On December 21st 69 the coronation of Titus Flavius Vespasianus took place. He was the first Roman Emperor to ascend the throne in relative peace following the demise of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the disastrous reign of Nero. The year 69 AD was known in Roman history as the year of the Four Emperors. Nero’s forced suicide in 68 was followed by a quick succession of incompetent Emperors, from Galba to Otho, Vitellus before the Roman commander Vespasian claimed the throne, marking the final end of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, and the beginning of the Flavian dynasty.
Like Julius Caesar, Augustus and a number of Julio-Claudian Emperors, Vespasian had a long and esteemed military career, most notably for his contribution to brokering peace during the Great Jewish Revolt. With two legions, Vespasian managed to coerce peace in Syria, when there was growing unrest in the Middle East due to the misguided administration of the region by Nero and Caligula. With news of Nero’s death in 68, Vespasian made a claim for Emperor, sending his troops to defeat the army of Emperor Vitellus while he continued to govern over Syria and Egypt. When news of Vitellus’ defeat reached Vespasian, the new Emperor left for Rome, leaving his eldest son and future Emperor, Titus, in charge of the Syrian legions.
Vespasian’s political career is usually seen in a fairly positive light, especially within the context of those rulers he had replaced. The Flavian Dynasty, in particular, is seen as a period of relative economic prosperity. Vespasian’s military flare continued, both in Syria and in the troublesome Britannic region, where General Agricola managed to push the Britannic forces north towards Scotland.
Emperor Vespasian ruled Rome for eight years, dying of an intestinal infection in 78, and replaced by his son Titus.