23:09 Torrey Philemon: What year did Jesus die? What was going on in Tiberius' life at the time?
23:09 Morgana Flavius: Another interesting thing (yes, I know it is late Torrey!): in his book I Claudius, Graves makes Livia, at her deathbed, tell Claudius that she wanted to be deified after her death because only a goddess could commit the crimes she commited and not be eternally condemned for them... maybe Augustus shared the same view... maybe he thought he was a god...
23:10 Zoe Xanthippos: I would imagine that historians of this day have the same biases.  They have been educated to present a more 'fair' picture of whatever they're trying to put forth, but in the end, history, especially ancient history, is a matter of interpretation of what ever facts can be gleaned form available sources.  Anyone who would undertake the writing of such a piece would have certainly have a view he was trying to forward
23:11 Zoe Xanthippos: I think Jesus was 40 when he died, which would make it AD40.  I don't know what T. was doing then - gone to Capri already ?
23:11 Morgana Flavius: Jesus died around the year 33-37 AD... Tiberius was in Capri... what he was doing there, remains a mystery... ;-)
23:12 Morgana Flavius: Tiberus died in 37 AD. And because of some incorrections in the Julian calendar, Jesus was not actually born in 1 AD (Annus Dominus=Year of the Lord)... but around 4 AD. And he died at the age of 33.
23:13 Morgana Flavius: Tiberius died in 37 AD.
23:14 Zoe Xanthippos: hmmm, it John was just getting wind of the impending arrival of Jesus in the 15th year of Tiberius reign...what calendars are being used by the Biblical writers I wonder?  I was basing AD40 on jesus bein g born in 0 or something. 
23:14 Morgana Flavius: (sheesh I am repeatig myself...)
23:15 Zoe Xanthippos: Now that I look, Tiberius died in AD 37.  Oh, how stupid I am,  AD= after death.  *sigh*  that one hit me in the face with an egg
23:16 Morgana Flavius: Zoe, what John was saying about the arrival of Christ was not connected to Christ's birth, but to his "coming of age", so to speak.
23:16 Zoe Xanthippos: We're all sayin gthe same stuff at the same time - great minds and all that - right?
23:16 Torrey Philemon: I was just looking up the chronology of Jesus. There's  a lot of controvery about his year of birth from 5 BC to 4 A.D.  But one way or another, he may have died nearly around the same time as Tiberius.
23:17 Morgana Flavius: AD=after death?!
23:18 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, Morgana,that is right.  Stupider and stupider here.  But John was still foretelling in the 15th yr of Tiberius which through my initial response to that one off.  Anyway.
23:19 Zoe Xanthippos: A long time ago, I was taught that BC meant before Christ and AD meant after death.  Now of course it's before and after common era, for the politically correct
23:20 Morgana Flavius: yeah... the problem is that not only after the 15th century of our era (or around that time), people found out that the Julian calendar, which had been in use thill then, had a minor incorrection. By that time, it already had accrued some 5 or 4 years in error... But then it was too late to change all the dates... and they left it like that... but AD means Annus Dominus, and it means that AD 1 was the year of Christ's birth. Which only more "recently" was found incorrect, but... leave it like that...
23:20 Zoe Xanthippos: Tiberius would have received the blame because he was the figure in power
23:21 Torrey Philemon: People think that AD means after death but it does mean Annus Dominus I think. What does that mean, year of our Lord?
23:22 Morgana Flavius: Yes, people are now favoring the use of BCE (before common era) and CE (common era) instead of BC and AD
23:22 Torrey Philemon: Was the Herod in Judea at the time the son or grandson of the Herod that Cleopatra and Antony dealt with?
23:22 Morgana Flavius: AD=Annus Dominus=Year of the Lord (no doubts about it)
23:23 Torrey Philemon: Hmm. I wonder if the continuing negative portraits of Tiberius throughout history have any connection to the fact that he was in power when Jesus was crucified. I doubt if the Church portrayed him positively.
23:24 Morgana Flavius: I think Herod was neither son nor grandson of Cleopatra's Herod... they had family connections, but not that close...
23:24 Torrey Philemon: Hmm. More information on the time discrepancies here. But this site says the years were 14 years off.  http://www.bathkol.com/newpage2.htm
23:25 Morgana Flavius: Oh, Torrey, after what Suetonius and Tacitus wrote about Tiberius (and they had no connection to the Christian church), the church did not need to add anything else...
23:26 Zoe Xanthippos: That makes sense Torrey.  Since the church was the repository for the ancient writings and the monks the translators and copyists throughout the Dark Ages, it's quite plausible that there is a bias
23:26 Torrey Philemon: So maybe Herod was a name chosen by the ruler of Judea.....
23:26 Morgana Flavius: Anyhow... in the end, it was Pilate who got the blame... I guess he was also a great figure highly misunderstood by history...
