Octavian was succeeded by Tiberius Claudius Nero (court name indicating his status as a god: Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius). He was legally granted to be Octavian’s adopted son, and was also, Octavian’s first consort, Livia’s lover (keeping it all in the family). Tiberius reigned from 17 to 37. Tiberius was Caesar during the beginning of the Church of Christ (Luke 3:1), and we should pay some attention to the period of his reign. As noted above, he too assumed both the title of Caesar and Augustus. He had no care for religions other than the Roman Pantheon and emperor worship; and he also had no use for the Jews, because they held closely to their own religion and defied paying homage or tribute to the Romans. Tiberius abolished Jewish worship in Rome and later removed them into the far reaches of the empire as military conscripts.
The historian and translator Kirsopp Lake wrote: “Eusebius reckons the baptism of Christ as taking place in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, dating his accession from the death of Augustus. As he was then in his thirtieth year, he was born in the forty-second year of Augustus, fourteen years before his death. This is the reckoning of time known as the Christian era.” However, it should be remembered, that Eusebius wrote his histories a full three centuries beyond the time of Christ; and the same is true of the baptism of Christ as was found true of his birth: it was not on anyone’s social or historical calendar. Therefore, the year, month and day of birth, the date of his immersion and for his crucifixion remain obscured and a matter of speculation. According to the Gospels, and as noted, Herod the Great was alive when Jesus was born (and more than a few early and even late historians “missed” this biblically inscribed fact). Herod died in BC 4, and Jesus was born in or just prior to that year. Thereby, both the ancient writer Eusebius, and the more modern academician who translated his works: Kirsopp Lake, as already noted, along with a large crowd of other folks, were off by more than a year or two. Eusebius missed Jesus’ birth date by a minimum of a year. As to the other important dates in Christ’s life (again), they remain lost to time and will likely remain so.
It was alleged that Caligula had poisoned Tiberius to move him out of the picture a bit faster, as he was dying.
Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, commonly known as Caligula (little soldier), was appointed emperor in a short reign from 37 to 41. He too alleged lineage back to Julius Caesar as was implied in his court name. None of the alleged links to Julius Caesar, by any of the emperors who followed him, had substance to them.
History regarded Caligula as a madman. In short order he declared himself, his wife (who was his sister), and his favorite horse to be worshipped as Roman gods. He had the largest ancient ship in history to that time, constructed within a lake near Rome where it could neither be maneuvered nor used for anything beyond a walkabout. When he was assassinated by his personal servants, he was in the process of sending an army to Jerusalem with a statue of himself that he commanded to be placed within the Holy of Holies in Herod’s Temple (and which certainly would have caused a revolt). The ship went down on the way and the statue never made it to Judaea. He is not mentioned in the New Testament. Caligula is remembered for riotous debauchery and overindulgences.
Caligula was followed by the halt Claudius – Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (41 — 54). Though a Julian, Claudius’ recognition and name rested mainly upon the reputation of his brother Germanicus, the grandfather of Nero, who had been a very popular soldier, Tribune and Consul, and one who many felt was destined to be Caesar, that is until he was murdered. Claudius is mentioned in Acts 9:28. He restored the Jews in Palestine but later banished them from the city of Rome.
For the most part, the reign of Claudius was one of general peace and prosperity. He was chosen as Caesar by the legions who were amused by his wit, his seeming lack of intelligence and easy spirit. He may have appeared to be a dolt, but he survived to rule for thirteen years and maintained a popular base throughout. He was the only emperor mentioned to this point that had not kept male children for sexual purposes, concubines (second tier wives), or consorts. Claudius’ second wife, Agrippina poisoned him by serving some mushrooms for supper, opening the way for her son from her first marriage, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (court name: Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus), an astute and ambitious young politician, to lay hold of the title Caesar and the throne. Notice that the three Claudian Caesars had each appealed to the name of the renowned Germanicus in their court names.