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Quote of the day: It had been the ancient policy of the fo
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Twelve Emperors by Suetonius

Vespasian, Chapter 1: His ancestry
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The empire, which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting, through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in hand and given stability by the Flavian family. This house was, it is true, obscure and without family portraits, yet it was one of which our country had no reason whatever to be ashamed, even though it is the general opinion that the penalty which Domitian paid for his avarice and cruelty was fully merited. Titus Flavius Petro, a citizen of Reate and during the civil war a centurion or a volunteer veteran on Pompeius Magnus' side, fled from the field of Pharsalus and went home, where after at last obtaining pardon and an honorable discharge, he carried on the business of a collector of moneys. His son, surnamed Sabinus (although some say that he was a centurion of the first grade, and others that while still in command of a cohort he was retired because of ill health) took no part in military life, but farmed the public tax of a twentieth [A tax of five per cent on the value of every slave who was set free, paid by the slave himself or by his master] in Asia. And there existed for some time statues erected in his honor by the cities of Asia, inscribed "To an honest tax-gatherer." Later, he carried on a money-lending business in Helvetia and there he died, survived by his wife, Vespasia Polla, and by two of her children, of whom the elder, Sabinus, rose to the rank of Prefect of Rome, and the younger, Vespasian, even to that of emperor. Polla, who was born of an honorable family at Nursia, had for father Vespasius Pollio, thrice tribune of the soldiers and prefect of the camp [A position held by tried and skillful officers, especially centurions of the first grade primipili)] while her brother became a senator with the rank of praetor. There is, moreover, on the top of a mountain, near the sixth milestone on the road from Nursia to Spoletium, a place called Vespasiae, where many monuments of the Vespasii are to be seen, affording strong proof of the renown and antiquity of the house. I ought to add that some have bandied about the report, that Petro's father came from the region beyond the Po and was a contractor for the day-laborers who come regularly every year from Umbria to the Sabine district, to till the fields; but that he settled in the town of Reate and there married. Personally, I have found no evidence whatever of this, in spite of rather careful investigation.