Vespasian (Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus), 17 November 9--23 June 79, was Roman Emperor from 69 to 79. He founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled for 27 years. At one time he served as a senator, but his fame stems from his military success commanding the II Augustus legion during the invasion of Britain from 43-47, as well as his subjugation of Judea during the Jewish rebellion of 66. It was when Vespasian lay siege to Jerusalem during the Jewish uprising that emperor Nero took his own life, plunging Rome into a year of civil war that is called the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and then Otho died after short reigns, Vitellius became the third emperor in April 69. In response, the Roman legions of Egypt and Judea declared Vespasian, who was their commander, to be emperor on July 1, 69. December 20, 69, saw Vitellius defeated and the Senate confirmed Vespasian as emperor the next day. He chose his accession day to be July 1, 69, the day he was acclaimed emperor by his troops, and not the day the senate recognized him. Thus he respected the senate for its traditions and dignity, but made it crystal clear that he know the real power of Rome rested in the military.
When his son, Titus, returned to Rome from Palestine in 71, Vespasian formally made him assistant emperor, giving him the title of Caesar, and made him commander of the Praetorian Guard. This was a smart move when considering the role praetorians had played in overthrowing earlier emperors. His daily routine included rising early while still dark out. Then he would read letters and official reports, before letting in his friends, putting on his shoes and getting dressed. Then after dealing with any other business, he would go for a ride on a chariot. Then he would share a bed with one of his many concubines. That typically put his in a good mood, so his staff would then feel confident in approaching him to discuss problems or requests that they had. Vespasian had to increase taxes dramatically in order to cover the empire's costs after the civil war. He reformed the financial system and began several ambitious construction projects, including the Roman Coliseum. It was commonly known that his son Titus would succeed him on the throne. This led to hostility among senators who objected to dynasties. It was in 79 when a plot to kill Vespasian was uncovered that was led by two senators. Titus acted decisively and neither conspirator survived. Vespasian fell ill and died on June 24, 79. He displayed humor on his deathbed: 'Vae, puto deus fio' ('Woe, I think I'm turning into a god.')