The Twisted History of Roman Emperors

Producer John Kelly, Researcher Saint Anne. 

Script excerpts from this podcast: 

Who is first person you think of when I say Roman Emperor?

A lot of people think Caesar, but Julius Caesar was technically not an emperor. He was a dictator, and the reign of Roman emperors (as we know it) began after his death when he was murdered by a senatorial conspiracy in 44 B.C.

The First Century Roman Emperors are by far the most recognizable: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero.

Some people recognize a handful of names from the 2nd Century: Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus, probably because of the movie Gladiator.

And then in the 4th Century, Emperor Constantine stands out because he reunified the empire.


The second emperor of Rome was Tiberius (who was Augustus’ stepson) … (42 BC–AD 37, emperor from AD 14)

He lost his shit in a BIG way after his son died.

After his son’s alleged poisoning, Tiberius delegated power to an advisor and then hid away on the island of Capri, where he constructed a ring of villas equipped with either fuck huts or torture chambers.

He forced nobles to reveal those who killed his son—although in truth, the nobles provided false names just to escape. He revived the ancient accusation of maiestas (treason) and used it to sentence to death anyone he suspected.

Tiberius also turned Capri into a pervert’s paradise, inviting crude entertainers, indulging in pornographic exploits, and organizing massive orgies.

He had a huge villa built for himself – the “Villa of Jove” which you can still visit on the isle of Capri today. It was at the Villa of Jove that he began to indulge his pedophilia. The emperor held a large harem of young boys and girls and “played” with them before having them tossed over a cliff.

Tiberius also had pleasure gardens stocked with teenaged and prepubescent boys and girls, dressed in outfits from Greco-Roman myths and legends, or running around naked. He had them frolic, display themselves for his pleasure, and engage in sex on command with each other – as he aged, Tiberius grew increasingly impotent, so he was often reduced to being a spectator in the perversions acted out for his pleasure.

He trained underage boys he called his “little fish” to swim between his thighs when he took a bath and nibble on his genitalia.

The walls of Tiberius’ palaces and villas were covered with erotic or explicitly pornographic paintings and murals of all kinds of sexual activity. The artwork served as a menu, and when Tiberius wanted to cut to the chase, he would simply point to a particular painting to communicate what he wanted done.

Tiberius even had anal experts on the imperial payroll which he dubbed as “analists”.

He also had suckling babes suck on his penis: “Unweaned babies he would put to his organ as though to the breast.” - A quote from one historian.

When Tiberius died, he was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Caligula …who grew up on Capri amidst all this perverted sex and all the murders of whomever Tiberius felt was either involved in his son’s death OR who was plotting against him INCLUDING Caligula’s mom and 2 brothers.


Claudius was the first Roman emperor to be born outside Italy (Gaul).

He struggled with various physical ailments including tremors of the head and hands, a limp, a runny nose and foaming at the mouth. Historians speculate that he may have suffered from cerebral palsy and/or Tourette’s syndrome, but his family considered his condition a sign of weakness and a source of great public embarrassment. His own mother supposedly called him “a monstrosity of a human being, one that nature began and never finished,” and his sister is said to have prayed that Rome would never have to endure him becoming its emperor. He later faced constant humiliation at the hands of his nephew, the Roman Emperor Caligula.

In A.D. 41, a group of Praetorian Guards assassinated Caligula and brutally murdered his wife and child at the imperial palace.

As the story goes, upon hearing the commotion, a frightened Claudius ran for his life and took refuge on a balcony. The Praetorians eventually found him cowering behind a curtain, but rather than killing him, they saluted him as Rome’s new emperor. Claudius’ disabilities may have given the impression that he could be easily manipulated, but once in power, he showed himself to be cleverer than previously believed. His ailments appeared to improve after he took the throne, and he later claimed that he had only pretended to be dimwitted to protect himself. Some historians have even argued that he helped plan or was at least aware of the plot on Caligula’s life.


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