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Search results - "vitellius"
VITELLR1DaR.jpg
81 viewsVitellius - DenariusRugser
VITELLIUS_TAG~0.jpg
9 9 viewsSosius
Vitellius_RIC_42.jpg
9 Vitellius As, 69 AD22 viewsVITELLIUS
Æ As.
Tarraco mint

O: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate head left

R: FIDES EXERCITVVM, clasped hands.

RIC 42, Sear5 #2217, Cohen 34.
RI0071
Sosius
Vitellius_RIC_110_no_2.jpg
9 Vitellius Denarius, 69 AD45 viewsVITELLIUS
AR Denarius, 69 AD.

[A VITELLIVS] GERM IMP AVG TR P, Bust right / Anepigraphic. Victory seated left, holding patera and palm

RIC 110, BMCRE 043. aVF
RI0070
2 commentsSosius
Vitellius_RIC_73.jpg
9 Vitellius Denarius, 69 AD18 viewsVITELLIUS
AR denarius, Rome Mint (3.13g)
January 2 - December 20, 69 A.D.

O: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right

R: CONCOR-DIA P R, Concordia seated left holding patera and cornucopia;

RIC I 73 scarce, Cohen 20

I am unsure of authenticity. The only way to determine once and for all will be to clean this one...
RI0072

Sosius
rjb_vit_02_06.jpg
69a82 viewsVitellius 69 AD
AR denarius
Lugdunum mint
Obv "A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN"
Laureate bust left
Rev "CONSENSVS EXERCITVVM"
Mars walking left
Lugdunum mint
RIC - (cf 51)
3.2 grammes, die axis 240 degrees
5 commentsmauseus
vitellius.jpg
(09) VITELLIUS30 views VITELLIUS
69 AD
AE As 26.5 mm 9.3 g
O: Laureate bust left
Probably RIC 46
laney
VITELLIUS_RED.jpg
(09) VITELLIUS31 views VITELLIUS
69 AD
AE As
O: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate bust left
R: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, S-C across field, Libertas, draped, standing facing, head right, holding pileus in right hand and scepter in left.
Spanish, Tarraco?
laney
vitellius_denarius_res.jpg
(09) VITELLIUS33 views69 AD
3.110g, maximum diameter 18.8mm
O: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right
R: CONCOR-DIA P R, Concordia enthroned left, patera in right, cornucopia in left
Rome mint; RIC I 66, RSC II 21, BMCRE I 1, BnF III 3 (Scarce)
(ex-Forum)
1 commentslaney
vitellius_libertas_denarius.jpg
(09) VITELLIUS10 views69 AD
AR Denarius 17 mm, 3.00 g
O: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right
R: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas standing facing, head right, holding pileus and long staff.
Rome; RIC 105; RSC 47
ex. Roma Numismatics auction
laney
Vittelius.jpg
*SOLD*18 viewsVitellius AE25

Attribution: SGI 690, RPC 1616, Koinon, Macedonia
Date: AD 69
Obverse: OYITE Λ Λ IO Σ Γ EPMAIKO Σ AVTOK, laureate head l.
Reverse: Σ EBA σ TO Σ MAKE Δ ON Ω N,
around Macedonian shield
Size: 24 mm
ex-Forvm
Noah
009.jpg
008 VITELLIUS34 viewsEMPEROR: Vitellius
DENOMINATION: Denarius
OBVERSE: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, laureate head right
REVERSE: CONCORDIA P R, Concordia seated left, holding patera & cornucopiae
DATE: AD April - December 69
MINT: Roma
WEIGHT: 3.14 g
RIC: I.66 (S)
1 commentsBarnaba6
99104.jpg
009. Vitellius 69 AD155 viewsVITELLIUS. 69 AD.

Without doubt, the most fortuitous moment in Vitellius' political career was his appointment as governor of Lower Germany by the emperor Galba late in 68.

Vitellius has not escaped the hostility of his biographers. While he may well have been gluttonous, his depiction as indolent, cruel, and extravagant is based almost entirely on the propaganda of his enemies. On the other hand, whatever moderating tendencies he did show were overshadowed by his clear lack of military expertise, a deficiency that forced him to rely in critical situations on largely inneffective lieutenants. As a result he was no match for his Flavian successors, and his humiliating demise was perfectly in keeping with the overall failure of his reign.

AR Denarius (20mm, 3.24 gm). Rome mint. Laureate head right / Tripod-lebes; dolphin above, raven below. RIC I 109; RSC 111. Ex-Cng
1 commentsecoli73
0145.jpg
0145 - Denarius Vitellius 69 AC25 viewsObv/ (A VITE)LLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate bust of V. r.
Rev/ XV VIR SACR FA(C), tripod-lebes with dolphin on top and raven below.

Ag, 18.1 mm, 3.38 g
Mint: Roma.
RIC I/109 [S]
ex-Stack’s Bowers, auction 94, lot 1103
dafnis
Vitellius_AR-Den_A-VITELLIVS-GERMANICVS-IMP_CONCOR-DIA-PR_RIC-I-66_p-271_Rome_69-AD_Scarce_Q-001_axis-7h_17-18mm_2,42g-s.jpg
019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0066, Rome, AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA PR, Concordia seated left,140 views019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0066, Rome, AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA PR, Concordia seated left,
avers:- A-VITELLIVS-GERMANICVS-IMP, Laureate head right.
revers:- CONCOR-DIA-PR, Concordia seated left, holding patera & cornucopiae.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 17-18mm, weight: 2,42g, axes: 7h,
mint: Rome, date: 69 A.D., ref: RIC-I-066_p-271,
Q-001
quadrans
Vitellius_AR-Den_A-VITELLIVS-GERMAN-IMP-TR-P_CONCOR-DIA-PR_RIC-I-73_p-272_Rome_69-AD_Scarce_Q-001_axis-5h_17,5-19mm_3,30g-s.jpg
019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0073, Rome, AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA PR, Concordia seated left,185 views019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0073, Rome, AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA PR, Concordia seated left,
avers:- A-VITELLIVS-GERMAN-IMP-TRP, Laureate head right.
revers:- CONCOR-DIA-PR, Concordia seated left, holding patera & cornucopiae.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 17,5-19mm, weight: 3,30g, axes: 5h,
mint: Rome, date: 69 A.D., ref: RIC-I-073_p-272,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
Vitellius_AR-Den_A-VITELLIVS-GERMAN-IMP-TR-P_XV-VIR-SACR-FAC_RIC-I-86_p-272_Rome_69-AD_Scarce_Q-001_axis-6h_17-19mm_2,72g-s.jpg
019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0086, Rome, AR-Denarius, XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod and dolphin,183 views019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0086, Rome, AR-Denarius, XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod and dolphin,
avers:- A-VITELLIVS-GERMAN-IMP-TR-P, Laureate head right.
revers:- XV-VIR-SACR-FAC, Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 17-19mm, weight: 2,72g, axes: 6h,
mint: Rome, date: 69 A.D., ref: RIC-I-86_p-272,
Q-001
quadrans
Vitellius_AR-Den_A-VITELLIVS-GERM-IMP-AVG-TR-P_XV-VIR-SACR-FAC_RIC-I-109_p-273_Rome_69-AD_Scarce_Q-001_axis-6h_18mm_3,23g-s.jpg
019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0109, Rome, AR-Denarius, XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod and dolphin,347 views019 Vitellius (69 A.D.), RIC I 0109, Rome, AR-Denarius, XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod and dolphin,
avers:- A-VITELLIVS-GERM-IMP-AVG-TR-P, Laureate head right.
revers:- XV-VIR-SACR-FAC, Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below.
exerg: - , diameter: 18mm, weight: 3,23g, axes: 6h,
mint: Rome, date: 69 A.D., ref: RIC-I-109_p-272,
Q-001
3 commentsquadrans
Personajes_Imperiales_2.jpg
02 - Personalities of the Empire58 viewsCalígula, Claudius, Britannicus , Agrippina jr., Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Domitila, Titus, Domitia and Julia Titi1 commentsmdelvalle
RI 028a img.jpg
028 - Vitellius Denarius - RIC 6259 viewsObv:– A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, Laureate head right
Rev:– VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory with shield advancing left, S P Q R on shield
Minted in Lugdunum. A.D. 69
References:– RIC I 62 (Scarce)

Ex-Forvm
1 commentsmaridvnvm
Vitelius-RIC-20.jpg
033. Vitellius.8 viewsDenarius, July - Dec. 69 AD, Rome mint.
Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TRP / Laureate bust of Vitellius.
Reverse: PONT MAXIM / Vesta seated, holding patera and sceptre.
3.42 gm., 17 mm.
RIC #20; Sear #3300.
Callimachus
IMG_5163.JPG
036. Vitellius (69 A.D.) 28 viewsAv.: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN
Rv.: CONSENSVS EXERCITVVM / S-C

AE As Ø25-27 / 7.4g
RIC I 40 Tarraco, Cohen 25
Juancho
vitellius.jpg
08 Vitellius54 viewsDenarius. A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right / CONCORDIA P R, Concordia seated left with patera & cornucopiae. RIC 73. Weight 3.28 g. Die Axis 6 hr.1 commentsmix_val
Otho_RIC_I_3_1.jpg
08 01 Otho RIC I 483 viewsOtho. 15 Jan. to April 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 69 A.D. (3.27g, 18.9mm, 6h). Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right. Obv: PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax, draped, standing left, right holding branch, and left caduceus. RIC I 4, RCV 2156, RSC 3. Ex Warren Esty Personal Collection.

