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A Problematic Senator

Contributed by David Verne

Vespasian continues with his reforms following the Year of the Four Emperors, and surprisingly, doesn't include any purges. Instead of packing the Senate full of corrupt supporters, he ensures that moral and effective men stay in power, while getting rid of the most corrupt. He even extends financial aid to Senators who have fallen below the wealth requirements. Unlike past emperors, Vespasian stays out of the way free debate and encourages people to speak their mind without fear of being imprisoned. However, a certain Senator by the name of Helvidius Priscus was a vocal supporter for free speech and was very outspoken on his ideas that the emperor should do nothing without the consent of the Senate. Vespasian commented saying, "I will not kill a dog simply for barking." Priscus kept trying to see how far he could push Vespasian and eventually was banished from Rome. [1]

My Take by David Verne
This was an isolated case during Vespasian's reign, and he never will implement anything resembling the treason trials. Even in America, where free speech is one of our fundamental rights, certain things are considered illegal; such as shouting fire in a crowded theater or calling for the overthrow of the government.

See Also


  1. Duncan, Mike (November 08, 2009). 73- The Only Man who Improved.

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