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Vitellius
Augustus
AD 69 (2 January - 20 December AD 69)

Silver AR Denarius
Rome mint April-Dec AD 69

Coins Catalog ID: 2004
Rarity: scarce

click image to expand Image courtesy of: Galleria Antiquarica
Sales Description
Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP - Bare head right
Reverse: no legend - Victory, draped, seated left, holding patera and palm.
References: 
RIC, vol. I, p. 272, 71
BMC, 4

Vitellius - Aulus Vitellius - born AD 15 - brutaly murdered by the mob on 20 December AD 69. Son of Lucius Vitelius; Father of Petronianvs, Vitelius Germanicus and Vitellia.

Mints: Lugdunum, Narbo, Rome, Tarraco.

Biography: Aulus Vitellius became emperor due to his fortunate appointment as commander of Lower Germany in December 68, just in time to exploit the troops' raising resentment over Galba's stinginess. When in January 69 the legions of Upper Germany rose in revolt, those in Lower Germany joined them and declared for Vitellius. The commanders of Gaul, Britain, and Raetia decided to follow suit. Not a soldier himself, Vitellius remained in Gaul, while his commanders marched south to eliminate Galba and Otho. Once Rome was captured, Vitellius set off to Italy himself, his journey marked by revelry, drinking, feasting and general indiscipline. A slave of luxury and gluttony, Vitellius had also the temerity to remark, by passing a corpse-strewn battle field on his way that the smell of dead fellow citizens is a sweet thing to behold. He was lenient enough to leave officials appointed by Otho in their positions, and his only major change was to disband the praetorian guard and then stuff the corps with members of the German legions who had made him emperor. This was in June. In July, however, two of the Danubian commanders who joined Vespasian's revolt descended on Italy. A major battle took place at Cremona in October and Vitellius's forces were completely crushed. In December, a second attempt to hold off the advancing forces of the pretender for the army just went over to Vespasian's generals. Vitellius then tried to abdicate, but his entourage would not hear of it. On December 20 Vespasian's soldiers fought their way into Rome. Vitellius tied up a money belt around his waist, disguised himself as a beggar, and hid in the door-keeper's lodge. He was tracked down, dragged half-naked to the Forum, tortured and killed. His body was thrown into the Tiber, like that of a common criminal.

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