Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: He subsequently incurred the degrading i
Do not display Latin text
Twelve Emperors by Suetonius

Vespasian, Chapter 1: His ancestry
Next chapter
Return to index
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. saevitiae merito poenas luisse. T. Flavius Petro, municeps Reatinus, bello civili Pompeianarum partium centurio an evocatus, profugit ex Pharsalica, acie domumque se contulit, ubi deinde venia et missione impetrata coactiones argentarias factitavit. Huius filium, cognomine Sabinus, expers militiae (etsi quidem eum primipilarem, nonnulli, cum adhuc ordiens duceret, sacramento solutum per causam valitudinis tradunt) publicum quadragesimae in Asia egit; manebantque imagines a civitatibus ei positae sub hoc titulo: kalos telonesanti. Postea faenus apud Helvetios exercuit ibique diem obiit superstitibus uxore Vespasia Polla et duobus ex ea liberis, quorum maior Sabinus ad praefecturam urbis, minor Vespasianus ad principatum usque processit. Polla, Nursiae honesto genere orta, patrem habuit Vespasium Pollionem, ter tribunum militum praefectumque castrorum, fratrem senatorem praetoriae dignitatis. Locus etiam ad sextum miliarium a Nursia Spoletium euntibus in monte summo appellatur Vespasiae, ubi Vespasiorum complura monumenta exstant, magnum indicium splendoris familiae et vetustatis. Non negaverim iactatum a quibusdam Petronis patrem e regione Transpadana fuisse mancipem operarum, quae ex Vmbria in Sabinos ad culturam agrorum quotannis commeare soleant; subsedisse autem in oppido Reatino, uxore ibidem ducta. Ipse ne vestigium quidem de hoc, quamvis satis curiose inquirerem, inveni.