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The First Roman Emperors

Imperator Vespasianus Caesar Augustus (69-79)

VESPASIAN
Born: 17/11/AD9 Titus Flavius Vespasianus. In hamlet of Falacrina, just beyond Reate, in Sabine hill-country NE of Rome
Father: Flavius Sabinus.
Mother: Vespasia Polla.
Emperor: 01/07/AD69 Imp. Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar (proclaimed emperor by eastern legions at Alexandria).
Died: 23/06/AD79 of diarrhoea, at his summer retreat at Aquae Cutiliae near Reate.
History:
  • AD9/11/17 born in hamlet of Falacrina, just beyond Reate, in Sabine hill-country NE of Rome. His parents, Flavius Sabinus and Vespasia Polla.
  • AD10-20 (ish) his childhood was spent under the care of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla, on her estates at Cosa. [Suet. Ves. II.1]
  • AD29 (ish) served as tribune of the soldiers (Tribunus Laticlavius) in Thrace. [Suet. Ves. II.3]
  • AD34? as Quaestor assigned by lot to the province of Crete & Cyrene. [Suet. Ves. II.3]
  • AD37 defeated in his first attempt at the Aedileship. [Suet. Ves. II.3]
  • AD38? married 1st wife, Flavia Domitilla I, former mistress of Statilius Capella, a Roman knight from Sabrata in Africa. Originally only of Latin rights, but later declared a freeborn citizen of Rome in a case before arbiters, brought by her father Flavius Liberalis, a quaestor's clerk from Ferentum. [Suet. Ves. III.1]
  • AD38 scraped in sixth place in his second attempt for the Aedileship. [Suet. Ves. II.3] While walking in the city in the company of Caligula, was taken to task by the young emperor, disappointed with the state of the roads, who ordered that Vespasian, whose job it was as Aedile to keep the steets of Rome clean, be covered in mud by the soldiers accompanying the imperial party. [Suet. Ves. V.3]
  • AD39 canvassed for Praetor and polled among the foremost. Asked that special games be held to celebrate the uncovering of the conspiracy of Lepidus and Gaetulicus in Germany, also recommending that their bodies be cast out unburied. He later thanked Caligula before the House for deigning to invite him to the palace for dinner. [Suet. Ves. V.3]
  • AD39 (early?) daughter, Flavia Domitilla II born; she died within the year. [Suet. Ves. V.2]
  • AD39/12/30 son Titus Flavius born
  • AD42 appointed Legatus Legionis of Legio II Augusta in Germany, through the influence of Narcissus. [Suet. Ves. IV.1]
  • AD43 (to 47) legatus legionis of Legio II Augusta in conquest of Britain; "where he fought thirty battles with the enemy. He reduced to subjection two powerful nations, more than twenty towns, and the island of Vectis..." [Suet. Ves. IV.1]
  • AD43 received the triumphal regalia and appeared in the Triumph of Claudius. [Suet. Clau. XVII.3; Ves. IV.2]
  • AD47c received two priesthoods. [Suet. Ves. IV.2]
  • AD51/10/24 son Titus Flavius Domitianus born.
  • AD51 consul I for the last two months of the year. [Suet. Ves. IV.2]
  • AD51 (to 63) spends his time in retirement, through fear of Agrippina who was persecuting the friends of Narcissus through her son Nero. [Suet. Ves. IV.2]
  • AD61 his son Titus serves as military tribune.
  • AD63 sent as proconsular governor to Africa by lot, where he governed "with great justice and high honour". [Suet. Ves. IV.3]
  • AD63? In a riot at Hadrumetum he was pelted with turnips.
  • AD65 Titus divorces Marcia Furnilla after Pisonian conspiracy
  • c.AD66 as a companion of Nero during his tour of Greece, Vespasian incurred the emperor's dipleasure by consistently either leaving the auditorium or falling asleep during the emperor's recitals. For this he was banished not only from Nero's immediate company, but also from any of his public appearances. Following this, he once more withdrew from public life "to a little out-of-the-way town." [Suet. Ves. IV.4]
  • AD67 following the revolt in Judaea during which the governor was killed and the consular governor of Syria was routed and one of his eagles lost when he tried to lend assistance, it became necessary to send a considerable force to regain control of the province. Vespasian was chosen for two main reasons, firstly his considerable military experience and secondly his obscure family background, which Nero believed would keep him from seeking the purple himself; 'for no-one would presume to be emperor who was born of such lowly circumstances?'. [Suet. Ves. IV.5]
  • AD69/07/01 proclaimed emperor by eastern legions at Alexandria, becomes: Imp. Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar
  • 01/07/AD69 Vespasian imperator I; Titus takes name, Titus Caesar Vespasianus
  • AD69 (Aug.) Imp. Caesar Vespasianus Augustus
  • 20/12/AD69 Vespasian recognised by senate
  • AD69 Vespasian winters at Alexandria
  • AD70 Vespasian consul II imperator II-V; takes titles 'Pontifex Maximus' and 'Pater Patriae'; Titus Consul I
  • 26/09/AD70 Titus takes Jerusalem; Hailed imperator I
  • AD70 (Oct.) Vespasian arrives at Rome
  • AD71 Vespasian consul III; imperator VI-VIII
  • AD71 Vespasian begins Forum of Peace at Rome
  • AD72 Vespasian consul IV imperator IX-X; Titus consul II
  • AD72 kingdom of Commagene annexed
  • AD73 Vespasian imperator XI
  • AD74 Vespasian consul V imperator XII-XIV; Titus consul III
  • AD74 (spring) fall of Masada ends Jewish War
  • AD75 Vespasian consul VI, Titus consul IV
  • AD75 Forum of Peace dedicated; Colosseum begun
  • AD75 (Jun.) Vespasian and Titus share Jewish triumph.
  • AD76 Vespasian consul VII imperator XV-XVIII; Titus consul V
  • AD77 Vespasian consul VIII imperator XIX; Titus consul VI
  • AD78 Vespasian imperator XX
  • AD79 Vespasian consul IX; Titus consul VII
  • AD79/06/23 Vespasian dies of diarrhoea at his summer retreat at Aquae Cutiliae near Reate, uttering the immortal words 'Oh dear! I think I'm becoming a god.'

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