At 3 months, Otho had the shortest reign in the Year of the Four Emperors. During much of Nero’s reign, Otho administered Lusitania, and followed Galba when he marched on Rome. Upon Galba’s naming another as his successor to the throne, with some of the rankers of the Praetorian Guard, Otho staged a coup, had Galba murdered, and was declared Emperor.

THis is an odd reverse message for an emperor complicit in the murder of his one-time allie and predecessor Galba, while the legeons of Vitellius were Marching on Rome. PAX ORBIS TERRARVM "Peace on the Earth" is ironic given the civil war going on in Rome at the time.
5 commentsLucas H
Otho_RIC_I_12~0.jpg
08 02 Otho RIC I 1221 viewsOtho. 15 Jan. to April 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 69 A.D. (3.23, 18.5mm, 6h). Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head left. SECVRITAS P R, Securitas standing left, wreath in right, scepter in left. RIC I 12, RSC 19. Ex Forum.

While coins of Otho are fairly rare given the short length of his reign, this issue is perhaps more so with the left facing bust. (RIC 3). Otho supported Galba’s revolt, and then turned on Galba when he wasn't named Galba's heir. He committed suicide after his forces were defeated by those of Vitellius during the Year of the Four Emperors. A nicely centered and well toned coin.
Lucas H
08_Vitellius_RIC_107Black.jpg
08 Vitellius RIC 10780 viewsVitellius 69 AD. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Late April-20 December 69 A.D. (3,3 gr, 18 mm) Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP TR P, Laureate head right. Rev: PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right with patera and sceptre.

RIC 107; RSC 72; BMC 34.

Ex: Gitbud & Naumann
1 commentsPaddy
IMG_2805.JPG
080 Vitellius 64 viewsVitellius Denarius.
Weight: 3.30 g
Diameter: 18.50 mm
A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right / LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas, draped, standing facing holding pileus and long rod. RIC I 81, RSC 48
5 commentsRandygeki(h2)
Vitellius_RIC_I_81.jpg
09 01 Vitellius RIC I 8167 viewsVitellius 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Late April-Dec 20, 69 A.D. (2.91g, 18.8mm, 5h). Obv: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right. Rev: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas, draped, standing facing, head right, r. holding pileus, l. scepter. RIC I 81, RSC 48. Ex CNG 258, Lot 367.

In the year of 4 emperors, Vitellius assumed the throne after his German legions proclaimed him emperor, marched on Rome, and murdered Otho. Vitellius only ruled for mere months before Vespasian’s eastern legions arrived and murdered him in turn. He was known for his gluttony. I have a Vitellius denarius, but couldn't help picking up this nice example from a reputable dealer for a reasonable price.
2 commentsLucas H
Vitellius_RIC_I_90.jpg
09 Vitellius RIC I 09093 viewsVitellius Jan. 2-Dec. 20, 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint 69 A.D. (3.07g, 19.9m, 6h). Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM I{MP AVG TR P}, laureate head right. Rev: CONCORDIA PR, Concordia seated left holding patera & double cornucopiae. RIC I 90, RSC 18.

Vitellius is described by Suetonius as lazy and self-indulgent, fond of eating and drinking, and an obese glutton, eating banquets four times a day and feasting on rare foods he would send the Roman navy to procure.
2 commentsLucas H
Vitellius_RIC_I_105.jpg
09 Vitellius RIC I 10581 viewsVitellius. Jan. 2-Dec. 20 69 AD. AR Denarius (2.71 g, 17.6m, 5h). Rome mint. Struck circa April-December AD 69. Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right. Rev: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas, draped, standing facing holding pileus & long rod. RIC I 105; RSC 47.

With the same devices as RIC I 81, the difference on this coin is the abbreviated title GERM. Vitellius was commander of the legions in Germania Inferior when the Rhine legions declared him emperor in 69 A.D. He would have resigned as emperor, but was not allowed to do so when Vespasian’s eastern legions marched on Rome, and was ultimately killed and Vespasian was installed as emperor ending the Year of Four Emperors.
Lucas H
vitelliuscombined.jpg
09. VITELLIUS18 views69 AD
AE As
O: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate bust left
R: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, S-C across field, Libertas, draped, standing facing, head right, holding pileus in right hand and scepter in left.
Spanish, Tarraco?
RIC I 43-
laney
12_caes_portraits_coll_res_lt.jpg
12 CAESARS PORTRAITS164 viewsObverse images from my collection.
R 1: Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula
R 2: Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho
R 3: Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian
2 commentslaney
Denario VITELIO RIC 109.jpg
17-01 - VITELIO (02/01/69 D.C. - 20/12/69 D.C.)68 viewsAR Denario 18.5 mm 3.0 gr.

Anv: "A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P" - Busto laureado viendo a derecha.
Rev: "XV V[IR] SACR FACT" - Cuenco o palangana para vino o agua de purificación (Dimnos) apoyado sobre trípode, con delfín arriba nadando hacia la derecha y cuervo parado debajo viendo a derecha.

Acuñada Jul./Dic. 69 D.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: S

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #109 Pag.272 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #2201 Pag.422 - BMCRE #39 - Cohen Vol.1 #111 Pag.365 - DVM #21 Pag.97 - CBN #77 - RSC Vol. II #111 Pag.36
1 commentsmdelvalle
RIC_109_Denario_Vitelio.jpg
17-01 - VITELIO (02/01/69 D.C. - 20/12/69 D.C.)21 viewsAR Denario 18.5 mm 3.0 gr.

Anv: "A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P" - Busto laureado viendo a derecha.
Rev: "XV V[IR] SACR FACT" - Cuenco o palangana para vino o agua de purificación (Dimnos) apoyado sobre trípode, con delfín arriba nadando hacia la derecha y cuervo parado debajo viendo a derecha.

Acuñada Jul./Dic. 69 D.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: S

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #109 Pag.272 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #2201 Pag.422 - BMCRE #39 - Cohen Vol.1 #111 Pag.365 - DVM #21 Pag.97 - CBN #77 - RSC Vol. II #111 Pag.36
mdelvalle
mikrd45.jpg
17-03 - VITELIO (02/01/69 D.C. - 20/12/69 D.C.)28 viewsAR Denario 20 mm 3.03 gr.

Anv: "A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P" - Busto laureado viendo a derecha.
Rev: "PONT MAXIM" - Vesta velada y vestida, sentada a der. en un trono, portando patera en mano der. y cetro vertical en izq.

Acuñada: Julio a Dic. del 69 D.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: S
SRCV I #2200,p.442 - BMCRE I #34 - DVM #16,p.97 - RSC II #72,p.36 - CBN #71

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #107 Pag.273 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #2200 Pag.422 - BMCRE Vol.I #34 - Cohen Vol.1 #72 Pag.361 - DVM #16 Pag.97 - CBN #71 - RSC Vol. II #72 Pag.36
mdelvalle
RIC_107_Denario_Vitelio.jpg
17-03 - VITELIO (02/01/69 D.C. - 20/12/69 D.C.)18 viewsAR Denario 20 mm 3.03 gr.

Anv: "A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P" - Busto laureado viendo a derecha.
Rev: "PONT MAXIM" - Vesta velada y vestida, sentada a der. en un trono, portando patera en mano der. y cetro vertical en izq.

Acuñada: Julio a Dic. del 69 D.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: S

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #107 Pag.273 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #2200 Pag.422 - BMCRE Vol.I #34 - Cohen Vol.1 #72 Pag.361 - DVM #16 Pag.97 - CBN #71 - RSC Vol. II #72 Pag.36
mdelvalle
OthoDenSecuritas.jpg
1au Otho36 views69

Denarius
Bewigged head, right, IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P
Securitas stg., SECVRITAS P R

RIC 10

Suetonius wrote: Otho was born on the 28th of April 32 AD, in the consulship of Furius Camillus Arruntius and Domitius Ahenobarbus, Nero’s father. In early youth he was so profligate and insolent that he earned many a beating from his own father. . . . After his father died, he feigned love for an influential freedwoman at Court, though she was old and decrepit, in order to win her favour, and then used her to insinuate himself among the emperor’s friends, easily achieving the role of Nero’s chief favourite, not only because they were of a similar disposition, but also some say because of a sexual relationship. . . .

