Sejanus Role-Playing Journal Entry for Latin 2 on 4 Nov 2005
I Lucius Aelius Sejanus was born at Volsinii, Etruria. My father, Sejus Strabo, was the commander of the Praetorian Guard. He was also an Equestrian, a rank just below Senator. We were the people who did the real work in Rome. Now, my mother was very distinguished in her circles. Still I had almost no connection with the royal family and was considered to be of “low birth” when I tried to marry Livilla. Still, I became the emperor Tiberius’s closest friend and for eight years controlled almost all imperial affairs while he was away at his reclusive island retreat at Capri. My rise to the throne was almost complete, when Tiberius discovered my plans to replace him and had me and many of my friends, my family, and my associates eliminated.
Going back in time to 14 C.E., my father was promoted to be governor of Egypt. Formerly, he was the commander of the Praetorian Guard. He was called the Praefectus praetorio. Later in time, this job would be like the Supreme Court, and the decision of the Praectorian Prefect would be final. It would become the highest civil position in the empire. Unfortunately this only happened in about 300 years after I died. But I still had emperor-like power, 300 years ahead of anyone else in the same job. Well anyway, after my father was promoted to lead Egypt, I inherited his job in 23 C.E. and become the sole commander of the Praetorian Guard. This put me in command of 9,000 soldiers and gave me special access to the emperor and Senate. Once I became sole commander of the Praetorian Guard, I consolidated them from living all over Italy to camps just inside Rome. This better represented their new role as guards of the emperor, not just guards of Italian towns. I was the leader, I controlled them. I would stop at nothing to have my own agenda carried out, and my force “became a very pronounced figure in the Roman system of government and daily affairs” (UNRV). Tiberius also called me the “partner of [his] labors.” I was rising to the top fast, I was going to become emperor, except for one little problem. Drusus was in my way. He would have to be dealt with…
I loved his wife, Livilla, who I later tried to marry, except I was denied for my “low blood”. But for now, she was still Drusus’s wife, and Drusus was still in the way of me ascending to the throne. I partnered with Livilla to give Drusus a slow acting poison to kill him off. I was accused of his murder, but I did it so cleverly, historians still debate if Livilla and I actually were the ones who killed him. After he died, Livilla and I had two illegitimate children together.
However, I now faced another problem, the granddaughter of Augustus, Agrippina the Elder was causing trouble. After the death of Germanicus, her husband, she started trying get their sons, Nero and Caligula, to become the emperor instead of me. Also, the Roman public liked Germanicus very much and were rioting in the streets for him to rise from the grave. I had to take action. Luckily, Tiberius decided to move to Capri forever, and left me in charge of Rome. Also, the former poison queen, Livia died, freeing me of any worries. I was beginning to get control of all imperial affairs, and becoming the sole leader actually in Rome. I won control of the treason courts and punished many affluent Romans by accusing them of trying to take over Tiberius. Agrippina and Nero were sent into exile and were severely beaten. Senators dared not go against me. I controlled the fearsome treason courts. I also controlled the access to the emperor. Anyone or anything, or any communication went through me before it reached Tiberius. I could control whatever news Tiberius read or whatever guest Tiberius saw at Capri.
Meanwhile, Tiberius was showering me with honors and was showing signs that I would become the next emperor. Coins were minted and statues were put up in my honor. I became joint counsel. I would become the next emperor. Tiberius kept granting me new powers; my plan was working. Yet Tiberius wasn’t dying fast enough, I came up with a plan to become emperor before my hair turned gray. Then that darn, good-for-nothing, sister-in-law of Tiberius was the start of my downfall. Antonia managed (somehow) to slip a letter to Tiberius warning him of my plot. She was the one who ratted me out. I wanted to get revenge on her! I want to send her away to the treason courts. Send her and her family into exile! Kill them all! Sorry, I was just thinking about the revenge I wanted to take on them. (If I had a chance.) Well anyway, Tiberius was sheltering a boy named Caligula on Capri. I could not eliminate him! Well his statues kept popping up and he was named joint counsel. Was my plan failing? Was I, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, going out of favor for succession? On October 18, 31 C.E., I received my answer…
Naevius Sertorius Marco showed up at the Forum with a letter form Tiberius to be read before all of the Senators. This was going to be my lucky day! I was going to be given tribunician power, meaning I would definitely become the next emperor. The letter went on for what seemed like forever. I was enjoying it and waiting for the good part to come. Then all of a sudden, the letter turned negative. It starting accusing me of all of these crimes and ordering my arrest. Later that day, I was executed. The people in Rome celebrated. (I would have thrown them all to the treason courts.) Next, Tiberius started rounding up all of my supporters, and in the process killed almost all of my family. My dream was dead! I did not succeed
- Paschall, Max. Lucius Aelius Sejanus. 20 Sept 2003. 30 Oct 2005 <http://www.forumancientcoins.com/forvm/Articles/sejanus.htm>.
This source provided another view on Tiberius. It was a little lighter view of Sejanus then other sources. I used many facts from this page.
- “Praetorian prefect.” Wikipedia. 15 Oct 2005 23:27. Wikimedia Foundation. 2 Nov 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praetorian_Prefect>.
I primarily got the information about the future use of the office of the Praefectus praetorio. I did not use this source much.
- “Equestrian (Roman)” Wikipedia. 2 Oct 2005 07:05. Wikimedia Foundation. 2 Nov 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equestrian_%28Roman%29>.
This Wikipedia article gave me the fact that Equestrians were a rank below senator. It also provide some insight into the Roman class system for when Sejanus was said to be of “low blood”
- “Sejanus.” Wikipedia. 10 Oct 2005 09:15. Wikimedia Foundation. 24 Oct 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sejanus>.
This was the first article I found. It contained only the bare basics which outline my further research.
- “Sejanus.” Encyclopedia.com. 2005. HighBeam Research, Inc. 27 Oct 2005 <http://www.encyclopedia.com/printable.asp?url=/ssi/S/Sejanus.html>.
As I was searching on Google, I found this site. It only contained one paragraph of information I had already found elsewhere. This source was of no help to me.
- “Sejanus.” UNRV Roman History. 2005. 30 Oct 2005 <http://www.unrv.com/early-empire/sejanus.php>.
This website was the basis for most of my paper. It had the most complete, longest account of Sejanus’s life, and was of the greatest use to me.
- “Tiberius.” Packet. Distributed by Alice Garrett.
This is how I first learned about Sejanus. It provided a bit of information, yet nothing which I could not find in other sources. I did not end up using this source much.