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Perversions of Emperor Tiberius on Capri

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Emperor Tiberius is judged very differently by posterity. The reign of Tiberius was a period of peace and good management for ordinary people in the provinces but for the spheres of the Roman aristocracy a time of increasing tyranny and terror. His last years of reign have gone down in history, which he spent in isolation on the island of Capri. There, according to Suetonius, he supposed to organize really perverse games.

The historian Suetonius writes about the perverse, sexual excesses of Tiberius while he was on the island. His testimony raises doubts, but it is worth quoting what, according to the Roman historian, games were to take place in a villa of nearly seventy-year-old Emperor.

He moved to the island of Capri in 26 CE, leaving the state’s management to his secretaries and Sejanus – ambitious praetorian prefect. He initially sent his decisions by correspondence and eventually ceased to be interested in the authorities. According to Suetonius, however, he had to concentrate on perverse games and expanding his knowledge in the field of erotic deviations. It seems that he managed to collect the largest library of pornographic works in the world. In addition to works written on the island, he also collected paintings and sculptures. Once, apparently, Tiberius was given the choice of obtaining inheritance or a large amount of money, or the image of Parrhasios of Miletus presenting a pair of mythical lovers, Atalanta and Meleagra, while practising French love. The Emperor, after not long thinking, decided on the painting, which he ordered to hang in his bedroom.

Villa Jovis was one of the twelve Emperor Tiberius’ villas built on Capri. It was located on the top of Monte Tiberio, which rises to a height of 354 m above sea level. Judging by the preserved ruins, it was the richest and probably the main seat of the emperor on the island.
Autor: Thomas Möllmann | Na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa - Na tych samych warunkach 3.0.

In the villa on Capri, the emperor had a large harem of young boys and girls, in whose company he indulged in the pleasures of the body. It seems that Tiberius was the originator of a position called sprintrie, in which three males were engaged in each other. The emperor also reportedly liked to watch making the love. To this end, he chose specific people who made love in the positions indicated by him.

Tiberius one time was so delighted in the beauty of one slave, at the time of the sacrifice, that he raped him after the ceremony. He also ordered his brother to participate in the procedure. However, when he learned that both regretted this event, he ordered both to have their legs broken. Another time, when a member-woman of the senatorial line visited him on the island – Malonia he decided to rape her. While she was still resisting, he decided to destroy her life. The Roman woman was harassed by trials, which in time led her to commit suicide.

Henryk Siemiradzki, Orgy on Capri

Tiberius also invented kinky games. Namely, he trained several-year-old boys to play “fishes”. Tiberius went into the water naked, and young boys dived around him and teased his thighs and phallus with teeth. The fun did not only end with biting, but also sucking on the penis of the ruler. With time, Tiberius came up with the devilish idea that he would involve infants to play.

Naturally, news of the emperor’s erotic and deviant practices came to Rome. The society was extremely agitated and did not avoid the insults of the ruler.

Sources
  • Koper Sławomir, Życie prywatne i erotyczne w starożytnej Grecji i Rzymie, Warszawa 1998
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Poczet cesarzy rzymskich, Warszawa 2004

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