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The Flavian Emperors. The Roman Empire. Principal Roman Emperors. Year of the 4 Emperors AD 68- AD 69. Four men claimed the throne after Nero’s death Galba, Otho , Vitellius , Vespasian All generals Vespasian defeated the others and became emperor

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The flavian emperors

The Flavian Emperors

Year of the 4 emperors ad 68 ad 69
Year of the 4 EmperorsAD 68- AD 69

  • Four men claimed the throne after Nero’s death

    • Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian

      • All generals

      • Vespasian defeated the others and became emperor

      • Vespasian founded the Flavian Dynasty

Flavian emperors
Flavian Emperors

  • Called the “Flavians” after their family name (Flavius)

  • Father and two sons:

    • Vespasian (father)

    • Titus (older son)

    • Domitian (younger son)


  • Ruled 69 AD-79 AD

  • Lived from 9 AD-79 AD (69 years)

  • Birth name: Titus Flavius Vespasianus

  • His father was a tax collector

  • As emperor, he had many financial reforms

    Most famous: tax on urine

  • Helped rebuild Rome after Nero’s bad rule


  • Personal life:

    • Married once: Domitilla

    • Two sons and one daughter

    • Wife and daughter died before he became emperor

    • Antonia Caenis: his “wife in all but name”

      • Freedwoman/secretary of Emp. Claudius’ mother

      • May have helped Vespasian advance in his early career

      • A senator and freedwoman could not legally marry


  • Remembered for:

    • Military campaign in Judea which led to the destruction of Jerusalem (by Titus)

    • Restoring the empire financially

    • Easy-going manner, dry wit

    • Very lenient toward opposition

    • Modern Italian word for public toilets: vespasiano (French: vespasienne) 


  • Died of illness on June 23, AD 79

  • Asked to be stood up before he died: “An emperor should die on his feet.”

  • Last words: “Vae, putodeusfio!”

  • “Oh, I think I’m becoming a god!”


  • Lived 39 AD-81 AD

  • Ruled AD 79-AD 81

  • Had an excellent military career in Germany and Britain

  • Best remembered for destroying Jerusalem and the Jewish temple during the Jewish Revolt in AD 70

  • First emperor to succeed his own father to the throne


  • Major events during his reign:

    • Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79

    • He made 2 trips to the damaged area and coordinated relief efforts, including donating personal money

    • Dedication of Colosseum in AD 80

    • Fire and plague in Rome in AD 80


  • Personal Life:

    • Married twice: first wife died, divorced second wife

    • Had at least one daughter who survived to adulthood, perhaps more daughters

    • Carried on a very public love affair with Queen Bereniceof Judea before becoming emperor


  • As emperor, said to be generous and enjoyed doing at least one “good deed” every day

  • Died suddenly of illness on Sept. 13, 81 AD

  • Final words: “I have made but one mistake.”


  • Lived from AD 51- AD 96

  • Ruled from AD 81-AD 96

  • Youngest child of emperor Vespasian

  • Held mostly ceremonial positions during the reigns of his father and brother


  • Remembered for:

    • Dedicating the Arch of Titus

    • Strengthening the economy

    • Expanding the Empire’s border defenses

    • Was somewhat ruthless as an emperor, but highly effective

    • Liked by the people and the army; hated by the Senate


  • Personal life: married once

  • DomitiaLongina(c. AD 53- c. AD 130)

  • Domitian persuaded her current husband to divorce her so they could marry in AD 71

  • They had one son, who died as a child


  • Assassinated on Sept. 18, AD 96 by court officials

  • The Senate decreed him damnatiomemoriae: condemnation of the memory

    • All references to Domitian were to be erased from public buildings, etc.

    • His widow, however, still referred to herself as “wife of Domitian” 25 years 