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Domitian 81 AD

Domitian was the youngest of Emperor Vespasian’s sons. He is listed on the Biblical Timeline Poster with World History between 50 A.D. and 100 A.D.  Though his father had arranged for him to become a future ruler of Rome he first had to wait until the end of his brother’s rule.

Emperor Titus was his brother and he ruled the land for only two years before passing away. He spent his early days being educated after his father became emperor. Domitian was isolated in his youth because his mother had died when he was a child and Vespasian was constantly fighting wars. His older brother Titus was a soldier as well. He really did not form close bonds with his family members.

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After Nero was assassinated in 69 A.D. his father Vespasian managed to take over Rome and become emperor. Once in power Emperor Vespasian made Titus and Domitian his co-rulers and created legislation that set them up as future rulers of Rome. The Flavian Dynasty started with Vespasian and ended with Domitian.

Domitian the Unimportant Statesmen

Domitian was overshadowed by his brother during the time that their father ruled Rome. Titus was an accomplished general who had managed to put down an important rebellion in Judea. People might not have liked Titus that much but they did recognize his feats of greatness. Being an accomplished military man is very important for any person who wanted to take on public service in ancient Rome. Domitian ended up being placed in charge of religious ceremonies. Eventually his father Emperor Vespasian had died and his brother Titus had taken over as ruler. During Titus reign he also performed religious duties and consulships. Some historians suggested that Domitian didn’t care about his brother and even plotted to kill him. He didn’t really see his family that much and might not have formed a close bond to them. Emperor Titus supposedly found out about this plot but didn’t kill or banish his brother even though the reports were more than likely true. Emperor Titus finally passed away in 81 A.D. and Domitian had become emperor.

Domitian’s Rule over Rome

Domitian moved the power of the government to the palace and he banished the power of the senate. He then began to micromanage almost every aspect of Roman life. He also viewed himself as a cultural and moral guide for the people. He wanted to bring Rome to its former glory or to create a new era of greatness for the empire. He managed the treasury and filled it with lots of treasures that he received from taxes. He also built many public buildings and entertained the people with gladiator events. Some people referred to Domitian as a cruel person who was insane. He supposedly had persecuted Christians and Jews which was probably true. The events pertaining to the persecutions were probably overly exaggerated. People should keep in mind that Domitian was a religious man who spent a great deal of time overseeing the religious ceremonies of the empire. Since the early Romans didn’t care for the Jews and Christians he would have listened to the people when they called upon the emperor to deal with these unusual religious groups.

The Last Days of Domitian’s Reign

Domitian also wanted to keep the aristocracy powerless just like he did the senators so he made enemies. He had killed senators, executed deviants and did away with anyone who challenged his power. Eventually, a few of his enemies decided to assassinate him and in 96 A.D. they were successful. His death marked the end of the Flavian Dynasty and a new ruler named Nerva became emperor in his place. The senate tried to remove Domitian name from the imperial records.

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