Otho had hoped to be adopted by Galba as his successor, and anticipated the announcement daily. But Piso was chosen, dashing Otho’s hopes, and causing him to resort to force, prompted not only by feelings of resentment but also by his mounting debts. He declared that frankly he would have to declare himself bankrupt, unless he became emperor. . . . When the moment was finally ripe, . . . his friends hoisted him on their shoulders and acclaimed him Emperor. Everyone they met joined the throng, as readily as if they were sworn accomplices and a part of the conspiracy, and that is how Otho arrived at his headquarters, amidst cheering and the brandishing of swords. He at once sent men to kill Galba and Piso. . . .

Meanwhile the army in Germany had sworn allegiance to Vitellius. When the news reached Otho he persuaded the Senate to send a deputation, advising the soldiers to maintain peace and order, since an emperor had already been chosen. However he also sent envoys with letters and personal messages, offering to share power with Vitellius, and marry his daughter. With civil war clearly inevitable, on the approach of Vitellius’s advance guard, who had marched on Rome led by their generals, . . . Otho began his campaign vigorously, and indeed too hastily. . . .

His army won three engagements, but of a minor nature, firstly in the Alps, then near Placentia, and finally at a place called Castor’s, and were ultimately defeated in a decisive and treacherous encounter at Betriacum (on the 14th April). . . . After this defeat, Otho resolved to commit suicide, more from feelings of shame, which many have thought justified, and a reluctance to continue the struggle with such high cost to life and property, than from any diffidence or fear of failure shown by his soldiers. . . . On waking at dawn (on the 16th of April, AD69), he promptly dealt himself a single knife-blow in the left side of his chest, and first concealing and then showing the wound to those who rushed in at the sound of his groaning, he breathed his last. . . . Otho was thirty-six years old when he died, on the ninety-second day of his reign. . . .

Neither his bodily form nor appearance suggested great courage. He is said to have been of medium height, bandy-legged and splay-footed, though as fastidious as a woman in personal matters. He had his body-hair plucked, and wore a toupee to cover his scanty locks, so well-made and so close-fitting that its presence was not apparent.
Blindado
VitelliusDenVesta.jpg
1av Vitellius42 views69

Denarius
Portrait, right, A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P
Vesta std., PONT MAX

RIC 107

According to Suetonius: Lucius’s son Aulus, the future emperor, was born on the 24th of September 15AD, or according to some authorities on the 7th, during the consulship of Drusus Caesar and Norbanus Flaccus. . . . His boyhood and early youth were spent on Capreae (Capri) among Tiberius’s creatures, he himself being marked by the nickname of ‘Spintria’ (sex-token) throughout his life, and suspected of having secured his father’s first promotion to office by surrendering his own chastity. As he grew older, though contaminated by every kind of vice, Vitellius gained and kept a prominent place at court, winning Caligula’s friendship by his devotion to chariot-racing and Claudius’s by his love of dice. With Nero he was even closer. . . .

Honoured, as these emperors’ favourite, with high office in the priesthood, as well as political power, he governed Africa (under Nero, in 60/61AD) as proconsul, and was then Curator of Public Works (in 63AD), employing a contrasting approach, and with a contrasting effect on his reputation. In his province he acted with outstanding integrity over two successive years, since he served as deputy also to his brother who succeeded him (61/62AD) yet during his administration of the City he was said to have stolen various temple offerings and ornaments, and substituted brass and tin for the gold and silver in others. . . .

Contrary to all expectations, Galba appointed Vitellius to Lower Germany (in 68AD). Some think it was brought about by Titus Vinius, whose influence was powerful at that time, and whose friendship Vitellius had previously won through their mutual support for the ‘Blues’ in the Circus. But it is clear to everyone that Galba chose him as an act of contempt rather than favour, commenting that gluttons were among those least to be feared, and Vitellius’s endless appetite would now be able to sate itself on a province. . . .

He entered Rome to the sound of trumpets, surrounded by standards and banners, wearing a general’s cape, sword at his side, his officers in their military cloaks also, and the men with naked blades. With increasing disregard for the law, human or divine, he then assumed the office of High Priest on the anniversary of the Allia (18th July), arranged the elections for the next ten years, and made himself consul for life. . . .

Vitellius’s worst vices were cruelty and gluttony. . . . By the eighth month of his reign (November 69AD) the legions in Moesia and Pannonia had repudiated Vitellius, and sworn allegiance to Vespasian despite his absence, following those of Syria and Judaea who had done so in Vespasian’s presence. . . .

The vanguard of Vespasian’s army had now forced its way into the Palace, unopposed, and the soldiers were ransacking the rooms, in their usual manner. They hauled Vitellius, unrecognised, from his hiding place, asked his name and where the Emperor might be. He gave some lying answer, but was soon identified, so he begged for safe custody, even if that meant imprisonment, claiming he had important information for Vespasian regarding his security. However his arms were bound behind him and a noose flung over his head, and he was dragged along the Sacred Way to the Forum, amid a hail of mockery and abuse, half-naked, with his clothes in tatters. His head was held back by the hair, like a common criminal and, with a sword-point under his chin so that he was forced to look up and reveal his face, he was pelted with filth and dung, denounced as arsonist and glutton, and taunted with his bodily defects by the crowd. For, Vitellius was exceptionally tall, and his face was usually flushed from some drinking bout. He had a huge belly, too, and one thigh crippled by a blow from a four-horse chariot which struck him when he was in attendance on Caligula who was driving. At last, after being tormented by a host of cuts from the soldiers’ swords, he was killed on the Gemonian Stairs, and his body dragged with a hook to the Tiber.
1 commentsBlindado
VespDenSalus.jpg
1aw Vespasian44 views69-79

Denarius
Laureate head, right, IMP CAES VESP AVG CEN
Salus seated left with patera, SALVS AVG

RIC 513 (C2)

Suetonius wrote: The Flavians seized power, and the Empire, long troubled and adrift, afflicted by the usurpations and deaths of three emperors, at last achieved stability. True they were an obscure family, with no great names to boast of, yet one our country has no need to be ashamed of. . . . Vespasian was born in the Sabine country, in the little village of Falacrinae just beyond Reate (Rieti), on the 17th of November 9 AD in the consulship of Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus, five years before the death of Augustus. He was raised by his paternal grandmother Tertulla on her estate at Cosa. . . .

Under Claudius, he was sent to Germany (in 41 AD) to command a legion, thanks to the influence of Narcissus. From there he was posted to Britain (in 43 AD), where partly under the leadership of Aulus Plautius and partly that of Claudius himself, he fought thirty times, subjugating two powerful tribes, more than twenty strongholds, and the offshore island of Vectis (the Isle of Wight). This earned him triumphal regalia, and a little later two priesthoods and the consulship (in 51 AD) which he held for the last two months of the year. . . . He won, by lot, the governorship of Africa (in 63 AD), ruling it soundly and with considerable dignity. . . .

An ancient and well-established belief became widespread in the East that the ruler of the world at this time would arise from Judaea. This prophecy as events proved referred to the future Emperor of Rome, but was taken by the Jews to apply to them. They rebelled, killed their governor, and routed the consular ruler of Syria also, when he arrived to restore order, capturing an Eagle. To crush the rebels needed a considerable force under an enterprising leader, who would nevertheless not abuse power. Vespasian was chosen, as a man of proven vigour, from whom little need be feared, since his name and origins were quite obscure. Two legions with eight divisions of cavalry and ten cohorts of auxiliaries were added to the army in Judaea, and Vespasian took his elder son, Titus, along as one of his lieutenants. . . .

Yet Vespasian made no move, though his follower were ready and eager, until he was roused to action by the fortuitous support of a group of soldiers unknown to him, and based elsewhere. Two thousand men, of the three legions in Moesia reinforcing Otho’s forces, despite hearing on the march that he had been defeated and had committed suicide, had continued on to Aquileia, and there taken advantage of the temporary chaos to plunder at will. Fearing that if they returned they would be held to account and punished, they decided to choose and appoint an emperor of their own, on the basis that they were every bit as worthy of doing so as the Spanish legions who had appointed Galba, or the Praetorian Guard which had elected Otho, or the German army which had chosen Vitellius. They went through the list of serving consular governors, rejecting them for one reason or another, until in the end they unanimously adopted Vespasian, who was recommended strongly by some members of the Third Legion, which had been transferred to Moesia from Syria immediately prior to Nero’s death. . . .

Vespasian, an unheralded and newly-forged emperor, as yet lacked even a modicum of prestige and divine majesty, but this too he acquired. . . . Returning to Rome (in 70 AD) attended by such auspices, having won great renown, and after a triumph awarded for the Jewish War, he added eight consulships (AD 70-72, 74-77, 79) to his former one, and assumed the censorship. He first considered it essential to strengthen the State, which was unstable and well nigh fatally weakened, and then to enhance its role further during his reign. . . .
2 commentsBlindado
vitellius sest - PADUAN.jpg
69 AD - VITELLIUS AE sestertius - Paduan96 viewsobv: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG PM TR P (laureate and draped bust right)
rev: Mars walking right, holding spear and trophy, S-C in field
ref: Klawans p. 59, 4; Lawrence 28
23.53gms, 35mm, "PADUAN" after Giovanni Cavino - 1500-1570

Although this coin is a fake, not struck in ancient, I added to my collection until I found an original
berserker
vitellius RIC109.jpg
69 AD - VITELLIUS AR denarius - struck April-Dec 69 AD67 viewsobv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P (laureate head right)
rev: XV VIR SACR FAC (tripod, raven below, dolphin above)
ref: RIC I 109, C.111 (3frcs), BMC39
3.22gms, 18mm
Scarce
1 commentsberserker
Nero AE Sestertius.jpg
706a, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.73 views6, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D. AE setertius, Date: 66 AD; RIC I 516, 36.71 mm; 25.5 grams; aVF. Obverse: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT PP, Laureate bust right; Reverse: S C, ROMA, Roma seated left, exceptional portrait and full obverse legends. Ex Ancient Imports.

NERO (54-68 A.D.)

It is difficult for the modern student of history to realize just how popular Nero actually was, at least at the beginning of his reign. Rome looked upon her new Emperor with hope. He was the student of Seneca, and he had a sensitive nature. He loved art, music, literature, and theatre. He was also devoted to horses and horse racing—a devotion shared by many of his subjects. The plebs loved their new Emperor. As Professor of Classics Judith P. Hallett (University of Maryland, College Park) says, “It is not clear to me that Nero ever changed or that Nero ever grew-up, and that was both his strength and his weakness. Nero was an extraordinarily popular Emperor: he was like Elvis” (The Roman Empire in the First Century, III. Dir. Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb. 2001. DVD. PBS/Warner Bros. 2003).

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The five Julio-Claudian emperors are very different one from the other. Augustus dominates in prestige and achievement from the enormous impact he had upon the Roman state and his long service to Rome, during which he attained unrivaled auctoritas. Tiberius was clearly the only possible successor when Augustus died in AD 14, but, upon his death twenty-three years later, the next three were a peculiar mix of viciousness, arrogance, and inexperience. Gaius, better known as Caligula, is generally styled a monster, whose brief tenure did Rome no service. His successor Claudius, his uncle, was a capable man who served Rome well, but was condemned for being subject to his wives and freedmen. The last of the dynasty, Nero, reigned more than three times as long as Gaius, and the damage for which he was responsible to the state was correspondingly greater. An emperor who is well described by statements such as these, "But above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob." and "What an artist the world is losing!" and who is above all remembered for crimes against his mother and the Christians was indeed a sad falling-off from the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Few will argue that Nero does not rank as one of the worst emperors of all.

The prime sources for Nero's life and reign are Tacitus' Annales 12-16, Suetonius' Life of Nero, and Dio Cassius' Roman History 61-63, written in the early third century. Additional valuable material comes from inscriptions, coinage, papyri, and archaeology.


Early Life
He was born on December 15, 37, at Antium, the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbusand Agrippina. Domitius was a member of an ancient noble family, consul in 32; Agrippina was the daughter of the popular Germanicus, who had died in 19, and Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa, Augustus' closest associate, and Julia, the emperor's daughter, and thus in direct descent from the first princeps. When the child was born, his uncle Gaius had only recently become emperor. The relationship between mother and uncle was difficult, and Agrippina suffered occasional humiliation. But the family survived the short reign of the "crazy" emperor, and when he was assassinated, it chanced that Agrippina's uncle, Claudius, was the chosen of the praetorian guard, although there may have been a conspiracy to accomplish this.

Ahenobarbus had died in 40, so the son was now the responsibility of Agrippina alone. She lived as a private citizen for much of the decade, until the death of Messalina, the emperor's wife, in 48 made competition among several likely candidates to become the new empress inevitable. Although Roman law forbade marriage between uncle and niece, an eloquent speech in the senate by Lucius Vitellius, Claudius' closest advisor in the senatorial order, persuaded his audience that the public good required their union. The marriage took place in 49, and soon thereafter the philosopher Seneca [[PIR2 A617]] was recalled from exile to become the young Domitius' tutor, a relationship which endured for some dozen years.

His advance was thereafter rapid. He was adopted by Claudius the following year and took the name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar or Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was preferred to Claudius' natural son, Britannicus, who was about three years younger, was betrothed to the emperor's daughter Octavia, and was, in the eyes of the people, the clear successor to the emperor. In 54, Claudius died, having eaten some poisoned mushrooms, responsibility for which was believed to be Agrippina's, and the young Nero, not yet seventeen years old, was hailed on October 13 as emperor by the praetorian guard.


The First Years of Rule
The first five years of Nero's rule are customarily called the quinquennium, a period of good government under the influence, not always coinciding, of three people, his mother, Seneca, and Sextus Afranius Burrus, the praetorian prefect. The latter two were allies in their "education" of the emperor. Seneca continued his philosophical and rhetorical training, Burrus was more involved in advising on the actualities of government. They often combined their influence against Agrippina, who, having made her son emperor, never let him forget the debt he owed his mother, until finally, and fatally, he moved against her.

Nero's betrothal to Octavia was a significant step in his ultimate accession to the throne, as it were, but she was too quiet, too shy, too modest for his taste. He was early attracted to Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho, and she continually goaded him to break from Octavia and to show himself an adult by opposing his mother. In his private life, Nero honed the musical and artistic tastes which were his chief interest, but, at this stage, they were kept private, at the instigation of Seneca and Burrus.

As the year 59 began, Nero had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday and now felt the need to employ the powers which he possessed as emperor as he wished, without the limits imposed by others. Poppaea's urgings had their effect, first of all, at the very onset of the year, with Nero's murder of his mother in the Bay of Naples.

Agrippina had tried desperately to retain her influence with her son, going so far as to have intercourse with him. But the break between them proved irrevocable, and Nero undertook various devices to eliminate his mother without the appearance of guilt on his part. The choice was a splendid vessel which would collapse while she was on board. As this happened, she swam ashore and, when her attendant, having cried out that she was Agrippina, was clubbed to death, Agrippina knew what was going on. She sent Nero a message that she was well; his response was to send a detachment of sailors to finish the job. When she was struck across the head, she bared her womb and said, "Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero," and she was brutally murdered.

Nero was petrified with fear when he learned that the deed had been done, yet his popularity with the plebs of Rome was not impaired. This matricide, however, proved a turning point in his life and principate. It appeared that all shackles were now removed. The influence of Seneca and Burrus began to wane, and when Burrus died in 62, Seneca realized that his powers of persuasion were at an end and soon went into retirement. Britannicus had died as early as 55; now Octavia was to follow, and Nero became free to marry Poppaea. It may be that it had been Burrus rather than Agrippina who had continually urged that Nero's position depended in large part upon his marriage to Octavia. Burrus' successor as commander of the praetorian guard, although now with a colleague, was Ofonius Tigellinus, quite the opposite of Burrus in character and outlook. Tigellinus became Nero's "evil twin," urging and assisting in the performance of crimes and the satisfaction of lusts.


Administrative and Foreign Policy
With Seneca and Burrus in charge of administration at home, the first half-dozen years of Nero's principate ran smoothly. He himself devoted his attention to his artistic, literary, and physical bents, with music, poetry, and chariot racing to the fore. But his advisors were able to keep these performances and displays private, with small, select audiences on hand. Yet there was a gradual trend toward public performance, with the establishment of games. Further, he spent many nights roaming the city in disguise, with numerous companions, who terrorized the streets and attacked individuals. Those who dared to defend themselves often faced death afterward, because they had shown disrespect for the emperor. The die was being cast for the last phases of Nero's reign.


The Great Fire at Rome and The Punishment
of the Christians
The year 64 was the most significant of Nero's principate up to this point. His mother and wife were dead, as was Burrus, and Seneca, unable to maintain his influence over Nero without his colleague's support, had withdrawn into private life. The abysmal Tigellinus was now the foremost advisor of the still young emperor, a man whose origin was from the lowest levels of society and who can accurately be described as criminal in outlook and action. Yet Nero must have considered that he was happier than he had ever been in his life. Those who had constrained his enjoyment of his (seemingly) limitless power were gone, he was married to Poppaea, a woman with all advantages save for a bad character the empire was essentially at peace, and the people of Rome enjoyed a full measure of panem et circenses. But then occurred one of the greatest disasters that the city of Rome, in its long history, had ever endured.

The fire began in the southeastern angle of the Circus Maximus, spreading through the shops which clustered there, and raged for the better part of a week. There was brief success in controlling the blaze, but then it burst forth once more, so that many people claimed that the fires were deliberately set. After about a fortnight, the fire burned itself out, having consumed ten of the fourteen Augustan regions into which the city had been divided.

