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Headword: Bespasianos
Adler number: beta,246
Translated headword: Vespasianos, Vespasianus, Vespasian
Vetting Status: high
Emperor of the Romans. This man was so gentle and kindly that he did not punish offences even against himself and his imperial authority more severely than by exile. He quickly shook off hatreds and personality conflicts, and he bore lightly and calmly the jokes aimed at him by the orators, by whom he was rejected, and the common people. In social relationships he had the common touch and avoided the palace for the most part.[1]
This man was worthy to be compared with the best kings/emperors of any time. He also made his private life renowned with many great accomplishments. Serving under the emperor Claudius as general against the Germans and Britons[2] he withstood the enemy in 30 great battles. When he attained the supreme power, he managed his rule with moderation and restraint, though seeming greedy for money, but not so much so as to deprive anyone of his property unjustly. And he used his wealth not for pleasure but for the public need. So one would not find another emperor who was either more liberal [in expenditure] or who examined in regard to both fairness and justice his liberality towards gift-giving.[3]
Greek Original:
Bespasianos, basileus Rhômaiôn. houtos ên êpios kai prosênês hôs mêde tas eis auton te kai tên basileian ginomenas hamartias pera timôreisthai phugês: tas te gar apechtheias kai ta proskroumata tês dianoias tacheôs apeseieto kai skômmata rhêtorôn, huph' hôn êphieto, kai dêmôn es auton aporriptoumena kouphôs te kai galênôs epheren: es te tas enteuxeis koinos kai dêmotikos ôn apeskênou men es ta polla tôn basileiôn. houtos tois aristois tôn pôpote basileôn paraballesthai axios ên: hos ge kai ton idiôtên heautou bion epidoxon pollois te kai megalois apetelese katorthômasi. Klaudiôi gar tôi basilei stratêgôn epi Germanous kai Brettanous l# karteras machas pros tous polemious antiparestêsato. es de tên hêgemonian parelthôn metriôs te kai sôphronôs tên archên diôikêto, epithumêtikôs men dokôn echein chrêmatôn: ou mên hôste para dikên aphaireisthai tina tôn oikeiôn. kai ton plouton ouk es tas hêdonas, all' es tas dêmosias chreias epoieito. oukoun heuroi tis an heteron pro toude basilea oute dapsilesteron, oute pros to ison te kai dikaion exêtasmenon tên pros tas dôreas eleutheriotêta.
Titus Flavius Vespasianus, emperor 69-79: see generally Barbara Levick in OCD(4) s.v. Vespasian; De Imperatoribus Romanis entry by John Donahue at web address 1; Suetonius' biography at web address 2.
The name is transliterated differently at omicron 833 and elsewhere in the Suda, reflecting the changing pronunciation of Latin v and Greek beta.
[1] John of Antioch fr.99 FHG (4.578), now 182 Roberto.
[2] For Claudius see generally kappa 1708. The allusion here is to the years 43-47, when V. was legate of legio II Augusta based at Argentorate (present-day Strasbourg) and commanded it in the invasion of Britain and subsequent campaigning there.
[3] cf. Eutropius, Breviarium 7.19. For V's 'liberality' see also epsilon 805.
B.M. Levick, The Emperor Vespasian (1993)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; historiography; history; military affairs; politics; rhetoric
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 30 December 2003@21:56:28.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; added bibliography) on 31 December 2003@03:57:20.
David Whitehead (augmented note 2; typo) on 31 December 2003@10:14:04.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 15 November 2005@08:35:15.
David Whitehead (tweaked end of tr) on 7 March 2006@02:52:30.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 28 May 2012@05:26:35.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 30 May 2012@21:15:22.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 1 August 2014@05:34:06.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 August 2014@23:51:15.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 28 November 2014@01:33:33.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@04:22:54.


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