Vespasian came to power following the very brief rule of an emperor named Vitellius. Some Roman emperors ruled for such a short time that there simply isn't much information about them, and Aulus Vitellius, who lived from 15 A.D. to 69 A.D., is one of these. Vitellius served as a general for the Roman Empire, and his army decided to proclaim him emperor in 68 A.D. However, after less than a year, a general named Vespasian defeated Vitellius' army, killed him and was appointed as the next Roman emperor.
There is more information about Vespasian, who ruled for a longer and more productive period. Titus Flavius Vespasianus was a Roman general who lived from 9 A.D. to 79 A.D. He commanded a number of Roman military operations in the first century A.D. One of his assignments was to put down the Jewish revolt in Judea in 67 A.D. When Nero died a year later, civil war broke out. Vespasian was installed as Rome's new emperor in 69 A.D., ending the period of unrest and ushering in a period of prosperity and peace.
As Roman emperor, Vespasian accomplished a lot: He reformed the tax system, built many new roads, and completed public works, including a new Roman forum and Temple of Peace, as well as the Colosseum, which is probably his most well-known accomplishment. It was important to him to rebuild new structures on vacant lots. Vespasian also worked to reform the army, restoring discipline to the ranks and building up the forces. He worked with other countries to increase legions and grant rights, which led to some areas, especially in Spain, becoming more "Romanized" during his reign. Unlike many Roman leaders, Vespasian did not die in war, but instead died peacefully near his birthplace in 79 A.D. [source: Donahue].
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