Nero was in Antium through much of the disaster, but his efforts at relief were substantial. Yet many believed that he had been responsible, so that he could perform his own work comparing the current fate of Rome to the downfall of Troy. All his efforts to assist the stricken city could not remove the suspicion that "the emperor had fiddled while Rome burned." He lost favor even among the plebs who had been enthusiastic supporters, particularly when his plans for the rebuilding of the city revealed that a very large part of the center was to become his new home.

As his popularity waned, Nero and Tigellinus realized that individuals were needed who could be charged with the disaster. It so happened that there was such a group ready at hand, Christians, who had made themselves unpopular because of their refusal to worship the emperor, their way of life, and their secret meetings. Further, at this time two of their most significant "teachers" were in Rome, Peter and Paul. They were ideal scapegoats, individuals whom most Romans loathed, and who had continually sung of the forthcoming end of the world.

Their destruction was planned with the utmost precision and cruelty, for the entertainment of the populace. The venue was Nero's circus near the Mons Vaticanus. Christians were exposed to wild animals and were set ablaze, smeared with pitch, to illuminate the night. The executions were so grisly that even the populace displayed sympathy for the victims. Separately, Peter was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis. But Nero's attempt, and hope, to shift all suspicion of arson to others failed. His popularity even among the lower classes was irrevocably impaired.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of Nero’s reign please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/nero.htm]

The End - Nero's Death and its Aftermath
Nero's and Tigellinus' response to the conspiracy was immediate and long-lasting. The senatorial order was decimated, as one leading member after another was put to death or compelled to commit suicide. The year 66 saw the suicides of perhaps the most distinguished victims of the "reign of terror," Caius Petronius and Thrasea Paetus. Petronius, long a favorite of Nero because of his aesthetic taste, had been an able public servant before he turned to a life of ease and indolence. He was recognized as the arbiter elegantiae of Nero's circle, and may be the author of the Satyricon. At his death, he left for Nero a document which itemized many of the latter's crimes. Thrasea, a staunch Stoic who had been for some years an outspoken opponent of Nero's policies, committed suicide in the Socratic manner. This scene is the last episode in the surviving books of Tacitus' Annals.

In the year 68, revolt began in the provinces. . . the end of Nero's reign became inevitable. Galba claimed the throne and began his march from Spain. Nero panicked and was rapidly abandoned by his supporters. He finally committed suicide with assistance, on June 9, 68, and his body was tended and buried by three women who had been close to him in his younger days, chief of whom was Acte. His death scene is marked above all by the statement, "Qualis artifex pereo," (What an artist dies in me.) Even at the end he was more concerned with his private life than with the affairs of state.

The aftermath of Nero's death was cataclysmic. Galba was the first of four emperors who revealed the new secret of empire, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome. Civil war ensued, which was only ended by the victory of the fourth claimant, Vespasian, who established the brief dynasty of the Flavians. The dynasty of the Julio-Claudians was at an end.

Nero's popularity among the lower classes remained even after his death.

. . . .

It is not excessive to say that he was one of the worst of Rome's emperors in the first two centuries and more of the empire. Whatever talents he had, whatever good he may have done, all is overwhelmed by three events, the murder of his mother, the fire at Rome, and his savage treatment of the Christians.

Precisely these qualities are the reasons that he has remained so well known and has been the subject of many writers and opera composers in modern times. These works of fiction particularly merit mention: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis, one of the finest works of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and John Hersey's The Conspiracy. Nero unquestionably will always be with us.

Copyright (C) 2006, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
GalbaAEAs.jpg
707a, Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.66 viewsGalba AE As, 68-69 AD; cf. SRC 727, 729ff; 27.85mm, 12g; Rome: Obverse: GALBA IMP CAESAR…, Laureate head right; Reverse: S P Q R OB CIV SER in oak wreath; gF+/F Ex. Ancient Imports.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Galba (68-69 A.D.)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary


Introduction
The evidence for the principate of Galba is unsatisfactory. The sources either concentrate on the personality of the man, thereby failing to offer a balanced account of his policies and a firm chronological base for his actions; or, they focus on the final two weeks of his life at the expense of the earlier part of his reign. As a result, a detailed account of his principate is difficult to write. Even so, Galba is noteworthy because he was neither related to nor adopted by his predecessor Nero. Thus, his accession marked the end of the nearly century-long control of the Principate by the Julio-Claudians. Additionally, Galba's declaration as emperor by his troops abroad set a precedent for the further political upheavals of 68-69. Although these events worked to Galba's favor initially, they soon came back to haunt him, ending his tumultuous rule after only seven months.

Early Life and Rise to Power
Born 24 December 3 BC in Tarracina, a town on the Appian Way, 65 miles south of Rome, Servius Galba was the son of C. Sulpicius Galba and Mummia Achaica. Galba's connection with the noble house of the Servii gave him great prestige and assured his acceptance among the highest levels of Julio-Claudian society. Adopted in his youth by Livia, the mother of the emperor Tiberius, he is said to have owed much of his early advancement to her. Upon her death, Livia made Galba her chief legatee, bequeathing him some 50 million sesterces. Tiberius, Livia's heir, reduced the amount, however, and then never paid it. Galba's marriage proved to be a further source of disappointment, as he outlived both his wife Lepida and their two sons. Nothing else is known of Galba's immediate family, other than that he remained a widower for the rest of his life.

Although the details of Galba's early political career are incomplete, the surviving record is one of an ambitious Roman making his way in the Emperor's service. Suetonius records that as praetor Galba put on a new kind of exhibition for the people - elephants walking on a rope. Later, he served as governor of the province of Aquitania, followed by a six-month term as consul at the beginning of 33. Ironically, as consul he was succeeded by Salvius Otho, whose own son would succeed Galba as emperor. Over the years three more governorships followed - Upper Germany (date unknown), North Africa (45) and Hispania Tarraconensis, the largest of Spain's three provinces (61). He was selected as a proconsul of Africa by the emperor Claudius himself instead of by the usual method of drawing lots. During his two-year tenure in the province he successfully restored internal order and quelled a revolt by the barbarians. As an imperial legate he was a governor in Spain for eight years under Nero, even though he was already in his early sixties when he assumed his duties. The appointment showed that Galba was still considered efficient and loyal. In all of these posts Galba generally displayed an enthusiasm for old-fashioned disciplina, a trait consistent with the traditional characterization of the man as a hard-bitten aristocrat of the old Republican type. Such service did not go unnoticed, as he was honored with triumphal insignia and three priesthoods during his career.

On the basis of his ancestry, family tradition and service to the state Galba was the most distinguished Roman alive (with the exception of the houses of the Julii and Claudii) at the time of Nero's demise in 68. The complex chain of events that would lead him to the Principate later that year began in March with the rebellion of Gaius Iulius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis. Vindex had begun to sound out provincial governors about support for a rebellion perhaps in late 67 or early 68. Galba did not respond but, because of his displeasure with Neronian misgovernment, neither did he inform the emperor of these treasonous solicitations. This, of course, left him dangerously exposed; moreover, he was already aware that Nero, anxious to remove anyone of distinguished birth and noble achievements, had ordered his death. Given these circumstances, Galba likely felt that he had no choice but to rebel.

In April, 68, while still in Spain, Galba "went public," positioning himself as a vir militaris, a military representative of the senate and people of Rome. For the moment, he refused the title of Emperor, but it is clear that the Principate was his goal. To this end, he organized a concilium of advisors in order to make it known that any decisions were not made by him alone but only after consultation with a group. The arrangement was meant to recall the Augustan Age relationship between the emperor and senate in Rome. Even more revealing of his imperial ambitions were legends like LIBERTAS RESTITUTA (Liberty Restored), ROM RENASC (Rome Reborn) and SALUS GENERIS HUMANI (Salvation of Mankind), preserved on his coinage from the period. Such evidence has brought into question the traditional assessment of Galba as nothing more than an ineffectual representative of a bygone antiquus rigor in favor of a more balanced portrait of a traditional constitutionalist eager to publicize the virtues of an Augustan-style Principate.
Events now began to move quickly. In May, 68 Lucius Clodius Macer, legate of the III legio Augusta in Africa, revolted from Nero and cut off the grain supply to Rome. Choosing not to recognize Galba, he called himself propraetor, issued his own coinage, and raised a new legion, the I Macriana liberatrix. Galba later had him executed. At the same time, 68, Lucius Verginius Rufus, legionary commander in Upper Germany, led a combined force of soldiers from Upper and Lower Germany in defeating Vindex at Vesontio in Gallia Lugdunensis. Verginius refused to accept a call to the emperorship by his own troops and by those from the Danube, however, thereby creating at Rome an opportunity for Galba's agents to win over Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, the corrupt praetorian prefect since 65. Sabinus was able to turn the imperial guard against Nero on the promise that they would be rewarded financially by Galba upon his arrival. That was the end for Nero. Deposed by the senate and abandoned by his supporters, he committed suicide in June. At this point, encouraged to march on Rome by the praetorians and especially by Sabinus, who had his own designs on the throne, Galba hurriedly established broad-based political and financial support and assembled his own legion (subsequently known as the legio VII Gemina). As he departed from Spain, he abandoned the title of governor in favor of "Caesar," apparently in an attempt to lay claim to the entire inheritance of the Julio-Claudian house. Even so, he continued to proceed cautiously, and did not actually adopt the name of Caesar (and with it the emperorship) until sometime after he had left Spain.

