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Flavia Domitilla

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Flavia Domitilla

Flavia Domitilla
Photo: DK-National Aggregation Service / Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Flavia Domitilla (before 20-before 69 CE) was the wife of Vespasian, the mother of the Flavian dynasty and its successors: Titus and Domitian. She came from the city of Ferentium in central Italy. Her father Flavius ​​Liberalis was a modest official. Some sources even say that he was a scribe. Domitilla herself was forced to prove her free birth and Roman citizenship several times.

Legend says that she was the mistress of one of the African princes. More likely, she lived in the residence of an equestrian named Statilius Capella. Suetonius states that they had a close relationship. It is not known under what circumstances she was liberated or how she met the future emperor.
Flavia Domitilla was the only wife of Vespasian (9-79 CE). She probably married him in the 30s.

Domitilla and Vespasian had three children together – including two future emperors, Titus (39-81 CE, the conqueror of Jerusalem) and Domitian (51-96 CE, who became famous for persecuting Christians), as well as a daughter named after her mother Flavia Domitilla. Both women died before Vespasian became emperor in 69.

After the death of his wife, the ruler returned to his former love, Cenida (an interesting fact is that the woman was a trusted liberated servant of Antonia the Younger, the mother of Emperor Claudius). Vespasian never married her, but treated her with respect as if she were his wife, which caused some controversy in his circle.

It is known from the records that both sons valued their mother and placed her images on coins.