Otho Last Coin ------------------ Next Coin Vespasian

Roman Empire

Ruler: Vitellius
Reigned: 2nd Jan - 1st July 69 AD
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 69 AD
Obverse: Laureate head right. "A. VITELLIVS GERMAN. IMP. TR. P."[1]
Reverse: Tripod -lebes, above -dolphin facing right, below tripod -raven facing right. "XV VIR. SACR. FAC."[2]
Reference: RSC 114, RIC 86
Weight: 2.6 gms
Diameter: 17.3 mm
[2]= "XV VIRTVS? SACRO FACIO" = This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundus, "fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters". This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood that appealed to the gluttonous emperor.


  • Aulus Vitellius was born September AD 12 or 15, the son of a consul.
  • He was an ardent flatterer of three emperors in turn: Caligula, Claudius and Nero. He was made consul in 48 and governor of Africa in 55-57.
  • In March 68 AD Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, revolted against Nero. He was supported by Galba.
  • In May 68 AD the armies of the Rhine defeated Vindex at Besancon. They tried to proclaim their own commander, Verginius Rufus, emperor, but he refused.
  • Galba was declared emperor by the senate on 8th June 68 AD.
  • On 9th June 68 AD Nero committed suicide.
  • In January 69 AD, the armies of Upper and Lower Germany declared Aulus Vitellius their new emperor.
  • 15th January 69 AD, Galba was killed. Otho was declared emperor.
  • Otho took his armies to northern Italy to meet those of Vitellius.
  • Vitellius defeated them at the Battle of Cremona on 14th April 69 AD, although Vitellius stayed in Gaul.
  • Otho committed suicide on 16th April 69 AD.
  • Vitellius entered Rome as emperor.
  • In July 69 AD, the army in the east declared for Titus Flavius Vespasianus, a distinguished general.
  • Antonius Primus, commander of the Sixth Legion in Pannonia, and Cornelius Fuscus, imperial procurator in Illyricum, declared in favour of Vespasian and moved the Danube legions to Italy.
  • On 24th October, Vitellius's armies were defeated at the second Battle of Cremona.
  • On 20th December 69 AD, Vespasian's army reached Rome.
  • Vitellius tried to flee but was caught, killed and thrown into the Tiber.

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