23:27 Zoe Xanthippos: maybe Herod was a titular name - sort of like Ptolemy and Cleopatra in Egypt
23:27 Zoe Xanthippos: Pilate was no doubt just doing his job
23:30 Morgana Flavius: Hum... Torrey and Zoe, I really don't think that the church manipulated the writings of Tacitus and Suetonius... moreover, because there are references to their works in ancient Egyptian scrolls which were never in the possession of the church.
23:31 Morgana Flavius: (I bet Torrey is looking for something about Herod in the net) ;-)
23:32 Torrey Philemon: I'm not saying that they  manipulated writings, Morgana. Only that they may have passed on a negative attitude about Tiberius. Just a wild guess. Supposedly Tiberius has been maligned by history only until recently when historians have started to question the old accounts.
23:32 Torrey Philemon: Ha, you're ahead of me, Morgana. I do have sticky fingers (always doing two things at once) but have
23:33 Zoe Xanthippos: LOL!  I bet you're right, Morgana
23:33 Torrey Philemon: Ha, you're ahead of me, Morgana. I do have sticky fingers (always doing two things at once) but haven't gotten to Herod yet or Pilate.
23:33 Zoe Xanthippos: To return to Mr Massie, I was interested in the "positive vetting" (p 98, after Tiberius returns to Rome from his time in Rhodes, when he is being warned of Julia's behavior by a Praetorian Prefect) - did the Romans really do that?  It sounds like our own system in the US of minutely scrutinizing the life of any candidate for a public job.
23:34 Morgana Flavius: I think it is the opposite, Torrey. Tiberius was maligned by ancient history since the beginning and only more recently scholars are challenging this foul account of his life, questioning the biases behind Suetonius and Tacitus, for instance.
23:36 Morgana Flavius: Hum... Zoe... Tiberius was warned of Julia's behavior BEFORE his trip to Rhodes, no? Actually, some say he went to Rhodes exactly because of Julia's scandalous behavior... and came only after she was exiled.
23:37 Morgana Flavius: (I mean, came back to Rome only after Julia's banishment)
23:37 Torrey Philemon: That's what I was trying to say, Morgana! You're more articulate with English than I am <-:  .  (Just read about the positive vetting, Zoe. Yes, it does sound like running for office in the U.S. I guess they had a good FBI back then.)
23:38 Morgana Flavius: Yes, back to Massie, Zoe. Another interesting thing: he does not mention HOW Julia died...
23:38 Torrey Philemon: Yes it's my impression that Julia's behavior was the MAIN reason (of several reasons) for him exiling himself. And once she was banished, returning to Rome was more of a possibility.
23:39 Morgana Flavius: Actually, Massie made a mistake regarding Julia's death, saying that she died in Pandateria. There's absolutely no doubt that she left Pandateria and went to Rhegium, in the mainland, in southern Italy, and died there.
23:39 Torrey Philemon: Julia's later years.....More contradictions. On the one hand, Tiberius continually negotiated with Augustus on her behalf, as if he still had some fondness for her. On the other hand, once Augustus died, he deprived her of her allowance (because it wasn't in Augustus' will). Also he made sure she was restricted to her HOUSE not just the TOWN as Augustus had determined.
23:40 Torrey Philemon: Are you going to read that novel about  Julia soon, Zoe?
23:40 Morgana Flavius: Now... both Tacitus and Suetonius say that Tiberius let Julia starve to death... Massie just silences.
23:41 Torrey Philemon: (Has anyone made a movie about Julia? What a story! )
23:41 Morgana Flavius: Tacitus also says that Tiberius let Agrippina starve to death too. What a cruel way to get rid of (potential) enemies!
23:41 Zoe Xanthippos: oh dear, I do seem to be having a chronological problem tonight, yes, it was before his going to Rhodes that he was warned but I was trying to locate the 'positive vetting' part for you in the book
23:42 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Julia is quite a story! And also her daughters Julia the yOunger and Agrippina, the Elder... all of them banished... killed... silenced...
23:43 Torrey Philemon: I found the positive vetting, Zoe, it was on the pages you mentioned, 98 - 99 (and I have the hardback).
23:44 Torrey Philemon: The silencing of women.......what a theme!
23:44 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, I hope to read Caesar's Daughter soon, after finishing Massie's Tiberius and the much mentioned Dios.  Now that the Christmas rush is over and as soon as I tidy up by paperwork for my accountant, I may be able to do what I say I'm going to do
23:44 Morgana Flavius: Excuse me, ladies, but what does exactly mean a "positive vetting"?
23:45 Zoe Xanthippos: yes, I also have the hardback
23:45 Torrey Philemon: I did look up Dio again at Amazon.com and found all the different volumes without any indication of the topics of each. Volume 1, 2, 3 etc. Have you read much Dio yet, Zoe, and is he very readable?
