Vespasian Biography

Vespasian (Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus; 17 November 9 – 23 June 79) was Roman Emperor from AD 69 to AD 79. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Although he attained the standard succession of public offices, holding the consulship in AD 51, Vespasian became more reputed as a successful military commander, participating in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43, and subjugating Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of AD 66.

While Vespasian was preparing to besiege the city of 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 perished in quick succession, Vitellius became Emperor in April AD 69. In response, the armies in Egypt and Judaea declared Vespasian emperor on 1 July.

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 information survives about the government during the ten years Vespasian was emperor. His reign is best known for financial reforms following the demise of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, 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, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to be directly succeeded by his own son.