A good deal more is known about the emperor of that time, Domitian, since whole books have been written about him. His full name was the not-very-memorable Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus, so it's just as well he is known as Domitian for short!
He was born on 24 October AD51, became emperor a few weeks before he was 30, and died on 18 September 96. Like many other famous and powerful Romans, he was murdered!
It's hard to say whether he was a good emperor or a cruel one, because the various studies about him disagree with each other. The fact that he was assassinated shows he had some very determined enemies, and the governing body of the Roman Empire, the Senate, was obviously glad to see the back of him, as they ordered all coins and statues with his image to be melted and his name to be erased from all public records immediately after his death.
Photograph © Steerpike
A statue of Domitian that escaped destruction!
One piece of true information I included in The Leopard in the Golden Cage was that Domitian's only son died at the age of three, and he had no other heir. This child would have been born at around the same time as my character, Tiberius. So Tiberius' idea of becoming Domitian's confidant and ultimately his heir might have worked, if only Tiberius had known how to be charming enough!