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Encyclopedia > Vitellius
Vitellius
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Emperor Vitellius
Reign 17 April 6922 December 69
Full name Aulus Vitellius
Born 24 September 15(15-09-24)
Died 22 December 69 (age 54)
Rome
Predecessor Otho
Successor Vespasian
Dynasty None
Father Richard Fuller
Mother Sextilia

Aulus Vitellius (September 24, 15December 22, 69), also called Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus, was Roman Emperor from April 17, 69 to December 22 of the same year, one of the emperors in the "Year of the Four Emperors" (the others being Galba, Otho, and Vespasian). He was the son of Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sextilia, and had one brother, Lucius Vitellius the younger. Suetonius records that there were two different legends of the Vitelli-that at one time they were rulers of Latium-or that their beginings were shameful; Suetonius also recorded that when Vitellius was born his horoscope so horrified his parents that his father tried to prevent Aulus from becoming a consul. Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law This article discusses the nature of the imperial dignity, and its dynastic development throughout the history of the Empire. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... is the 107th day of the year (108th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 69 (disambiguation). ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 69 (disambiguation). ... is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 15 (disambiguation). ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 69 (disambiguation). ... Emperor Otho. ... Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (born November 17, 9, died June 23, 79), known originally as Titus Flavius Vespasianus and usually referred to in English as Vespasian, was emperor of Rome from 69 to 79. ... is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 15 (disambiguation). ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 69 (disambiguation). ... This is a list of Roman Emperors with the dates they controlled the Roman Empire. ... is the 107th day of the year (108th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. ... Servius Sulpicius Galba (December 24, 3 BC – January 15, 69) was Roman Emperor from June 8, 68 until his death. ... Emperor Otho. ... Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (born November 17, 9, died June 23, 79), known originally as Titus Flavius Vespasianus and usually referred to in English as Vespasian, was emperor of Rome from 69 to 79. ... Lucius Vitellius was the name of two politicians of the early Roman Empire, father and son. ... Lucius Vitellius, son of Lucius Vitellius the elder and his wife Sextilia, and brother of the emperor Vitellius. ... Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus ( 69/75 - after 130), also known as Suetonius, was a prominent Roman historian and biographer. ... Latium (Lazio in Italian) is a region of central Italy, bordered by Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, Campania and the Tyrrhenian Sea. ...

Contents

Life

Pre-throne career

He was consul in 48, and (perhaps in 60-61) proconsul of Africa, in which capacity he is said to have acquitted himself with credit. At the end of 68 Galba, to the general astonishment, selected him to command the army of Germania Inferior, and here Vitellius made himself popular with his subalterns and with the soldiers by outrageous prodigality and excessive good nature, which soon proved fatal to order and discipline. Events Rome Roman Emperor Claudius invests Agrippa II with the office of superintendent of the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Events Boudicca sacks London (approximate date). ... For the Miocene ape, see Proconsul (genus) Under the Roman Empire a proconsul was a promagistrate filling the office of a consul. ... Categories: Historical stubs | Ancient Roman provinces ... Centuries: 1st century BCE - 1st century - 2nd century Decades: 10s 20s 30s 40s 50s - 60s - 70s 80s 90s 100s 110s Years: 63 64 65 66 67 - 68 - 69 70 71 72 73 Events June 9 - Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide. ... Servius Sulpicius Galba (December 24, 3 BC – January 15, 69) was Roman Emperor from June 8, 68 until his death. ... The Roman province of Germania Inferior, 120 AD Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in todays southern and western Netherlands, the whole of Belgium and Luxembourg, parts of north-eastern France, and western Germany. ...


As emperor

Vitellius on a coin.
Vitellius on a coin.

He owed his elevation to the throne to Caecina and Valens, commanders of two legions on the Rhine. Through these two men a military revolution was speedily accomplished; they refused to renew their vows of allegiance to Emperor Galba on January 1, 69, and early in 69 Vitellius was proclaimed emperor at Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne) More accurately, he was proclaimed emperor of the armies of Germania Inferior and Superior. The armies of Gaul, Brittania and Raetia sided with them shortly afterwards. By the time that they marched on Rome, however, it was Otho, and not Galba, whom they had to confront. This article is about monetary coins. ... Aulus Caecina Alienus, Roman general, was quaestor of Hispania Baetica (southern Iberia) in AD 68. ... Fabian Valens of Anagnia (? - 69 CE) Valens was a roman commander favoured by Nero who, in 69, commanded an army in Germany. ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ... Servius Sulpicius Galba (December 24, 3 BC – January 15, 69) was Roman Emperor from June 8, 68 until his death. ... is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 69 (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... Categories: Historical stubs | Ancient Roman provinces | German history | Germany | History of the Germanic peoples ... Emperor Otho. ...


In fact, he was never acknowledged as emperor by the entire Roman world, though at Rome the Senate accepted him and decreed to him the usual imperial honours. He advanced into Italy at the head of a licentious and rough soldiery, and Rome became the scene of riot and massacre, gladiatorial shows and extravagant feasting. To reward his victorious legionaries, Vitellius disbanded the existing Praetorian Guard and installed his own men instead. The Roman Senate (Latin: Senatus) was the main governing council of both the Roman Republic, which started in 509 BC, and the Roman Empire. ...


In July 69, Vitellius learnt that the armies of the eastern provinces had proclaimed a rival emperor; their commander, Titus Flavius Vespasianus. As soon as it was known that the armies of the East, Dalmatia, and Illyricum had declared for Vespasian, Vitellius, deserted by many of his adherents, would have resigned the title of emperor. Dalmatia, highlighted, on a map of Croatia. ... This article is about an ancient civilization in southeastern Europe; see also Illyria (software), Illyria (character in the TV series Angel). ... Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (born November 17, 9, died June 23, 79), known originally as Titus Flavius Vespasianus and usually referred to in English as Vespasian, was emperor of Rome from 69 to 79. ...


It is said that he awaited Vespasian's army at Mevania. It was said that the terms of resignation had actually been agreed upon with Marcus Antonius Primus, the commander of the sixth legion serving in Pannonia and one of Vespasian’s chief supporters, but the praetorians refused to allow him to carry out the agreement, and forced him to return to the palace, when he was on his way to deposit the insignia of empire in the Temple of Concord. On the entrance of Vespasian's troops into Rome he was dragged out of some miserable hiding-place (according to Tacitus a door-keeper's lodge), driven to the fatal Gemonian stairs, and there struck down. His body was thrown into the Tiber.{Suetonius} {According to Cassius Dio Vitellius was beheaded and his head paraded around Rome; his wife attended to his burial}. "Yet I was once your emperor," were the last and, as far as we know, the noblest words of Vitellius. His brother and son were also killed. Mevania (modern Bevagna), an ancient Roman town and municipium of (Umbria), in the Augustan Regio VI. It lay on the western branch of the Via Flaminia, 13 km (8 mi) WSW of Forum Flaminii where the branches rejoin. ... Marcus Antonius Primus, Roman general, was born at Tolosa in Gaul (nowadays Toulouse in south-west France) about A.D. 30-35. ... For other uses, see Pannonia (disambiguation). ... The Gemonian Stairs (Scalae Gemoniae in Latin) were a flight of steps located in the ancient city of Rome. ... Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus ( 69/75 - after 130), also known as Suetonius, was a prominent Roman historian and biographer. ... Cassius Dio Cocceianus (ca. ...

Engraving showing Vitellius.

During his brief administration Vitellius showed indications of a desire to govern wisely, but he was completely under the control of Valens and Caecina, who for their own ends encouraged him in a course of vicious excesses which threw his better qualities into the background. It should be noted that one of the key accounts of Vitellus's cruelty and his being entirely under 'control' by Valens and Caecina is the historian Suetonius, given that Suetonius's own father was a military officer loyal to Otho we must be somewhat skeptical of his account, especially when other biographers namely Tacitus and Cassius Dio disagree with some of Suetonius assertions, even though their own accounts of Vitellus are scarcely positive ones. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus ( 69/75 - after 130), also known as Suetonius, was a prominent Roman historian and biographer. ... Emperor Otho. ... For other uses, see Tacitus (disambiguation). ... Cassius Dio Cocceianus (ca. ...


Despite his short reign he made two important contributions to Roman government which outlasted him. Tacitus describes them both in his Histories: For other uses, see Tacitus (disambiguation). ... The Histories (Latin: Historiae) is a book by Tacitus, written c. ...


Firstly Vitellus ended the practice of Centurions selling furloughs and exemptions of duty to their men, a change Tacitus describes as being adopted by 'all good emperors'.


He also expanded the offices of the Imperial Administration beyond the imperial pool of Freedmen allowing those of the Equites to take up positions in the Imperial Civil service. An Equestrian (Latin eques, plural equites) was a member of one of the two upper social classes in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. ...


Against the astrologers

In her book Ancient Astrology, Tamsyn Barton relates one story while explaining the dangers of practicing astrology in the Roman Empire:

"Thus astrologers were wise to act as an anonymous group. In the turbulent year of 69 CE, in response to Vitellius’ decree banning them from Rome and Italy from 1 October, they posted an announcement with their own edict:

"Decreed by all astrologers
In blessing on our State
Vitellius will be no more
On the appointed date."

In response Vitellius executed any astrologers he came across, according to Suetonius. He did not have long to enjoy the satisfaction of proving them wrong, for he only survived three months afterwards. (Tamsyn Barton, Ancient Astrology, pgs. 47-48.)


In fiction

Vitellius is also an antagonist in Simon Scarrow's Eagle novels, based around Vespasian and the Legio II Augusta's exploits during the Roman conquest of Britain. Simon Scarrow is a UK-based author, born in Nigeria. ... Legio II Augusta, or Second Augustan Legion, was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in 4th century. ... Britain was the target of invasion by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire several times during its history. ...


Sources

The surviving sources, particularly Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, give an unfavourable picture of Vitellius; however it should be remembered that Suetonius' father was an army officer who had fought for Otho and against Vitellius at the first Battle of Bedriacum. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus ( 69/75 - after 130), also known as Suetonius, was a prominent Roman historian and biographer. ... The Twelve Caesars is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire. ... Emperor Otho. ... In the Year of the four emperors (69 C.E.), Marcus Salvius Otho, with the support and aid of the Praetorian Guard, had his predecessor Galba murdered in January and claimed the throne for himself. ...


Far from being ambitious or scheming, he was lazy and self-indulgent, fond of eating and drinking, and was considered to be an obese glutton, eating banquets four times a day. Sources report that one banquet included 2,000 fish and 4,000 birds, and that his favorite dishes included pike livers, pheasant brains, and flamingo tongues — which rare ingredients he would send the Roman navy to procure. It was even said that he starved his own mother to death- to fulfill a prophecy that he would rule long if his mother died first. Species  E. americanus –       grass and redfin pickerels  E. lucius – northern pike  E. masquinongy – muskellunge  E. niger – chain pickerel   – Amur pike Esox Linnaeus, 1758, is a genus of freshwater fish, the only member of the pike family (family Esocidae) of order Esociformes. ... Genera Ithaginis Catreus Rheinartia Crossoptilon Lophura Argusianus Pucrasia Syrmaticus Chrysolophus Phasianus † See also partridge, quail Pheasants are a group of large birds in the order Galliformes. ... Species See text For other uses, see Flamingo (disambiguation). ...


References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Vitellius

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Primary sources

  • Life of Vitellius (Suetonius; English translation and Latin original)
  • Cassius Dio, Book 64

Secondary Sources

Preceded by
Claudius and Lucius Vitellius
Consul of the Roman Empire together with Lucius Vipstanus Publicola Messalla
48
Succeeded by
Quintus Veranius and Gaius Pompeius Longus Gallus
Preceded by
Otho
Roman Emperor
69
Succeeded by
Vespasian
Preceded by
Otho
Year of the Four Emperors
69, in competition with Vespasian
Succeeded by
Vespasian
Roman Empire at its greatest extent with the conquests of Trajan Pax Romana, Latin for the Roman peace (sometimes Pax Augusta), was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire between 27 BC and 180 AD. Augustus Caesar led Rome into... For other persons named Octavian, see Octavian (disambiguation). ... For other persons named Tiberius, see Tiberius (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Roman emperor. ... For other persons named Claudius, see Claudius (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Nero (disambiguation). ... Servius Sulpicius Galba (December 24, 3 BC – January 15, 69) was Roman Emperor from June 8, 68 until his death. ... Emperor Otho. ... Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus (November 17, 9 – June 23, 79), known originally as Titus Flavius Vespasianus and usually referred to in English as Vespasian, was emperor of Rome from 69 to 79. ... For other uses, see Titus (disambiguation). ... Titus Flavius Domitianus (24 October 51 – 18 September 96), commonly known as Domitian, was a Roman Emperor of the gens Flavia. ... For other uses, see Nerva (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Roman Emperor. ... Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76 –– July 10, 138), known as Hadrian in English, was emperor of Rome from 117 A.D. to 138 A.D., as well as a Stoic and Epicurean philosopher. ... Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius (September 19, 86–March 7, 161) was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. ... Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus Armeniacus (December 15, 130 – 169), known simply as Lucius Verus, was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius (161–180), from 161 until his death. ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Rome, April 26, 121[2] – Vindobona or Sirmium, March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death in 180. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Vitellius (375 words)
Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Roman Emperor from January 2 to the December 22 AD 69, was born, on September 24 AD One of the emperors in the "year of the four emperors", he was the son of Lucius Vitellius[?], who had been consul and governor of Syria under Tiberius.
Vitellius was consul in 48, and (perhaps in 60-61) proconsul of Africa, in which capacity he is said to have acquitted himself with credit.
During his brief administration Vitellius showed indications of a desire to govern wisely, but he was completely under the control of Valens and Caecina, who for their own ends encouraged him in a course of vicious excesses which threw his better qualities into the background.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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