Talk:Vespasian

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Untitled[edit]

Originally the passage I copied from the 1911 EB read as follows:

"He went with Nero's retinue to Greece, and in 66 was appointed to conduct the war in Judaea, which was threatening unreast throughout the East, owing to a ubiquitous tale in those parts that from Judaea were to come the future rulers of the world."

After some further reflections, I realised that this might appear to some readers as pushing a under-handed agenda of promoting one view of the contents of the article on Jesus Christ. This was not my intent: I reserve all opinion on the historical facts of this personage, & am not interested in presenting them here. The author of the 1911 EB article -- who is my source about this -- was merely recasting the statements of Suetonius, who actually reports that there was a story to this effect in circulation at this time. Or so our manuscripts say. -- llywrch 03:59 Nov 15, 2002 (UTC)

Name[edit]

The article says: "originally known as Titus Flavius Vespasianus". But Titus Flavius Vespasianus redirects to Titus, not to Vespasian. Please clarify, disambig or error. mikka (t) 21:14, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

They both had the same name. I've disambig'd it. --Nicknack009 21:31, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Is "Imperator" really part of his official name? I thought that was his title.Student7 17:21, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

In Latin there's precious little difference between a name and a title, especially for Roman Emperors ("Augustus" and "Caesar" are good examples of this). Lots of emperors used the words that we think of as their titles, including "Imperator", as names. Binabik80 17:46, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Corn[edit]

This page links to the disambiguation page Corn, but I'm not sure which sense is intended. Can you help? Thanks. — Pekinensis 15:11, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

I changed the word to "grain" since it obviously wasn't referring to maize. siafu 15:20, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
But might it not be referring more specifically to wheat? — Pekinensis 15:44, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
It might. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure, so I put "grain" which can't fail to be accurate, if imprecise. If you do know it to be wheat, by all means change it. siafu 15:47, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Of course this is fine if we don't know, but I'd imagined I was addressing the original author and that they would know what they had meant. Perhaps that person is gone now. Thanks — Pekinensis 22:49, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Vespasian tax on urine[edit]

On the urinal page there is a note about Vespasian:

Parisians referred [their street urinals] as vespasiennes, the name being derived from that of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who imposed a tax on urine.

Is this true, or just an another misunderstanding like Caligula and the horse?

Talamus 00:54, 28 April 2006 (UTC)


The tax was on public lavitories. It is true and mentioned in Suetonius, but more in the light of a joke than as an act of tyranny. RBobicus 21:21, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I have heard that Vespasian actually invented the public toilet, and that in France public toilets were referred to as vespasiennes as recently as thirty years ago (and may be still, for all I know). My understanding, which doesn't come from a reliable source unfortunately, is that Vespasian invented the public toilet for the purpose of collecting human urine for the tanning of leather, and that this much easier urine collection made leathers much more affordable to Romans. I thought I'd put that into the discussion in case anyone else has a citable source on it! Songflower 21:56, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Well there were privately operated public toilets in Rome a couple of centuries before Vespasian. You had to pay to use them, though. Binabik80 17:47, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

POV[edit]

The last section really needs some NPOV cleanup. Tell us who said he was a great emperor. Nippoo 19:51, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Michael Grant, Gibbon and H.A. Mattingly come right to mind. I see your point about the final section though. It looks like there are a lot of unsourced statements there.RBobicus 21:24, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I have duly flagged it so. Sources for these opinions need to be found. Daniel Case 03:26, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Who said Vespasian was a great emperor? Firstly, his son Titus, who deified him (of the earlier emperors only Augustus and Claudius had been deified up to this point), but he would say that, wouldn't he. Secondly, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus uses phrases such as "mighty reputation" (Suetonius, Vespasian 8), and consider Suetonius Vespasian 12; "In all other matters he was from first to last modest and lenient", and Vespasian 16 lists his "one serious failing" as avarice. Sue. Vesp 17; "Vespasian behaved most generously to all classes", Sue Vesp 22; "nearly always ... good natured".

