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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Vespasian, Titus Flavius

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a Roman emperor, was born Nov. 17, A.D. 9, near Reate, a Sabine village, where his father was tax-gatherer. He became a successful soldier, and after serving in Britain and elsewhere, was sent by Nero to Palestine in 66. He began the conquest of that country by the storming of Sepphoris and Jotapata in 67; and in 68, after hearing of the revolt of Vindex against the emperor, he hastened the operations of his army until he had taken and destroyed all the towns in his way before he reached the neighborhood of Jerusalem itself. At this juncture he was chosen emperor by the army in Moesia, and subsequently by the entire East. In 71 he celebrated, in company with his son Titus, the triumph which marked the complete destruction of the Jewish polity and nation. He afterwards sent Bassus to put down the last remnant of the revolt, and to take measures that no towns of Palestine should be rebuilt; but he discountenanced cruelty and the abuse of power in dealing with the subjugated people. The restless agitations of the zealots compelled him, nevertheless, to put down their rebellious spirit by force in Egypt and Cyrene, and led to his order that the Temple of Onias, near Leontopolis, should be destroyed. He furthermore compelled the entire nation of the Jews to render into the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter a tribute equal to the tax they had been accustomed to pay to the Temple at Jerusalem. He is, however, to be credited with having displayed, from his point of view, a spirit of fairness and mildness towards that unhappy people of which numerous illustrations may be found.

Christianity was made to suffer persecution in the reign of Vespasian only because, and only so far as, it was identified with Judaism, and its troubles cannot be laid to the charge of the emperor, though Sulpicius Severus,.in his Chronicle (beginning of the 5th century), decides otherwise. Vespasian died June 24, A.D. 79, being the second emperor of Rome to die a natural death, and the first to transmit the empire to his son. See the histories, and Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.; also Smith, Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Biog. s.v.; and the monographs cited by Volbeding, Index Programmatum, p. 95.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Vespasian, Titus Flavius'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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