Make your own free website on
Titus Flavius Vespasian
CommonName:     Vespasian
Full Name:  Titus Flavius Vespasian
Reign:  69-79 AD
Title:  Emperor
Born:  9 AD
Died:  79 AD
Relationship:  "General of Nero, governor of Judea"
    Titus Flavius Vespasianus was the son of an equestrian tax-collector. He gained his military experience in the invasion of Britain under Claudius. Under Nero he had a somewhat variable career; he was sent as governor to North Africa, where he ruled with such strict honesty that he was broke by the time his term ended; he had to mortgage his property and take up the occupation of mule-dealer. He soon offended Nero by falling asleep during his recitals; this no doubt shows much more artistic taste than sense.
    Nero sent him to Judea to get him out of the way. When he arrived he immediately had to deal with the Jewish uprising, provoked by a procurator who made the worst excesses of men like Pilate seem benign. Vespasina began to restore Roman rule methodically, and stayed out of the way until the death of Otho.
    When the soldiers proclaimed him as emperor in Egypt, on 1 July 69, the troops in Judea and Moesia soon followed. The Moesian army soon disposed of Vitellius. Vespasian left his son Titus in Judea; by this time the Jewish army was shut up in Jerusalem and Masada. He soon restored order, acting like a Galba with tact. He had little patience with indiscipline, and cared nothing for the aura of rule; his sentiments on being the star of a triumphal procession, which he found painfully slow and tediius, was that "it serves me right, for demanding this, as though it matters" (i. e., that the honour is worth the annoyance).
    He was faulted only for avarice, and that was hardly a fault given the state of the public finances. He collected taxes from all sorts of things which his predecessors had ignored; notable above all was his tax on public privies, to the extent that a certain variety found in Paris until recent times was called a "Vespasienne". Titus protested one day; Vespasian held a coin under his nose, and asked "does this stink"? Titus replied that it did not; whereupon Vespasian retorted "Yet it comes from the products of the privies". His wisecracking continued to his death: he is reported, when dying, to have made the comment "Oh dear, it seems that I am becoming a god". His rule was generally conceded to have been as just and honest as was possible under the circumstances.

Roman Empire. Vespasian. A.D. 69-79. AR Denarius. 3.310 grams. Struck in Rome A.D. 70-72. Obverse: IMP. CAES. VESP. AVG. P. M. Head, laureate, r. Reverse: TRI. POT. Vesta seated l., holding simpulum. RIC 19, 37. Cohen 56.


Roman Empire. Vespasian. A.D. 69-79. AR Denarius. 3.326 grams. Struck in Rome A.D. 77-8. Obverse: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG. Head, laureate, L. Reverse: IMP. XIX. Modius with corn-ears and poppies. RIC 27, 110. Cohen 216.