Vespasian (/vɛˈspeɪʒ(i)ən, -ziən/; Latin: Titus Flavius Vespasianus;[note 1] 17 November 9 – 24 June 79 AD) was Roman emperor from 69–79, the fourth, and last, in the Year of the Four Emperors. He founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for 27 years.
Vespasian was the first emperor who hailed from an equestrian family, and only rose into the senatorial rank as the first member of his family later in his lifetime. Vespasian's renown came from his military success; he was legate of Legio II Augusta during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 and subjugated Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of 66.
While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho perished in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in April 69. The Roman legions of Roman Egypt and Judaea reacted by declaring Vespasian, their commander, emperor on 1 July 69. In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, and Primus, a general in Pannonia, leaving his son Titus to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian took control of Egypt. On 20 December 69, Vitellius was defeated, and the following day Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate.
Little information survives about the government during Vespasian's ten-year rule. He reformed the financial system of Rome after the campaign against Judaea ended successfully, and initiated several ambitious construction projects, including the building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known today as the Roman Colosseum. Through his general Agricola, Vespasian increased imperial expansion in Britain. After his death in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to be directly succeeded by his own natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty.
Bust of Vespasian
|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||1 July 69 – 24 June 79|
|Born||17 November 9 AD|
|Died||24 June 79 (aged 69)|
Domitilla the Younger
|Father||Titus Flavius Sabinus I|
Vespasian was born in a village north-east of Rome called Falacrinae. His family was relatively undistinguished and lacking in pedigree. His paternal grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, became the first to distinguish himself, rising to the rank of centurion and fighting at Pharsalus for Pompey in 48 BC. Subsequently, he became a debt collector.
Petro's son, Titus Flavius Sabinus, worked as a customs official in the province of Asia and became a moneylender on a small scale among the Helvetii. He gained a reputation as a scrupulous and honest "tax-farmer". Sabinus married up in status, to Vespasia Polla, whose father had risen to the rank of prefect of the camp and whose brother became a Senator.
Sabinus and Vespasia had three children, the eldest of whom, a girl, died in infancy. The elder boy, Titus Flavius Sabinus, entered public life and pursued the cursus honorum. He served in the army as a military tribune in Thrace in 36. The following year he was elected quaestor and served in Creta et Cyrenaica. He rose through the ranks of Roman public office, being elected aedile on his second attempt in 39 and praetor on his first attempt in 40, taking the opportunity to ingratiate himself with the Emperor Caligula.
The younger boy, Vespasian, seemed far less likely to be successful, initially not wishing to pursue high public office. He followed in his brother's footsteps when driven to it by his mother's taunting. During this period he married Flavia Domitilla, the daughter of Flavius Liberalis from Ferentium and formerly the mistress of Statilius Capella, a Roman equestrian from Sabratha in Africa.
They had two sons, Titus Flavius Vespasianus (born 39) and Titus Flavius Domitianus (born 51), and a daughter, Domitilla (born c. 45). His wife Domitilla and his daughter Domitilla both died before Vespasian became Emperor in 69. After the death of his wife, Vespasian's longstanding mistress, Antonia Caenis, became his wife in all but formal status, a relationship that continued until she died in 75.
In preparation for a praetorship, Vespasian needed two periods of service in the minor magistracies, one military and the other public. Vespasian served in the military in Thracia for about three years. On his return to Rome in about 30 AD, he obtained a post in the vigintivirate, the minor magistracies, most probably in one of the posts in charge of street cleaning. His early performance was so unsuccessful that Emperor Caligula reportedly stuffed handfuls of muck down his toga to correct the uncleaned Roman streets, formally his responsibility.
During the period of the ascendancy of Sejanus, there is no record of Vespasian's significant activity in political events. After completion of a term in the vigintivirate, Vespasian was entitled to stand for election as quaestor; a senatorial office. But his lack of political or family influence meant that Vespasian served as quaestor in one of the provincial posts in Crete, rather than as assistant to important men in Rome.
