Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Roman emperor Tiberius. When he was born in 42BC, there was little prospect of him ever becoming Emperor of Rome. Firstly, Rome was still a Republic and there had not yet been any Emperor so that had to change and, secondly, when his stepfather Augustus became Emperor there was no precedent for who should succeed him, if anyone. It somehow fell to Tiberius to develop this Roman imperial project and by some accounts he did this well, while to others his reign was marked by cruelty and paranoia inviting comparison with Nero.

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  • Matthew Nicholls 5 episodes
    Senior Tutor at St. John's College, University of Oxford
  • Shushma Malik 2 episodes
    Assistant Professor of Classics and Onassis Classics Fellow at Newnham College at the University of Cambridge
  • Catherine Steel 5 episodes
    Professor of Classics at the University of Glasgow

Reading list

  • Tiberius the Wise
    Edward Champlin ( 2008)
  • From the Augustan Principate to the invention of the Age of Augustus
    Alison E. Cooley ( 2019) Google Books →
  • The Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre: text, translation, and commentary
    Alison E. Cooley (Cambridge University Press, 2023) Google Books →
  • Tiberius and Augustus in Tiberian Sources
    Eleanor Cowan ( 2009)
  • Roman History: Books 57 and 58: The Reign of Tiberius
    Cassius Dio (trans. C. T. Mallan) (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Tacitus, Tiberius and Capri
    Rebecca Edwards ( 2011)
  • The Julio-Claudian Succession: Reality and Perception of the Augustan Model
    A. Gibson (ed.) (Brill, 2012) Google Books →
  • The Jewish War
    Josephus (trans. E. Mary Smallwood and G. Williamson) (Penguin Classics, 1981) Google Books →
  • Tiberius the Politician
    Barbara Levick (Routledge, 1999) Google Books →
  • Tacitus' History of Political Effective Speech: Truth to Power
    E. O'Gorman (Bloomsbury, 2019) Google Books →
  • Roman History: From Romulus and the Foundation of Rome to the Reign of the Emperor Tiberius
    Velleius Paterculus (trans. J. C. Yardley and Anthony A. Barrett) (Hackett Publishing, 2011) Google Books →
  • Tiberius
    R. Seager (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005) Google Books →
  • Tiberius Caesar
    David Shotter (Routledge, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Twelve Caesars
    Suetonius (trans. Robert Graves) (Penguin Classics, 2007) Google Books →
  • The Annals of Imperial Rome
    Tacitus (trans. Michael Grant) (Penguin Classics, 2003) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001t9j8

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001t9j8

Auto-category: 937 (Ancient Rome and adjacent territories)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, when Tiberius was born in 42 BC, there was little prospect of his ever becoming Emperor of Rome.