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The year 69 CE is noted for the Year of the Four Roman Emperors, "The Revolt of the Batavi was a rebellion led by the Batavi, a small but powerful Germanic population of Batavia on the Rhine delta, against the Roman Empire." Though "Despite the ultimate victory of the Romans, the Batavi’s early successes were notable. In fact, their victories over the Roman legions were predicted by Veleda, a seer who was worshiped as a deity..." 'Veleda and the Ancient Germanic Seers' so, Vitellius...

"Suetonius records that a soothsaying Chatti woman, whom Vitellius trusted as an oracle, had predicted that if he outlived his mother Sextilia, Vitellius would enjoy a long reign." Suetonius' father "fought for Otho" who Vitellius replaced though "No such seeress is mentioned by other sources, and so it may have been a malevolent rumour to justify the coup d'état by Vespasian. History plays out and Vitellius daughter Vitellia is a central character in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. 1791, "The subject of “good governance,” even by monarchs who claimed to rule by Divine Right, acquired a new urgency. The French Revolution struck especially close to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, for Marie Antoinette, the last French queen, was his sister."

'Clemency, Forgiveness and Love: Mozart's La Clemenza Di Tito.'
posted by clavdivs (7 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 12:55 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]

Vespasian is my favourite Emperor. Weary, cynical, but competent and dedicated to the public service, he embodies the best qualities of the Imperial regime. He built, or started, the Colosseum as a symbol (optimistic) that Rome was not to be about the Emperor any more, but the people. A square-headed old guy with a tuft of white hair above each ear: central casting would have used him as a crusty old general, the stern judge with a heart of gold, or the powerful boss of a huge corporation, and of course he was all three.
posted by Phanx at 1:07 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]

Year of Four Emperors, illustrated in the webcomic SPQR Blues.

SPQR Blues trailed off sometime years ago in mid-Chapter V, but it really was excellent-- well researched and well drawn. The whole archive is still up there. Chapter II, which shows the protagonist's days as a legionary, is particularly fine.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:24 AM on July 9 [7 favorites]

Lindsey Davis' excellent Marcus Didius Falco mystery series makes mention of Veleda; (link has book spoilers.)
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:26 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]

The people of the Netherlands consider themselves descendants of the Batavians. It is mostly myth but an enduring one. There's even a Rembrandt painting: The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis

Much more about this topic here.
posted by vacapinta at 12:16 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]

He built, or started, the Colosseum as a symbol (optimistic) that Rome was not to be about the Emperor any more, but the people

Before that, he built the Temple of Peace (a step up from Augustus' family oriented Altar of Peace) into which he loaded the artistic treasures of his predecessor Nero's prvate art collection and some of the booty from the defeated Jerusalem. But, you know, more people want to see a show than want to go to an art museum.
posted by BWA at 12:20 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

Year of the Four Roman Emperors
claudivs, thanks for highlighting this moment of history. having recently read of Seneca's retirement from service to Nero (i can understand working for him must have brought one to consider health, seriously) & seen excavated bars on windows which would prevent enslaved people from leaving Pompeii, learning about imperial politics between 65 & 79 ce helped fill a gap [pompeiisites]. also reminded me of the period of three popes [1h44m] / great schism of the west
posted by HearHere at 2:45 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

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