n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Worries about Vespasian : the achievements of an emperor

Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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Did Vespasian justify the high reputation he has enjoyed in medieval and modern times (Tacitus is cool)? Choice of officials, liberality with citizenship, promotion of trade, 'provincial administration' have been lauded. But it is Domitian who is commended by Suetonius for controlling his governors. Interpretative problems hamper judgment on what Vespasian did towards the development of Africa, while Agricola's activities in Britain had precedents; alleged efforts to bring Italy and the provinces into partnership are not well supported. The Latin right given Spain had advantages for Vespasian. Benefits to cities need not have cost much; for Vespasian financial considerations were prime. Distinctions between Italy and the provinces were maintained; the provincialization of the legions was not part of policy, and the rise of provincials to high places was helped by the crisis of 69. As to the imperial cult, Vespasian may have been less active in promoting it than has been supposed; the from Narbo favours the local initiative. Circumstances, not imperial policy, benefited provincials in the years after 70.

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