The Principate of Galba
Meanwhile, Rome was anything but serene. An unusual force of soldiers, many of whom had been mustered by Nero to crush the attempt of Vindex, remained idle and restless. In addition, there was the matter concerning Nymphidius Sabinus. Intent on being the power behind the throne, Nymphidius had orchestrated a demand from the praetorians that Galba appoint him sole praetorian prefect for life. The senate capitulated to his pretensions and he began to have designs on the throne himself. In an attempt to rattle Galba, Nymphidius then sent messages of alarm to the emperor telling of unrest in both the city and abroad. When Galba ignored these reports, Nymphidius decided to launch a coup by presenting himself to the praetorians. The plan misfired, and the praetorians killed him when he appeared at their camp. Upon learning of the incident, Galba ordered the executions of Nymphidius' followers. To make matters worse, Galba's arrival was preceded by a confrontation with a boisterous band of soldiers who had been formed into a legion by Nero and were now demanding legionary standards and regular quarters. When they persisted, Galba's forces attacked, with the result that many of them were killed.
Thus it was amid carnage and fear that Galba arrived at the capital in October, 68, accompanied by Otho, the governor of Lusitania, who had joined the cause. Once Galba was within Rome, miscalculations and missteps seemed to multiply. First, he relied upon the advice of a corrupt circle of advisors, most notably: Titus Vinius, a general from Spain; Cornelius Laco, praetorian prefect; and his own freedman, Icelus. Second, he zealously attempted to recover some of Nero's more excessive expenditures by seizing the property of many citizens, a measure that seems to have gone too far and to have caused real hardship and resentment. Third, he created further ill-will by disbanding the imperial corps of German bodyguards, effectively abolishing a tradition that originated with Marius and had been endorsed by Augustus. Finally, he seriously alienated the military by refusing cash rewards for both the praetorians and for the soldiers in Upper Germany who had fought against Vindex.

This last act proved to be the beginning of the end for Galba. On 1 January 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors"), the troops in Upper Germany refused to declare allegiance to him and instead followed the men stationed in Lower Germany in proclaiming their commander, Aulus Vitellius, as the new ruler. In response, Galba adopted Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus to show that he was still in charge and that his successor would not be chosen for him. Piso, although an aristocrat, was a man completely without administrative or military experience. The choice meant little to the remote armies, the praetorians or the senate, and it especially angered Otho, who had hoped to succeed Galba. Otho quickly organized a conspiracy among the praetorians with the now-familiar promise of a material reward, and on 15 January 69 they declared him emperor and publicly killed Galba; Piso, dragged from hiding in the temple of Vesta, was also butchered.

Assessment
In sum, Galba had displayed talent and ambition during his lengthy career. He enjoyed distinguished ancestry, moved easily among the Julio-Claudian emperors (with the exception of Nero towards the end of his principate), and had been awarded the highest military and religious honors of ancient Rome. His qualifications for the principate cannot be questioned. Even so, history has been unkind to him. Tacitus characterized Galba as "weak and old," a man "equal to the imperial office, if he had never held it." Modern historians of the Roman world have been no less critical. To be sure, Galba's greatest mistake lay in his general handling of the military. His treatment of the army in Upper Germany was heedless, his policy towards the praetorians short sighted. Given the climate in 68-69, Galba was unrealistic in expecting disciplina without paying the promised rewards. He was also guilty of relying on poor advisors, who shielded him from reality and ultimately allowed Otho's conspiracy to succeed. Additionally, the excessive power of his henchmen brought the regime into disfavor and made Galba himself the principal target of the hatred that his aides had incited. Finally, the appointment of Piso, a young man in no way equal to the challenges placed before him, further underscored the emperor's isolation and lack of judgment. In the end, the instability of the post-Julio-Claudian political landscape offered challenges more formidable than a tired, septuagenarian aristocrat could hope to overcome. Ironically, his regime proved no more successful than the Neronian government he was so eager to replace. Another year of bloodshed would be necessary before the Principate could once again stand firm.

Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
roman_emperor_otho.jpg
708a, Otho64 viewsOtho (69 A.D.)
John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction
In January 69 Otho led a successful coup to overthrow the emperor Galba. Upon advancing to the throne, he hoped to conciliate his adversaries and restore political stability to the Empire. These ambitions were never to be realized. Instead, our sources portray a leader never fully able to win political confidence at Rome or to overcome military anarchy abroad. As a result, he was defeated in battle by the forces of Vitellius, his successor, and took his own life at the conclusion of the conflict. His principate lasted only eight weeks.
Early Life and Career
Marcus Salvius Otho was born at Ferentium on 28 April 32 A. D. His grandfather, also named Marcus Salvius Otho, was a senator who did not advance beyond the rank of praetor. Lucius Otho, his father, was consul in 33 and a trusted administrator under the emperors Tiberius, Gaius and Claudius. His mother, Albia Terentia, was likely to have been nobly born as well. The cognomen "Otho" was Etruscan in origin, and the fact that it can be traced to three successive generations of this family perhaps reflects a desire to maintain a part of the Etruscan tradition that formed the family's background.
Otho is recorded as being extravagant and wild as a youth - a favorite pastime involved roving about at night to snare drunkards in a blanket. Such behavior earned floggings from his father, whose frequent absences from home on imperial business suggest little in the way of a stabilizing parental influence in Otho's formative years. These traits apparently persisted: Suetonius records that Otho and Nero became close friends because of the similarity of their characters; and Plutarch relates that the young man was so extravagant that he sometimes chided Nero about his meanness, and even outdid the emperor in reckless spending.
Most intriguing in this context is Otho's involvement with Nero's mistress, Poppaea Sabina, the greatest beauty of her day. A relationship between the two is widely cited in the ancient sources, but the story differs in essential details from one account to the next. As a result, it is impossible to establish who seduced whom, whether Otho ever married Poppaea, and whether his posting to Lusitania by Nero should be understood as a "banishment" for his part in this affair. About the only reliable detail to emerge is that Otho did indeed become governor of Lusitania in 59, and that he assumed the post as a quaestor, a rank below that of praetor or consul, the minimum usually required for the office. From here he would launch his initial thrust towards the imperial throne.
Overthrow of Galba
Nero's suicide in June 68 marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and opened up the principate to the prerogatives of the military beyond Rome. First to emerge was Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, who had been encouraged to revolt by the praetorians and especially by Nymphidius Sabinus, the corrupt and scheming praetorian prefect at Rome. By this time Otho had been in Spain for close to ten years. His record seems to have been a good one, marked by capable administration and an unwillingness to enrich himself at the expense of the province. At the same time, perhaps seeing this as his best chance to improve his own circumstances, he supported the insurrection as vigorously as possible, even sending Galba all of his gold and his best table servants. At the same time, he made it a point to win the favor of every soldier he came in contact with, most notably the members of the praetorian guard who had come to Spain to accompany Galba to Rome. Galba set out from Spain in July, formally assuming the emperorship shortly thereafter. Otho accompanied him on the journey.
Galba had been in Rome little more than two months when on 1 January 69 the troops in Upper Germany refused to declare allegiance to him and instead followed the men stationed in Lower Germany in proclaiming their commander, Aulus Vitellius, as the new ruler. To show that he was still in charge Galba adopted his own successor, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus, an aristocrat completely without administrative or military experience. The choice meant little to the remote armies, the praetorians or the senate and particularly angered Otho, who had hoped to succeed Galba. Otho quickly organized a conspiracy among the praetorians with promise of a material reward, and on 15 January 69 they declared him emperor and publicly killed Galba; Piso, dragged from hiding in the temple of Vesta, was also butchered. On that same evening a powerless senate awarded Otho the imperial titles.
Otho's Principate in Rome
It is not possible to reconstruct a detailed chronology of Otho's brief eight and a half weeks as princeps in Rome (15 January-15 March). Even so, Galba's quick demise had surely impressed upon Otho the need to conciliate various groups. As a result, he continued his indulgence of the praetorian guard but he also tried to win over the senate by following a strict constitutionalist line and by generally keeping the designations for the consulship made by Nero and Galba. In the provinces, despite limited evidence, there are some indications that he tried to compensate for Galba's stinginess by being more generous with grants of citizenship. In short, Otho was eager not to offend anyone.
Problems remained, however. The praetorians had to be continually placated and they were always suspicious of the senate. On the other hand, the senate itself, along with the people, remained deeply disturbed at the manner of Otho's coming to power and his willingness to be associated with Nero. These suspicions and fears were most evident in the praetorian outbreak at Rome. Briefly, Otho had decided to move from Ostia to Rome a cohort of Roman citizens in order to replace some of Rome's garrison, much of which was to be utilized for the showdown with Vitellius. He ordered that weapons be moved from the praetorian camp in Rome by ship to Ostia at night so that the garrison replacements would be properly armed and made to look as soldierly as possible when they marched into the city. Thinking that a senatorial counter-coup against Otho was underway, the praetorians stormed the imperial palace to confirm the emperor's safety, with the result that they terrified Otho and his senatorial dinner guests. Although the praetorians' fears were eventually calmed and they were given a substantial cash payment, the incident dramatically underscored the unease at Rome in the early months of 69.
Otho's Offensive against Vitellius
Meanwhile, in the Rhineland, preparations for a march on Rome by the military legions that had declared for Vitellius were far advanced. Hampered by poor intelligence gathering in Gaul and Germany and having failed to negotiate a settlement with Vitellius in early 69, Otho finally summoned to Italy his forces for a counterattack against the invading Vitellian army. His support consisted of the four legions of Pannonia and Dalmatia, the three legions of Moesia and his own imperial retinue of about 9,000. Vitellius' own troops numbered some 30,000, while those of his two marshals, Aulus Caecina Alienus and Fabius Valens, were between 15,000 and 20,000 each.
Otho's strategy was to make a quick diversionary strike in order to allow time for his own forces to assemble in Italy before engaging the enemy. The strategy worked, as the diversionary army, comprised of urban cohorts, praetorians and marines all from Rome or nearby, was successful in Narbonese Gaul in latter March. An advance guard sent to hold the line on the Po River until the Danubian legions arrived also enjoyed initial success. Otho himself arrived at Bedriacum in northern Italy about 10 April for a strategy session with his commanders. The main concern was that the Vitellians were building a bridge across the Po in order to drive southward towards the Apennines and eventually to Rome. Otho decided to counter by ordering a substantial part of his main force to advance from Bedriacum and establish a new base close enough to the new Vitellian bridge to interrupt its completion. While en route, the Othonian forces, strung out along the via Postumia amid baggage and supply trains, were attacked by Caecina and Valens near Cremona on 14 April. The clash, know as the Battle of Bedriacum, resulted in the defeat of the Othonian forces, their retreat cut off by the river behind them. Otho himself, meanwhile, was not present, but had gone to Brixellum with a considerable force of infantry and cavalry in order to impede any Vitellian units that had managed to cross the Po.
The plan had backfired. Otho's strategy of obtaining victory while avoiding any major battles had proven too risky. Realizing perhaps that a new round of fighting would have involved not only a significant re-grouping of his existing troops but also a potentially bloody civil war at Rome, if Vitellius' troops reached the capital, Otho decided that enough blood had been shed. Two weeks shy of his thirty-seventh birthday, on 16 April 69, he took his own life.
Assessment
To be sure, Otho remains an enigma - part profligate Neronian wastrel and part conscientious military commander willing to give his life for the good of the state. Our sources are at a loss to explain the paradox. Perhaps, like Petronius, he saw it was safer to appear a profligate in Nero's court? In the final analysis, Otho proved to be an organized and efficient military commander, who appealed more to the soldier than to the civilian. He also seems to have been a capable governor, with administrative talents that recalled those of his father. Nevertheless, his violent overthrow of Galba, the lingering doubts that it raised about his character, and his unsuccessful offensive against Vitellius are all vivid reminders of the turbulence that plagued the Roman world between the reigns of Nero and Vespasian. Regrettably, the scenario would play itself out one more time before peace and stability returned to the empire.
Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue
Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
VitelliusARdenariusVesta.jpg
709a, Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.42 viewsVITELLIUS AR silver denarius. RSC 72, RCV 2200. 19mm, 3.2 g. Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; Reverse - PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera. Quite decent. Ex. Incitatus Coins. Photo courtesy of Incitatus Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Vitellius (69 A.D.)