23:46 Zoe Xanthippos: it's interesting that women were considered enough of a threat to have to be silenced...
23:47 Torrey Philemon: "Positive vetting" is described in Massie on pp.98-99. Never heard the term either. It has to do with checking out carefully both the personal and political life of someone before giving them office. Thoroughly researching everything about an individual for political purposes.
23:47 Zoe Xanthippos: it was described by Massie as a system of delving into the background of a public figure, into all the details of their public and private lives,  "assembling a total picture, a mosaid so to speak"
23:47 Zoe Xanthippos: 'scuse - Mosaic
23:48 Morgana Flavius: Torrey, Zoe posted a thorough description of what can be found about Tiberius (and where), in Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio, Josephus and others in our Tiberius board.
23:49 Zoe Xanthippos: the ones that involve our friends, Torrey, are the Loeb editions V, VI, & VII.  I've only fished  but I find him quite readable
23:50 Zoe Xanthippos: again, I qill be quite happy to break down who is where for you - tomorrow
23:50 Morgana Flavius: Actually, it was Mara: Classical Sources, on Nov. 14, Reading about Tiberius board
23:51 Torrey Philemon: Huh? I read all your posts but my memory is like a sieve, esp. when I'm tired. I think about them at the time and then I seem to forget. I was just trying to figure out what's in each of the Loeb editions since Amazon.com only lists them by volume. (I'll go look for Zoe's post!) 
23:51 Morgana Flavius: BTW, I found that post a very valuable one, Zoe!
23:52 Morgana Flavius: Also the post with the Links. Real good job, Zoe! Thanks! *S*
23:54 Morgana Flavius: Oh Torrey, you're still hanging on there, having slept only 4 hours for the past few days... I think I am getting your sleeping deprivation hangover now...
23:54 Torrey Philemon: Just found that post by Mara. Yes, really valuable. I didn't pay enough attention to it at the time because I wasn't reading the classical sources. I'll print that out.
23:55 Torrey Philemon: Zoe, what the H----? You just posted another post on the Tiberius board while you were chatting........
23:55 Morgana Flavius: Almost 2 a.m., here... I must go.
23:56 Torrey Philemon: I'm really fading again.......so should we stop now? Do you both want another Tiberius chat or have you had enough? How about one more in another 3-4 weeks?
23:57 Morgana Flavius: Huh? You did that Zoe?
23:58 Morgana Flavius: It's up to you, if you want another chat on Tiberius, I'll be there. In 4 weeks from now, I shall be able to be there. Before that, I have a load of work to do!
23:58 Zoe Xanthippos: I had written it out before the chat but I was late, as usual and anything that long won't copy onto the tiny space properly in the chat
23:59 Torrey Philemon: (While I'm loudly publicizing my other screen activities, Zoe is SECRETLY writing up a storm on AS bulletin board while chatting)
23:59 Zoe Xanthippos: Yes, I'd like to try again, since I didn't finish the book for this one
00:00 Zoe Xanthippos: aren't computers supposed to be multi-tasking?  I think that's how the WOnderful WIndows was advertised!
00:01 Torrey Philemon: Actually the mythology class I'm teaching starts February 1st so I'm likely to not be available the week beforehand as I prepare. Better right after the 1st. We can discuss this on the bulletin board........ Best wishes with your workload, Morgana, and to Zoe - I hope you can slow down now that it's after the Christmas rush.
00:01 Zoe Xanthippos: ah, the first words of a new day...
00:01 Morgana Flavius: I think we could have an interesting chat about Tiberius' last days, after Zoe finishes Massie. I am not satisfied with the Caligula succession stuff...
00:01 Torrey Philemon: Oh my it's tomorrow. Guess it's time to sleep! Nice chat again, folks........you're two of my favorite people here at A.S.
00:01 Zoe Xanthippos: good night then ladies, I have enjoyed it as always.  Sorry I couldn't be fully prepared
00:02 Torrey Philemon: Yes, there's a lot more to say about Tiberius' last 10 years. And SEJANUS (Seianus as written elsewhere).
00:02 Torrey Philemon: Sweet dreams......
00:03 Morgana Flavius: Yeah... a new day already! Well, let's keep in mind that we want to talk a little more about Tiberius (I find him, his time and the time after him - the Julio-Claudians - a fascinating subject!)
00:03 Torrey Philemon: (Oh no, the transcript link is dead. No transcript of this chat.....at least not now)
00:03 Morgana Flavius: Good night, Zoe, Torrey! It's been wonderful to chat with you, yes!!
00:04 Morgana Flavius: Never fear, Torrey. The link will come back later. Bye now!
00:04 Torrey Philemon exits...
00:05 Morgana Flavius exits...
00:08 Zoe Xanthippos exits...

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