Emperor Vespasian: The 3 Things He Is Best Known For

Born17th of November, 9 AD
Died23rd of June, 79 AD
Famous Quote“Money does not stink”
Known ForEstablishing peace after Year of Four Emperors, coming from an equestrian family, very successful military commander and starter of Flavian Dynasty
Region of WorldRome, Italy, 1st century AD
Further ReadingThe 5 Elements Which Defined The Early Roman Empire

Emperor Vespasian was the 9th emperor of Rome. He would come to power after beating out all other competition for the Roman throne after the succession crisis of the Year of the Four Emperors. Today Vespasian is known in history for 3 major things.

Emperor Vespasian is best known today for 3 reasons. First, Vespasian solved the succession crisis left after the death of Nero. Second, he started construction on the Flavian Amphitheater now known as the Colosseum and was from the equestrian class. Third, Vespasian is credited with creating a mini renaissance in Rome by funding writers and educators.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 things that Emperor Vespasian is best known for.

Vespasian Solved The Succession Crisis After The Death of Nero

One of the main things that Vespasian is best known for was restoring peace and stability after the death of Nero.

Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors. His reign was remembered for being brutal and demoralizing for the Roman Senate while enjoyable and fun for the Roman people.

However, in 68 AD Nero would die without leaving an heir. This presented a massive power vacuum across the Roman Empire. Almost immediately ambitious generals would attempt to become the next emperor. In the end there were 4 generals that attempted to seize power.

Emperor Vespasian was the last general standing. As such he was crowned emperor of Rome.

Vespasian was loved by the Roman military. He had a very successful career that spanned across several provinces. He was known to be especially caring towards his men and often would lead from the front during battle.

This gave Vespasian an almost mythical legend surrounding him. When he announced his ‘candidacy’ to become the Roman Emperor many legions would flock to support his cause in the eastern provinces.

In the end Vespasian would defeat the short lived Emperor Vitellius in 69 AM. With this Vespasian would become the 9th emperor of Rome and finally return Rome to peace.

As such, one of the 3 things Emperor Vespasian is best known for was restoring order after the succession crisis of the Year of the Four Emperors.

Emperor Vespasian Started Construction On The Flavian Amphitheater And Came From Humble Origins

Another thing that Emperor Vespasian was best known for was building the Flavian Amphitheater and being from humble origins.

After Vespasian became emperor he decided to start to remove all resemblances of the horrible reign of Nero. This was done for two purposes.

First, much of the Roman nobility hated Nero. This was for a myriad of reasons such as wrongful imprisonment, stealing of wealth, and humiliation of the senators by Nero.

Second, the people loved Nero. Vespasian had to work fast to legitimize his new dynasty.

As such he had to kill two birds with one stone when he removed all traces of Nero. This was done by destroying Nero’s massive palace and instead placing a monument to the people of Rome on top. This giant amphitheater would wrap around and eventually be called the Colosseum by the Roman people due to the massive 103 ft. tall bronze statue that was standing near it.

While the people loved Nero they loved this giant amphitheater more. Initially this amphitheater was called the Flavian Amphitheater after the new Imperial Dynasty that Vespasian had begun.

Further, Vespasian was born into the lower nobility of Roman society. His father was a debt collector and his mother came from a lower ranking senatorial family. As such Vespasian marks a massive shift in Roman social class permeability. In one life this man went from being a nobody to the emperor of Rome.

As such, one of the main things that Vespasian is best known for was that he built the Flavian Amphitheater and was from humble origins.

Emperor Vespasian Is Credited With Starting A Mini-Renaissance In Rome

One of the best things that Vespasian is known for today was starting a mini-renaissance in 1st Century AD Rome.

Emperor Vespasian was known for being incredibly intelligent. He would often use his wit to make fun of senators while also getting their support. However, unlike previous emperors you could say that Vespasian was significantly more generous to those not born into high Roman society.

During the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD which destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculanem Vespasian was known to help senators and the equestrian class who suffered.

Further, Vespasian was known to provide for a generous stipend for writers and educators in the city of Rome. This was because Vespasian wanted to curate history to paint him in a positive light, however even historians who come after him still mention him favorably.

Two of the most important Roman writers from this time period that were funded by Vespasian were Quintilian and Pliny the Elder. Quintilian in particular is noted to have been paid a modest sum to pursue his work on rhetoric and education training for young men.

Unlike previous emperors Vespasian was careful to not lash out against the Roman population and senators. Suetonius depicts Vespasian as being witty and slow to anger. However, when stirred to anger Vespasian would act swiftly and decisively.

As a result of this freedom of expression and funding Rome would start to experience a mini-renaissance caused by the Flavian Dynasty. Over the course of Vespasian’s reign he would pay for several large scale public buildings that benefited the people of Rome.

Examples of this are the Forum of Vespasian, the public baths of Vespasian, and the Flavian Amphitheater.

As such, one of the 3 things that Emperor Vespasian is best known for was starting a mini-renaissance in 1st century AD Rome.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article dedicated to the 3 things that Emperor Vespasian is best known for.

We don’t know much about Vespasian’s reign. Much of the sources from that time don’t survive. However, he is known to have a good effect upon the people of Rome and be well liked by everyone except the philosopher Demetrius who Vespasian banished to an island.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.

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Sincerely,

Nick