Domitian (Biographical details)

Domitian (ruler; royal/imperial; Roman; Male; 51 - 96)

Also known as

Domitian; Titus Flavius Domitianus; Domitian Caesar


Emperor 81-96; younger son of Vespasian (q.v.).
Titus Flavius Domitianus was born in AD 51 and spent a poverty-stricken youth in Rome. He laid low during the war with Vitellius and enjoyed an appointment as city praetor when his family emerged victorious. He planned an unnecessary expedition into Gaul to try to win popularity and honour and engaged in affairs with many women.

When his brother Titus (q.v.) died, Domitian did little to honour his memory and instead turned to providing extravagant entertainment in the amphitheatre and circus. He sought to improve public morals and took his duties of justice very seriously, but was also cruel and cunning towards rivals and enemies. His high-handed behaviour led his friends, freedmen and wife to conspire for his murder, and he died at the hands of a servant in September of AD 96. Suetonius describes Domitian as tall and well-made, with large weak eyes and a modest expression. He was very self-conscious of being bald.