96 AD: Another Emperor is done in
On the 18th September AD 96 another of those dreadful Roman Emperors was done in. This time it was Domitian. His father had been the great military commander Vespasian, who started work on the Colosseum. Domitian succeeded his equally good brother, Titus, but when he fell ill, he left orders to his attendants to let him starve.
Domitian was a sadist and as he grew older he lost his good looks and athletic frame. He took his brother’s daughter as a mistress and executed a man after he had taken his wife from him, because he had joked about it with Titus. His wife hatched a plot with another who also feared for his life, using other members of the Emperor’s exasperated staff.
The assassination came days after Domitian had celebrated his 15th anniversary as Emperor.
The man who would do the deed was Stephanus, the steward to Â the Emperor’s niece, Domitilla. Days before he began wearing a sling, feigning an injury. On the 18th September he placed a dagger in it and at a good moment pulled it out, stabbing Domitian in the groin. The two wrestled for their lives, until four more plotters came in and stabbed the Emperor a further seven times.
He was succeeded by a 65 year old Nerva, who was elected by the Senate and who died of natural causes. He was the first of the Five Good Emperors.