John F. Donahue
College of William and Mary


It is often difficult to separate fact from fiction in assessing the life and reign of Vitellius. Maligned in the ancient sources as gluttonous and cruel, he was also a victim of a hostile biographical tradition established in the regime of the Flavians who had overthrown him. Nevertheless, his decision to march against Rome in 69 was pivotal, since his subsequent defeat signalled the end of military anarchy and the beginning of an extended period of political stability under Vespasian and his successors.

Early Life and Career

Aulus Vitellius was born in September, 15 AD, the son of Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sestilia. One of the most successful public figures of the Julio-Claudian period, Lucius Vitellius was a three-time consul and a fellow censor with the emperor Claudius. Aulus seems to have moved with equal ease in aristocratic circles, successively winning the attention of the emperors Gaius, Claudius, and Nero through flattery and political skill.

Among his attested public offices, Vitellius was a curator of public works, a senatorial post concerned with the maintenance and repair of public buildings in Rome, and he was also proconsul of North Africa, where he served as a deputy to his brother, perhaps about 55 A. D. In addition, he held at least two priesthoods, the first as a member of the Arval Brethren, in whose rituals he participated from 57 A.D., and the second, as one of the quindecemviri sacris faciundis, a sacred college famous for its feasts.

With respect to marriage and family, Vitellius first wed a certain Petroniana, the daughter of a consul, sometime in the early to mid thirties A.D. The union produced a son, Petronianus, allegedly blind in one eye and emancipated from his father's control as a result of being named his mother's heir. Tradition records that Vitellius killed the boy shortly after emancipation amid charges of parricide; the marriage soon ended in divorce. A second marriage, to Galeria Fundana, daughter of an ex-praetor, was more stable than the first. It produced another son, who was eventually killed by the Flavians after the overthrow of Vitellius, as well as a daughter. Galeria is praised by Tacitus for her good qualities, and in the end it was she who saw to Vitellius' burial.

Rise to Power and Emperorship

Without doubt, the most fortuitous moment in Vitellius' political career was his appointment as governor of Lower Germany by the emperor Galba late in 68. The decision seemed to have caught everybody by surprise, including Vitellius himself, who, according to Suetonius, was in straitened circumstances at the time. The choice may have been made to reduce the possibility of rebellion by the Rhine armies, disaffected by Galba's refusal to reward them for their part in suppressing the earlier uprising of Julius Vindex. Ironically, it was Vitellius' lack of military achievement and his reputation for gambling and gluttony that may have also figured in his selection. Galba perhaps calculated that a man with little military experience who could now plunder a province to satisfy his own stomach would never become disloyal. If so, it was a critical misjudgement by the emperor.

The rebellion began on January 1, 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors"), when the legions of Upper Germany refused to renew their oath of allegiance to Galba. On January 2, Vitellius' own men, having heard of the previous day's events, saluted him as emperor at the instigation of the legionary legate Fabius Valens and his colleagues. Soon, in addition to the seven legions that Vitellius now had at his command in both Germanies, the forces in Gaul, Britain, and Raetia also came over to his side. Perhaps aware of his military inexperience, Vitellius did not immediately march on Rome himself. Instead, the advance was led by Valens and another legionary general, Aulus Caecina Alienus, with each man commanding a separate column. Vitellius would remain behind to mobilize a reserve force and follow later.

Caecina was already one hundred fifty miles on his way when news reached him that Galba had been overthrown and Otho had taken his place as emperor. Undeterred, he passed rapidly down the eastern borders of Gaul; Valens followed a more westerly route, quelling a mutiny along the way. By March both armies had successfully crossed the Alps and joined at Cremona, just north of the Po. Here they launced their Batavian auxiliaries against Otho's troops and routed them in the First Battle of Bedriacum. Otho killed himself on April 16, and three days later the soldiers in Rome swore their allegience to Vitellius. The senate too hailed him as emperor.

When Vitellius learned of these developments, he set out to Rome from Gaul. By all accounts the journey was a drunken feast marked by the lack of discipline of both the troops and the imperial entourage. Along the way he stopped at Lugdunum to present his six-year-old son Germanicus to the legions as his eventual successor. Later, at Cremona, Vitellius witnessed the corpse-filled battlefield of Otho's recent defeat with joy, unmoved by so many citizens denied a proper burial.

The emperor entered Rome in late June-early July. Conscious of making a break with the Julio-Claudian past, Vitellius was reluctant to assume the traditional titles of the princes, even though he enthusiastically made offerings to Nero and declared himself consul for life. To his credit, Vitellius did seem to show a measure of moderation in the transition to the principate. He assumed his powers gradually and was generally lenient to Otho's supporters, even pardoning Otho's brother Salvius Titianus, who had played a key role in the earlier regime. In addition, he participated in Senate meetings and continued the practice of providing entertainments for the Roman masses. An important practical change involved the awarding of posts customarily held by freedmen to equites, an indication of the growth of the imperial bureaucracy and its attractiveness to men of ambition.

