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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10524
Suetonius, Vespasianus, 21-23


nan This was in general his manner of life. While emperor, he always rose very early, in fact before daylight; then after reading his letters and the reports of all the officials, he admitted his friends, and while he was receiving their greetings, he put on his own shoes and dressed himself. After despatching any business that came up, he took time for a drive and then for a nap, lying with one of his concubines, of whom he had taken several after the death of Caenis. After his siesta he went to the bath and the dining-room; and it is said that at no time was he more good-natured or indulgent, so that the members of his household eagerly watched for these opportunities of making requests.


nan Not only at dinner but on all other occasions he was most affable, and he turned off many matters with a jest; for he was very ready with sharp sayings, albeit of a low and buffoonish kind, so that he did not even refrain from obscene expressions. Yet many of his remarks are still remembered which are full of fine wit, and among them the following. When an ex-consul called Mestrius Florus called his attention to the fact that the proper pronunciation was plaustra rather than plostra, he greeted him next day as "Flaurus." When he was importuned by a woman, who said that she was dying for love for him, he took her to his bed and gave her four hundred thousand sesterces for her favours. Being asked by his steward how he would have the sum entered in his accounts, he replied: "To a passion for Vespasian.


nan He also quoted Greek verses with great timeliness, saying of a man of tall stature and monstrous parts: "Striding along and waving a lance that casts a long shadow," and of the freedman Cerylus, who was very rich, and to cheat the privy purse of its dues at his death had begun to give himself out as freeborn, changing his name to Laches: "O Laches, Laches, When you are dead, you'll change your name at once To Cerylus again." But he particularly resorted to witticisms about his unseemly means of gain, seeking to diminish their odium by some jocose saying and to turn them into a jest.,Having put off one of his favourite attendants, who asked for a stewardship for a pretended brother, he summoned the candidate himself, and after compelling him to pay him as much money as he had agreed to give his advocate, appointed him to the position without delay. On his attendant's taking up the matter again, he said: "Find yourself another brother; the man that you thought was yours is mine." On a journey, suspecting that his muleteer had got down to shoe the mules merely to make delay and give time for a man with a lawsuit to approach the emperor, he asked how much he was paid for shoeing the mules and insisted on a share of the money., When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon public conveniences, he held a piece of money from the first payment to his son's nose, asking whether its odour was offensive to him. When Titus said "No," he replied, "Yet it comes from urine." On the report of a deputation that a colossal statue of great cost had been voted him at public expense, he demanded to have it set up at once, and holding out his open hand, said that the base was ready., He did not cease his jokes even when in apprehension of death and in extreme danger; for when among other portents the Mausoleum opened on a sudden and a comet appeared in the heavens, he declared that the former applied to Junia Calvina of the family of Augustus, and the latter to the king of the Parthians, who wore his hair long; and as death drew near, he said: "Woe's me. Methinks I'm turning into a god.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

10 results
1. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2.576-2.583, 3.1-3.5, 3.34, 3.59, 3.62, 3.68, 3.79-3.83, 3.85, 3.93, 3.104 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.576. He also got together an army out of Galilee, of more than a hundred thousand young men, all of which he armed with the old weapons which he had collected together and prepared for them. 2.577. 7. And when he had considered that the Roman power became invincible, chiefly by their readiness in obeying orders, and the constant exercise of their arms, he despaired of teaching these his men the use of their arms, which was to be obtained by experience; but observing that their readiness in obeying orders was owing to the multitude of their officers, he made his partitions in his army more after the Roman manner, and appointed a great many subalterns. 2.578. He also distributed the soldiers into various classes, whom he put under captains of tens, and captains of hundreds, and then under captains of thousands; and besides these, he had commanders of larger bodies of men. 2.579. He also taught them to give the signals one to another, and to call and recall the soldiers by the trumpets, how to expand the wings of an army, and make them wheel about; and when one wing hath had success, to turn again and assist those that were hard set, and to join in the defense of what had most suffered. 2.581. He told them that he should make trial of the good order they would observe in war, even before it came to any battle, in case they would abstain from the crimes they used to indulge themselves in, such as theft, and robbery, and rapine, and from defrauding their own countrymen, and never to esteem the harm done to those that were so near of kin to them to be any advantage to themselves; 2.582. for that wars are then managed the best when the warriors preserve a good conscience; but that such as are ill men in private life will not only have those for enemies which attack them, but God himself also for their antagonist. 2.583. 8. And thus did he continue to admonish them. Now he chose for the war such an army as was sufficient, i.e. sixty thousand footmen, and two hundred and fifty horsemen; and besides these, on which he put the greatest trust, there were about four thousand five hundred mercenaries; he had also six hundred men as guards of his body. 3.1. 1. When Nero was informed of the Romans’ ill success in Judea, a concealed consternation and terror, as is usual in such cases, fell upon him; although he openly looked very big, and was very angry 3.1. They also esteem any errors they commit upon taking counsel beforehand to be better than such rash success as is owing to fortune only; because such a fortuitous advantage tempts them to be inconsiderate, while consultation, though it may sometimes fail of success, hath this good in it, that it makes men more careful hereafter; 3.1. This is an ancient city that is distant from Jerusalem five hundred and twenty furlongs, and was always an enemy to the Jews; on which account they determined to make their first effort against it, and to make their approaches to it as near as possible. 3.2. and said that what had happened was rather owing to the negligence of the commander, than to any valor of the enemy: and as he thought it fit for him, who bare the burden of the whole empire, to despise such misfortunes, he now pretended so to do, and to have a soul superior to all such sad accidents whatsoever. Yet did the disturbance that was in his soul plainly appear by the solicitude he was in [how to recover his affairs again]. 3.2. That he did not see what advantage he could bring to them now, by staying among them, but only provoke the Romans to besiege them more closely, as esteeming it a most valuable thing to take him; but that if they were once informed that he was fled out of the city, they would greatly remit of their eagerness against it. 3.2. and the greater part of the remainder were wounded, with Niger, their remaining general, who fled away together to a small city of Idumea, called Sallis. 3.3. 2. And as he was deliberating to whom he should commit the care of the East, now it was in so great a commotion, and who might be best able to punish the Jews for their rebellion, and might prevent the same distemper from seizing upon the neighboring nations also,— 3.3. So he came quickly to the city, and put his army in order, and set Trajan over the left wing, while he had the right himself, and led them to the siege: 3.3. At this city also the inhabitants of Sepphoris of Galilee met him, who were for peace with the Romans. 3.4. he found no one but Vespasian equal to the task, and able to undergo the great burden of so mighty a war, seeing he was growing an old man already in the camp, and from his youth had been exercised in warlike exploits: he was also a man that had long ago pacified the west, and made it subject to the Romans, when it had been put into disorder by the Germans; he had also recovered to them Britain by his arms 3.4. “Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive; but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings; for had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was the law of the Jews in this case? and how it becomes generals to die. 3.4. its length is also from Meloth to Thella, a village near to Jordan. 3.5. which had been little known before whereby he procured to his father Claudius to have a triumph bestowed on him without any sweat or labor of his own. 3.5. and for those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceedingly sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places; and, what is the greatest sign of excellency and of abundance, they each of them are very full of people. 3.5. There was also a great slaughter made in the city, while those foreigners that had not fled away already made opposition; but the natural inhabitants were killed without fighting: for in hopes of Titus’s giving them his right hand for their security, and out of a consciousness that they had not given any consent to the war, they avoided fighting 3.34. 1. And now the Romans searched for Josephus, both out of the hatred they bore him, and because their general was very desirous to have him taken; for he reckoned that if he were once taken, the greatest part of the war would be over. They then searched among the dead, and looked into the most concealed recesses of the city; 3.34. And indeed the danger of losing Sepphoris would be no small one, in this war that was now beginning, seeing it was the largest city of Galilee, and built in a place by nature very strong, and might be a security of the whole nation’s [fidelity to the Romans]. 3.59. 1. Now the auxiliaries which were sent to assist the people of Sepphoris, being a thousand horsemen, and six thousand footmen, under Placidus the tribune, pitched their camp in two bodies in the great plain. The footmen were put into the city to be a guard to it, but the horsemen lodged abroad in the camp. 3.62. By this means he provoked the Romans to treat the country according to the law of war; nor did the Romans, out of the anger they bore at this attempt, leave off, either by night or by day, burning the places in the plain, and stealing away the cattle that were in the country, and killing whatsoever appeared capable of fighting perpetually, and leading the weaker people as slaves into captivity; 3.68. There were also a considerable number of auxiliaries got together, that came from the kings Antiochus, and Agrippa, and Sohemus, each of them contributing one thousand footmen that were archers, and a thousand horsemen. Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of which were archers; 3.79. 2. As for what is within the camp, it is set apart for tents, but the outward circumference hath the resemblance to a wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances 3.81. They also erect four gates, one at every side of the circumference, and those large enough for the entrance of the beasts, and wide enough for making excursions, if occasion should require. 3.82. They divide the camp within into streets, very conveniently, and place the tents of the commanders in the middle; but in the very midst of all is the general’s own tent, in the nature of a temple 3.83. insomuch, that it appears to be a city built on the sudden, with its marketplace, and place for handicraft trades, and with seats for the officers superior and inferior, where, if any differences arise, their causes are heard and determined. 3.85. 3. When they have thus secured themselves, they live together by companies, with quietness and decency, as are all their other affairs managed with good order and security. Each company hath also their wood, and their corn, and their water brought them, when they stand in need of them; 3.93. 5. When, after this, they are gone out of their camp, they all march without noise, and in a decent manner, and every one keeps his own rank, as if they were going to war. The footmen are armed with breastplates and headpieces, and have swords on each side; 3.104. and the readiness of obeying their commanders is so great, that it is very ornamental in peace; but when they come to a battle, the whole army is but one body
2. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.50 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

3. Josephus Flavius, Life, 363 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

4. Suetonius, Caligula, 37.1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5. Suetonius, Titus, 6 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

6. Suetonius, Vespasianus, 17-18, 22-23, 10 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Tacitus, Annals, 3.55 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

3.55.  When the Caesar's epistle had been read, the aediles were exempted from such a task; and spendthrift epicureanism, after being practised with extravagant prodigality throughout the century between the close of the Actian War and the struggle which placed Servius Galba on the throne, went gradually out of vogue. The causes of that change may well be investigated. Formerly aristocratic families of wealth or outstanding distinction were apt to be led to their downfall by a passion for magnificence. For it was still legitimate to court or be courted by the populace, by the provincials, by dependent princes; and the more handsome the fortune, the palace, the establishment of a man, the more imposing his reputation and his clientèle. After the merciless executions, when greatness of fame was death, the survivors turned to wiser paths. At the same time, the self-made men, repeatedly drafted into the senate from the municipalities and the colonies, and even from the provinces, introduced the plain-living habits of their own hearths; and although by good fortune or industry very many arrived at an old age of affluence, yet their prepossessions persisted to the end. But the main promoter of the stricter code was Vespasian, himself of the old school in his person and table. Thenceforward, deference to the sovereign and the love of emulating him proved more powerful than legal sanctions and deterrents. Or should we rather say there is a kind of cycle in all things — moral as well as seasonal revolutions? Nor, indeed, were all things better in the old time before us; but our own age too has produced much in the sphere of true nobility and much in that of art which posterity well may imitate. In any case, may the honourable competition of our present with our past long remain!
8. Tacitus, Histories, 2.5 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.5.  Vespasian was energetic in war. He used to march at the head of his troops, select a place for camp, oppose the enemy night and day with wise strategy and, if occasion demanded, with his own hands. His food was whatever chance offered; in his dress and bearing he hardly differed from the common soldier. He would have been quite equal to the generals of old if he had not been avaricious. Mucianus, on the other hand, was eminent for his magnificence and wealth and by the complete superiority of his scale of life to that of a private citizen. He was the readier speaker, experienced in civil administration and in statesmanship. It would have been a rare combination for an emperor if the faults of the two could have been done away with and their virtues only combined in one man. But Mucianus was governor of Syria, Vespasian of Judea. They had quarrelled through jealousy because they governed neighbouring provinces. Finally at Nero's death they had laid aside their hostilities and consulted together, at first through friends as go-betweens; and then Titus, the chief bond of their concord, had ended their dangerous feud by pointing out their common interests; both by his nature and skill he was well calculated to win over even a person of the character of Mucianus. Tribunes, centurions, and the common soldiers were secured for the cause by industry or by licence, by virtues or by pleasures, according to the individual's character.
9. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.17.26, 3.5.8-3.5.9 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.17.26, 3.5.8-3.5.9 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adjudication, adjudicating Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
augustus augustan era, daily habits Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
biography, imperial Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
caligula Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
case Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
corbulo Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50
decline Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
dining, emperor Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
domitian\n, in josephus Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50, 63
domitian assassination, criticism of Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 156
edict Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
father Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
forum Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
frugality, ancestral Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
galilee Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50, 63
josephus fides in Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50, 63
judge Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
letter Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
luxus Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
mobility, social Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
nero Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50
order, and the princeps Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
petition, petitioner Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
rustic Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
salutatio, and emperor Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 156
salutatio, salutation' Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
siesta, vespasian Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 156
suetonius Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231; Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
suetonius on emperors Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
syria Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50
titius aristo Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
titus Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231
titus and fides, in josephus Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50, 63
vespasian, in josephus Augoustakis et al., Fides in Flavian Literature (2021) 50, 63
vespasian Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156; Tuori, The Emperor of Law: The Emergence of Roman Imperial Adjudication< (2016) 231; Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
villa Viglietti and Gildenhard, Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic (2020) 365
vitellius Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 155, 156
wiedemann, thomas Ker, Quotidian Time and Forms of Life in Ancient Rome (2023) 156