Aulus Vitellius (69 CE) 0 Products




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Aulus Vitellius (69 CE)

Aulus Vitellius was emperor for only 8 months in the notorious "Year of the Four Emperors". Vitellius was proclaimed emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war.

Vitellius was the first to add the cognomen "Germanicus" to his name instead of Caesar upon his accession. Vitellius tried to rally public support to his cause by imitating the policies of Nero who remained popular throughout the empire.

He was a companion of Tiberius during his retirement on Capri and there befriended Caligula. He held several political posts during his career including proconsular governor of Africa. In 68, he was chosen to command the army of Germania Inferior by emperor Galba. He was later proclaimed emperor by the armies of Germania Inferior and Superior, beginning a revolt against Galba.

Galba was assassinated by Otho, and Vitellius then faced Otho in battle. He defeated Otho at the Battle of Bedriacum, and was recognized emperor by the Roman Senate.

His claim to the throne was soon challenged by legions stationed in the eastern provinces, who proclaimed their commander Vespasian emperor instead. War ensued, leading to a crushing defeat for Vitellius at the Second Battle of Bedriacum in northern Italy. Once he realised his support was wavering, Vitellius prepared to abdicate in favour of Vespasian. He was not allowed to do so by his supporters, resulting in a brutal battle for Rome between Vitellius' forces and the armies of Vespasian. He was executed in Rome by Vespasian's soldiers on 20 December 69.

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