Was Tiberius a good Roman Emperor?

Jun 2015
5,620
UK
#1
Much is said of his treason trials, and how indiscimrinate they were. In some ways, as I see iit, he was like an ancient-era Stalin, in that anybody whom he saw as a threat was doomed.

But then I've read that he made many infrastructure advancements, and this is even thgugh he lived on Capri for much of his tenure.
 
Aug 2012
1,519
#2
I don't think so. A leader abandoning his seat of power, to indulge themselves in decadent living, and allowing underlings to rule in their stead is pretty poor leadership. Worse, his character flaws meant that even if the Roman people could forgive this, he was still hated because he didn't distract them with any games.
The bread-and-circuses approach ensured that even technically worse Emperors like Nero and Caligula were genuinely mourned by the common Roman, whereas with Tiberius, they wanted him thrown in the river.

The strange thing is, I don't actually count his treason trials against him. Consider the general behaviour of the Senate, which throughout Roman history appears to be in a constant state of near-treason against the Emperor, and I can understand why many rulers simply wished to scare them into obedience. Time after time, from Gracchus to Caesar, they proved themselves treacherous and dangerous, and I can actually sympathise with Tiberius wanting to beat them into submission. Had he taken a weaker, more concilliatory approach, does anyone doubt that they would have plotted against him?
 
Jun 2015
5,620
UK
#3
I feel the Senate were easy if the Emperor was stable. A lot of Emperors, even the good ones, generally died of natural causes, in battle, or were killed by the Pretorians or close family members.

Tiberius's treason trials were for anybody woh mocked the Emperor in public, and not for those who actively were plotting.
 
Jul 2013
58
NW Indiana
#4
I don't think so. A leader abandoning his seat of power, to indulge themselves in decadent living, and allowing underlings to rule in their stead is pretty poor leadership. Worse, his character flaws meant that even if the Roman people could forgive this, he was still hated because he didn't distract them with any games.
The bread-and-circuses approach ensured that even technically worse Emperors like Nero and Caligula were genuinely mourned by the common Roman, whereas with Tiberius, they wanted him thrown in the river.

The strange thing is, I don't actually count his treason trials against him. Consider the general behaviour of the Senate, which throughout Roman history appears to be in a constant state of near-treason against the Emperor, and I can understand why many rulers simply wished to scare them into obedience. Time after time, from Gracchus to Caesar, they proved themselves treacherous and dangerous, and I can actually sympathise with Tiberius wanting to beat them into submission. Had he taken a weaker, more concilliatory approach, does anyone doubt that they would have plotted against him?
I think a ruler retiring with an ordered, lawful transition of power to well trained subordinates is a sign of a great leader.
 
Aug 2014
4,031
Australia
#5
He would have been an excellent emperor if he got the position when he was younger. Augustus lived for so long that by the time he died, Tiberius no longer had any interest in the job. He was competent and knew how to choose good administrators. Tiberius was a good emperor but he could have been a great one.