#14.4: Arch of Tiberius

Ok we have three possible locations for this arch of about 17 AD in this corner of the Forum. (1) This is no proof that it spanned the Via Sacra, meaning one pier butted up to the Basilica Julia and the other was in this hole in front of the first two arches of the Viaduct (the reconstructed one using fragments of this Arch and the bricked one marked 'Arco di Tibero'). That is where many like to put because these Arches always spanned streets.

(2) It spanned the Vicus Jugarius between the Basilica Julia and the Temple of Saturn. This theory is because a later relief on the Arch of Constantine shows a side view of the Rostra with the Temple of Saturn in the background with an arch spanning this street over to the Basilica Julia. There was an unnamed arch or gateway that spanned the Vicus but that is dated to the fourth Century before this relief was made but it could have been an earlier arch. Or perhaps the sculptor just used 'artistic license' and turned the Tiberius Arch to fit in the relief. Remember it is just background the real scene is the Emperor on the Rostra. But the best evidence is the Plutei in the Curia, they are dated 100+ years after the Arch of Tiberius was built and it only shows an empty space for the Vicus Jugarius.

(3) This is the one we have proof of. In this hole there is a large unseen concrete foundation that goes from the edge of the Via Sacra over to the Schola Xantha. Also the Via Sacra was narrowed here (which you can plainly see), meaning once the Via Sacra was also partially over this hole section at your feet. That via section was removed so that the arch's pier could be squeezed into this area. This makes sense, the Schola Xantha was built during Tiberius reign and his Arch was built next to it. This Arch was more ornamental and only for pedestrian traffic. A few steps lead up to it from the Forum and I assume the other side was level with the higher Clivius Capitolinus.

Below is what the nineteenth Century archaeologists wrote after they excavated this section.

"It stood at the NW corner of the Basilica Julia, not spanning the Sacra Via but just North of it. The street was made narrower at this point and the curb (between the street and Forum Square) bent toward the South to afford room for the arch. The concrete foundations 9 m long by 6.3 m wide have recently been found. This arch was single and was approached by steps from the level of the Forum. Its foundation blocked up two of the arches at the SW end of the Clivius Capitolinus, two of the pits (Pozzi Rituali?) in line of the street, and also the arched opening of a drain built of tufa block. Into this drain at this point ran two other drains at an acute angle and a block of tufa set in the floor of the archway served to regulate the flow of the currents (you can see a drain in this hole). Some architectural fragments of this arch and part of the inscription have been recovered."

So except for some scattered fragments and its concrete foundation nothing is left. My *guess* is possibly after the Arch was scavenged for building materials perhaps the section between the concrete foundation and ground level of the arch used large stone blocks which were also scavenged? That would account for its almost complete disappearance? Also if my #2 is correct in that it actually shows some unnamed arch then we have no images of Tiberius' Arch which could have been anything from basic to very elaborate, probably the later. So now at this end of the Forum we have the Milliarium Aureum 'o', the Rostra '||||||', the Schola Xantha '==' and the Arch of Tiberius '||^||' and then the Via Sacra '#' and the Basilica Julia '[]' like this o||||||==||^||#[].

Ok, why a Triumphal Arch for Tiberius? Augustus had decreed that only the Emperor could have a triumphal arch built because they were the real Leaders and the Generals were just following their orders and under their command. But in reality it was for General Germanicus' victory (about 16 AD) when he recovered the Legion Standards that were lost when Varus got his three Legions wiped out in 9 AD in the Teutoburg Forest. Germanicus is a war hero and *very popular* with the people and the army, and loyal to Emperor Tiberius. He is also Tiberius' nephew, adopted son and heir to the Throne plus Emperor Augustus was his great uncle and his wife's grandfather. But being popular and successor to the throne can sometimes be a bad combination.

Look down the Via Sacra and imagine: Germanicus is awarded a Triumph and rides in a chariot with his wife and three sons (think JFK, Jackie and kids in 1963), the Romans love this man and his family and are cheering wildly. Two or three years later Germanicus is dead, most Romans believed he was poisoned on Tiberius' orders but it's really unknown although the Roman Governor of Syria and Tiberius' confidant committed suicide when charged with Germanicus' murder. Twelve years later Germanicus' wife (Agrippina) and their two eldest sons are imprisoned, mother and one son on a small island and the other in Rome (possibly in Tiberius' Palace on the Palatine Hill), all are dead in a few years.

But Tiberius feels Germanicus' youngest son his grand-nephew is no real threat because of his young age and is allowed to live. Tiberius leaves Rome to live on Capri, later Germanicus' youngest son is ordered to live there with him also. Tiberius and his loyal followers watch him like a hawk for any sign of him wanting revenge. But he just 'parties on' (sex, sadism, wine and food) with no ill thoughts towards his grand-uncle or no inclinations to power...or so it seems! Tiberius dies in 37 AD and Germanicus' youngest son becomes co-emperor with the younger Gemellus (Tiberius' grandson, who will be murdered shortly). And Germanicus' only surviving son's name was 'Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus' but he had a cute little childhood nickname that we all know him by 'Little Boots'...In Latin, Caligula!

