Gold Aureus of Emperor Vespasian - C.4069Origin: MediterraneanCirca: 69 AD to 79 ADCollection: Numismatics
Style: RomanMedium: Gold. Vespasian was one of the most human of all the Roman emperors. He appreciated a good joke, even when he was the butt of it. Legend states that he never had an innocent man punished, and even wept for condemned criminals when it was necessary that they be executed. He was an old soldier, and would often show kindness to other old soldiers. He was well aware of the labors of the common man: his father was a tax collector, and Vespasian himself had to become a mule driver after he was banished from Nero's court for falling asleep during one of Nero's performances. Later, Nero made him a general and put him in command of an army sent to put down a revolt in Judea. When Vespasian became emperor his son Titus replaced him as general in Judea and finally put down the revolt in A.D. 70. Vespasian died on June 23, A.D. 79 after a short illness. As he was at the point of death, he struggled to stand up, saying that an emperor should die on his feet. He even made a joke about his own death. It was the custom to consecrate popular emperors after their deaths, declaring them a minor god. Vespasian was heard to say as he was about to expire, "Oh my, I fear I am about to become a god!"