Famous Last Words · Italy · Political

FLW: an enigmatic mistake

Famous Last Words
Emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus
Rome, Italy
September 13, 81 AD

“I have made only one mistake.”

Emperor Titus was 41 at the time of his death, serving just two years in office before he died. During that time, he was renowned for his charity, assisting the survivors of the Mount Vesuvius eruption (which famously destroyed Pompeii) in 79 AD and a devastating fire in Rome in 80 AD.

The mistake Titus alluded to with his last words is unclear. Ancient historian Philostratus (who died c. 247 AD) wrote Titus’ brother Domitian had poisoned the emperor to assume the throne, leading many to believe Titus regretted not having his brother executed when he had the chance for openly conspiring against him.

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