Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Rome. Center of the ancient Roman Empire, which is under the rule of the emperor Tiberius at the time in which the play is set. The sense of intrigue that surrounds the machinations of Sejanus to discredit the legitimate heirs to the throne of the Roman Empire is captured in the careful juxtaposition of settings within the capital city. Factions supporting Sejanus and those opposed to him meet in the chambers of the emperor’s palace, at Sejanus’s home, in various gardens, on city streets, and at the home of his principal rival, the widow Agrippina, mother to three sons who stand in line to inherit the throne. In a key scene at the center of the play, the parties clash inside the Senate.

*Temple of Apollo

*Temple of Apollo. Roman temple dedicated to the god of wisdom, where Tiberius calls the Senate into session in order to humiliate and discredit Sejanus publicly. Tiberius’s choice of a temple dedicated to the god of wisdom can be seen as an act of wisdom on his part, although many readers may see a certain irony in having such a politically calculated decision masked as a move that is officially declared to be in the best interests of the empire.