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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.


Obverse legends:

AVITELLIVSGERMAIMPAVGPMTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMANICVSIMP
AVITELLIVSGERMANIMPAVGPMTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMANIMPTRP
AVITELLIVSGERMIMPAVGTRP
AVITELLIVSGERIMPAVGPMAXTRP
AVITELLIVSIMPGERMAN
AVITELLIVSIMPGERMANICVS




Average well preserved denarius weight 3.30 grams.


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Dictionary of Roman Coins








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VITELLIVS (Aulus), the son of Lucius Vitellius was born in A.D. 15 and passed his early life at Capri with Tiberius, and was a favourite with Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.  He was elected Consul in A.D. 48, and was Proconsul of Africa for a year.  In A.D. 68 he was sent by Galba to Germany, and soon after, revolting against him, was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers.  Otho had in the meantime been elected Emperor at Rome, but was defeated by Vitellius in A.D. 69 at Bedriacum.  He did not however, long enjoy the supreme power, for his gluttony and prodigality were so disgraceful tht Vespasian, who was in command of the war against the Jews, was persuaded to allow himself to be elected Emperor.  Thus after a reign of about eight months, Vitellius was captured at Rome by the soldiers of Vespasian and ignominiously killed at the Gemoniae Scalae, where the corpse of Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, had a few days previously been thrown.  Vitellius is said to have accepted the cognomen of Germanicus, deferred assuming the title of Augustus, and refused for ever that of Caesar (Suet. Vitell. c 8; Tac. Hist. ii c 62.)

He was twice married-1. to Petronia, by whom he had a son named Petronianus, who was blind of one eye, and whom he put to death; 2.- to Galeria Fundana, by whom he had sons and daughters, amongst the former of whom was one who stammered so much that he was almost dumb (Suet. Vitell. 6).  Of the wives there are no coins, but gold and silver pieces are extant, prepresenting some of the children [LIBERI. IMP. GERMAN or GERM. AVG.; LIBERIS IMP. GERMANICI; Vitellius and his children] thus refuting the statement of Josephus, who says that Vitellius died childless. (Bell. Jud. iv. 10,8.)

The following are the principal reverse legends of his coins:

Gold coins- CLEMENTIA IMP GERMAN or GERMANICI (120 Frcs.); CONCORDIA P R (Populi Romani, 120 frcs.); CONSENSVS EXERCITVVM (120 fres.); FIDES EXERCITVVM (150 frcs.); IVPPITER VICTOR (120 fres.); LIBERTAS RESTITVTA (120 frcs.); L VITELLIVS COS. III CENSOR (150 fres-see VITELLIVS [Lucius]); PONT MAXIM (120 frcs.); SECVRITAS IMP GERMAN (Imperatoris Germanici, 150 frcs.); SENATVS P Q ROMANVS (150 frcs.); SPQR OB C S (Senatus Populesque Ramanus ob Cives Servatos, within an oak wreath, 120 frcs.); VESTA P R (Populi Romani) QVRITIVM (200 frcs.) ; VICTORIA AVGVSTI Victory holding a shield (Caylus, 150 frcs, sometimes on shield SPQR, 120 frcs.)


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