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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ VitelliusView Options:  |  |  | 

Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

Aulus Vitellius was declared emperor by his troops in 69 A.D. After defeating the forces of Otho, he took control of Rome but then spent more time at the banquet table then in governance. General Vespasian was then declared emperor in Alexandria, and the legions stationed along the Danube frontier marched against Vitellius. His forces were defeated, the emperor slain and his body dragged through the streets of Rome and dumped in the Tiber.


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This coin is M13 in The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan by Kevin Butcher and Matthew Pointing. Testing established this coin was minted to the first Neronian standard, at 78.6% silver. There is a very tiny hole drilled in the edge where the sample was taken.
SH72993. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M13 (this coin), RIC I 105 (R), RSC II 47, BMCRE I 31, BnF III 67, Hunter I 11, SRCV I 2198 var. (no AVG, May - Jul), F, toned, tiny sample hole on the edge, weight 3.093 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, Jul - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS RESTITVTA (Liberty restored), Libertas standing facing, head right, pileus in extended right hand, long rod vertical in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; rare; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


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"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, '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 which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH77386. Silver denarius, RIC I 86 (S); RSC II 114; BMCRE I p. 370, 17; BnF III 46; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, toned, marks and scratches, somewhat oval flan, slight edge damage, weight 2.972 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. May - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod-lebes with dome cover, dolphin right on top, raven standing right below bowl; ex CNG e-auction 221 (28 Oct 2009), lot 483; ex Jörg Müller Collection; scarce; $380.00 (€338.20)
 


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Suetonius wrote of Vitellius' physical description, "He was in fact abnormally tall, with a face usually flushed from hard drinking, a huge belly, and one thigh crippled from being struck once time by a four-horse chariot, when he was in attendance on Gaius as he was driving..."
SH75001. Silver denarius, RIC I 107 (S), RSC II 72, BMCRE I 34, BnF III 71, Hunter I 17, SRCV I 2200, F, dark cabinet toning, weight 2.557 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Apr - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right on throne, veiled and draped, patera in right hand, scepter in left hand; scarce; $240.00 (€213.60)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVITELLIVSGERMAIMPAVGPMTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMANICVSIMP
AVITELLIVSGERMANIMPAVGPMTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMANIMPTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMIMPAVGTRP
AVITELLIVSGERIMPAVGPMAXTRP
AVITELLIVSIMPGERMAN
AVITELLIVSIMPGERMANICVS


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulèvement de 68 après J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Vitellius