Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus



Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus




ca. 14 AD




Parian marble, Paros 1
18 x 10 3/4 x 10 in. (45.7 x 27.3 x 25.4 cm)

Object Number



This portrait comes from an over life-size statue of the second Roman emperor, Tiberius, that would have been set up in a public space such as a forum, gymnasium or theater. The back of the head, made separately, may well have included a veil to cover the head, identifying the Emperor as pontifex maximus (chief priest).

Tiberius was born in 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia. His mother, ruthless and ambitious, divorced in 38 to marry Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. Livia engineered her own son, rather than descendants of her new husband, to accede to the throne. She forced Tiberius to divorce his wife in order to marry Augustus' daughter, Julia. And when Augustus' grandchildren died in AD 4, in not un-mysterious circumstances, Tiberius was officially recognized as his successor.

On the death of Augustus, Tiberius took control, and was proclaimed emperor in AD 14; he ruled until his death in AD 37. His reign, peaceful and steady at first, was disfigured in later years by a series of trials for treason (maiestas), many of them orchestrated by the ruthless prefect of the Praetorian Guard, Lucius Aelius Sejanus. One such trial in the provinces, hardly noticed at the time, turned on whether the defendant, Jesus, had treasonably claimed to be "King of the Jews." Suetonius has left us the following description of his features:

Tiberius was strongly and heavily built, and above average height. His shoulders and chest were broad, and his body perfectly proportioned from top to toe. His left hand was...so strong that he could poke a finger through a sound, newly-plucked apple or into the skull of a boy or young man. He had a handsome, fresh complexioned face, though subject to occasional rashes of pimples. Letting his hair grow down the nape seems to have been a family habit of the Claudii. His gait was a stiff stride, with the neck poked forwards and if ever he broke his usual stern silence to address those walking with him, he spoke with great deliberation and eloquent movements of the fingers.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - August 26, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 25, 2013 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, December 2003 - February 2004.|
MCCM Newsletter, September - October 2004.|
Jasper Gaunt, "New Galleries of Greek & Roman Art at Emory University: The Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 16 (January/February 2005): 13-17.|
Jasper Gaunt, "Masterworks: The Classics - Monumental Art," Veranda (March-April, 2005): 122.|
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2006.|
Joel M. LeMon, "Through the Museum with the Bible," SBL Forum, May 2006.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 54.|
Susan Jaques, A Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museums (Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press, 2012), 42.|
Dieter Hertel, Die Bildnisse des Tiberius (Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2013), 226-27, katalog 223, tafel 140.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2004.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

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“Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7855.

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