Next he needed to gain a praetorship, carrying the Imperium, but non-patricians and the less well-connected had to serve in at least one intermediary post as an aedile or tribune. Vespasian failed at his first attempt to gain an aedileship but was successful in his second attempt, becoming an aedile in 38. Despite his lack of significant family connections or success in office, he achieved praetorship in either 39 or 40, at the youngest age permitted (30), during a period of political upheaval in the organisation of elections. His longstanding relationship with freedwoman Antonia Caenis, confidential secretary to Antonia Minor (the Emperor's grandmother) and part of the circle of courtiers and servants around the Emperor, may have contributed to his success.
Upon the accession of Claudius as emperor in 41, Vespasian was appointed legate of Legio II Augusta, stationed in Germania, thanks to the influence of the Imperial freedman Narcissus. In 43, Vespasian and the II Augusta participated in the Roman invasion of Britain, and he distinguished himself under the overall command of Aulus Plautius. After participating in crucial early battles on the rivers Medway and Thames, he was sent to reduce the south west, penetrating through the modern counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall with the probable objectives of securing the south coast ports and harbours along with the tin mines of Cornwall and the silver and lead mines of Somerset.
Vespasian marched from Noviomagus Reginorum (Chichester) to subdue the hostile Durotriges and Dumnonii tribes, captured twenty oppida (towns, or more probably hill forts, including Hod Hill and Maiden Castle in Dorset). He also invaded Vectis (now the Isle of Wight), finally setting up a fortress and legionary headquarters at Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter). During this time he injured himself and had not fully recovered until he went to Egypt. These successes earned him triumphal regalia (ornamenta triumphalia) on his return to Rome.
His success as the legate of a legion earned him a consulship in 51, after which he retired from public life, having incurred the enmity of Claudius' wife, Agrippina. He came out of retirement in 63 when he was sent as governor to Africa Province. According to Tacitus (ii.97), his rule was "infamous and odious" but according to Suetonius (Vesp. 4), he was "upright and, highly honorable". On one occasion, Suetonius writes, Vespasian was pelted with turnips.
Vespasian used his time in North Africa wisely. Usually, governorships were seen by ex-consuls as opportunities to extort huge amounts of money to regain the wealth they had spent on their previous political campaigns. Corruption was so rife that it was almost expected that a governor would come back from these appointments with his pockets full. However, Vespasian used his time in North Africa making friends instead of money, something that would be far more valuable in the years to come. During his time in North Africa, he found himself in financial difficulties and was forced to mortgage his estates to his brother. To revive his fortunes he turned to the mule trade and gained the nickname mulio (muleteer).
Returning from Africa, Vespasian toured Greece in Nero's retinue, but lost Imperial favor after paying insufficient attention (some sources suggest he fell asleep) during one of the Emperor's recitals on the lyre, and found himself in the political wilderness.
In 66 AD, Vespasian was appointed to suppress the Jewish revolt underway in Judea. The fighting there had killed the previous governor and routed Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, when he tried to restore order. Two legions, with eight cavalry squadrons and ten auxiliary cohorts, were therefore dispatched under the command of Vespasian while his elder son, Titus, arrived from Alexandria with another.
During this time he became the patron of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish resistance leader captured at the Siege of Yodfat, who would later write his people's history in Greek. Ultimately, thousands of Jews were killed and the Romans destroyed many towns in re-establishing control over Judea; they also took Jerusalem in 70. Vespasian is remembered by Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, as a fair and humane official, in contrast with the notorious Herod Agrippa II whom Josephus goes to great lengths to demonize.
While under the emperor's patronage, Josephus wrote that after the Roman Legio X Fretensis, accompanied by Vespasian, destroyed Jericho on 21 June 68, Vespasian took a group of Jews who could not swim (possibly Essenes from Qumran), fettered them, and threw them into the Dead Sea to test the sea's legendary buoyancy. Indeed, the captives bobbed up to the surface after being thrown in the water from the boats.
Josephus (as well as Tacitus), reporting on the conclusion of the Jewish war, reported a prophecy that around the time when Jerusalem and the Second Temple would be taken, a man from their own nation, viz. the Messiah, would become governor “of the habitable earth”. Josephus interpreted the prophecy to denote Vespasian and his appointment as emperor in Judea.
After the death of Nero in 68, Rome saw a succession of short-lived emperors and a year of civil wars. Galba was murdered by supporters of Otho, who was defeated by Vitellius. Otho's supporters, looking for another candidate to support, settled on Vespasian.
According to Suetonius, a prophecy ubiquitous in the Eastern provinces claimed that from Judaea would come the future rulers of the world. Vespasian eventually believed that this prophecy applied to him, and found a number of omens, oracles, and portents that reinforced this belief.
He also found encouragement in Mucianus, the governor of Syria; and, although Vespasian was a strict disciplinarian and reformer of abuses, Vespasian's soldiers were thoroughly devoted to him. All eyes in the East were now upon him. Mucianus and the Syrian legions were eager to support him. While he was at Caesarea, he was proclaimed emperor (1 July 69), first by the army in Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander, and then by his troops in Judaea (11 July according to Suetonius, 3 July according to Tacitus).
Nevertheless, Vitellius, the occupant of the throne, had Rome's best troops on his side — the veteran legions of Gaul and the Rhineland. But the feeling in Vespasian's favour quickly gathered strength, and the armies of Moesia, Pannonia, and Illyricum soon declared for him, and made him the de facto master of half of the Roman world.
While Vespasian himself was in Egypt securing its grain supply, his troops entered Italy from the northeast under the leadership of Marcus Antonius Primus. They defeated Vitellius's army (which had awaited him in Mevania) at Bedriacum (or Betriacum), sacked Cremona and advanced on Rome. Vitellius hastily arranged a peace with Antonius, but the Emperor's Praetorian Guard forced him to retain his seat. After furious fighting, Antonius' army entered Rome. In the resulting confusion, the Capitol was destroyed by fire and Vespasian's brother Sabinus was killed by a mob.
On receiving the tidings of his rival's defeat and death at Alexandria, the new emperor at once forwarded supplies of urgently-needed grain to Rome, along with an edict assuring he would reverse the laws of Nero, especially those relating to treason. While in Egypt, he visited the Temple of Serapis where he reportedly experienced a vision. Later, he was confronted by two labourers, who were convinced that he possessed a divine power that could work miracles.
Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate while he was in Egypt on 21 December 69; the Egyptians had declared him emperor in June. In the short-term, administration of the empire was given to Mucianus who was aided by Vespasian's son, Domitian. Mucianus started off Vespasian's rule with tax reform that was to restore the empire's finances. After Vespasian arrived in Rome in mid-70, Mucianus continued to press Vespasian to collect as many taxes as possible.
Vespasian and Mucianus renewed old taxes and instituted new ones, increased the tribute of the provinces, and kept a watchful eye upon the treasury officials. The Latin proverb "Pecunia non olet" ("Money does not stink") may have been created when he had introduced a urine tax on public toilets.
Before Vespasian, this tax was imposed by Emperor Nero under the name of “vectigal urinae” in the 1st century AD. However the tax was removed after a while, it was re-enacted by Vespasian around 70 AD in order to fill the treasury.
Vespasian's policy was not well received by his son. Writing about Vespasian in their history books, Dio Cassius and Suetonius mentioned “When [Vespasian's] son Titus blamed him for even laying a tax upon urine, he applied to his nose a piece of the money he received in the first installment, and asked him if it stunk. And he replying no, 'And yet,' said he, 'it is derived from urine”. Since then, this phrase "Money does not stink” has been used to whitewash dubious or illegal origin of money.
In early 70 Vespasian was still in Egypt, the source of Rome's grain supply, and had not yet left for Rome. According to Tacitus, his trip was delayed due to bad weather. Modern historians theorize that Vespasian had been and was continuing to consolidate support from the Egyptians before departing. Stories of a divine Vespasian healing people circulated in Egypt. During this period, protests erupted in Alexandria over his new tax policies and grain shipments were held up. Vespasian eventually restored order and grain shipments to Rome resumed.