So who was TIBERIUS? (Born 42 BC on the Palatine Hill, Died 37 AD) Tiberius was unloved by everyone as Emperor, the people's chant upon his death was "Tiberius to the Tiber". Meaning throw his body into the river as they would a criminal, traitor or enemy. He was a really bad Emperor, later living as a recluse in his Capri palace the last eleven years of his reign and never returned to Rome. If the ancient authors and rumors are true he was sadistic and quite a sexual deviant.

Another reason Tiberius was so hated was the proscription of many Roman citizens while he was off to Capri and Sejanus was in complete control of Rome. Remember the 'Stairs of Mourning' behind the Arch of Septimius Severus they got *a lot* of use under Sejanus. Sometimes as many as 20 executions a day, even women and children usually families of the condemned men (by Roman law virgins couldn't be executed, so they weren't when finally strangled and thrown down these Stairs).

Tiberius' mother (Livia) was married and had four-year-old Tiberius when Octavian (who later became Emperor Augustus and is also married) ordered her to divorce her husband and marry him. Legend is, it was love at first sight for him but historians say it was a political marriage. But they were married and childless for 51 years and he wanted a male heir desperately, so it's odd he never divorced her. So I'm going either with true Love or that Livia was a sexual vixen and knew his fetish :-) (shown in HBO's Rome).

Tiberius grew up and was a good General and good public official in the different government offices he held. He was a Prince but not Augustus' first choice as far as taking over as Emperor which is just fine with Tiberius. But Fate with possibly his mother's underhanded dealings made him Emperor upon Augustus' death (14 AD). Tiberius is forced onto this path but he inherits a vast Empire! He gets all that for just one *little* sacrifice on his part which is forced upon him...he must leave his Love forever :=(. History records him as an unloved, evil, vile, perverted Emperor. But what if he never had to give up his Love in life? Did this event change him for the worse?

In about 35 BC Augustus betroths his seven-year-old stepson Tiberius to his best friend, heir and right-hand man's (Marcus Agrippa) one year old daughter Vipsania. At 22 and 16 they are married. Eight years later Marcus Agrippa dies and Augustus needs an adult heir to the throne standing-by just in case. So adopting Tiberius and marrying him to his nymphomaniac daughter Julia who is also Marcus Agrippa's widow will do the trick. Plus Julia has always had the 'hots' for Tiberius. But Tiberius thinks she is a sl.. ahhh better to go with Suetonius' description :-) "Tiberius disapproves of her character". Tiberius has a son and his wife is pregnant with their second child. And he really truly loves his wife.

Augustus orders him to divorce his wife and marry the nymphomaniac Princess. Vipsania upon hearing Augustus' decree is so distraught she loses her baby. Tiberius must obey, he sadly divorces his true love and marries Julia. But then one day Vipsania and Tiberius paths accidently cross! Suetonius wrote: "He followed her with an intense and tearful gaze"... "after that, care was taken to avoid their paths *ever* crossing again" :=( .

Remember he is now the Emperor's adopted son, heir to the Empire and married to the Emperor's daughter, he *can not ever* be seen crying over this lost love:=( , that would be *very unmanly* and *very unRoman*. Just showing affection for your wife in public or even the rumor that you are affectionate in private was seen as a major weakness in a man. Pompey was often ridiculed as a "sex mad General" because he truly and passionately loved his wife Julia (Caesar's daughter), this was very scandalous behavior. And for a Roman wife. 'Lucretius' "A matron has no need of lascivious squirmings", so frigid, rigid with dignified immobility and anything above that could label you prostitute-like in your husband's eyes.

Before we leave this area go back in time and imagine. Little nine-year-old Tiberius is over on the Rostra delivering a eulogy for his birth father. And around the time he hits puberty he coming up the Via Sacra riding the left lead horse on Augustus' chariot in a Triumph. Later as a man and adopted son of Augustus, Tiberius stops his chariot right here before the right turn onto the Clivus. He walks over to the Rostra and falls to his knees before Augustus who is presiding over the ceremonies. This is symbolic, a new born child is first brought to the father and laid at his feet. If it is a son and he accepts it as his and healthy, he picks it up. If not he walks away and the child is killed. If it's a girl he either walks away and it is killed or just says "feed her" and walks away and she is accepted.

Now imagine Emperor Tiberius standing in the Forum admiring his newly built triumphal arch. He will never know or care that later during his reign one of his Roman Governors in a far-off province will crucify an unknown and insignificant religious rabble-rouser. But about 375 years later all the Pagan Temples that now surround him will be gone, the buildings still intact but the statues of their Gods destroyed, their inscriptions erased and his religion outlawed.

Next: #14.5: Via Jugarius
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