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by Wayne Blank
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus, popularly known simply as Tiberius, was the Roman emperor at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Born at Rome on November 16 42 B.C., Tiberius reigned for 23 years, from 14 to 37 A.D. (see New Testament Roman Emperors and Ancient Empires - Rome). A bust of his actual appearance is seen in the photograph.
When the first Roman emperor, Augustus (he was the emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ i.e. Luke 2:1) died on August 19, 14 A.D., he was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius, the son of Livia Drusilla, who had divorced her first husband to marry the emperor.
By most accounts, Tiberius was not a sociable man. According to Suetonius, "He was large and strong of frame, and of a stature above average... He walked with his neck stiff and bent forward, usually with a stern countenance and for the most part in silence, never or very rarely conversing with his companions...All of these mannerisms of his, which were disagreeable and signs of arrogance, were regarded by Augustus, who often tried to excuse them to the senate and people by declaring that they were natural failings, not intentional."
Tiberius eventually took up residence in his secluded island residence of Capri where he lived in an extremely depraved manner, while delegating much of the responsibility of governing to subordinates. It was there that he lived during the time of the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Tiberius died at Misenum on March 16 37 A.D. at age 79. Although suffering from a terminal illness, he apparently wasn't dying fast enough for his successor's liking - so they smothered him with a pillow.
Fact Finder: How did Jesus Christ come to be born in Bethlehem?