Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Vaspaciens, Vaspacianus, Vaspasien, Vaspasiens, Vaspassianus, Vaspassiens, Vaspasyanus, Vaspasyen, Vaspasyens, Vespasianus

In the Grail histories, the Emperor of Rome forty years after Christ. He is called the son of Emperor Titus, but the historical emperor Vespasian reigned before Titus, between AD 69 and 79.

The Christian apocrypha relates how Vespasian went to Jerusalem to avenge the death of Christ, a tale upon which Robert de Boron and the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal built: While his father, Titus, was still Emperor, Vespasian suffered from a horrible leprosy and promised riches to anyone who could cure it.

Finally, a knight from Capernaum delivered word that an object touched by Jesus Christ might heal him; after searching for such an artifact, Vespasian was cured by a cloth from Veronica. In gratitude, Vespasian planned to avenge the death of Christ in Jerusalem. He traveled to Jerusalem and executed all people who were involved in Christ’s death.

He learned of Joseph of Arimathea’s imprisonment and freed him. Joseph had him baptized, and he returned to Rome. The Third Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval says that Vespasian brought Joseph with him to Rome. Later, Vespasian besieged Jerusalem when it was ruled by Agrippe.

Prior to the Grail histories, Vespasian appears in the chronicles as a Roman general who, under Emperor Claudius I, quelled the revolt of King Arviragus of Britain.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Joseph d’Arimathie | Robert de Boron, 1191–1202
Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1215-1230
Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal | 1220-1235
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240