In addition to the uprising in Egypt, unrest and civil war continued in the rest of the empire in 70. Judea had been rebelling since 66. Vespasian's son, Titus, finally subdued the rebellion with the capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70. According to Eusebius, Vespasian then ordered all descendants of the royal line of David to be hunted down, causing the Jews to be persecuted from province to province. Several modern historians have suggested that Vespasian, already having been told by Josephus that he was prophesied to become emperor whilst in Judaea, was probably reacting to other widely known Messianic prophecies circulating at the time, to suppress any rival claimants arising from that dynasty.
In January of the same year, an uprising occurred in Gaul and Germany, known as the second Batavian Rebellion. This rebellion was headed by Gaius Julius Civilis and Julius Sabinus. Sabinus, claiming he was descended from Julius Caesar, declared himself Emperor of Gaul. The rebellion defeated and absorbed two Roman legions before it was suppressed by Vespasian's brother-in-law, Quintus Petillius Cerialis, by the end of 70.
In mid-70, Vespasian first came to Rome, dating his tribunician years from 1 July 69. Vespasian immediately embarked on a series of efforts to stay in power and prevent future revolts. He offered gifts to many in the military and much of the public. Soldiers loyal to Vitellius were dismissed or punished. Vespasian also restructured the Senatorial and Equestrian orders, removing his enemies and adding his allies. Regional autonomy of Greek provinces was repealed. Additionally, Vespasian made significant attempts to control public perception of his rule.
In general Vespasian enjoyed friendly relations with nearby barbarians, especially the Germanic and Dacian tribes, many of whom supported him politically in his bid for emperor.
We know from Suetonius that the "unexpected and still quite new emperor was lacking auctoritas [English: backing, support] and a certain maiestas [English: majesty]". Many modern historians note the increased amount of propaganda that appeared during Vespasian's reign. Stories of a supernatural emperor who was destined to rule circulated in the empire. Nearly one-third of all coins minted in Rome under Vespasian celebrated military victory or peace. The word vindex was removed from coins so as not to remind the public of rebellious Vindex. Construction projects bore inscriptions praising Vespasian and condemning previous emperors. A temple of peace was constructed in the forum as well. Vespasian approved histories written under his reign, ensuring biases against him were removed.
Vespasian also gave financial rewards to writers. The ancient historians who lived through the period such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus and Pliny the Elder speak suspiciously well of Vespasian while condemning the emperors who came before him. Tacitus admits that his status was elevated by Vespasian, Josephus identifies Vespasian as a patron and savior, and Pliny dedicated his Natural Histories to Vespasian's son, Titus.
Those who spoke against Vespasian were punished. A number of Stoic philosophers were accused of corrupting students with inappropriate teachings and were expelled from Rome. Helvidius Priscus, a pro-Republic philosopher, was executed for his teachings. Numerous other philosophers and writers have had their works seized, destroyed and denounced for being deemed too critical of Vespasian's reign, some even posthumously.
Between 71 and 79, much of Vespasian's reign is a mystery. Historians report that Vespasian ordered the construction of several buildings in Rome. Additionally, he survived several conspiracies against him.
Vespasian helped rebuild Rome after the civil war. He added the temple of Peace and the temple to the Deified Claudius. In 75, he erected a colossal statue of Apollo, begun under Nero, and he dedicated a stage of the theater of Marcellus. He also began construction of the Colosseum, using funds from the spoils of the Jewish Temple after the Siege of Jerusalem.
Suetonius claims that Vespasian was met with "constant conspiracies" against him. Only one conspiracy is known specifically, though. In 78 or 79, Eprius Marcellus and Aulus Caecina Alienus attempted to kill Vespasian. Why these men turned against Vespasian is not known.
In his ninth consulship Vespasian had a slight illness in Campania and, returning at once to Rome, he left for Aquae Cutiliae and the country around Reate, where he spent every summer; however, his illness worsened and he developed severe diarrhea.
