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  • Topic: Domitian, Roman Empire, Vespasian
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  • Published : February 21, 2006
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Titus Flavius Vespasian was well known for restoring peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the imperial throne.

Vespasian was born in the Sabine country on November 17 A.D. 9. He was the son of Titus Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker. Both of his parents were of equestrian status. Very few details of his first fifteen years survive, but it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods of time. As a result Vespasian's early education came from his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus and with it the senatorial path that his older brother Titus Flavius Sabinus had already chosen.

While serving under the emperor Gaius, he married Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight. Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter also by the name of Flavia Domitilla and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian.

Flavia died before Vespasian's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress, Caenis, who had been secretary of Antonia, (daughter of Marc Anthony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian and remarried his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor.

From AD 41-44 Vespasian lead his own legion under Claudius and prepared for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43 and soon after led his legion across South England, where he engaged the enemy 30 times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight.

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian...
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