John the Baptist 27 AD "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2) 27 AD "Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?" (Matthew 3:7) 27 AD "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees." (Matthew 3:10) 27 AD "His winnowing fork is in His hand." (Matthew 3:12) 27 AD "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) 27 AD "The kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1:15) 27 AD “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Luke 3:7) 27 AD “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. " (Luke 3:9) 27 AD "His winnowing fork is in His hand…." (Luke 3:17) Jesus the Christ 28 AD "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10:7) 28 AD "You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." (Matthew 10:23) 28 AD "....the age about to come." (Matthew 12:32) 28 AD “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:9) 28 AD “The kingdom of God has come near.” (Luke 10:11) 30 AD "The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:27) 30 AD "There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:28; cf. Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27) 30 AD "'When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?' '....He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.' '....Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.' ....When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them." (Matthew 21:40-41,43,45) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place." (Matthew 24:34) 30 AD "From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69) 30 AD "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. ....They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them." (Mark 12:9,12) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mark 13:30) 30 AD “What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others." …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Luke 20:15-16,19) 30 AD “These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Luke 21:32) 30 AD "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'” (Luke 23:28-30; Compare Revelation 6:14-17) 30 AD "I will come to you. …In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.' …'Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?'" (John 14:18,20,22) 30 AD "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:22) The Disciples 30 AD "We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21) Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles 52 AD “…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord… …We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… …You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17; 5:4) 52 AD “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) 52 AD “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” (2 Thessaloniams 1:6-7) 56 AD “The time has been shortened.” (1 Corinthians 7:29) 56 AD “The form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31) 56 AD “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) 56 AD “We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) 56 AD "Maranatha!" [The Lord comes!] (1 Corinthians 16:22) 56 AD “Godliness …holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) 56 AD “I charge you …that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 6:14) 56 AD “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:19) 57 AD “He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31) 58 AD “Not for [Abraham's] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned.” (Romans 4:23-24) 58 AD “If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die.” (Romans 8:13) 58 AD “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) 58 AD "It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand." (Romans 13:11-12) 58 AD “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Romans 16:20) 60 AD “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15) 60 AD “As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come…" (Acts 24:25) 61 AD "...not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.” (Ephesians 1:21) 61 AD “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self… …Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women… …These also oppose the truth… …But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all…” (2 Timothy 3:1-2,5-6,8-9) 61 AD “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (2 Timothy 4:1) 62 AD “The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5) 62 AD "The gospel …was proclaimed in all creation under heaven." (Colossians 1:23; Compare Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:18; 16:26; Colossians 1:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:17; Revelation 14:6-7; cf. I Clement 5,7) 62 AD “…things which are a shadow of what is about to come.” (Colossians 2:16-17) 63 AD “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) 63 AD “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) 63 AD “He did not subject to angels the world about to come.” (Hebrews 2:5) 63 AD “…and have tasted …the powers of the age about to come.” (Hebrews 6:5) 63 AD "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it's end is for burning.” (Hebrews 6:7-8) 63 AD “When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13) 63 AD “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Hebrews 9:8-10; Compare Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 2:21-22; 3:17; 4:13) 63 AD “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come…” (Hebrews 9:11) 63 AD “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin.” (Hebrews 9:26) 63 AD “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come…” (Hebrews 10:1) 63 AD “…as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) 63 AD “…the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:27) 63 AD “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” (Hebrews 10:37) 63 AD “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come.” (Hebrews 13:14) Peter the Apostle to the Circumcision 30 AD “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days…'” (Acts 2:16-17) 62 AD “…salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5) 62 AD “He …has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (1 Peter 1:20) 62 AD “In the last days mockers will come. …For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (1 Peter 3:3,5) 62 AD “They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5) 62 AD “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7) 62 AD "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (1 Peter 4:17) 62 AD “…as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed.” (1 Peter 5:1) 62 AD “We have the prophetic word …which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19) 62 AD “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3) 62 AD “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (2 Peter 3:10-12) James 62 AD "Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:12) 62 AD “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. …It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (James 5:1,3) 62 AD “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” (James. 5:7) 62 AD “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James. 5:8) Jude the brother of James 62 AD “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation. …About these also Enoch …prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…'” (Jude 1:4,14-15) 62 AD “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, 'In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.' These are the ones who cause divisions…” (Jude 1:17-19) John the Apostle whom Jesus loved 62 AD “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (1 John 2:8) 62 AD “The world is passing away, and its desires.” (1 John 2:17) 62 AD “It is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) 62 AD “Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18; Compare Matthew 24:23-34) 62 AD “This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3; Compare 2 Thessaloniams 2:7) 63 AD “…to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 1:1) 63 AD “The time is near.” (Revelation 1:3) 63 AD “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” (Revelation 2:25) 63 AD “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.” (Revelation 3:10) 63 AD “I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 3:11) 63 AD “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” (Revelation 12:5) 63 AD "And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." (Revelation 18:24; Compare Matthew 23:35-36; Luke 11:50-51) 63 AD “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 22:6) 63 AD "Behold, I am coming quickly. " (Revelation 22:7) 63 AD "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." (Revelation 22:10; Compare Daniel 8:26) 63 AD "Behold, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:12) 63 AD "Yes, I am coming quickly." (Revelation 22:20)