In his ninth consulship he had a slight illness in Campania, and returning at once to the city, he left for Cutiliaeº and the country about Reate, where he spent the summer every year. There, in addition to an increase in his illness, having contracted a bowel complaint by too free use of the cold waters, he nevertheless continued to perform his duties as emperor, even receiving embassies as he lay in bed. Taken on a sudden with such an attack of diarrhoea that he all but swooned, he said: "An emperor ought to die standing," and while he was struggling to get on his feet, he died in the arms of those who tried to help him, on the ninth day before the Kalends of July, at the age of sixty-nine years, seven months and seven days..— Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, "Life of Vespasian" §24
He was succeeded by his son Titus.
Vespasian was known for his wit and his amiable manner alongside his commanding personality and military prowess. He could be liberal to impoverished Senators and equestrians and to cities and towns desolated by natural calamity. He was especially generous to men of letters and rhetors, several of whom he pensioned with salaries of as much as 1,000 gold pieces a year. Quintilian is said to have been the first public teacher who enjoyed this imperial favor. Pliny the Elder's work, the Natural History, was written during Vespasian's reign, and dedicated to Vespasian's son Titus.
Vespasian distrusted philosophers in general. It was the talk of philosophers, who liked to glorify the Republic, that provoked Vespasian into reviving the obsolete penal laws against this profession as a precautionary measure. Only one, Helvidius Priscus, was put to death after he had repeatedly affronted the Emperor by studied insults which Vespasian had initially tried to ignore. The philosopher Demetrius was banished to an island and when Vespasian heard Demetrius was still criticizing him, he sent the exiled philosopher the message: "You are doing everything to force me to kill you, but I do not slay a barking dog."
According to Suetonius, Vespasian "bore the frank language of his friends, the quips of pleaders, and the impudence of the philosophers with the greatest patience". Although Licinius Mucianus, a man of questionable reputation as being the receiver in homosexual sex, treated the Emperor with scant respect, Vespasian never criticised him publicly but privately uttered the words: "I, at least, am a man." He was also noted for his benefactions to the people. Much money was spent on public works and the restoration and beautification of Rome: the Temple of Peace, and the great show piece, the Colosseum.
In modern Romance languages, urinals are still named after him (for example, vespasiano in Italian, and vespasienne in French), probably in reference to a tax he placed on urine collection (useful due to its ammoniac content; see Pay toilet).
VespasianBorn: 17 November CE 9 Died: 23 June CE 79
| Roman Emperor
Gaius Quintius Atticus
Gnaeus Caecilius Simplex
| Consul of the Roman Empire
with Titus (70)
Lucius Valerius Catullus Messallinus
Lucius Valerius Catullus Messallinus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
Decimus Iunius Novius Priscus Rufus
Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus
Decimus Iunius Novius Priscus Rufus
Lucius Ceionius Commodus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
The Anglian collection is a collection of Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies and regnal lists. These survive in four manuscripts; two of which now reside in the British Library. The remaining two belong to the libraries of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Rochester Cathedral, the latter now deposited with the Medway Archives.Colosseum
The Colosseum or Coliseum ( kol-ə-SEE-əm), also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium; Italian: Anfiteatro Flavio [aɱfiteˈaːtro ˈflaːvjo] or Colosseo [kolosˈsɛːo]), is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).
The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles (for only a short time as the hypogeum was soon filled in with mechanisms to support the other activities), animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.
Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and is listed as one of the New7Wonders of the World. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and also has links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum. In 2018, it was the most popular tourist attraction in the world, with 7.4 million visitors.The Colosseum is also depicted on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin.Cratia (Bithynia)
Cratia, Crateia or Krateia (Ancient Greek: Κρατεία) was a town in the interior of ancient Bithynia, which also bore the name Flaviopolis, which clearly dates from the imperial period, and probably the time of Vespasian. The Antonine Itinerary places it between Claudiopolis and Ancyra of Galatia, 24 M. P. from the former. An autonomous coin with the epigraph κρη is attributed to this place; and there are coins of the imperial period, from Antoninus Pius to Gallienus. It became an episcopal see. Under the name Cratia it remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. It may also have borne the name Agrippeia.Its site is located near Gerede in Asiatic Turkey.Domitian
Domitian (; Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96 AD) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the younger brother of Titus and the son of Vespasian, his two predecessors on the throne, and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, the authoritarian nature of his rule put him at sharp odds with the senate, whose powers he drastically curtailed.
Domitian had a minor and largely ceremonial role during the reigns of his father and brother. After the death of his brother, Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard. His 15-year reign was the longest since that of Tiberius. As emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage, expanded the border defenses of the empire, and initiated a massive building program to restore the damaged city of Rome. Significant wars were fought in Britain, where his general Agricola attempted to conquer Caledonia (Scotland), and in Dacia, where Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against king Decebalus. Domitian's government exhibited strong authoritarian characteristics; he saw himself as the new Augustus, an enlightened despot destined to guide the Roman Empire into a new era of brilliance. Religious, military, and cultural propaganda fostered a cult of personality, and by nominating himself perpetual censor, he sought to control public and private morals. As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and army, but considered a tyrant by members of the Roman Senate.
Domitian's reign came to an end in 96 when he was assassinated by court officials. He was succeeded the same day by his advisor Nerva. After his death, Domitian's memory was condemned to oblivion by the Roman Senate, while senatorial authors such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius propagated the view of Domitian as a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Modern revisionists instead have characterized Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat whose cultural, economic, and political programs provided the foundation of the peaceful second century.First Jewish–Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול ha-Mered Ha-Gadol), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military usage, besides the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.
The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, during the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, originating in Roman and Jewish religious tensions. The crisis escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens by the Jews. The Roman governor, Gessius Florus, responded by plundering the Second Temple, claiming the money was for the Emperor, and the next day launching a raid on the city, arresting numerous senior Jewish figures. This prompted a wider, large-scale rebellion and the Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by the rebels, while the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II, together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem. As it became clear the rebellion was getting out of control, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought in the Syrian army, based on Legion XII Fulminata and reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and the conquest of Jaffa, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon with 6,000 Romans massacred and the Legion's aquila lost. During 66, the Judean provisional government was formed in Jerusalem including former High Priest Ananus ben Ananus and Joshua ben Gamla elected as leaders. Yosef ben Matityahu (Josephus) was appointed the rebel commander in Galilee and Eleazar ben Hanania as the commander in Edom. Later, in Jerusalem, an attempt by Menahem ben Yehuda, leader of the Sicarii, to take control of the city failed. He was executed and the remaining Sicarii were ejected from the city. Simon bar Giora, a peasant leader, was also expelled by the new government.
The experienced and unassuming general Vespasian was given the task, by Nero, of crushing the rebellion in Judaea province. Vespasian's son Titus was appointed as second-in-command. Given four legions and assisted by forces of King Agrippa II, Vespasian invaded Galilee in 67. Avoiding a direct attack on the reinforced city of Jerusalem, which was defended by the main rebel force, the Romans launched a persistent campaign to eradicate rebel strongholds and punish the population. Within several months Vespasian and Titus took over the major Jewish strongholds of Galilee and finally overran Jodapatha, which was under the command of Yosef ben Matityahu, as well as subdued Tarichaea, which brought an end to the war in Galilee. Driven from Galilee, Zealot rebels and thousands of refugees arrived in Jerusalem, creating political turmoil. Confrontation between the mainly Sadducee Jerusalemites and the mainly Zealot factions of the Northern Revolt under the command of John of Giscala and Eleazar ben Simon, erupted into bloody violence. With Idumeans entering the city and fighting by the side of the Zealots, the former high priest, Ananus ben Ananus, was killed and his faction suffered severe casualties. Simon bar Giora, commanding 15,000 militiamen, was then invited into Jerusalem by the Sadducee leaders to stand against the Zealots, and quickly took control over much of the city. Bitter infighting between factions of Simon, John and Eleazar followed through the year 69.
After a lull in the military operations, owing to civil war and political turmoil in Rome, Vespasian was called to Rome and appointed as Emperor in 69. With Vespasian's departure, Titus moved to besiege the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in early 70. The first two walls of Jerusalem were breached within three weeks, but a stubborn rebel standoff prevented the Roman Army from breaking the third and thickest wall. Following a brutal seven-month siege, during which Zealot infighting resulted in the burning of the entire food supplies of the city, the Romans finally succeeded in breaching the defenses of the weakened Jewish forces in the summer of 70. Following the fall of Jerusalem, in the year 71 Titus left for Rome, leaving Legion X Fretensis to defeat the remaining Jewish strongholds including Herodium and Machaerus, finalizing the Roman campaign in Masada in 73–74.
As the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of the events commemorated on Tisha B'Av, Judaism fell into crisis with the Sadducee movement falling into obscurity. However, one of the Pharisaic sages Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai was smuggled away from Jerusalem in a coffin by his students during the Titus siege. The rabbi obtained permission to establish a Judaic school at Yavne, which became a major center of Talmudic study. This became the crucial mark in the development of Rabbinic Judaism, which would allow Jews to continue their culture and religion without the Temple and essentially even in the diaspora. The defeat of the Jewish revolt altered Jewish demographics, as many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery. The demolition of the Temple, Jerusalem, and the farming lifestyle of the economy and land of Israel did not stop the Jews from succeeding in Judea. After a few generations of existing within the Roman systems, the Jewish–Roman tensions resulted in the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–136 CE.Flavian dynasty
The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.
The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava. One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague. On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66. Substantial conquests were made in Great Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians. In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.
The Flavians also initiated economic and cultural reforms. Under Vespasian, new taxes were devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content. A massive building programme was enacted by Titus, to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.
Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nerva–Antonine dynasty.
The Flavian dynasty was unique among the four dynasties of the Principate Era, in that it was only one man and his two sons, without any extended or adopted family.Flaviopolis (Cilicia)
Flaviopolis (Ancient Greek: Φλαβιόπολις or Φλαοϋιόπολις), or Phlaouiopolis, or Flavias, was a town of ancient Cilicia. Respecting its history scarcely anything is known, and it cannot be ascertained whether it owed its name to the emperor Vespasian, or to some member of the family of Constantine. In later times it was the see of a Christian bishop.
Its site is located near Kadirli in Asiatic Turkey.Herschel Johnson
Herschel Vespasian Johnson (May 3, 1894 – April 16, 1966) was a U.S. diplomat from North Carolina. He was the great grandson of Governor Herschel Vespasian Johnson. He served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer from 1921 to 1953, and his career included posts in Europe, Latin America, and the United Nations.
He served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Sweden between 12 December 1941 and 28 April 1946. Thereafter, he served as the acting US ambassador to the United Nations between 1946 and 1947. In 1948, he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brazil.
During his time in Sweden, he made humanitarian efforts to save civilian lives and was in touch with Raoul Wallenberg.
He was a vocal proponent of the 1947 Palestine Partition Plan. The outcome of the UN vote is attributed to his collaboration with Andrei A. Gromyko, otherwise Johnson's political opponent. They both stood together on this issue and urged the General Assembly not to delay its decision but to vote for partition at once, opposing last-minute efforts of Arab delegations to effect a compromise.Herschel Vespasian Johnson
Herschel Vespasian Johnson (September 18, 1812 – August 16, 1880) was an American politician. He was the 41st Governor of Georgia from 1853 to 1857 and the vice presidential nominee of the Douglas wing of the Democratic Party in the 1860 U.S. presidential election. He also served as one of Georgia's Confederate States senators.Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus (; Greek: Φλάβιος Ἰώσηπος; 37 – c. 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu (Hebrew: יוסף בן מתתיהו, Yosef ben Matityahu; Greek: Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς), was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 CE to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and presumably interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 CE, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius.Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem. Since the siege proved ineffective at stopping the Jewish revolt, the city's destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod's Temple (Second Temple) soon followed.
Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War (66–70 CE), including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation. Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Greek and Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity, and are the chief source next to the Bible for the history and antiquity of ancient Palestine.Legio II Augusta
Legio secunda Augusta ("Augustus' Second Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army that was founded during the late Roman republic. Its emblems were the Capricornus, Pegasus,, and Mars.Legio XVI Flavia Firma
Legio sexta decima Flavia firma ("Steadfast Flavian Sixteenth Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. The legion was created by Emperor Vespasian in 70 from the remains of the XVI Gallica (which had surrendered in the Batavian rebellion). The unit still existed in the 4th century, when it guarded the Euphrates border and camped in Sura (Syria). The emblem of the legion was a Pegasus, although earlier studies assumed it to have been a lion.List of manuscripts in the Cotton library
This is an incomplete list of some of the manuscripts from the Cotton library that today form the Cotton collection of the British Library. Some manuscripts were destroyed or damaged in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731, and a few are kept in other libraries and collections.
Robert Bruce Cotton organized his library in a room 26 feet (7.9 m) long by six feet wide filled with bookpresses, each with the bust of a figure from classical antiquity on top. Counterclockwise, these were Julius Caesar, Augustus, Cleopatra, Faustina, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. (Domitian had only one shelf, perhaps because it was over the door). In each press, each shelf was assigned a letter; manuscripts were identified by the bust over the press, the shelf letter, and the position of the manuscript (in Roman numerals) counting from the left side of the shelf. Thus, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Nero B.iv, was the fourth manuscript from the left on the second shelf (shelf B) of the press under the bust of Nero. For Domitian and Augustus, which had only one shelf each, the shelf letter was left out of the press-mark. The British Museum retained Cotton's press-marks when the Cotton collection became one of the foundational collections of its library, so manuscripts are still designated by library, bookpress, shelf, and number (even though they are no longer stored in that fashion). For example, the manuscript of Beowulf is designated Cotton MS Vitellius A.xv, and the manuscript of Pearl is Cotton MS Nero A.x.Temple of Vespasian and Titus
The Temple of Vespasian and Titus (Latin: Templum divi Vespasiani, Italian: Tempio di Vespasiano) is located in Rome at the western end of the Roman Forum between the Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Saturn. It is dedicated to the deified Vespasian and his son, the deified Titus. It was begun by Titus in 79 after Vespasian's death and Titus's succession. Titus’ brother, Domitian, completed and dedicated the temple to Titus and Vespasian in approximately 87.Titus
Titus (; Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus; 30 December 39 AD – 13 September 81 AD) was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father.
Before becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian's bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple. For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph; the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day.
During his father's rule, Titus gained notoriety in Rome serving as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and for carrying on a controversial relationship with the Jewish queen Berenice. Despite concerns over his character, Titus ruled to great acclaim following the death of Vespasian in 79, and was considered a good emperor by Suetonius and other contemporary historians.
As emperor, Titus is best known for completing the Colosseum and for his generosity in relieving the suffering caused by two disasters, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a fire in Rome in 80. After barely two years in office, Titus died of a fever on 13 September 81. He was deified by the Roman Senate and succeeded by his younger brother Domitian.Vitellius
Vitellius (; Latin: Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus; 24 September 15 – 22 December 69 AD) was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69 AD. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
Vitellius was the first to add the honorific cognomen Germanicus to his name instead of Caesar upon his accession; the latter name had fallen into disrepute in many quarters because of the actions of Nero.
His claim to the throne was soon challenged by legions stationed in the eastern provinces, who proclaimed their commander Vespasian emperor instead. War ensued, leading to a crushing defeat for Vitellius at the Second Battle of Bedriacum in northern Italy. Once he realised his support was wavering, Vitellius prepared to abdicate in favor of Vespasian but was executed in Rome by Vespasian's soldiers on 22 December 69.Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.The suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69 Galba, Otho, and Vitellius successively rose and fell, the latter overlapping with the July 69 accession of Vespasian, who founded the Flavian dynasty. The social, military and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, which included the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi.Yohanan ben Zakkai
Yohanan ben Zakkai (Hebrew: יוחנן בן זכאי, 1st century CE), sometimes abbreviated as Ribaz (ריב״ז) for Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, was one of the Tannaim, an important Jewish sage in the era of the Second Temple, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. His name is often preceded by the honorific title, "Rabban." He is widely regarded as one of the most important Jewish figures of his time. His tomb is located in Tiberias, within the Maimonides burial compound.
He was the first Jewish sage attributed the title of rabbi in the Mishnah.
27 BC – 235 AD
|Empire of Nicaea|
Italics indicates a co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper.