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Roman Emperor Vespasian

Updated on September 18, 2014


Much has been made of the cruelty and excesses of several of the emperors of the Roman Empire. While much of this information is indeed accurate, it should be noted that Rome actually had many emperors that led the empire quite capably. Here I would like to focus on one of the more solid of the leaders of Rome, the Emperor Vespasian.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikipedia/Shakko

Vespasian was the ninth Roman Emperor, ruling from 69-79 AD.


After the death of Nero in 68, Rome saw a run of short-lived emperors and a year of civil wars. Vespasian was a very shrewd and successful military leader at the time, and used the unrest to his advantage. Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate in late 69, and quickly adopted his own policies focusing on tax reform to stabilize the empire financially.

Vespasian soon started a series of efforts to stay in power and prevent future revolts. He showered the public and military with numerous gifts and favors. He also restructured the Senate, removing his enemies and adding his allies. Vespasian also made a concerted effort to control public perception of his rule, largely through a well designed propaganda campaign.

The emperor's ten-tear reign was generally a non-eventful one. Vespasian did not have a taste for extravagant living. He was a plain, blunt soldier, with a strong strength of character and ability. He was also a brilliant and tireless administrator, with an ability to pick the right man for a job.

Outside of Rome, the emperor continued the process of expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany. Vespasian also granted rights to communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all of the native communities helped add to the quick "Romanization" of the area during this period of time.

While in Aquae Cutiliae, where he lived each summer, Vespasian became ill. On June 23 of 79, Vespasian was weak and near death, but ordered that he be helped to stand as he believed "An emperor should die on his feet". He died of a severe case of intestinal inflammation. An example of his great sense of humor was heard when he uttered his last words; "Oh my. I am already becoming a god!"

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**Please note: While Julius Ceasar was a great Roman military and political leader, he was not a Roman Emperor, and therefore is not included in this poll.

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Construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Roman Colosseum

was begun by Vespasian, and eventually finished by his son Titus.

Roman Rulers Clip

Photos from: Public domain, Wikipedia Commons, and Creative Commons.

General Opinions on This Hub? - Thanks for visiting!

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      4 years ago

      I liked your video clip so much. Well organized and very informative lens. If asked, I would go for Emperor Vespasian. His notable work of saing the empire at a time of great chaos was outstanding.


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