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Tiberius Hardcover – January 28, 2005

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Review

"This second edition is a welcome revision of the excellent Tiberius ... The book has much to commend it ... Undergraduates will find it an excellent resource, and one not beyond sixth-form students." Journal of Classics Teaching

Book Description

This book traces the life of Tiberius from his birth in Rome in 42 BC during the death throes of the Republic, through his military career and reign as Emperor, to his death in 37 AD. Tiberius' complex character is the key to understanding his reign. Challenging the common ancient view of Tiberius as a consummate hypocrite, the author portrays him instead as a man whose virtues and beliefs were corrupted by power, who lost his grasp of reality as his fears of conspiracy and assassination spiraled out of control, and who finally resorted to ruling by terror. The second edition of this highly readable biography contains a substantial afterword, reconsidering various questions and discussing important new evidence that has come to light since the book was first published.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (January 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405115289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405115285
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,559,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By BK on July 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I first discovered Robin Seager, it was through his book, "Pompey the Great". This was a book I just couldn't read finding it utterly long-winded and excruciatingly detailed (read: boring!). I did eventually read it, when I was ready, and discovered Seager to be an impressive historian whose fondness for detail I greatly enjoyed. Thus, I picked up Tiberius hoping for more of the same. And I wasn't disappointed. Tiberius was the second Principate of Rome having been adopted by Augustus to take over after his death. He was certainly not the first choice but in the end, Tiberius outlived all the other potential heirs Augustus had chosen. Tiberius was an honoured and respected general who had Republican sensibilities. As Principate, he clashed numerous times with the Senate over its inabilities to make decisions for itself and deferring many issues back to him (after he initially passed onto them). Seager takes us through Tiberius' life from his childhood roots (and the eventual familial-bond that he and Augustus would share) to his selection as Principate. He looks at the different occurrences in Tiberius' early life that set him down his eventual path (but not without some resistance first) and his role as Principate (from determining attacks to his relationship with the people). Seager provides a very comprehensive view of the second Principate's reign and his accomplishments and failures.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Hopkins on July 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seager provides a highly detailed record of the life of Tiberius. The author concentrated a good deal on the issue of succession during the Julio-Claudian period. Fate was cruel to Augustus as his preferred heirs died, leaving his stepson, Tiberius, to fill the role of Rome's most powerful man. Never truly wanting his position, Tiberius wished to do what was needed until another successor of Augustus' bloodline came of age and fame. Fate was similarly cruel to Tiberius as it was to Augustus, and the rest of his rule turned out to be unpopular and corrupt.

Seager analyzes much of Tiberius' reign through Tiberius' character traits, legal trials, and the lives of those close to him. The biography is well written and informative, but prior information is needed to fully comprehend the material. For those not versed in Roman history, you might not enjoy the book as I did.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robin Dalziell on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read a number of accounts about Tiberius, both historical and modern, my interest was taken whilst reading Robin Seager's informative book.
Suetonius' portrayal has too often been taken at face value and has been too much credence. Therefore we are given a view of a man who was a monster. Which is all very well if sensation is the priority?
Seager's book shows Tiberius as a person whose complex character left him vulnerable to suggestion and later in life, suspicious and fearful.
When his formative years are taken into account, the reader can more easily see the seeds of paranoia which were later to manifest.
This book is eminently readable, fascinating and thought-provoking. Highly recommendable to those who wish to expand their knowledge of the second Princeps of the Roman Empire.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nickylee on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
The author Seager adds nothing as a historian. In fact, blindly believing the worst of the historical sources, he does the modern reader a disservice by being insufficiently critical.

In particular, Seager blindly accepts Tacitus' description of Sejanus and in doing so ignores the most basic of contemporary scholarship on the subject.

For example, Seager says p181 that Sejanus planned to kill most of Tiberius heirs.
Seager says Sejanus didn't kill Drusus, but he would have done it anyway p185.

Very disappointing.
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