Was Vespasian a good emperor?

Vespasian is generally considered as good emperor. Many historians credit Vespasian for restoring political stability to Roman Empire following the chaotic reigns of his predecessors.

He not only successfully ended rebellion in Judaea, but also brought more area in Britain under Roman rule.

Vespasian started construction of many building including Flavian Amphitheatre, today known as Roman Colosseum.

Emperor Vespasian Bust
Emperor Vespasian Bust

Vespasian Achievements & Accomplishments

He reformed the financial system of Rome

When Vespasian became emperor treasury of Rome was empty. Vespasian renewed old taxes and instituted new ones around 70 AD in order to fill the treasury.

He also asked provincial governor to pay more tribute and kept a watchful eye upon the treasury officials.

Previous emperor Nero instituted urine tax on public toilets. Vespasian implemented this Tax with vigor, which in turn gave birth to Latin proverb “Pecunia non olet” (“Money does not stink”).

Successfully ended Civil war in Judaea

Religious tension between Roman and Jewish people led to great Jewish revolt of 66AD. Emperor Nero sent General Vespasian to crush the Jewish rebellion in Judaea province.

Vespasian appointed his son Titus as his second-in-command. Soon, Vespasian invaded Galilee in 67AD.

Within few months Vespasian took over the major Jewish strongholds of Galilee and finally overran Jodapatha.

In 68 AD, Vespasian captured Judean and Samarian highlands. Next year in 69AD, Roman Army took Gophna, Akrabta, Bet-El, Ephraim and Hebron.

In the middle of 68AD, the Emperor Nero’s erratic behavior finally lost support of roman senate and army. Soon, he committed suicide.

Due to upheaval in Rome Vespasian stopped his campaign and focused his attention on event occurring in Rome. In quick succession 3 powerful regional governors became emperor.

As Vespasian was popular with his Legions, so they proclaimed him as Emperor. Soon, he left Judea to stake his claim on roman throne.

After Vespasian became emperor, Titus besieges the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in early 70.

After seven-month siege, the Roman army finally succeeded in breaching the defenses and captured Jerusalem.

Jewish revolt finally ended in 74AD after roman army captured Jewish stronghold of Masada.

He brought political stability to Rome

Following the chaotic reigns of his predecessors, Vespasian brought political stability to Rome. He crushed not only Jewish rebellion in Judea but also Batavian rebellion in Gaul. By 74AD, he brought entire Roman Empire under his effective control.

He built Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)

Vespasian started several ambitious construction projects. His biggest project was Flavian Amphitheatre, today known as the Roman Colosseum.

He started the construction in 72AD. However he died before the completion of this project. His son and next emperor Vespasian inaugurated the arena in 80AD. To this day it remains as an icon of ancient Rome.

He expanded the size of his empire in Britain

Vespasian appointed Agricola as governor of Britain. He ordered him crush the rebellion and bring more area under roman control.

Agricola trained and disciplined roman legion stationed in Britain. He completed the conquest of Wales and northern England. He even led his army as far north of Scotland, establishing forts in Scottish Lowlands.

He established the Flavian dynasty

Vespasian groomed his son Titus as next emperor. So, when Vespasian died in 79 AD, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus. He became the first roman emperor to to be succeeded by his natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty.

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