81-96AD Domitian: when "king" Jerusalem no longer existed: "the 5 Good Emperors" come afterward



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Emperor of the Roman Empire
Bust of Domitian, Capitoline Museum, Rome
Reign14 September, 81 AD
18 September, 96 AD
Full nameTitus Flavius Domitianus
Born24 October 51(51-10-24)
Died18 September 96 (aged 44)
Wife/wivesDomitia Longina (70–96)
IssueOne son, died young

Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 5118 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 14 October 81 until his death on 18 September 96. Domitian was the last emperor of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96, encompassing the reigns of Domitian's father Vespasian (6979), his elder brother Titus (7981), and finally Domitian's own.

Domitian spent much of his youth and early career in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during campaigns in Germania and Judaea in the 60s. This situation continued under the rule of Vespasian, who became emperor on 21 December 69, following a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. While his elder brother shared almost equal powers in the government of his father, Domitian was left with honours but no responsibilities. Vespasian died on 23 June 79 and was succeeded by Titus, whose brief reign came to an unexpected end on 13 September 81. The following day, Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard, and began a reign which lasted more than fifteen years—longer than any man who had governed Rome since Tiberius.

Traditional views hold that Domitian was a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Among ancient authors, he ranks among the most reviled rulers in Roman history, earning comparison to such emperors as Caligula and Nero. Many of these views however, were propagated by hostile contemporary authors such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius, a small but highly vocal minority who exaggerated Domitian's harshness, in favour of the highly regarded Five Good Emperors who followed. Modern history has rejected these views,[1] instead characterizing Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat, whose cultural, economic and political programme was a precursor to the peaceful 2nd century, rather than the twilight of the tumultuous 1st century.



[edit] Early life

Roman imperial dynasties
Flavian dynasty
Julia Flavia
1 son, died in early childhood

[edit] Family and education

Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October 51, as the youngest son of Titus Flavius Vespasianus—commonly known as Vespasian—and Flavia Domitilla Maior.[2] He had one older sister, Domitilla the Younger (b. 39), and one older brother, also named Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. 39), but commonly referred to as Titus.

