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(Titus Flavius Vespasianus) (vĕspā`zhən), A.D. 9–A.D. 79, Roman emperor (A.D. 69–A.D. 79), founder of the Flavian dynasty. The son of a poor family, he made his way in the army by sheer ability. He served in Germany and in Britain (where he conquered the Isle of Wight) and was made consul (A.D. 51). Later he was proconsul in Africa under Nero. In A.D. 66, Nero put him in charge of the war against the Jews, and he was in Judaea when the emperor died. He recognized OthoOtho, Marcus Salvius
, A.D. 32–A.D. 69, Roman emperor (Jan.–April, A.D. 69). He was a friend of Nero, and his wife, Poppaea Sabina, became Nero's mistress; Otho was repaid (A.D. 58) with the province of Lusitania. In A.D.
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 and then VitelliusVitellius, Aulus
, A.D. 15–A.D. 69, Roman emperor (A.D. 69). He was made commander of the legions on the lower Rhine by Galba in A.D. 68. On Galba's death he was proclaimed emperor at Colonia Agrippina (now Cologne).
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, but when he himself was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers in Judaea and Alexandria, he set out to make good his claim. He arrived in Italy late in A.D. 69. He set about restoring the state and its finances and gave an example of frugal living that contrasted greatly with the life of NeroNero
(Nero Claudius Caesar) , A.D. 37–A.D. 68, Roman emperor (A.D. 54–A.D. 68). He was originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and was the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul in A.D.
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. His son Titus, whom he had left to prosecute the Jewish war, destroyed Jerusalem and returned to Rome to enjoy the triumph with his father. To commemorate the beginning of an era of peace (which lasted a century), Vespasian closed the gates of the temple of Janus and built the temple of Pax. He also erected the Colosseum. The principal external events of Vespasian's reign were the revolt of the Batavii (see CivilisCivilis
(Julius Civilis) , fl. A.D. 70, Batavian chief who chose the unsettled period at the fall of Nero to raise a revolt in Germany, which quickly spread to Gaul (A.D. 69–70).
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) and the campaigns and administration of AgricolaAgricola
(Cneius Julius Agricola) , c.A.D. 40–A.D. 93, Roman general, conqueror of Britain. After a distinguished military and political career (partly in Britain), he was made consul (A.D. 77) and was governor (A.D. 78?–A.D. 85?) of Britain.
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 in Britain. He was succeeded by his son TitusTitus
(Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus) , A.D. 39–A.D. 81, Roman emperor (A.D. 79–A.D. 81). Son of Emperor Vespasian, Titus was closely associated with his father in military campaigns, and after A.D. 71 he acted as coruler with the emperor.
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; his other son, DomitianDomitian
(Titus Flavius Domitianus) , A.D. 51–A.D. 96, Roman emperor (A.D. 81–A.D. 96), son of Vespasian. Although intended as the heir to his older brother, Titus, he was given no important posts.
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, later succeeded Titus. The reign of Vespasian was noted for its order and prosperity.


See B. W. Henderson, Five Roman Emperors (1927, repr. 1969); M. W. McCrum and A. G. Woodhead, Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors (1961).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(in Latin, Titus Flavius Vespasianus). Born A.D. 9 in Reate; died there in A.D. 79. Roman emperor (reigned from A.D. 69 to 79). Founder of the Flavian dynasty (69-96). Born into a family of the equestrian class; the son of a taxgatherer.

During the reigns of the emperors Claudius and Nero, Vespasian occupied supreme magistracies and had military command responsibilities. He suppressed an anti-Roman movement in Judaea. Vespasian was proclaimed emperor by the eastern legions; he admitted many representatives of the provincial aristocracy into the senate and the equestrian class. To a considerably greater degree than his predecessors, Vespasian extended the rights of Roman and Latin citizenship to provincials, thereby strengthening the empire’s social basis. He also introduced new taxes, reduced the army, established a policy of economizing in the expenditure of state funds, and built up extensive holdings of imperial and state lands.


Shtaerman, E. M. “Krizis 68-69 gg. i deiatel’nost’ Vespasiana.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1951, no. 3.
Homo, L. Vespasien, l’empereur du bon sens (69-79 après J.-C). Paris [1949].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Latin name Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus. 9--79 ad, Roman emperor (69--79), who consolidated Roman rule, esp in Britain and Germany. He began the building of the Colosseum
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