The great conundrum of his character and the political significance of his long reign, which solidified the imperial government of Rome, render the life of Tiberius Caesar (42 B. C.-37 A. D.)—second emperor of Rome and successor of Augustus—a subject of perennial interest. From the mass of available evidence, two men can be constructed, both equally credible: one, an upright, gruff soldier-statesman, austere, just, capable; the other, a corrupt, murderous tyrant with gargantuan and depraved appetites.
In another in the series of superb biographies of ancient figures, G. P. Baker provides an astute and fair-minded assesment of Rome's most psychologically complex and contradictory emperor, a man who—according to Roman historian Dio Cassius— "possessed many virtues and many vices."
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