The Emperor Who Succeeded
This chapter discusses the accession of Vespasian and also looks at how Roman ideology enters a new phase—that of superstitio—in which Roman society legitimates the princeps as a military dictator by believing he has literal, godlike powers. Tacitus allows that of all the previous emperors, Vespasian was the only one who changed for the better, and speaks well of his soldierly abilities while simultaneously mentioning his stinginess. However, the latter trait, reminiscent of Galba, does not bode well. Tacitus also remarks upon the fact that to pay for munitions, Vespasian imposes a heavy financial burden, sustained by delationes, upon the wealthy; it is a practice that does not cease with the war.
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