Monday, October 29, 2012

Vespasian -- Ancient History Encyclopedia

English: Vespasianus. Plaster cast in Pushkin ...
English: Vespasianus. Plaster cast in Pushkin Museum after original in Louvre. Español: Vespasiano. Copia de yeso en el Museo Pushkin a partir del original del Louvre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Despite not coming from a noble family, Vespasian served as a colonel in Thrace (north of Greece) and a quaestor (financial official) on the island of Crete and Cyrenaica (eastern Libya). Before incurring the wrath of Emperor Claudius’s wife Agrippina (as many did), he was the commander of a legion in Germany and Britain. He fought in over thirty battles and captured at least twenty cities. Later, he served in Africa in the early 60’s CE where he suffered the disdain of the local population, often being pelted with turnips. Throughout his time way from Rome during the reigns of Caligula and Claudius, Vespasian found political success but never financial success, he was always in need of money. Although part of Emperor Nero’s “inner circle,” he disappeared temporarily from public service after he supposedly fell asleep during one of Nero’s long and boring concerts.

However, when rebellions broke out in Judea in 66 CE, Vespasian, because of his ability to command, was sent with his son Titus to disperse the rioters. In his War of the Jews Flavius Josephus claimed that Nero could find no one “equal to the task” to “make War with the Jews.” He added, “So Nero esteemed these circumstances as favourable omens, and saw that Vespasian’s age gave him sure experience, and great skill, and that he has his sons as hostages for his fidelity to himself, and that the flourishing age they were in would make them fit instruments under their father’s prudence.”