The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.


Mucianus, who arrived at Rome the day after the death of Vitellius, acted with full authority, for Vespasian had given him all powers. Domitian, also as Caesar, took a share in public business, and availed himself of his new rank to commit many acts of violence. Mucianus presented Domitian to the soldiers, who gave them a largess or congiarium. Mucianus put several persons to death, and among them Galerianus, the son of C. Piso, who had as­pired to the empire in the time of Nero. In a. d. 70 Titus was consul with his father, though neither of them was in Rome on the 1st of January; and Domitian was praetor. Antonius Primus had an­ticipated Mucianus in the defeat of Vitellius ; and as Mucianus did not like Primus, who was also a turbulent man, he compelled his legions, which were much attached to their commander, to quit Rome. Mucianus also deprived Arrius Varus of the charge of Praefectus Praetorio, which he gave to Clemens Aretinus. .The first care of the senate after the death of Vitellius was to rebuild the Capitol, which had been recently burnt; and Hel-vidius Priscus laid the first stone on the 21st of June with great solemnity. (Tacit. Hist. iv. 53.) Vespasian restored three thousand plates of bronze, which had been consumed in the conflagration, the invaluable records of the Roman state. (Sueton. Vespas. c. 8.) For this purpose all copies of the lost originals were carefully looked for. In this year the Sarmatians invaded Maesia and killed the governor, Fonteius Agrippa. Rubrius Gallus, who was sent by Vespasian, compelled the Sarmatians to retire across the river.

The Romans had now to carry on a war against the Batavi, who were situated near the mouth of the Rhine. These Batavi furnished soldiers for the Roman armies in Germany and Britain, and were so far in the relation of subjects to Rome. Claudius Civilis, a one-eyed man like Hannibal and Sertorius, and one of the most illustrious of the Batavi, had begun to excite his countrymen to resistance by preventing the march of the new re­cruits whom Vitellius had ordered to be enlisted. Having induced the Caninefates to join them, the Batavi attacked and defeated the Romans under Aquilius. Hordeonius Flaccus, who commanded the troops in Germany, sent Mummitis Lupercus against Civilis with two legions, part of which joined Civilis, and the' rest were driven back to Castra Vetera, perhaps Xanten in Cleves. Eight cohorts of Batavi and Caninefates, which Vitellius had ordered to march into Italy, turned back from Mainz and de­feated Herennius Gallus near Bonn. (Tacit. Hist. iv. 19.) Civilis made his troops take the oath to Vespasian, and shortly after he was informed of the defeat of the Vitellians at Cremona, and that he ought now to lay down his arms, if he had taken them up for the cause of Vespasian ; but Civilis had no intention to do so, and he declared that his object was to free his country and the Gauls from the Roman yoke. (Tacit. Hist. iv. 32.) The his­tory of this war is told under civilis, claudius.

Domitian left Rome on the news of the revolt of the Gauls with the intention of conducting the war against Civilis, and Mucianus, knowing his cha­racter, thought it prudent to accompany him. On their route the news arrived that Cerealis had ended the war with Civilis, and Mucianus persuaded Domitian to go no farther than Lyon. Domitian returned to Italy before the end of the year to meet his father.



When Vespasian heard at Alexandria of the de­feat of the party of Vitellius, his first care was to send vessels to, Rome with supplies of corn, which were much wanted. He also forwarded an edict to Rome, by which he repealed the laws of Nero and his three successors as to the crime of laesa majestas, and also banished astrologers, and yet he consulted astrologers himself, for all his good sense had not placed him above this superstition. (Tacit. Hist.u. 28.) At Alexandria Vespasian is said to have cured a man who had a disease of the eyes, and a man with a paralysed hand, though probably neither of them was beyond the ordinary means of the healing art. (Tacit. Hist. iv. 81.) Vespasian, in his voyage from Egypt, visited Rhodes and several cities of Asia Minor. He landed in the south of Italy, and was joyfully received by the Italians on his journey to Rome and on his arrival there.

Vespasian worked with great industry to restore order at Rome and in the empire. He disbanded some of the mutinous soldiers of Vitellius, and maintained discipline among his own. He co­operated in a friendly manner with the senate in the public administration. Many sites in Rome still remained unbuilt since the great conflagration in Nero's time, and Vespasian allowed any person to build on these sites, if the owners did not do so, after a certain lapse of time. (Sueton. Vespas. c. 8.) In this year Vespasian as censor purged the Senate and the Equites of many unworthy members, and made up the deficient members by new nomina­tions. He also raised several persons to the rank of Patrician, and among them Cn. Julius Agricola, afterwards the conqueror of Britain. The sim­plicity and frugality of his mode of life formed a striking contrast with the profusion and luxury of some of his predecessors, and his example is said to have done more to reform the morals of Rome than all the laws which had ever been enacted. He lived more like a private person than a man who possessed supreme power: he was affable and easy of access to all persons. The personal anec­dotes of such a man are some of the most instruc­tive records of his reign. He was never ashamed of the meanness of his origin, and ridiculed all attempts to make out for him a distinguished genea­logy. (Sueton. Vespas. 12.) He often visited the villa in which he was born, and would not allow any change to be made in the place. When Volo-geses, the Parthian king, addressed to him a letter commencing in these terms, " Arsaces, king of kings, to Flavius Vespasianus," the answer began, " Flavius Vespasianus to Arsaces, king of kings." If it be true, as it is recorded, that he was not an­noyed at satire or ridicule, he exhibited an eleva­tion of character almost unparalleled in one who filled so exalted a station. Vespasianus was mainly indebted to Mucianus, governor of Syria, for his imperial title, and he was not ungrateful for the ser­vices that Mucianus had rendered him, though Mucianus was of an arrogant and ambitious dis­position, and gave Vespasian some trouble by his behaviour. He knew the bad character of his son Domitian, and as long as he lived he kept him under proper restraint.

The stories that are told of his avarice and of his modes of raising money, if true, detract from the dignity of his character ; and it seems that he had a taste for little savings, and for coarse humour, Yet it is admitted that he was liberal in all his expenditure for purposes of public utility. Love of

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of