The construction of the Via Nova between Braga and Astorga took place during the empires of Titus Flavius and his son, Titus. It was finally opened by Gaius Calpetanus Rantius Quirinalis Valerius Festus in AD 79. as recorded on a milestone.
Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus
Titus Flavius Vespasianus (November 17, 9 AD – June 23, 79 AD), known as Vespasian, was emperor of the Roman Empire from 69 AD (after succeeding Nero who died in 68 AD), and was the first emperor of non-Roman origin, being a Sabine. As emperor, he tried to clean up the government and public finances while trying to appear as the restorer of ancient traditions via numerous measures:
- He restored taxes that had been previously abolished, created new ones (even taxing public urinals), doubled the tribute to be paid by the provinces and revoked imperial immunity.
- He began a complete construction programme, including the Temple of Peace, the temple in honour of Emperor Claudius, and began the reconstruction of the Capitoline.
- He appointed new judges, tasked with rapidly and dramatically reducing unsolved court cases, and restoring what had been forcibly taken during the civil wars.
- Another of his most representative changes was to establish the principle of a hereditary monarchy in the Roman Empire.
Before Vespasian, Roman law applied only and exclusively to Roman citizens and Latin law applied to non-Roman Italian citizens. The rest of the provinces were treated much worse.
Vespasian changed all that and granted the right of citizenship to many parts of the empire (Hispania received the ius Latii, or Latin rights) as a way to improve the perception of taxes and internally consolidate the empire. Latin law granted new rights to citizens in those parts of the empire, thereby making them more interested in Roman culture, enabling them to be recruited into the Roman army and not just to be used as auxiliaries. By joining the army, they came to have other benefits, such as a transfer of land at the end of their service in the army, the granting of Roman citizenship at the end of their years of service and the possibility of being elected to posts of intermediate importance.
At the age of 78, and in stark contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, he died a natural death from infection. In his typical sardonic spirit, before dying he said:
“Wow! I think I am becoming a god!”
After this, he insisted they help him up, as
“An emperor must die on his feet”
Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasian
Emperor and Caesar Titus Flavius (Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus), son of Flavius Vespasian, was emperor of the Roman Empire from 79 AD until his death in 81 AD. He finalised construction of the Via Nova between Braga and Astorga (in 79 AD) and this was opened by Gaius Calpetanus Rantius Quirinalis Valerius, the legate governor of Augustus (of the province Citerior).
Against all odds, Titus proved to the people he was an effective emperor and was well liked by all the Romans, as he was possessed of the best virtues.
The construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, commonly known as the Colosseum in Rome, was completed. For more honour and glory of the Flavian dynasty, the works of the Temple of Titus and Vespasian were begun which would end during the emperorship of Domitian.
Tito fell ill and died of fever, apparently on the same estate as his father. The last words Titus spoke were “I made just one mistake”. Historians have speculated much about the exact nature of Titus’ death and the error to which he refers in his last words. Philostrat argues that he was poisoned by Domitian, and the error to which Titus refers is not having executed his brother when he discovered his participation in the plot against him.
During the mandate of this lineage, one of its eternal symbols flourished in Rome, the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheatre, which was begun under the command of Vespasian, becoming the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire; it still stands almost 2,000 years later. Although it is true that in this period great constructions were erected, there were also all kinds of calamities: the eruption of Vesuvius, on August 24, 79 AD – 2 months after the death of Vespasian – which devastated Pompeii and Herculaneum; a catastrophic fire in Rome in the year 80 AD, although less than the one that occurred 12 years earlier under the reign of Nero; and a plague epidemic.