Decades of civil war during the 1st century BC had contributed greatly to the demise of the old artistocracy of Rome, which was gradually replaced in prominence by a new Italian nobility during the early part of the 1st century AD.[3] One such family was the gens Flavia, which rose from relative obscurity to prominence in just four generations, acquiring wealth and status under the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Domitian's great-grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, had served as a centurion under Pompey during Caesar's civil war. His military career ended in disgrace when he fled the battlefield at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC.[2] Nevertheless, Petro managed to improve his status by marrying the extremely wealthy Tertulla, whose fortune guaranteed the upwards mobility of Petro's son Titus Flavius Sabinus I, Domitian's grandfather.[4] Sabinus himself amassed further wealth and possible equestrian status through his services as tax collector in Asia and banker in Helvetia. By marrying Vespasia Pollio he allied himself to the more prestigious patrician gens Vespasia, ensuring the elevation of his sons Titus Flavius Sabinus II and Vespasian to the senatorial rank.[4]

Flavian family tree, indicating the descendants of Titus Flavius Petro and Tertulla.
Flavian family tree, indicating the descendants of Titus Flavius Petro and Tertulla.

The political career of Vespasian included the offices of quaestor, aedile and praetor, and culminated with a consulship in 51, the year Domitian was born. As a military commander, he gained early renown by participating in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43.[5] Nevertheless, ancient sources allege poverty for the Flavian family at the time of Domitian's upbringing,[6] even claiming Vespasian had fallen into disrepute under the emperors Caligula (3741) and Nero (5468).[7] Modern history however, suggests these stories were merely part of a propaganda campaign, later instigated under Flavian rule, to diminish early successes under the less reputable emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and maximize achievements under Claudius (4154) and his son Britannicus.[8] By all appearances, imperial favour for the Flavians was high throughout the 40s and 60s. While Titus received a court education in the company of Britannicus, Vespasian pursued a successful political and military career. Following a prolonged period of retirement during the 50s, he returned to public office in 63 under Nero, serving as proconsul of the Africa province, and accompanying the emperor during an official tour of Greece in 66.[9] When a revolt broke out among the Jews of the Judaea province the same year, the emperor appointed Vespasian to lead the Roman army in the war against the insurgents.[10] In this campaign he was joined by Titus, who had completed his military education by this time and personally commanded one of Vespasian's three legions.[11]

For Domitian, this meant that a significant part of his adolescence was spent in the absence of his near relatives. His mother and sister had long died by 66, and his father and brother were continuously active in the Roman military, commanding armies in Germania and Judaea. During the Jewish-Roman wars, Domitian was likely taken under the care of his uncle Titus Flavius Sabinus II, then city prefect of Rome; possibly even Marcus Cocceius Nerva, a loyal friend of the Flavians and the future successor to Domitian.[10][12] He received the education of a young man of the privileged senatorial class, studying rhetoric and literature. In his biography in the Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Suetonius attests to Domitian's ability to quote the important poets and writers such as Homer or Virgil on appropriate occasions,[13][14] and describes him as a learned and educated adolescent, with elegant conversation.[15] Among his first published works were poetry, as well as writings on law and administration.[10] Unlike his brother Titus however, Domitian was not educated at court, nor does it appear he received a formal military training.[16]

[edit] Year of the Four Emperors

Map of the Roman Empire during the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). Blue areas indicate provinces loyal to Vespasian and Gaius Licinius Mucianus.
Map of the Roman Empire during the Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). Blue areas indicate provinces loyal to Vespasian and Gaius Licinius Mucianus.

On June 9, 68, amidst growing opposition of the Senate and the army, Nero committed suicide, and with him the Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end. Chaos ensued, leading to a year of brutal civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors, during which the four most influential generals in the Roman EmpireGalba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian—successively vied for the imperial power. News of Nero's death reached Vespasian as he was preparing to besiege the city of Jerusalem. Almost simultaneously, the Senate had declared Galba, then governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as emperor of Rome. Rather than continue his campaign, Vespasian decided to await further orders and sent Titus to greet the new princeps.[17] Before reaching Italy however, Titus learnt that Galba had been murdered and replaced by Otho, the governor of Lusitania. At the same time Vitellius and his armies in Germania had risen in revolt, and prepared to march on Rome, intent on overthrowing Otho. Not wanting to risk being taken hostage by one side or the other, Titus abandoned the journey to Rome and rejoined his father in Judaea.[18]

