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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » Heroes or Villains: Domitian
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Topic Subject:Heroes or Villains: Domitian
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 11-27-12 11:57 PM EDT (US)         
This is a question I always wanted to ask about Domitian. Was he a hero or a villain. In a few articles I've read, the authors claim that the image of a bad Domitian is nothing but a propaganda attempt by ancient writers associated with the senatorial class. Even though I believe that Domitian's policy set the foundations for Rome's flourishing under the Antonines, I doubt that he wasn't any bad at all. I mean, he was one of the emperors receiving "damnatio memoriae". Share your opinion.

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
AuthorReplies:
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 11-28-12 00:42 AM EDT (US)     1 / 2       
one of the worst problems with ancient history was that it was written by a select class of aristocrats. From what i heard a while ago, Domitians policies were forward thinking, but TOO FAR forward. Domitian attempted to streamline burecracy but phasing out the senate from the equation and making the Emperor the absolute head of state. I have also heard that he was popular with the army( i think i am thinking about the right one) and with the lower classes, just not with the senate but unfortuantely, that is who wrote history..

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 11-28-12 03:02 AM EDT (US)     2 / 2       
From what I read, he was a bit of both.

He started out a hedonist and a lover of life. Why not? His older brother was destined to inherit, while he would be nothing more than a rich man who would never have to work a day in his life. Then his father makes himself Imperator, which suddenly thrusts the young drunkard into the IMperial Family, where he might actually have to do something.

He was a clever man, and learned much of governing under his father and brother's reigns. It is alluded to, or suggested, that he had something to do with the death of Titus, but that is not proven. He did benefit greatly from the demise of his brother.

His reign began well, then began to deteriorate. It was at this point the histories begin to turn against him, as he began turning on the Senate. Literate people write the hsitories, as you know, and the Senators were literate. basically, Domitian wanted his will put through, and the Senate opposed him. So he ran roughshod over them and got his will anyway.

It is also suggested that his absolute power made him paranoid and nuts, like Tiberius, and then Claudius. In fact, most emperors who reigned long ended up disparaged by contemporary historians- Augustus and Trajan being notable exceptions. There are some theories that Titus- beloved of all Rome- was so beloved because he had not served long enough to turn bad like his brother did.

Domitian did do some nasty shit in his later days. He did some nasty shit in his younger days too, but his middle days were actually quite good.

Hero or villain? He was both.

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