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|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
Bust of Vespasian
|Reign||1 July 69 – 23 June 79|
|Full name||Titus Flavius Vespasianus (from birth to accession); |
Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (as emperor)
|Born||17 November 9|
|Died||23 June 79 (aged 69)|
|Place of death||Rome|
|Wives||Domitilla the Elder (died before 69) |
Caenis (mistress and de facto wife c. 65– 74)
Domitilla the Younger
|Father||Titus Flavius Sabinus I|
Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty which ruled the empire for a quarter century. Although he held the consulship in 51 AD, Vespasian became more highly regarded as a successful military commander. He took part in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD,p16 and the Jewish rebellion of 66 AD.p29–38
While Vespasian was preparing to besiege Jerusalem during the latter campaign, emperor Nero committed suicide, plunging the empire into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After the emperors Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in April 69 AD.
In response, the armies in Egypt and Judaea declared Vespasian emperor on July 1.p43 In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, and Primus, a general in Pannonia. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian gained control of Egypt. On 20 December, Vitellius was defeated, and the following day Vespasian was 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, the successful campaign against Judaea, and several ambitious construction projects such as the Colosseum. Upon his death in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus.
- Entry on Vespasian in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith