After the death of his wife, Vespasian's long standing mistress, Antonia Caenis, became his wife in all but name until she died in 75.
Caenis, a former slave and secretary of Antonia Minor (mother of the emperor Claudius), was the mistress of the Roman emperor Vespasian. It is believed that she was born in Istria, now in Croatia. Suetonius says that after the death of Vespasian's wife Flavia Domitilla, Caenis was his wife in all but name until her death in AD 74. She had a remarkable memory and considerable influence on the emperor's administration, carried out official business on his behalf, and apparently made a lot of money from her position. However, she was treated with disrespect by Vespasian's son Domitian.
The life of Caenis and her love-story with Vespasian is portrayed in Lindsey Davis' novel The Course of Honour.
- Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Vespasian 3, 21; Domitian 12.3
- Dio Cassius, Roman History 66.14
- William Smith (1870), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology