Vespasian: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover


2nd Edition

By Barbara Levick


346 pages

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pub: 2016-09-29
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From a pre-eminent biographer in the field, this volume examines the life and times of the emperor Vespasian and challenges the validity of his perennial good reputation and universally acknowledged achievements. Levick examines how this plebeian and uncharismatic Emperor restored peace and confidence to Rome and ensured a smooth succession, how he coped with the military, political and economic problems of his reign, and his evaluation of the solutions to these problems, before she finally examines his posthumous reputation.

Now updated to take account of the past 15 years of scholarship, and with a new chapter on literature under the Flavians, Vespasian is a fascinating study for students of Roman history and the general classical enthusiast alike.


"This second edition of Vespasian includes an important new chapter on Literature and Politics in the Flavian Era. Barbara Levick applies her vast learning and scholarly integrity to an examination of the place of Flavian literature in the canon, and the effect the Flavian emperors had upon it. Her study elucidates how the writers of the age had the odds stacked against them and why they were, although not second-rate, predestined to be secondary to their Augustan predecessors of a hundred years earlier."

- Geraldine Herbert-Brown, The University of Sydney, Australia

"Levick’s book remains an important and useful contribution to scholarship … Levick’s Vespasian has been a staple of undergraduate reading lists since its first appearance in 1999. It will remain so for years to come – and with good reason. As a work of scholarship it is solid, cautious, and frequently illuminating. Levick is a sound guide for any student or scholar approaching Roman politics during the years of Vespasian’s ascent and political supremacy."

- Christopher Mallan, University of Oxford, UK, in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of Contents

List of plates

List of maps



Key dates

Stemma I: The Flavian

Stemma II: The Arrecini and Julii





1 A new man in politics

2 Vespasian and the aristocracy: the command in Britain

3 From Nero’s court to the walls of Jerusalem

Appendix: Josephus’ dates for the Jewish War 40

4 The bid for Empire

The year 69

Vespasian’s success

5 Ideology in action

6 A new Emperor and his opponent

7 Financial survival

8 Stabilization: the winning of peace

9 Enhancement: the physical and moral restoration of the Roman world

Rome and Italy

Provinces west and east: gifts, status, Romanization, titles

10 Imperialism: Vespasian’s army and the extension of the


11 Elites

12 Vespasian and his sons

13 Conclusion: ideology in the aftermath





About the Author

Barbara Levick is Fellow and Tutor Emeritus, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. She has published extensively on Roman history, with titles including Tiberius the Politician (Routledge, 1999), Vespasian (Routledge, 1999), The Government of the Roman Empire, second edition (Routledge, 2001), Julia Domna: Syrian Empress (Routledge, 2007) and Augustus: Image and Substance (2010).

About the Series

Roman Imperial Biographies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General