Question: What Were Vespasian's Famous Words as He Prepared to Die?
As the Emperor Vespasian lay dying, perhaps from diarrhea as Julius Cicatrix explains in Imperial Exits
, he kept his wit about him. The gossipy Roman historian Suetonius [see Roman Historians
] reports he said "Vae, puto deus fio" which can be translated
"Woe is me. I think I'm turning into a god." The explanation for this curious joke is that emperors were often deified upon death.
Here is the relevant passage from the Public Domain English translation of Suetonius on this site:
Not even when he was under the immediate apprehension and peril of death, could he forbear jesting. For when, among other prodigies, the mausoleum of the Caesars suddenly flew open, and a blazing star appeared in the heavens; one of the prodigies, he said, concerned Julia Calvina, who was of the family of Augustus ; and the other, the king of the Parthians, who wore his hair long. And when his distemper first seized him, "I suppose," said he, "I shall soon be a god." 
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