In modern authors, I would add Garzetti, in 'From Tiberius to the Antonines: A history of the Roman Empire AD 14 - 192' translated by J.R. Foster. For example; pg 226 "... the hope that the civil war ... had finally completed its destructive cycle, but also by the weariness of Italy and the words of wisdom and peace which came from the new Princeps. The reality did not belie the expectations." Page 227; "With the fading of the bloom of the urban emperors ... the Princeps who now followed brought with him, ... the new element which, grafted onto jojoba the old, still standing trunk, was to ensure the exuberant continuation of the empire at its political summit." Ibid; "The administration was once again the saving element ...". Pg 228 "Thus it is right to equate the reign of Vespasian with the first decisive change of direction in the empire. ... the Roman imperial state resumed, after this first crisis, its still prosperous progress ... ". Pg 239 "... more disposed to live in harmony with a Princeps who embodied the ideals of its own Italian and provincial origins." Finally, on page 257 the concluding sentence about Vespasian is "By the last few years of the reign, abroad as well as at home, the most stable and well-ordered security system ever enjoyed by the empire had been organized."

Pliny the Elder called him "the greatest ruler of all time" in his Natural History, Book II, part 18: "Deus est mortali iuvare mortalem, et haec ad aeternam gloriam via. Hac proceres iere Romani, hac nunc caelesti passu cum liberis suis vadit maximus omnis aevi rector Vespasianus Augustus fessis rebus subveniens." 74.214.103.181 (talk) 18:40, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Pliny the Elder wrote the work under Vespasian's rule, so it must be seen with a caveat: as somewhat flattering. It's true though that after the series of civil wars that racked the empire after the fall of Nero, Vespasian was the one who finally was able to provide stability. That may account for some of the praise as well. -- fdewaele, 22 February 2010, 19:50 CET.

Vandalism?[edit]

Well perhaps a fitting irony of "vandalism" here. It is claimed that Vespasian dies of a bad case of diarrhea, stands, and says "Shit. I am already becoming a god!" [28]. The source text claims he came down with the gout, a fever, and simply said: "I am already becoming a god!", and not "Shit. I am already becoming a god!". Mikecnn (talk) 15:05, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I think a better translation might be "Oh dear! I think I'm becoming a god" I'll see if I can find some sources for various translations. Fainites barleyscribs 22:24, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
  • The penguin classic Suetonius says "Dear me!...". Fainites barleyscribs 14:46, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Barbara Levick says "Oh!..." She also says it was perhaps not an example of Vespasians ironic sense of humour but a scurrilous rumour put about because it is an oblique reference to Claudius' last words "Oh! I think I've messed myself!" Fainites barleyscribs 14:48, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
  • One translation of Cassius say's "Woe's me!....." Another says "Now I shall become a god" with out the "vae".Fainites barleyscribs 16:42, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Etymology for Vespasia\Vespasian[edit]

Anyone knows the etymology of the names Vespasia\Vespasian? Does it simply come from vespa (wasp)? --Codrin.B (talk) 22:34, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Problems with the article[edit]

1. Far too much reliance on primary sources. Suetonious, who is often wrong and full of gossip, for one thing. Secondary modern historians' work needs to be utilized much more heavily. 2. Nothing at all about his Christian persecutions, which were a part of his reign. The 'second founder of the Principate' was treated pretty well in the Roman pagan sources, but it is far from the full truth. HammerFilmFan (talk) 21:38, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Titus Flavius Sabinus[edit]

The paragraph about Vespasian's older brother refers to his career in the 30s & 40s (working with Caligula), but the link to Titus Flavius Sabinus has him first mentioned in 45 and then active in the 40s and 50s (working with Nero). Can anyone resolve this apparent inconsistency - or am I just very confused? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.66.238.27 (talk) 17:12, 20 December 2013 (UTC)