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He had apparently requested to be relieved of his duties in the East and to return to Rome. Augustus was once again without an adult male heir and was once more forced to turn to Tiberius, who was now too busy for poetic composition. Augustus’ dynastic settlement involved a series of adoptions. He adopted Tiberius and Agrippa’s surviving son Agrippa Postumus. Tiberius adopted Drusus’ son Germanicus, husband of Agrippa’s younger daughter, Agrippina. Germanicus was the grandchild of Augustus’ sister Octavia and was thus a blood relative of both Augustus and Tiberius.
These two blocked marriages illustrate the growing political crisis in Rome. Sejanus’ bid to marry Livilla offered a means for Sejanus to be brought within the family and therefore provided Tiberius with an alternative route to an heir. The implications of such an alliance were clear. In AD 25, Tiberius was unwilling to turn aside from his own grandchild or the children of Germanicus and contemplate Sejanus as imperial heir or guardian of any such heir. Agrippina’s remarriage could not be allowed either and it is difficult to believe that her alleged appeal was more than rhetorical.
Tiberius had the slaves of the household tortured until confessions were extracted. It is clear that Sejanus was the obvious beneficiary of Drusus’ death. There may have been rumours of foul play at the time, some of which connected Tiberius himself to the death of his son, though Tacitus regards them as ridiculous, and we must remember that virtually any and every death in the imperial family was thought by at least someone to be the result of foul play. , Ann. IV 10–11). There was no immediate threat to Sejanus’ position after Drusus’ death.