03.06.25 Sejanus, the Arch Enemy of Tiberius Caesar

Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 14, 2016  -  Comments Off on 03.06.25 Sejanus, the Arch Enemy of Tiberius Caesar

03.06.25 A.D. 22 – 31 Sejanus, the Arch Enemy of Tiberius Caesar

In far distant Rome, there was an intense political battle between the years A.D. 22 and A.D. 31 that influenced Pilate when he determined the fate of Jesus. It was an escalating power struggle, and no one threatened Caesar Tiberius more than did Lucius Aelius Sejanus. In fact, so much political chaos erupted that Tiberius placed himself in exile on the island of Capri, off Naples, from 26 until 31.  He found that in a quiet and peaceful villa far removed from the potential activities of Rome, he could rule the empire with the full attention that was required of him.

Sejanus, on the other hand, promoted himself as a true Roman, but all the while he accused the closest supporters and counselors of Tiberius of treason or disloyalty to Rome. He was a master of deception and was cunning in every conceivable manner. He was also the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Roman military unit that was highly skilled and respected and feared.

When Drusus, the son of Tiberius, mysteriously died in December of A.D. 22, many suspected Sejanus in the plot. By the following year he was the most powerful voice in the Roman senate. By A.D. 23 he had organized an efficient spy ring of more than two hundred informants who monitored the actions of advisors and counselors closest to Tiberius.[1] When he felt he had sufficient information, he accused them of treason and sedition. It was then that his anti-Semitic feelings were clearly revealed.[2] With the Praetorian Guard at his command, he became a powerful and persuasive accuser. As a result, hundreds were executed or committed suicide.

By skillful manipulation while preaching social reform and justice, he weakened the political support of Tiberius to the point that the Caesar placed himself in exile; his government was moved permanently to the island of Capri. From A.D. 23 to 31, Rome was in political chaos as Sejanus made thousands of accusations. If there was anything that Tiberias desperately needed, it was a true friend. Therefore, when the Jews cried out to Pilate that he was no friend of Caesar, [3]  his thoughts went to the political turmoil in Rome and all those who had been executed, imprisoned, or committed suicide.  However, by the end of A.D. 31, Sejanus himself was caught in his own web of deception and was executed. Many of his friends and supporters chose suicide rather than crucifixion.[4]  

03.06.25a (2)


[1]. Webb, “The Roman Examination and Crucifixion of Jesus.” 721-26.


[2]. Schurer, A History of the Jewish People First Division, 2:21.


[3]. See John 19:12; 15.04.02; 16.01.05.


[4]. See 16.01.05; Maier, “Sejanus, Pilate, and the Date of Crucifixion.” 10-13.


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