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Domitian Essay, Research Paper

Domitian was born in Rome on Pomegranate Street 0n October 24th AD51. He was the second son born to the future emperor Vespasian. Domitian s older brother was named Titus. Even when very young Domitian was of the opinion that he should be treated like a god.

Throughout Domitian s early years and adolescents, the family s status remained high, but progress was most marked in the 60s. (Jones, 1992) One example of the family s good fortune was that they inherited a great deal of money. This allowed them to gain access to the imperial court, as well as granting them senatorial rank. In order to accomplish this four different families became one family which enabled Domitian to gain power. Domitian s brother Titus, now in his mid-twenties, found a suitable wife in Arrecina Tertulla and it seems that Domitian s first cousin Sabinus the third had also married into the same family, selecting one of Arrecina s sisters. Unfortunately, Arrecina soon died and Titus sought a second wife. Marcia Furnilla, daughter or niece of Vespasian s amicus Barea Soranus, was an excellent choice, with consular senators in her father s and mother s family. (Jones, 1992)

Domitian was an educated person, although it is unknown where he got his education. He loved to write and wrote poetry. His poems were very sensitive no matter what the topic. Later on Domitian even wrote and published a book about baldness. Apparently, Domitian was interested in many different types of literature. People often said that he spoke intelligently, and made memorable comments. In his later years, Domitian began to read Tiberius s commentaries. He established a way of thinking and developed his own ideas on standards and morals.

Around 70 AD Domitian married Domitia Longina, the daughter of the great general, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. They had lots of troubles in their marriage. The couple had one child, but the child died at a very young age. In 83 AD Domitian wanted nothing to do with his wife and dismissed her. Later, she was recalled to the palace where she lived until Domitian s death. (http://www.ga.k.12.pa.us/academics/MS/8th/romanhis/Forum/Stephm/early.htm)

Domitian inherited the empire when his brother suddenly died after ruling for only two years. He became Roman Emperor in 81AD which fulfilled his lifelong dream. He was now able to follow in his father and brother s footsteps as emperor. When he was emperor he traveled outside of Rome many times. He was said to be a hostile ruler.

Domitian loved the military. His father, uncle, brother and four other male relatives had personally led the armies or legions at some point or another. Although popular with the army, he was hated by the senators. While the emporer of Rome Domitian appointed many governors, prefects and consuls.

Domitian was said to be a hostile ruler. This ruler didn t care about the people, if there was a famine he would allow his whole kingdom to die of starvation.

There were very few Christians around in this era. In this time the religion which dominated all other religions was the Egyptian religion. There wasn t much research found on religion.

As emperor, Domitian was hated by the aristocracy. It seems certain that cruelty and ostentation were the chief grounds of his unpopularity, rather than any military or administrative ignorance. His strict control over magistrates in Rome and the provinces won Suetonious praises. In legislation he was severe, and he incurred censure for attempting to curb vices from which he him self was not immune. His military and foreign policy was not uniformly successful. Both in Britain and in Germany advances were made by the Romans early in the reign, and the construction of the Rhine-Danube limes (fortified line) owes more to Domitian than to any other emperor. But consolidation in Scotland was halted by serious wars on the Danube, where Domitian never achieved an entirely satisfactory settlement and lost many troops. This was naturally held against Domitian at Rome. It did not affect his popularity with the army, however, whose pay he had wisely raised by one-third in AD 84. (http://library.advanced.org/11402/bio_domitianus.html)

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