' TRIBULATION

30-70AD: Exodus | Tribulation

69AD Vitellius: 10TH ROMAN "KING" since Rome possessed Jerusalem but never possessed her himself, Jerusalem enjoying freedom through revolt

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitellius

Vitellius

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Vitellius
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Image:Aulo vitelio germanico.JPG
Emperor Vitellius
Reign17 April 6922 December 69
Full nameAulus Vitellius
Born24 September 15(15-09-24)
Died22 December 69 (age 54)
Rome
PredecessorOtho
SuccessorVespasian
DynastyNone
FatherLucius Vitellius
MotherSextilia

Aulus Vitellius (September 24, 15December 22, 69), also called Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus, was Roman Emperor from April 17, 69 to December 22 of the same year, one of the emperors in the "Year of the Four Emperors" (the others being Galba, Otho, and Vespasian). He was the son of Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sextilia, and had one brother, Lucius Vitellius the younger. Suetonius records that there were two differnt legends of the Vitelli-that at one time they were rulers of Latium-or that their beginings were shameful; Suetonius also recorded that when Vitellius was born his horoscope so horrified his parents that his father tried to prevent Aulus from becoming a consul.

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[edit] Life

[edit] Pre-throne career

He was consul in 48, and (perhaps in 60-61) proconsul of Africa, in which capacity he is said to have acquitted himself with credit. At the end of 68 Galba, to the general astonishment, selected him to command the army of Germania Inferior, and here Vitellius made himself popular with his subalterns and with the soldiers by outrageous prodigality and excessive good nature, which soon proved fatal to order and discipline.

[edit] As emperor

Vitellius on a coin.
Vitellius on a coin.

He owed his elevation to the throne to Caecina and Valens, commanders of two legions on the Rhine. Through these two men a military revolution was speedily accomplished; they refused to renew their vows of allegiance to Emperor Galba on January 1, 69, and early in 69 Vitellius was proclaimed emperor at Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne) More accurately, he was proclaimed emperor of the armies of Germania Inferior and Superior. The armies of Gaul, Brittania and Raetia sided with them shortly afterwards. By the time that they marched on Rome, however, it was Otho, and not Galba, whom they had to confront.

In fact, he was never acknowledged as emperor by the entire Roman world, though at Rome the Senate accepted him and decreed to him the usual imperial honours. He advanced into Italy at the head of a licentious and rough soldiery, and Rome became the scene of riot and massacre, gladiatorial shows and extravagant feasting. To reward his victorious legionaries, Vitellius disbanded the existing Praetorian Guard and installed his own men instead.

In July 69, Vitellius learnt that the armies of the eastern provinces had proclaimed a rival emperor; their commander, Titus Flavius Vespasianus. As soon as it was known that the armies of the East, Dalmatia, and Illyricum had declared for Vespasian, Vitellius, deserted by many of his adherents, would have resigned the title of emperor.

It is said that he awaited Vespasian's army at Mevania. It was said that the terms of resignation had actually been agreed upon with Marcus Antonius Primus, the commander of the sixth legion serving in Pannonia and one of Vespasian’s chief supporters, but the praetorians refused to allow him to carry out the agreement, and forced him to return to the palace, when he was on his way to deposit the insignia of empire in the Temple of Concord. On the entrance of Vespasian's troops into Rome he was dragged out of some miserable hiding-place (according to Tacitus a door-keeper's lodge), driven to the fatal Gemonian stairs, and there struck down. His body was thrown into the Tiber.{Suetonius} {According to Cassius Dio Vitellius was beheaded and his head paraded around Rome; his wife attended to his burial}. "Yet I was once your emperor," were the last and, as far as we know, the noblest words of Vitellius. His brother and son were also killed.

During his brief administration Vitellius showed indications of a desire to govern wisely, but he was completely under the control of Valens and Caecina, who for their own ends encouraged him in a course of vicious excesses which threw his better qualities into the background. It should be noted that one of the key accounts of Vitellus's cruelty and his being entirely under 'control' by Valens and Caecina is the historian Suetonius, given that Suetonius's own father was a military officer loyal to Otho we must be somewhat skeptical of his account, especially when other biographers namely Tacitus and Cassius Dio disagree with some of Suetonius assertions, even though their own accounts of Vitellus are scarcely positive ones.

Despite his short reign he made two important contributions to Roman government which outlasted him. Tacitus describes them both in his Histories:

Firstly Vitellus ended the practice of Centurions selling furloughs and exemptions of duty to their men, a change Tacitus describes as being adopted by 'all good emperors'.

He also expanded the offices of the Imperial Administration beyond the imperial pool of Freedmen allowing those of the Equites to take up positions in the Imperial Civil service.

[edit] Against the astrologers

In her book Ancient Astrology, Tamsyn Barton relates one story while explaining the dangers of practicing astrology in the Roman Empire:

"Thus astrologers were wise to act as an anonymous group. In the turbulent year of 69 CE, in response to Vitellius’ decree banning them from Rome and Italy from 1 October, they posted an announcement with their own edict:

"Decreed by all astrologers
In blessing on our State
Vitellius will be no more
On the appointed date."

In response Vitellius executed any astrologers he came across, according to Suetonius. He did not have long to enjoy the satisfaction of proving them wrong, for he only survived three months afterwards. (Tamsyn Barton, Ancient Astrology, pgs. 47-48.)

[edit] In fiction

Vitellius is also an antagonist in Simon Scarrow's Eagle novels, based around Vespasian and the Legio II Augusta's exploits during the Roman conquest of Britain.

[edit] Sources

The surviving sources, particularly Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, give an unfavourable picture of Vitellius; however it should be remembered that Suetonius' father was an army officer who had fought for Otho and against Vitellius at the first Battle of Bedriacum.

Far from being ambitious or scheming, he was lazy and self-indulgent, fond of eating and drinking, and was considered to be an obese glutton, eating banquets four times a day. Sources report that one banquet included 2,000 fish and 4,000 birds, and that his favorite dishes included pike livers, pheasant brains, and flamingo tongues — which rare ingredients he would send the Roman navy to procure. It was even said that he starved his own mother to death- to fulfill a prophecy that he would rule long if his mother died first.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] Primary sources

[edit] Secondary Sources

Preceded by
Claudius and Lucius Vitellius
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Lucius Vipstanus Publicola Messalla
48
Succeeded by
Quintus Veranius and Gaius Pompeius Longus Gallus
Preceded by
Otho
Roman Emperor
69
Succeeded by
Vespasian
Preceded by
Otho
Year of the Four Emperors
69, in competition with Vespasian
Succeeded by
Vespasian

69AD Otho: 9TH ROMAN "KING" since Rome possessed Jerusalem but never possessed her himself, Jerusalem enjoying freedom through revolt

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otho

Otho

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For other uses, see Otho (disambiguation).

Otho
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Image:OthoDen.jpg
Denarius of Otho
Reign15 January 6916 April 69
Full nameMarcus Salvius Otho
Born25 April 32(32-04-25)
Ferentium
Died16 April 69 (aged 36)
Rome
PredecessorGalba
SuccessorVitellius
Wife/wivesPoppea Sabina (forced to divorce her by Nero)
DynastyNone
FatherLucius Otho
MotherTerentia Albia

Marcus Salvius Otho (April 25, 32April 16, 69), also called Marcus Salvius Otho Nero, was Roman Emperor from January 15 to April 16, in 69, the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.

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[edit] Birth and lineage

Otho belonged to an ancient and noble Etruscan family, descended from the princes of Etruria and settled at Ferentinum (modern Ferento, near Viterbo) in Etruria. His paternal grandfather Marcus Salvius Otho, whose father was a Roman knight but whose mother was of lowly origin and perhaps not even free-born, was raised in Livia's household and rose to senatorial rank through her influence, although he did not advance beyond the rank of praetor. His father was Lucius Otho.

[edit] Early life

The future emperor appears first as one of the most reckless and extravagant of the young nobles who surrounded Nero. This friendship was brought to an end in 58 because of a woman, Poppea Sabina. Otho introduced his beautiful wife to the Emperor upon the insistence of his wife, who then began an affair that would eventually be the death of her. After securely establishing this position as his mistress, she divorced Otho and had the emperor send him away to the remote province of Lusitania (modern Portugal and Extremadura).

Otho remained in Lusitania for the next ten years, administrating the province with a moderation unusual at the time. When in 68 his neighbor Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, rose in revolt against Nero, Otho accompanied him to Rome. Resentment at the treatment he had received from Nero may have impelled him to this course, but to this motive was added before long that of personal ambition. Galba was childless and far advanced in years, and Otho, encouraged by the predictions of astrologers, aspired to succeed him. He came to a secret agreement with Galba's favourite, Titus Vinius, agreeing to marry Vinius' daughter in exchange for his support. However in January 69 his hopes were dissipated by Galba's formal adoption of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus, whom Galba had previously named a recipient in his will.

Nothing remained for Otho but to strike a bold blow. Desperate as was the state of his finances, thanks to his previous extravagance, he found money to purchase the services of some twenty-three soldiers of the Praetorian Guard. On the morning of January 15, only five days after the adoption of Piso, Otho attended as usual to pay his respects to the emperor, and then hastily excusing himself on the score of private business hurried from the Palatine to meet his accomplices. He was then escorted to the Praetorian camp, where, after a few moments of surprise and indecision, he was saluted imperator.

With an imposing force he returned to the Forum, and at the foot of the Capitol encountered Galba, who, alarmed by vague rumors of treachery, was making his way through a dense crowd of wondering citizens towards the barracks of the guard. The cohort on duty at the Palatine, which had accompanied the emperor, instantly deserted him. Galba, his newly adopted son Piso and others were brutally murdered by the Praetorians. The brief struggle over, Otho returned in triumph to the camp, and on the same day was duly invested by the senators with the name of Augustus, the tribunician power and the other dignities belonging to the principate. Otho had owed his success to the resentment felt by the Pretorian guards and the rest of the army at Galba's refusal to pay the promised gold to the ones who supported his accession to the throne. The population of the city was also unhappy with Galba and cherished the memory of Nero. Otho's first acts as emperor showed that he was not unmindful of the facts.

[edit] Decline and fall

He accepted, or appeared to accept, the cognomen of Nero conferred upon him by the shouts of the populace, whom his comparative youth and the effeminacy of his appearance reminded of their lost favourite. Nero's statues were again set up, his freedmen and household officers reinstalled, and the intended completion of the Golden House announced. At the same time the fears of the more sober and respectable citizens were allayed by Otho's liberal professions of his intention to govern equitably, and by his judicious clemency towards Marius Celsus, consul-designate, a devoted adherent of Galba.

But any further development of Otho's policy was checked once Otho read through Galba's private correspondence and realized the extent of the revolution in Germany, where several legions had declared for Vitellius, the commander of the legions on the lower Rhine, and were already advancing upon Italy. After a vain attempt to conciliate Vitellius by the offer of a share in the empire, Otho, with unexpected vigor, prepared for war. From the remoter provinces, which had acquiesced in his accession, little help was to be expected; but the legions of Dalmatia, Pannonia and Moesia were eager in his cause, the pretorian cohorts were in themselves a formidable force and an efficient fleet gave him the mastery of the Italian seas.

The fleet was at once dispatched to secure Liguria, and on the March 14 Otho, undismayed by omens and prophecies, started northwards at the head of his troops in the hopes of preventing the entry of the Vitellius' troops into Italy. But for this he was too late, and all that could be done was to throw troops into Placentia and hold the line of the Po. Otho's advanced guard successfully defended Placentia against Aulus Caecina Alienus, and compelled that general to fall back on Cremona. But the arrival of Fabius Valens altered the aspect of affairs.

Vitellius' commanders now resolved to bring on a decisive battle, the Battle of Bedriacum, and their designs were assisted by the divided and irresolute counsels which prevailed in Otho's camp. The more experienced officers urged the importance of avoiding a battle, until at least the legions from Dalmatia had arrived. But the rashness of the emperor's brother Titianus and of Proculus, prefect of the pretorian guards, added to Otho's feverish impatience, overruled all opposition, and an immediate advance was decided upon, Otho himself remaining behind with a considerable reserve force at Brixellum, on the southern bank of the Po. When this decision was taken, Otho's army had already crossed the Po and were encamped at Bedriacum (or Betriacum), a small village on the Via Postumia, and on the route by which the legions from Dalmatia would naturally arrive.

Leaving a strong detachment to hold the camp at Bedriacum, the Othonian forces advanced along the Via Postumia in the direction of Cremona. At a short distance from that city they unexpectedly encountered the Vitellian troops. The Othonians, though taken at a disadvantage, fought desperately, but were finally forced to fall back in disorder upon their camp at Bedriacum. There on the next day the victorious Vitellians followed them, but only to come to terms at once with their disheartened enemy, and to be welcomed into the camp as friends.

More unexpected still was the effect produced at Brixellum by the news of the battle. Otho was still in command of a formidable force: the Dalmatian legions had already reached Aquileia and the spirit of his soldiers and their officers was unbroken. But he was resolved to accept the verdict of the battle that his own impatience had hastened. In a dignified speech he bade farewell to those about him declaring "It is far more just to perish one for all, than many for one" (Dio, LXIV.13), and then retiring to rest soundly for some hours. Early in the morning he stabbed himself in the heart with a dagger, which he had concealed under his pillow, and died as his attendants entered the tent. Otho's ashes were placed within a modest monument. He had reigned only three months, but in this short time had shown more wisdom and grace than anyone had expected. His funeral was celebrated at once, as he had wished, and not a few of his soldiers followed their master's example by killing themselves at his pyre. A plain tomb was erected in his honour at Brixellum, with the simple inscription Diis Manibus Marci Othonis.


He was almost thirty-seven at the time of his death, and had reigned just three months. His coinage is thus considered rare.

[edit] Reasons for Suicide

It has been thought that Otho's suicide was committed in order to steer his country from the path to civil war. Just as he had come to power, many Romans learned to respect Otho in his death. Few could believe that a renowned former companion of Nero had chosen such an honored end. The soldiers were so moved and impressed that some even threw themselves on the funeral pyre to die with their emperor.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Primary sources

[edit] Secondary material

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Preceded by
Galba
Roman Emperor
69
Succeeded by
Vitellius

69-79AD Vespasion: 11TH ROMAN "KING" since Rome possessed Jerusalem: quashed revolt by destroying Jerusalem, Israel and Jews: little horn that uproots the previous 3: revived/preserved the Roman Empire from self-destruction

In 69AD, the "Year of the 4 Emperors," Vespasian successfully supplanted the 3 previous emperors Galba, Otho, and Vitellius to become himself caesar (king), the 11th Roman "king" to have dominion over Jerusalem since Pompey the Great. Vespasian had served the Roman Army under 7 emperor-dictators (kings), from Tiberius to Vitellius.

Bible scholars living in the last days of old Jerusalem may have seen some very interesting things in the dreams of Daniel:

Daniel 7:7-8
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Daniel 7:19-27
19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.


From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespasian

Vespasian

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Vespasian
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Bust of Vespasian
Reign 1 July 6923 June 79
Full name Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar Augustus
Born 17 November 9(9-11-17)
Falacrina
Died 23 June 79 (age 69)
Rome
Buried Rome
Predecessor Vitellius
Successor Titus
Wife/wives Domitilla the Elder (died pre. 69)
Caenis (mistress and de facto wife c. 65–74)
Issue Titus
Domitian
Domitilla the Younger
Dynasty Flavian
Father Titus Flavius Sabinus I
Mother Vespasia Polla

Titus Flavius Vespasianus, commonly known as Vespasian (November 17, 9June 23, 79), was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 69 until his death in 79. Vespasian was the founder of the shortlived Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96. He was succeeded by his sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96).

Vespasian descended from a family of equestrians which rose into the senatorial rank under the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Although he attained the standard succession of public offices, holding the consulship in 51, Vespasian became more reputed as a successful military commander, partaking in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43, and subjugating the Judaea province during the Jewish rebellion of 66. While preparing to besiege the city of Jerusalem during the latter campaign, emperor Nero committed suicide, plunging the Roman Empire 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 mid 69. In response, the armies in Egypt and Judaea themselves declared Vespasian emperor on July 1. In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the governor of Syria, who lead the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian himself gained control over Egypt. On December 20, Vitellius was defeated, and the following day, Vespasian declared emperor by the Roman Senate.

Little factual information survives about Vespasian's government during the ten years he was emperor. His reign is best known for financial reforms following the demise of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the successful campaign against Judaea, and several ambitious construction projects such as the Colosseum. Upon his death on June 23, 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus.

Contents

[hide]
Roman imperial dynasties
Flavian dynasty
Vespasian
Children
Titus
Domitian
Domitilla
Titus
Children
Julia Flavia
Domitian
Children
1 son, died in early childhood

[edit] Family and early career

Vespasian was born in Falacrina, in the Sabine country near Reate. His father, Titus Flavius Sabinus, was an equestrian who worked as a customs official in the province of Asia and a money-lender on a small scale in Aventicum, where Vespasian lived for some time. His mother, Vespasia Polla, was the sister of a Senator.

After prompting from his mother, Vespasian followed his older brother, also called Titus Flavius Sabinus, into public life. He served in the army as a military tribune in Thrace in 36. The following year he was elected quaestor and served in Crete and Cyrene. 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.

In the meantime, he married Flavia Domitilla, the daughter of an equestrian from Ferentium. They had two sons, Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. 41) and Titus Flavius Domitianus (b. 51), and a daughter, Domitilla (b. 39). Flavia died before Vespasian became emperor. Thereafter his mistress, Caenis, was his wife in all but name until she died in 74.

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.

[edit] Invasion of Britannia

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 southwest, 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. He fought 30 battles, captured twenty oppida (towns, or more probably hill forts, including Hod Hill and Maiden Castle in Dorset), subdued two powerful nations and reduced Vectis (the Isle of Wight), finally setting up a fortress and legionary headquarters at Isca Dumnoniorum. These successes earned him triumphal regalia (ornamenta triumphalia) on his return to Rome.

[edit] Continued political career

Vespasian was elected consul for the last two months of 51, after which he withdrew from public life. 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 honourable". On one occasion he 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 their wealth that 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 (mule-driver).

Returning from Africa, Vespasian toured Greece in Nero's retinue, but lost Imperial favour 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.

[edit] Great Jewish Revolt

Vespasian sestertius, struck in 71 to celebrate the victory in the Jewish Rebellion. The legend on the reverse says: IVDAEA CAPTA, "Judaea conquered".
Vespasian sestertius, struck in 71 to celebrate the victory in the Jewish Rebellion. The legend on the reverse says: IVDAEA CAPTA, "Judaea conquered".

However, in 66, Vespasian was appointed to conduct the war in Judea, which was threatening unrest throughout the East. A revolt there had killed the previous governor and routed Licinius Mucianus, the governor of Syria, when he tried to restore order. Two legions, with eight cavalry squadrons and 10 auxiliary cohorts, were therefore dispatched under the command of Vespasian to add to the one already there. His elder son, Titus, served on his staff. During this time he became the patron of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish resistance leader turned Roman agent who would go on to write his people's history in Greek. In the end, thousands of Jews were killed and many towns destroyed by the Romans, who successfully re-established control over Judea. Vespasian served for a time as procurator for Iudaea; he is remembered by Jews as a fair and humane official, in contrast to the notorious Herod the Great.

Josephus wrote that after the Roman Legio X Fretensis accompanied by Vespasian destroyed Jericho on June 21, 68, he took a group of Jews who could not swim (possibly Essenes from Qumran), fettered them, and threw them into the Dead Sea to test its legendary buoyancy. Sure enough, the Jews shot back up after being thrown in from boats and floated calmly on top of the sea.

[edit] Year of Four Emperors

Map of the Roman Empire during the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). Blue areas indicate provinces loyal to Vespasian and Gaius Licinius Mucianus.
Map of the Roman Empire during the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). Blue areas indicate provinces loyal to Vespasian and Gaius Licinius Mucianus.

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 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 (July 1, 69), first by the army in Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander, and then by his troops in Iudaea (July 11).

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 M. Antonius Primus. They defeated Vitellius's army (which had awaited him in Mevania) at Bedriacum (or Betriacum), sacked Cremona and advanced on Rome. They entered Rome after furious fighting. 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 or a declaration of policy, in which he gave assurance of an entire reversal of the laws of Nero, especially those relating to treason. While in Egypt he visited the Temple of Serapis, where reportedly he experienced a vision. Later he was confronted by two labourers who were convinced that he possessed a divine power that could work miracles.

[edit] Vespasian as emperor

[edit] Aftermath of the civil war

Bust of Vespasian, Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
Bust of Vespasian, Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate while he was in Egypt in December of 69 (the Egyptians had declared him emperor in June of 69. 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 Vespanian to collect as many taxes as possible.[1]

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 smell") may have been created when he had introduced a urine tax on public toilets. By his own example of simplicity of life — he caused something of a scandal when it was made known he took his own boots off — he initiated a marked improvement in the general tone of society in many respects.

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.[2] Modern historians theorize that Vespasian had been and was continuing to consolidate support from the Egyptians before departing.[3] Stories of a divine Vespasian healing people circulated in Egypt.[4] 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.[5]

In addition to the uprising in Egypt, unrest and civil war continued in the rest of the empire in 70. In Judea, rebellion had continued from 66. Vespasian's son, Titus, finally subdued the rebellion with the capture of Jerusalem in 70. 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.

[edit] Arrival in Rome and gathering support

In mid-70, Vespasian first came to Rome. 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.[6] Soldiers loyal to Vitellius were dismissed or punished.[7] He also restructured the Senatorial and Equestrian orders, removing his enemies and adding his allies.[8] Regional autonomy of Greek provinces was repealed.[9] Additionally, he made significant attempts to control public perception of his rule.

[edit] Propaganda campaign

Many modern historians note the increased amount of propaganda that appeared during Vespasian's reign.[10] Stories of a supernatural emperor that was destined to rule circulated in the empire.[11] Nearly one-third of all coins minted in Rome under Vespasian celebrated military victory or peace.[12] The word vindex was removed from coins as to not remind the public of rebellious Vindex. Construction projects bore inscriptions praising Vespasian and condemning previous emperors.[13] A temple of peace was constructed in the forum as well.[14] Vespasian approved histories written under his reign, assuring biases against him were removed.[15]

Vespasian also gave financial rewards to ancient writers.[16] The ancient historians that lived through the period such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus and Pliny the Elder speak suspiciously well of Vespasian while condemning the emperors that came before him.[17] 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, Titus.[18]

Those that spoke against Vespasian were punished. A number of stoic philosophers were accused of corrupting students with inappropriate teachings and were expelled from Rome.[19] Helvidius Priscus, a pro-republic philosopher, was executed for his teachings.[20]

[edit] Construction and conspiracies

Construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum, was begun by Vespasian, and ultimately finished by his son Titus.
Construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum, was begun by Vespasian, and ultimately finished by his son Titus.

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.[21] 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.

Suetonius claims that Vespasian was met with "constant conspiracies" against him.[22] Only one conspiracy is known specifically, though. In 78 or 79, Eprius Marcellus and Caecina Alienus attempted to kill Vespasian. Why these men turned against Vespasian is not known.

[edit] Military Pursuits and Death

In 78, Agricola went to Britain, and both extended and consolidated the Roman dominion in that province, pushing his way into what is now Scotland. On June 23 of the following year, Vespasian died of an intestinal inflammation which led to excessive diarrhoea. According to Suetonius (Life of Vespasian 23.4), his last words were: Vae, puto, deus fio ("Dammit - I think I'm becoming a god").

[edit] Views on Vespasian

Vespasian 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. Some of the philosophers who talked idly of the good times of the Republic, and thus indirectly encouraged conspiracy, provoked Vespasian into reviving the obsolete penal laws against this profession. However, only one, Helvidius Priscus, was put to death, and he had affronted the Emperor by studied insults. "I will not kill a dog that barks at me," were words expressing the temper of Vespasian. Vespasian was indeed noted for mildness. He was also noted for loyalty to the people, for example, much money was spent on public works and the restoration and beautification of Rome: a new forum, the Temple of Peace, the public baths and the Colosseum.

In the modern Italian language, the urinals are called "vespasiano", probably in reference to a tax the emperor placed on urine collection (useful due to its ammoniac content, see Pay toilet).

[edit] In later literature

[edit] Bibliography

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[edit] Primary sources

[edit] Secondary material

[edit] References

Preceded by
Flavian Dynasty
69–96
Succeeded by
Titus
Preceded by
Vitellius
Roman Emperor
69–79
Succeeded by
Titus
Preceded by
Vitellius
Year of Four Emperors
68–69
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fabius Valens and Arrius Antoninus
Consul of the Roman Empire
70–72
Succeeded by
Domitian and Lucius Valerius Catullus Messallinus
Preceded by
Domitian and Lucius Valerius Catullus Messallinus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Titus
74–77
Succeeded by
Decimus Iunius Novius Priscus Rufus and Lucius Ceionius Commodus
Preceded by
Decimus Iunius Novius Priscus Rufus and Lucius Ceionius Commodus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Titus
79
Succeeded by
Titus and Domitian