the Tiberius Convex Mirror

In All, Mirrors by Mark Evans

The Tiberius  convex mirror frame is made of two interlocking frames.   The inner frame is covered with silver leaf and hundreds of pieces of clear Venetian glass rods.  The outer frame is covered with gold metal leaf and each of the “rays” are quartz crystal points.

This mirror is about 19 inches in diameter.  It is in my studio until being shipped to one of my showrooms.

Jewelry for walls!

Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome and a highly-successful soldier whose reputation for arrogance and debauchery is probably unfounded.

Tiberius Claudius Nero was born on 16 November 42 BC. In 39 BC, his mother Livia divorced his father and married Octavian, the future emperor Augustus in 27 BC. Tiberius had a brilliant military career and with his younger brother Drusus helped carry out the expansion of the Roman empire along the Danube and into modern day Germany (16 BC – 7 BC, 4 AD – 9 AD).

In 11 BC, Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce his wife Vipsania and marry Julia, Augustus’ daughter. In 6 BC, Tiberius abruptly retired to Rhodes. In 2 AD, he returned to Rome and in 4 AD, with Augustus’s grandsons both dead, Tiberius was adopted as Augustus’s son. Tiberius in turn adopted his nephew Germanicus (great-nephew of Augustus). He then went on campaign in northern Germany, securing the frontier and returning to Rome a hero.

Tiberius succeeded Augustus in 14 AD. Initially, his rule was positive. He improved the civil service and restored Rome’s financial condition. However, Tiberius lacked Augustus’ natural rapport with the Senate and he became increasingly unpopular. This contrasted strongly with the popularity of the charismatic Germanicus, his expected successor. When Germanicus died in 19 AD, it was widely believed that Tiberius had poisoned him in order that his own son, Drusus, should succeed. But in 23 AD, Drusus died, throwing open the question of the succession.

Tiberius’s reliance upon the ambitious and brutal Sejanus, the head of the Praetorian guard (the imperial bodyguards), resulted in allegations of tyranny. In 27 AD, Tiberius retired to Capri, never returning to Rome. Two years later, realising that Sejanus was trying to seize power, Tiberius had him executed. In 35 AD, Tiberius made Gaius (son of Germanicus) and his own grandson, Gemellus, joint heirs.

In Capri Tiberius sank into morbid suspicion of everyone around him: he retreated to the island of Capri and revived the ancient accusation of maiestas (treason) and used it to sentence to death anyone he suspected. Roman historians Suetonius and Tacitus give us a picture of Tiberius living on Capri as a depraved sexual predator, which may owe more to colourful imagination than to fact, though he certainly made use of a sheer drop into the sea to dispose of anyone he took issue with. Tiberius was not a monster in the mould of some of his successors, but he certainly set the tone for what was to come.

Tiberius died on 16 March 37 AD and was succeeded by Gaius, also known as Caligula.

Thank you PBS and BBC for most of the above.

You can go to YouTube to see this concise but dry bio of Tiberius.

For the best series about ancient Rome where Tiberius comes across as a world class asshole see I Claudius on Amazon Prime.  Tiberius’ mother, Livia, is played by Seån Philips, is as cunning and poisonous as a viper.  Its worth seeing the series just to watch her!

Statue of Tiberius. Marble. Mid-1st century A.D. Inv. No. 9961. Rome, Vatican Museums, Gregorian Profane Museum.