Monday, September 19, 2011

The Twelve Caesars - page 141, Tiberius

Tiberius had asked the Senate to choose him a Council to advise him on public affairs, consisting of twenty men -- in addition to certain old friends and intimates -- only two or three of whom died natural deaths. All the rest he killed, one way or another ....

By now you should be getting the message that Tiberius was thought to be harsh and cruel, and he was apparently OK with people holding that opinion of him. The author of this account, Suetonius, can be a bit of an unreliable historian at times ("two or three of whom" is remarkably vague), but his view is backed up somewhat by other Roman historians, and this short passage captures succinctly all the cruelty Tiberius is known for, and it explains the infamy he has earned.

"All the rest he killed" just about says it, doesn't it?

No comments: