Roman Emperor Vespasian Biography

Sestertius of Vespasian

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The historical importance of Vespasian is as the founder of the second imperial dynasty in Rome, the Flavian Dynasty. When this short-lived dynasty came to power, it put an end to the governmental turmoil that followed the end of the first imperial dynasty, the Julio-Claudians. He started major building projects like the Colosseum and raised revenue through taxation to finance them and other Rome improvement projects.

Vespasian was officially known as Imperator Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar.

Early Life

Vespasian was born Nov. 17, 9 A.D., at Falacrinae (a village northeast of Rome), and died June 23, 79, of "diarrhea" at Aquae Cutiliae (location of baths, in central Italy).

In A.D. 66 Emperor Nero gave Vespasian military command to settle the revolt in Judaea. Vespasian acquired a military following and soon became Roman emperor (from July 1, 69-June 23, 79), coming to power after the Julio-Claudian Emperors and putting an end to the chaotic year of the four emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian).

Founding the Flavian Dynasty

Vespasian established a short (3-emperor) dynasty, known as the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian's sons and successors in the Flavian Dynasty were Titus and Domitian.

Vespasian's wife was Flavia Domitilla. In addition to producing the two sons, Flavia Domitilla was the mother of another Flavia Domitilla. She died before he became emperor. As emperor, he was influenced by his mistress, Caenis, who had been secretary to the mother of Emperor Claudius.

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