Otho and Vitellius were only too aware of the threat posed by the Flavian faction. With four legions at his disposal, Vespasian commanded a strength of nearly 80,000 soldiers. His position in Judaea further granted him the advantage of being nearest to the vital province of Egypt, which controlled the grain supply to Rome. His brother Titus Flavius Sabinus II, as city prefect, commanded the entire city garrison of Rome.[19] Tensions among the Flavian troops were high, but so long as Galba and Otho remained in power, Vespasian refused to take action. When Otho was defeated by Vitellius at the First Battle of Bedriacum however,[20] the armies in Judaea and Ægyptus took matters into their own hands and declared Vespasian emperor on July 1, 69.[21] Vespasian accepted, and through negotiations by Titus joined forces with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria.[22] A strong force drawn from the Judean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus, while Vespasian himself travelled to Alexandria, leaving Titus in charge to end the Jewish rebellion.[23][24]

On December 21, 69, Vespasian was declared emperor by the Roman Senate. Plaster cast from the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
On December 21, 69, Vespasian was declared emperor by the Roman Senate. Plaster cast from the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

In Rome meanwhile, Domitian was placed under house arrest by Vitellius, as a safeguard against future Flavian aggression.[25] Support for the old emperor was quickly wavering however, as more legions throughout the empire pledged their allegiance to Vespasian. On October 24, both sides clashed at the Second Battle of Bedriacum, which ended in a crushing defeat for the armies of Vitellius.[26] In despair, he attempted to negotiate a surrender. Terms of peace, including a voluntary abdication, were agreed upon with Titus Flavius Sabinus II,[27] but the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard—the imperial bodyguard—considered such a resignation disgraceful, and prevented Vitellius from carrying out the treaty.[28] On the morning of December 18, the emperor appeared to deposit the imperial insignia at the Temple of Concord, but at the last minute retraced his steps to the imperial palace. In the confusion, the leading men of the state gathered at Sabinus' house, proclaiming Vespasian emperor, but the multitude dispersed when Vitellian cohorts clashed with the armed escort of Sabinus, who was forced to retreat to the Capitoline Hill.[29] During the night, he was joined by his relatives, including Domitian. The armies of Mucianus were nearing Rome, but the besieged Flavian party could not hold out for longer than a day. On December 19, Vitellianists broke down the doors of the Arx, and in the resulting skirmish, Sabinus was captured and executed.[30] Domitian himself managed to escape by disguising himself as a worshipper of Isis, and spent the night in safety with one of his father's clients.[31] By the afternoon of December 20, Vitellius was dead, and his armies defeated by the Flavian legions. With nothing more to be feared from the enemy, Domitian came forward to meet the invading forces; he was universally saluted by the title of Caesar, and the mass of troops conducted him to his father's house.[32] The following day, December 21, the Senate proclaimed Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire.[33]

[edit] Reign of Vespasian and Titus

[edit] Aftermath of the war

The Conspiracy of Gaius Julius Civilis (detail), by Rembrandt (1661). During the Batavian rebellion, Domitian eagerly sought the opportunity to attain military glory, but was denied command of a legion by superior officers.
The Conspiracy of Gaius Julius Civilis (detail), by Rembrandt (1661). During the Batavian rebellion, Domitian eagerly sought the opportunity to attain military glory, but was denied command of a legion by superior officers.

Although the war had officially ended, a state of anarchy and lawlessness pervaded in the first days following the demise of Vitellius. Order was properly restored by Mucianus in early 70, but Vespasian did not return until September of that year.[31] In the mean time Domitian acted as the representative of the Flavian family in the Roman Senate. In addition to receiving the title of Caesar, he was appointed praetor with consular power.[34] Domitian's authority was merely nominal however, foreshadowing what was to be his role for at least ten more years. By all accounts, Mucianus held the real power in Vespasian's absence, and he was careful to ensure that Domitian, still only 18 years old, did not overstep the boundaries of his function.[34] Tacitus describes Domitian's first speech in the Senate as brief and measured, at the same time noting his ability to elude awkward questions.[35] Strict control was also maintained over the young Caesar's entourage, promoting away influential generals such as Arrius Varus, Praetorian prefect, and Antonius Primus, who had led the Flavian forces at Bedriacum, and replacing them by more reliable men such as Arrecinus Clemens.[34]

Equally curtailed by Mucianus were Domitian's military ambitions. The civil war of 69 had severely destabilized peace within the provinces, leading to several local rebellions which continued throughout 70. In Gaul, Batavian auxiliaries of the Rhine legions, led by Gaius Julius Civilis, had revolted and been joined by a faction of Treveri under command of Julius Classicus. Seven legions were sent from Rome, led by Vespasian's brother-in-law Quintus Petillius Cerialis.[16] Although the revolt was quickly suppressed, exaggerated reports of disaster prompted Mucianus to depart the capital with reinforcements of his own. Domitian eagerly sought the opportunity to attain military glory, and joined the other officers with the intention of commanding a legion of his own. According to Tacitus, Mucianus was not keen on this prospect, but he considered Domitian a liability in whatever capacity entrusted to, and therefore preferred to keep him close at hand instead of at Rome.[36] When news arrived of Cerialis' victory over Civilis, Mucianus tactfully dissuaded Domitian from pursuing further military endeavours.[37] Domitian then wrote to Cerialis personally, suggesting to hand over command of his army, but once again, he was snubbed.[38] With the return of Vespasian in late September finally, his political role was rendered all but obsolete. Domitian withdrew from government and devoted his time to arts and literature.[38]

[edit] Marriage

Bust of Domitian's wife, Domitia Longina. Note the peculiar hairstyle, typical of the Flavian period.
Bust of Domitian's wife, Domitia Longina. Note the peculiar hairstyle, typical of the Flavian period.

Where his political and military career had ended in disappointment, Domitian's private affairs were more prosperous in 70. Vespasian attempted to arrange a dynastic marriage between his youngest son and the daughter of Titus, Julia Flavia,[39] but Domitian was adamant of his love for Domitia Longina, going so far as to persuade her husband, Lucius Aelius Lamia, to divorce her so that Domitian could marry her himself.[39] Despite its initial recklesness, the alliance was very prestigious for both families. Domitia Longina was the younger daughter of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, a respected general and honoured politician. Following the failed Pisonian conspiracy against Nero in 65, he had been forced to commit suicide. The new marriage not only re-established ties to senatorial opposition, but also served the broader Flavian propaganda of the time, which sought to diminish Vespasian's political success under Nero. Instead connections to Claudius and Britannicus were emphasised, and Nero's victims, or those otherwise disadvantaged by him, rehabilitated.[40]

The marriage appears to have been happy, despite allegations by Roman sources of adultery and divorce.[41] The couple had only one child, an unnamed son, born in 73, who died sometime around 81. It is believed that, because of this, Domitian exiled his wife on grounds of infertility in 83,[42] but soon recalled her, either out of love or amidst allegations he carried on an affair with his niece Julia Flavia.[43] It is not known whether Domitian ever had other children, but he did not marry another woman during his lifetime.

[edit] Ceremonial heir

The Triumph of Titus, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1885). This painting depicts the Flavian family during the triumphal procession of 71. Vespasian is depicted at the head of the family, dressed as pontifex maximus, followed by Domitian, clad in armour, with Domitia Longina, and finally Titus, also dressed in religious regalia.
The Triumph of Titus, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1885). This painting depicts the Flavian family during the triumphal procession of 71. Vespasian is depicted at the head of the family, dressed as pontifex maximus, followed by Domitian, clad in armour, with Domitia Longina, and finally Titus, also dressed in religious regalia.

In June 71, Titus returned triumphant from the war in Judaea. Eventually, the rebellion had claimed the lives of over 1 million people, a majority of which were Jewish.[44] The city and temple of Jerusalem were completely destroyed, its most valuable treasures carried off by the Roman army, and nearly 100,000 people were captured and enslaved.[44] For his victory, the Senate awarded Titus a Roman triumph. On the day of the festivities, the Flavian family rode into the capital, preceded by a lavish parade carrying the spoils of the war.[45] The family procession was headed by Vespasian and Titus, while Domitian, riding a magnificent white horse, followed with the remaining Flavian relatives.[46] Leaders of the Jewish resistance were executed in the Forum Romanum, after which the procession closed with religious sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter.[45] To further memorialize the successful end of the war, a triumphal arch—the Arch of Titus—was erected at the south-east entrance to the Forum.

Yet, the return of Titus further highlighted the comparative insignificance of Domitian, both military and political. As the eldest and most experienced of Vespasian's sons, Titus shared tribunician power with his father, received seven consulships, the censorship, and was given command over the imperial bodyguard, the Praetorian guard;[47] powers which left no doubt he was the designated heir to the Empire.[48] As a second son, Domitian held honorary titles, such as Caesar or Princeps Iuventutis, and several priesthoods, including those of augur, pontifex, frater arvalis, magister frater arvalium, and sacerdos collegiorum omnium,[49] but no office with imperium. He held only one ordinary consulship during Vespasian's reign, in 73, and five suffect consulships, in 71, 75, 76, 77 and 79 respectively, usually replacing his father or brother on the 13th of January. While merely ceremonial, these offices no doubt gained Domitian valuable experience in the Roman Senate, and may have contributed to his later reservations about its relevance.[49] Under Vespasian and Titus, non-Flavians were virtually excluded from the important public offices. Mucianus himself all but disappeared from historical records during this time, and it is believed he died sometime between 75 and 77.[50] Real power was unmistakenly concentrated into the hands of the Flavian faction; the Senate remained merely a facade of democracy.

Bust of Titus as emperor.
Bust of Titus as emperor.

Because Titus effectively acted as co-emperor to his father, no abrupt change in Flavian policy took place when Vespasian died on June 23, 79.[51] Titus assured Domitian that full partnership in the government would soon be his, but neither tribunician power nor imperium of any kind was conferred upon him during his brief reign.[52] Understandibly, the new emperor was not hardpressed to alter this arrangement anytime soon: he would have expected to rule for at least another 20 or 30 years, and more urgent attention was required to the multitude of disasters which struck throughout 79 and 80. On August 24, 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted,[53] burying the surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under metres of ash and lava; the following year, a fire broke out in Rome, lasting three days, which destroyed a number of important public buildings.[54] Consequently, Titus spent much of his reign coördinating relief efforts and restoring damaged property. On September 13, 81 however, after barely two years in office, he unexpectedly died of fever during a trip to the Sabine territories.[55]

A number of ancient authors have implicated Domitian in the death of his brother, either by directly accusing him of murder,[56] or implying he left the ailing Titus for dead,[46][57] further alleging that even during his lifetime, Titus was openly plotted against by his brother.[57] The factual veracity of these statements, especially given the bias of the surviving sources, is difficult to assess. Yet brotherly affection was likely at a minimum, and not surprisingly, since they had hardly known each other.[52] But whatever the nature of their relationship, Domitian seems to have displayed little concern when Titus lay dying, instead making for the Praetorian camp where he was proclaimed emperor.

The following day, September 14, the Senate confirmed Domitian's powers, granting tribunician power, the office of Pontifex Maximus, and the titles of Augustus, and Pater Patriae.

[edit] Emperor

[edit] Administration

Bust of Domitian, Louvre, Paris.
Bust of Domitian, Louvre, Paris.

The classic view of Domitian as Emperor is usually negative since most of the antique sources are related to the Senatorial aristocratic class, and, as emperor, Domitian tended to have a strong independent action, often against the Senate.

During its administration, the economy first came to a halt and then went into recession, forcing him to devalue the denarius (silver currency). To further compensate for the economic situation, taxes were raised and discontent soon followed. Due to his love of the arts and to woo the population, Domitian invested large sums in the reconstruction and embellishment of the city, still suffering the effects of the great fire of Rome of 64, the civil war of 69, and the fires that plagued Rome the year following the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius during Titus' reign. Around fifty new buildings were erected and restored, including the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill and a palace in the Palatine Hill.

In 85, Domitian nominated himself perpetual censor, the office which held the task of supervising Roman morals and conduct.

Domitian's greatest passions were the arts and the games. He implemented the Capitoline Games in 86. Like the Olympic Games, they were to be held every four years and included athletic displays, chariot races, but also oratory, music and acting competitions. The Emperor himself supported the travels of competitors from the whole empire and attributed the prizes. He was also very fond of gladiator shows and added important innovations like female and dwarf gladiator fights.

[edit] Military campaigns

Major military contribution of Domitian was the development of the Limes (in particular the Limes Germanicus) to defend the empire. During his Empire wars had usually a defensive nature. Domitian was accused not to be a gifted military commander, due to his education in Rome away from the legions and to limit the Roman military enterprises for this reason. He claimed several Roman triumphs, namely over the Chatti and in Britain, but they were only propaganda manoeuvres, since these wars were still being fought. Nevertheless, several campaigns were fought during his reign, especially in the Danube frontier against Decebalus, king of Dacians. Domitian also founded Legio I Minervia in 82, to fight against Chatti.

[edit] Persecutions

Denarius of Domitian.
Denarius of Domitian.

According to many historians, Jews and Christians were heavily persecuted toward the end of Domitian's reign.[58] The Book of Revelation is thought by many scholars to have been written during Domitian's reign as a reaction to persecution.[59][60] Other historians, however, have maintained that there was little or no persecution of Christians during Domitian's time.[61][62][63] There is no historical consensus on the matter.[59] The emperor is known, however, to have developed a paranoid fear of persecution that led him to kill or execute several members of the senatorial and equestrian orders. At least twenty political and ideological opponents were executed, including his cousin, the Consul Flavius Clemens.[59] Domitian disliked aristocrats and had no fear of showing it, withdrawing every decision-making power from the Senate. He signed documents dominus et deus ("Lord and God") [64], and required people to address him similarly. Coins of the period represent him enthroned as "father of the gods".

[edit] Death and succession

Domitian was murdered in September 96, in a palace conspiracy organized by court officials and high ranking members of the Praetorian Guard. The emperor believed that, according to an astrological prediction, he would die around noon. Therefore, he was always restless during this time of the day. On his last day, Domitian was feeling disturbed and asked a servant boy several times what time it was. The boy, included in the plot, lied, saying that it was much later. More at ease, the emperor went to his desk to sign some decrees, where he was stabbed eight times by Stephanus.[citation needed]

Domitian was succeeded by Nerva (by appointment of the senate). The custom of damnatio memoriae was issued on Domitian, ordering his obliteration from all public records.[65] Domitian is the only known emperor to have officially received a damnatio memoriae, though others may have received de facto ones. Many of the images that survive of Domitian's successor, Nerva, were actually once Domitian but converted to Nerva after the damnatio was issued. Nearly all surviving images of Domitian were found in the provinces.

[edit] Historiography

[edit] Ancient sources

Juvenal, Tacitus and Suetonius authored information about the reign of Domitian after it ended. This would have been impolitic.

  • Tacitus, a historian, spoke from personal knowledge when he wrote his Histories on the arc of the Flavian dynasty. Unfortunately, this work is lost.
  • Juvenal, an author of Roman satire, depicted Domitian and his court as corrupt, violent, and unjust.
  • Suetonius, author of the Lives of the Twelve Caesars, the most extensive ancient account of the life of the emperor extant.
  • Statius wrote four poems that contained information about Domitian's life.
  • Martial's work contains references and epigrams to Domitian.

[edit] Domitian in later arts

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Jones (1992), p. 196–198
  2. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 1
  3. ^ Jones (1992), p. 3
  4. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 2
  5. ^ Jones (1992), p. 8
  6. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 1
  7. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Vesp. 4
  8. ^ Jones (1992), p. 7
  9. ^ Jones (1992), p. 9–11
  10. ^ a b c Jones (1992), p. 13
  11. ^ Josephus, The War of the Jews III.4.2
  12. ^ Murison, p. 149
  13. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 9
  14. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 12.3
  15. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 20
  16. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 16
  17. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.1
  18. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.2
  19. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.64
  20. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.41–49
  21. ^ Josephus, The Wars of the Jews IV.10.4
  22. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.5
  23. ^ Josephus, The Wars of the Jews IV.11.1
  24. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.82
  25. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.59
  26. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.34
  27. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.65
  28. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.66
  29. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.69
  30. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.74
  31. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 14
  32. ^ Tacitus, Histories III.86
  33. ^ Tacitus, Histories IV.3
  34. ^ a b c Jones (1992), p. 15
  35. ^ Tacitus, Histories IV.40
  36. ^ Tacitus, Histories IV.68
  37. ^ Tacitus, Histories IV.85
  38. ^ a b Tacitus, Histories IV.86
  39. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 33
  40. ^ Jones (1992), p. 34
  41. ^ Jones (1992), p.35
  42. ^ Jones (1992), p. 36
  43. ^ Jones (1992), p. 39
  44. ^ a b Josephus, The Wars of the Jews VI.9.3
  45. ^ a b Josephus, The Wars of the Jews VII.5.5
  46. ^ a b Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 2
  47. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Titus 6
  48. ^ Jones (1992), p. 18
  49. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 19
  50. ^ Crook, John A. (1951). "Titus and Berenice". The American Journal of Philology 72 (2): p166. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  51. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.17
  52. ^ a b Jones (1992), p. 20
  53. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.22
  54. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Titus 8
  55. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Titus 10
  56. ^ Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6.32
  57. ^ a b Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.26
  58. ^ Smallwood, E.M. Classical Philology 51, 1956.
  59. ^ a b c Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 805-809. ISBN 0-385-24767-2.
  60. ^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, c.170 C.E.
  61. ^ Merrill, E.T. Essays in Early Christian History (London:Macmillan, 1924).
  62. ^ Willborn, L.L. Biblical Research 29 (1984).
  63. ^ Thompson, L.L. The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire (New York: Oxford, 1990).
  64. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 8.15
  65. ^ Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Dom. 23

[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links

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Preceded by
Flavian Dynasty
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vespasian and Titus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with L. Valerius Catullus Messallinus
Succeeded by
Vespasian and Titus
Preceded by
Vespasian and Titus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Titus
Succeeded by
Lucius Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus and Lucius Asinius Pollio Verrucosus
Preceded by
L. Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus and L. Asinius Pollio Verrucosus
Consul of the Roman Empire
82 - 88
Succeeded by
Titus Aurelius Fulvus and M. Asinius Atratinus
Preceded by
Titus Aurelius Fulvus and Marcus Asinius Atratinus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Marcus Cocceius Nerva
Succeeded by
Manius Acilius Glabrio and Trajan
Preceded by
Manius Acilius Glabrio and Trajan
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Quintus Volusius Saturninus
Succeeded by
Sextus Pompeius Collega and Quintus Peducaeus Priscinus
Preceded by
Lucius Nonius Calpurnius Torquatus Asprenas and Titus Sextius Magius Lateranus
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Titus Flavius Clemens
Succeeded by
Gaius Manlius Valens and Gaius Antistius Vetus