in Svetonio, Vita dei Cesari – Libro III (Tiberio), passim 32
Frasi di Tiberio
Data di nascita: 16. Novembre 42 a.C.
Data di morte: 16. Marzo 37 d.C.
Tiberio Giulio Cesare Augusto fu il secondo imperatore romano, appartenente alla dinastia giulio-claudia, e governò dal 14 al 37.
Appartenente alla gens Claudia, alla nascita ebbe il nome di Tiberio Claudio Nerone . Fu adottato da Augusto nel 4, ed il suo nome mutò in Tiberio Giulio Cesare ; alla morte del padre adottivo, il 19 agosto 14, ottenne il nome di Tiberio Giulio Cesare Augusto e poté succedergli ufficialmente nel ruolo di princeps, sebbene già dall'anno 12 fosse stato associato nel governo dell'impero.
In gioventù Tiberio si distinse per il suo talento militare conducendo brillantemente numerose campagne lungo i confini settentrionali dell'Impero e in Illirico. Dopo un periodo di volontario esilio sull'isola di Rodi, rientrò a Roma nel 2 e condusse altre spedizioni in Illirico e in Germania, dove pose rimedio alle conseguenze della battaglia di Teutoburgo. Asceso al trono, operò alcune importanti riforme in ambito economico e politico, e pose fine alla politica di espansione militare, limitandosi a mantenere sicuri i confini grazie anche all'opera del nipote Germanico Giulio Cesare. Dopo la morte di quest'ultimo, Tiberio favorì sempre più l'ascesa del prefetto del pretorio Seiano, allontanandosi da Roma per ritirarsi nell'isola di Capri. Quando il prefetto mostrò di volersi impadronire del potere assoluto, Tiberio lo fece destituire e uccidere, ma evitò ugualmente di rientrare nella capitale.
Tiberio fu duramente criticato dagli storici antichi, quali Tacito e Svetonio, ma la sua figura è stata rivalutata dalla storiografia moderna come quella di un politico abile e attento.
„Towards Livia, too, exorbitant was the flattering court of the Senate. Some were for decreeing her the general title of Mother; others the more particular one of Mother Of Her Country; and almost all moved, that to the name of Tiberius should be added, The Son Of Julia: Tiberius urged in answer, that "public honours to women ought to be warily adjudged, and with a sparing hand; and that with the same measure of moderation he would receive such as were presented to himself."“
The Annals of Tacitus - Book 1
„My Lords, if I know what to tell you, or how to tell it, or what to leave altogether untold for the present, may all the gods and goddesses in Heaven bring me to an even worse damnation than I now daily suffer!“
Variant translation: What to write to you, Conscript Fathers, or how to write, or what not to write at this time, may all the gods and goddesses pour upon my head a more terrible vengeance than that under which I feel myself daily sinking, if I can tell. Letter to the Senate, from Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, ch. 67 (cf. Tacitus, Annals, VI 6.1.)
„As soon as the funeral of Augustus was over, a temple and divine worship were forthwith decreed him. The Senate then turned their instant supplications to Tiberius, to fill his vacant place; but received an abstruse answer, touching the greatness of the Empire and his own distrust of himself; he said that "nothing but the divine genius of Augustus was equal to the mighty task: that for himself, who had been called by him into a participation of his cares, he had learnt by feeling them, what a daring, what a difficult toil was that of government, and how perpetually subject to the caprices of fortune: that in a State supported by so many illustrious patriots they ought not to cast the whole administration upon one; and more easy to be administered were the several offices of the Government by the united pains and sufficiency of many."“
The Annals of Tacitus - Book 1
Variant translation: In a free state, both the tongue and the mind ought to be free. From Suetonius, The Twelves Caesars, ch. 28
„Fear of this possibility in particular led Tiberius to ask the senate for any part in the administration that it might please them to assign him, saying that no one man could bear the whole burden without a colleague, or even several colleagues.“
Variant translation (by Robert Graves): "Pray assign me any part in the government you please; but remember that no single man can bear the whole burden of Empire — I need a colleague, or perhaps several colleagues." From Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, ch. 25
„Let me repeat, gentlemen, that a right-minded and true-hearted statesman who has had as much sovereign power placed in his hands as you have placed in mine should regard himself as the servant of the Senate; and often of the people as a whole; and sometimes of private citizens, too. I do not regret this view, because I have always found you to be generous, just, and indulgent masters.“
Variant translation: Conscript Fathers, I have often said it both now and at other times, that a good and useful prince, whom you have invested with so great and absolute power, ought to be a slave to the senate, to the whole body of the people, and often to individuals likewise: nor am I sorry that I have said it. I have always found you good, kind, and indulgent masters, and still find you so. To the Senate, from Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, ch.29
„To the governors who recommended burdensome taxes for his provinces, he [Tiberius] wrote in answer that it was the part of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not skin it.“
From Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, III. Tiberius, Ch. 32; translation by J. C. Rolfe Latter component of the quotation often paraphrased as Boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere.