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Classical Interviews: Emperor Tiberius

Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Emperor Tiberius

Statue of Tiberius from Priverno


By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

This is one in a series of interviews with well-known personalities from the ancient Greek and Roman world. Today I feel honoured to interview Rome’s second emperor and Augustus’ adopted son, Tiberius.


Q. Ave! Thanks for receiving us, Tiberius. It’s a great pleasure interviewing Rome’s second emperor. Are you enjoying your new job?
A. The whole thing came as quite a surprise for me. I like to tell people that “it was a funny thing that happened on the way to the forum”. I used to argue a lot with my adopted father, Augustus, but I knew he would eventually turn around and recognise my talents. No matter what, I’ll do my best to continue his work and do the right thing for Rome. May the Julio-Claudian Dynasty last forever!

Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. I’ve been thinking about new conquests. I am a great admirer of Augustus and how he brought us the well-deserved Pax Romana, but I still think the empire has room to grow! The barbarians need to recognise that the Roman way of life as the best one. I feel that civilizing them is a noble pursuit. I dream of an even larger empire in which everyone speaks Latin. As I said before, though I greatly admire Augustus, I disagree with his republican views. A Republic is an inherently corrupt institution! It’s an excellent thing that we got rid of it!

Q. Can you give us some more details about the territories you hope to conquer for the empire?
A. Well, I’ve always wanted to conquer Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia and, of course, Germania. I realize this last one is the most difficult one since they are brave warriors, but I’m eager to get revenge for what they did to us during Augustus’ rule. Our defeat at the Teutoburg Forest is a national shame. It’s about time they pay dearly for that. If I can’t turn Germania into a Roman province, I won’t be able to face Augustus in the afterlife!

Q. What do you think about those people who have accused Julius Caesar of being a tyrant?
A. I despise those people. They were just jealous of his talents. On the other hand, I think he did always want to be an emperor. And let me tell you, I think he would have been the finest ruler that Rome had ever seen. I just hope I can follow Caesar’s example! It galls me that he was killed in such an awful manner. The conspirators only assassinated him because they were too cowardly to face a great general like him in the battlefield. I am glad Augustus killed all those traitors!

Q. I’ve heard that a number of Roman generals and emperors have become very interested in pets…
A. Indeed! (laughing) I was particularly fond of Caesar’s giraffe. Still, I’ve never been interested in having exotic pets myself. I’m more inteested in fish, really. I even invented a great game involving fish and slaves, which I called “Piscervus”. But if you don’t mind, I prefer not to give you any more details about it.

Q. I realize it might be a little early to ask this, but who do you think your heir will be?
A. I have great hopes for my nephew Caligula. The boy has an excellent future ahead of him. He really knows how to have fun, and I think Rome will have its happiest days when he is head of state! The only odd thing about him is how fond he is of his horse Incitatus. He treats it as if it were a real person! I’m very fond of my own pets, but I still find Caligula’s relationship with his horse very weird! On the other hand, it’s probably just a childhood thing. We’re all a little crazy when we’re kids. I’m sure he’ll end up as sane as you and me.

Q. What message would you like to leave for people in the future?
A. I hope people will remember me as the best emperor Rome ever had. But more than that, I hope people from the future will continue to respect their ancient ancestors and study Latin with diligence!



The emperor later changed his mind and invited me to a party where they planned to play the mysterious Piscervus game. I’d already heard stories about it, though, so I told him I was busy, that I had to rush to my next interview!


André Bastos Gurgel
André Bastos Gurgel, OAB (Order of Attorneys of Brazil), Academic Advisor for the Carmenta Online Latin School, is a life-long student of both modern and ancient languages. Mr. Gurgel is fluent in English, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Latin (the last of which he learned with Carmenta) and has a working knowledge of Danish, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. Mr. Gurgel is currently studying Old English through Carmenta as well.

Click here to read Mr. Gurgel’s full profile.



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