The Benefits of Tiberius' Principate

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Assess the benefits that the Principate of Tiberius brought to Rome and the provinces in this period

The Principate of Tiberius provided stability and prosperity to Rome and its provinces, consolidating the policies and practices established by Augustus. Tiberius worked cooperatively with the Senate and introduced reforms which benefited rule in the provinces and strengthened administration of the empire. While he provided careful oversight of the administration of the Roman Empire and the army, increasingly he sought to delegate his role. He distanced himself from the people with the introduction of the maiestas trials and from the central control of his government by retiring to Capri and relying on Sejanus for information.

As princeps, Tiberius sought to restore the traditional rights of the Senate, consulting it on issues such as national revenue, troop movements, building, military commands and foreign policy. While he maintained control, Tiberius avoided intervening more than necessary and encouraged the senate to be an independent body, which was less dependent on the princeps. This allowed him to be seen less like a dictator and to gain the respect of the people with their interests in mind. Tacitus mentions, “the consuls and praetors maintained their prestige… the laws duly enforced”. However, Tiberius and the senate grew further apart as the senate struggled to act on its own initiative, Tacitus commenting they were “men fit to be slaves”. The senate became increasingly subservient to Tiberius, seeing him as hesitant and reserved in comparison to Augusts, which unnerved them. The senators also feared Sejanus, who had influence over Tiberius, and as a result the relationship between Tiberius and the senate was undermined. As Scullard describes, “Though at first the senate showed some real independence, it soon realised the risk of encroaching too far”. Understanding he wasn’t popular, Tiberius decided to safeguard himself against treachery and...
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