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Imperator Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar


Following the Julio-Claudians and the chaotic year of the four emperors, Vespasian was the first of the Flavian Dynasty of Roman emperors. More below....


© Trustees of the British Museum, produced by Natalia Bauer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme
Titus Flavius Vespasianus was born in A.D. 9, and ruled as emperor from A.D. 69 until his death 10 years later. He was succeeded by his son Titus. Vespasian's parents, of the equestrian class, were T. Flavius Sabinus and Vespasia Polla. Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla with whom he had a daughter and two sons, Titus and Domitian, both of whom became emperors.

Following a revolt in Judaea in A.D. 66, Nero gave Vespasian a special commission to take care of it. Following the suicide of Nero, Vespasian swore allegiance to his successors, but then revolted with the governor of Syria in spring of 69. He left the siege of Jerusalem to his son Titus.

On December 20, Vespasian arrived in Rome and Vitellius was dead. Vespasian, who then became emperor, launched a building plan and restoration of the city of Rome at a time when its wealth had been depleted by civil wars and irresponsible leadership. Vespasian reckoned that he needed 40 billion sesterces. He inflated the currency and increased provincial taxation. He also gave money to insolvent senators so they could keep their positions. Suetonius says

"He was the first to establish a regular salary of a hundred thousand sesterces for Latin and Greek teachers of rhetoric, paid from the privy purse."
1914 Loeb translation of Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars "The Life of Vespasian"
For this reason it can be said that Vespasian was the first to start a system of public education (A history of Roman literature By Harold North Fowler).

Vespasian died of natural causes on June 23, A.D. 79.

Source: DIR Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79), by John Donahue and "Vespasian's Patronage of Education and the Arts," by M. St. A. Woodside. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 73. (1942), pp. 123-129.

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