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Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Focusing on the Asian earthquake of 17 CE, this article argues that Tiberius took on a more active role in his response to the disaster than he was portrayed as doing in Tacitus’ Annals. Tacitus’ portrayal of these events was influenced by his own political experience under Trajan and Hadrian and did not fully take into account Tiberius’ efforts to rebuild. However, a consideration of evidence from outside the Annals reveals that Tiberius’ actions served as an opportunity to assert his own power in two interconnected ways. As he maneuvered against the political threat of Germanicus, he became known as the new “founder” of twelve cities and he established himself as a worthy successor to Augustus.

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