History of Europe

Vespasian, the patron saint of the corrupt.

If at the time we already talked about the patron saint of experts, eunuchs and whores, today we have to deal with Vespasian , the pattern of this "hobby", almost turned into a job, so fashionable today.

Vespasian he was emperor of the Roman Empire from 69 to 79 and founder of the Flavian Dynasty.


The Cloaca Maxima it was a sewage network that carried sewage to the Tiber. Logically, this network did not cover all of Rome, much less the areas of the lower classes, who had to deposit their waste in public urinals (amphorae scattered around the city). The urine thus obtained was treated and used to clean clothes. The emperor, as a good politician and always looking out for his subjects, found a new source of income:«vectigal urinae » (urine tax). The new tax created such unrest among the people that even his son, Tito , he came to reproach him for the origin of the money obtained through this tax. Vespasian took a coin, brought it close to his nose and said:

««Pecunia no olet » (money doesn't smell)

And this phrase has remained the perfect excuse to ignore the origin of the money.

Nowadays, public urinals are called vespasiennes (France) and vespasiani (Italy).