Vespasian

Article

July 6, 2022

Titus Flavius ​​Vespasianus (Latin: Titus Flavius ​​Vespasianus; Falacrina, 17 November 9 – Rome, 23 June 79) was a Roman emperor, the first of the Flavian dynasty, who took power in 69, shortly after his suicide. of Vitellius and the troubled year of the four emperors. He was proclaimed emperor by his own soldiers in Alexandria. Two of his sons successively succeeded him, Tito and Domitiano. Of modest origin, he descended from a family of the equestrian order that had reached the senatorial rank during the reigns of the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Appointed consul in 51, he gained renown as a military commander, leading the way in the Roman invasion of Britannia (43). He commanded the Roman forces that faced the first Jewish-Roman war of 66. When he was about to besiege Jerusalem, the rebel capital, Emperor Nero committed suicide, plunging the empire into a year of civil wars known as the "year of the four emperors". ". After the rapid succession and demise of Galba and Otho and the rise to power of Vitellius, the armies of the provinces of Egypt and Judea proclaimed Vespasian emperor on 1 July 69. On his way to the imperial throne, Vespasian allied himself with the governor from the province of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mutianus, who led Vespasian's troops against Vitellius, while Vespasian himself took control over the province of Egypt. On December 20, Vitellius was defeated and the next day Vespasian was proclaimed emperor by the senate. Little information has survived the ten years of Vespasian's rule. The program of financial reforms that he promoted, so necessary after the fall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, stands out, his successful military campaign in Judea and his ambitious construction projects such as the Flavian Amphitheater, popularly known as the Roman Coliseum. He instituted a tax on human urine, a key ingredient in the ancient industry of washing and processing fabrics, justifying it with the famous phrase: Pecunia non olet ("Money has no smell"). He reformed the Senate and the Equestrian Order and developed an educational system wider. He suppressed the uprising in Gaul, but he was incompatible with senatorial means. The period of his government was marked by an effective economic administration both in the capital of the empire and in the provinces, with a significant increase in the annual tribute and the implementation of much more severe economic measures, which allowed to reach remarkable levels of progress in the finances of the State. , having even raised funds for the construction of the temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitoline and for the Coliseum in Rome. After his death on June 23, 79, he was succeeded to the throne by his eldest son, Titus.

Family and career

Vespasiano was born in Falacrinas, in Sabine territory, near Rieti. His father was a member of the equestrian order who became wealthy as a tax collector in the Roman province of Asia and as a moneylender in Helvetia, where he lived for a time. His mother, Vespasia Pola, was the sister of a senator. At his mother's request, Vespasiano followed the political career of his brother Tito Flávio Sabino. He served in the army as a military tribune in Thrace (36) The following year he was elected quaestor and served in Crete and Cyrenaica. He ascended the Cursus honorum, being elected aedile in 39 and praetor in 40, taking the opportunity to ingratiate himself with Emperor Caligula. About this time he was married to Flavia Domitila, the daughter of a knight of Ferentius. Vespasiano and Flavia had two sons, Tito and Domitiano and a daughter, named Domitila. It was then that Flavia died, and Vespasiano made Cenis, his lover, his wife in all but name. When Claudius was designated emperor in 41, Vespasian was designated legate of the Legio II Augusta, stationed in Germania. This appointment was due to the influence of the imperial freedman, Tiberi