Villa Jovis and Tiber’s power
For one decade in antiquity, Capri’s Villa Jovis was a real center of power. In 27 AD, Emperor Tiberius retired here at almost seventy years old – according to British historian Richard Newbury, to have the absolute certainty that he could rule over everything his eyes could see.
After a life of military triumphs and power, the Roman ‘Princeps’ – who had succeed his stepfather Augustus – wished to rule from this imperial villa. From Capri he even ordered the execution of Sejanus, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard whom he suspected was misusing his privileges as his spokesperson in the capital. As Aeschylus commented,
this is tyranny’s disease, to trust no friends.
The sea’s solitude and silence were much more appealing to the ageing emperor. Here, he probably realized he had never truly ruled over the world.