Early Age: Contributions as General


While many historians and scholars concentrate the bulk of their studies on Tiberius after he was Emperor, let us not forget the amount of fighting he undertook before this occurred. Before Tiberius was Emperor he engaged in several conflicts that cemented him as a sturdy leader and a worthy general in the eye of the Roman State. This stared in about 22BC where Tiberius was a legionary tribune in a war to try to bring peace to the Spanish peninsula through the decimation of the local peoples. After this was accomplished Tiberius was sent in 20BC into Armenia to try to seat a Roman vessel to the throne and balance out power in the region with the Parthians. After a year of negotiation, Tiberius finally grew weary and marched on the capital in Armenia and established his vassal as King. However a compromise was made with the Parthians that the power in the region would remain steady with Armenia as a neutrality, if they got the Roman eagles that had been taken by the Parthians back. The Parthians eagerly agreed to this, and Tiberius went back to Rome a hero, the three eagles in tow.

After this life settled for a bit until Tiberius was called back into action a bit before 15BC.  He was chosen for the position of praetor,and went to assist his brother Drusus in campaigns in the west. While Drusus had his forces in Gallia Narbonensis and in Germany, Tiberius concentrated on tribes in the Alps and Gaul conquering Raetia in the process. Moving from here he went to assist Drusus further by fighting near the Rhine and Danube, slowly subjugating people from one way, while Drusus fought closer from another. Eventually the mountain were completely under control and could no longer interupt Roman traders or communications in this part of the Empire.  Departing victoriously he took his leave for Rome. Following this Tiberius undertook a hugely successful campaign against the Pannonians. He was able to move forward for three whole summers and in the end had taken over a large part of the Danube area. For this he was awarded a large triumph in Rome, while around the same time his brother Drusus had died, leaving him as the number one solider of Rome. If we are to believe the historian  Velleius “he(Tiberius) reduced Germany almost to the position of a tributary province.” He also went on to state that the troops entertained a loyal confidence in Tiberius as their leader. 


Accordingly with Tiberius’s standings he was given control in the volatile areas of Pannonia and Germania which were both areas  of great importance to Augustan policy. Following this in around 6BC Tiberius launched another military maneuver against the  Marcomanni in Germany. He moved from the Danube while general Gaius Sentius Saturninus would depart east from Moguntiacum, a stronghold founded by the late Drusus,with three legions and attack the Marcomanni from the west. The result was an amazing success, however Tiberius could not fully subjugate these peoples as he was called to the Rhine to protect Roman holdings there.

Now it was at this time that Tiberius took off for Rhodes without as much as a look back at Rome. This came at quite a bad time, as he was the number one solider and general in the Roman army. By doing this he was essentially relinquishing this role to a new candidate and becoming a private citizen again, even after all his successes.  After a few years had passed and Tiberius had realized his follies, he requested permission to return to Rome.  Augustus denied these several times until it was imperative that he was allowed to return to Rome. At this time Tiberius’s military career had crashed to the bottom and was still a private citizen. Not until more tragedy struck would Augustus allow him to lead once more. 

With imperium once more bestowed upon Tiberius at this point it became necessary for the Romans to attack the Maroboduus confederacy near Bohemia. Tiberius led an army into this area and proceeded to try to conquer the area. However at this time the provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia broke out in insurrection and Tiberius had his hands completely tied. Then when all seemed like it was going downhill even faster, Maroboduus accepted a peace treaty with Rome and the fighting there ceased. Feeling like a weight was removed from his chest, Tiberius was about to go back to Rome and celebrate his well earned triumph when three Roman legions led by a fellow general Varus were completely decimated in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. This forever changed the Roman policy toward Germany. The Romans never again seriously contemplated a expansion into Germany, but only smaller attacks. For the most part the Romans now stuck to the Rhine river. After another two year stint in Germania from 10 to 12 AD Tiberius returned to Rome and celebrated his well earned triumph. It was after this that Augustus finally passed away, and Tiberius accepted the role as sole leader of the Roman Empire.



Go Back to [2] Early Age of Tiberius Move On to [3] Tiberius Julius Caesar’s Rule
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