A naturalistic bust shows Vespasian as the bluff, down-to-earth country type he was; his smile, a surprise in Roman portraiture, imbues his features with human warmth.
Vespasian (coin left) had little time for the trappings of imperial protocol with regard to himself, but was politically astute in allowing the senate to honor his wife Flavia Domitilla (coin left below), who had died before his accession, by deifying her.
Titus and family:
his second wife, Marcia Furnilla (left), and their daughter Flavia Julia.
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Joseph Ben Matthias, known as Josephus:
Jewish historian, close confidant and adopted son of Vespasian.
Self-reliant and autocratic Domitian (above, coin and bust) found his brother hard to follow. Despite successful wars in Germany and Dacia, and a colossal building program, he was vilified by historians who picked on his negative traits to the exclusion of his achievements. Domitian and his wife Domitia Longina, daughter of the famous general Corbulo. She would ultimately lead the plot that killed him.
A coin shows a defeat German warrior kneeling before triumphant Domitian.
Dacian king Decebalus gave Domitian an excuse to invade across the Danube, but it would be Trajan who brought the wily Dacian to book; as depicted on Trajan's Column
Where present, maps are downloadable.
Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean
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