The emperor Vespasian (AD69-79) is universally regarded as one of the better Roman emperors. Coming to the throne after the demise of Nero and the bitterness of a year-long civil war, he restored the empire's finances and inaugurated a period of peace and prosperity. Tacitus, Pliny and Josephus had a high regard for Vespasian, portraying him as an astute commander and an excellent emperor. In comparison with the comments of these contemporary or near-contemporary writers, Suetonius' biography, produced some fifty years after the emperor's death, is quite detailed. He too admired Vespasian. For him, Vespasian was a very shrewd administrator, who liked to be seen as having the common touch and as an ex-soldier with a ribald sense of humour. These and other aspects of his character are revealed in a series of anecdotes, always amusing and always opposite. This edition (the first since 1930) offers a newly revised text with a general introduction and detailed commentary. Comparison is continually drawn between Vespasian and other accounts of the reign, especially that of Dio Cassius, the only other substantial account but written a century after that of Suetonius.
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