In other matters, he replaced the existing praetorian guard and urban cohorts with sixteen praetorian cohorts and four urban units, all comprised of soldiers from the German armies. According to Tacitus, the decision prompted a mad scramble, with the men, and not their officers, choosing the branch of service that they preferred. The situation was clearly unsatisfactory but not surprising, given that Vitellius was a creation of his own troops. To secure his position further, he sent back to their old postings the legions that had fought for Otho, or he reassigned them to distant provinces. Yet discontent remained: the troops who had been defeated or betrayed at Bedriacum remained bitter, and detachments of three Moesian legions called upon by Otho were returned to their bases, having agitated against Vitellius at Aquileia.

Flavian Revolt

The Vitellian era at Rome was short-lived. By mid-July news had arrived that the legions of Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander had sworn allegiance to a rival emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the governor of Judaea and a successful and popular general. Vespasian was to hold Egypt while his colleague Mucianus, governor of Syria, was to invade Italy. Before the plan could be enacted, however, the Danube legions, former supporters of Otho, joined Vespasian's cause. Under the leadership of Antonius Primus, commander of the Sixth legion in Pannonia, and Cornelius Fuscus, imperial procurator in Illyricum, the legions made a rapid descent on Italy.

Although his forces were only half of what Vitellius commanded in Italy, Primus struck first before the emperor could muster additional reinforcements from Germany. To make matters worse for the Vitellians, Valens was ill, and Caecina, now consul, had begun collaborating with the Flavians. His troops refused to follow his lead, however, and arrested him at Hostilia near Cremona. They then joined the rest of the Vitellian forces trying to hold the Po River. With Vitellius still in Rome and his forces virtually leaderless, the two sides met in October in the Second Battle of Bedriacum. The emperor's troops were soundly defeated and Cremona was brutally sacked by the victors. In addition, Valens, whose health had recovered, was captured while raising an army for Vitellius in Gaul and Germany; he was eventually executed.

Meanwhile, Primus continued towards Rome. Vitellius made a weak attempt to thwart the advance at the Apennine passes, but his forces switched to the Flavian side without a fight at Narnia in mid-December. At Rome, matters were no better. Vespasian's elder brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, the city prefect, was successful in an effort to convince Vitellius to abdicate but was frustrated by the mob in Rome and the emperor's soldiers. Forced to flee to the Capitol, Sabinus was set upon by Vitellius' German troops and soon killed, with the venerable Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus set ablaze in the process. Within two days, the Flavian army fought its way into Rome. In a pathetic final move, Vitellius disguised himself in dirty clothing and hid in the imperial doorkeeper's quarters, leaning a couch and a mattress against the door for protection. Dragged from his hiding place by the Flavian forces, he was hauled off half-naked to the Forum, where he was tortured, killed, and tossed into the Tiber. The principate could now pass to Vespasian.

Assessment

Vitellius has not escaped the hostility of his biographers. While he may well have been gluttonous, his depiction as indolent, cruel, and extravagant is based almost entirely on the propaganda of his enemies. On the other hand, whatever moderating tendencies he did show were overshadowed by his clear lack of military expertise, a deficiency that forced him to rely in critical situations on largely inneffective lieutenants. As a result he was no match for his Flavian successors, and his humiliating demise was perfectly in keeping with the overall failure of his reign.

Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VespasianPax_RICii10.jpg
710a, Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.134 viewsSilver denarius, RIC II, 10, aVF, 3.5 g, 18mm, Rome mint, 69-71 AD; Obverse: IMP CAESA[R] VESPASIANV[S AV]G - Laureate head right; Reverse: COS ITER [T]R POT - Pax seated left holding branch and caduceus. Ex Imperial Coins.


De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.





Cleisthenes
DomitianARDenariusHorseman.jpg
712a, Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.157 viewsDomitian, as Caesar, AR Denarius. 77-78 AD; RIC 242, VF, 18mm, 3.18grams. Obverse: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIA[NVS], laureate head right ; Reverse: COS V below man with hand raised out behind him on horse prancing right. RSC 49a. Scarce. Ex Zuzim Judaea.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Domitianus(A.D. 81-96)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October A.D. 51, the youngest son of Vespasian, Roman emperor (A.D. 69-79) and Domitilla I, a treasury clerk's daughter. Little is known about Domitian in the turbulent 18 months of the four (five?) emperors, but in the aftermath of the downfall of Vitellius in A.D. 69 he presented himself to the invading Flavian forces, was hailed as Caesar, and moved into the imperial residence.

As emperor, Domitian was to become one of Rome's foremost micromanagers, especially concerning the economy. Shortly after taking office, he raised the silver content of the denarius by about 12% (to the earlier level of Augustus), only to devaluate it in A.D. 85, when the imperial income must have proved insufficient to meet military and public expenses.

Domitian's reach extended well beyond the economy. Late in A.D. 85 he made himself censor perpetuus, censor for life, with a general supervision of conduct and morals. The move was without precedent and, although largely symbolic, it nevertheless revealed Domitian's obsessive interest in all aspects of Roman life. An ardent supporter of traditional Roman religion, he also closely identified himself with Minerva and Jupiter, publicly linking the latter divinity to his regime through the Ludi Capitolini, the Capitoline Games, begun in A.D.86. Held every four years in the early summer, the Games consisted of chariot races, athletics and gymnastics, and music, oratory and poetry.

Beyond Rome, Domitian taxed provincials rigorously and was not afraid to impose his will on officials of every rank. Consistent with his concern for the details of administration, he also made essential changes in the organization of several provinces and established the office of curator to investigate financial mismanagement in the cities. Other evidence points to a concern with civic improvements of all kinds, from road building in Asia Minor, Sardinia and near the Danube to building and defensive improvements in North Africa.

While the military abilities of Vespasian and Titus were genuine, those of Domitian were not. Partly as an attempt to remedy this deficiency, Domitian frequently became involved in his own military exploits outside of Rome. He claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Chatti in Gaul, but the conquest was illusory. Final victory did not really come until A.D. 89. In Britain, similar propaganda masked the withdrawal of Roman forces from the northern borders to positions farther south, a clear sign of Domitian's rejection of expansionist warfare in the province.

Domitian's autocratic tendencies meant that the real seat of power during his reign resided with his court. The features typically associated with later courts - a small band of favored courtiers, a keen interest in the bizarre and the unusual (e.g., wrestlers, jesters, and dwarves), and a highly mannered, if somewhat artificial atmosphere, characterized Domitian's palace too, whether at Rome or at his Alban villa, some 20 kilometers outside of the capital.

On 18 September, A.D. 96, Domitian was assassinated and was succeeded on the very same day by M. Cocceius Nerva, a senator and one of his amici. The sources are unanimous in stressing that this was a palace plot, yet it is difficult to determine the level of culpability among the various potential conspirators.
In many ways, Domitian is still a mystery - a lazy and licentious ruler by some accounts, an ambitious administrator and keeper of traditional Roman religion by others. As many of his economic, provincial, and military policies reveal, he was efficient and practical in much that he undertook, yet he also did nothing to hide the harsher despotic realities of his rule. This fact, combined with his solitary personality and frequent absences from Rome, guaranteed a harsh portrayal of his rule. The ultimate truths of his reign remain difficult to know.

Copyright (C) 1997, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Perhaps the reverse of this Domitian/Horseman specimen depicts Domitian as he rode a white horse behind his father, Vespasian, and his brother, Titus, during their joint triumph celebrating their victory over Judaea (see: Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Trans. Robert Graves. London: Penguin, 2003. 304).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
domitian_RIC96.jpg
81-96 AD - DOMITIAN AR denarius - struck 82 AD54 viewsobv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M (laureate head right)
rev: TR POT COS VIII P P (dolphin twined around anchor)
ref: RIC Vol 2.1 (2008) 96, RSC 593 (2frcs), not too common issue
mint: Rome
2.81gms, 18.5mm

This reverse reminds me of Legio II Adiutrix. This legion was formed in (early March?) 70 by the emperor Vespasian. Its soldiers were marines from the Ravenna navy, who had sided with Vespasian during his war against the emperor Vitellius.
berserker
R_667_Vitellius_Portrait.jpg
AD 069 - VITTELIUS4 viewsVitellius

Vitellius was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69 AD.


for obverse, reverse and coin details click here
shanxi
R_667_Vitellius_Germanicus_Portrait.jpg
AD 069 - VITTELIUS GERMANICVS5 viewsVitellius Germanicus


Vitellius Germanicus was the son of Roman Emperor Vittelius.



for obverse, reverse and coin details click here
shanxi
12_Caesar_portraits.jpg
Antony & The 12 Caesars256 viewsA variation on my other virtual coin trays. This one includes a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar. It's difficult choosing which coin to include in this set, in some cases I only had one (Galba, Otho) but others I had many more to choose from. I do have better portraits of some but I thought these had more interesting reverse types or portrait styles:

Marcus Antonius denarius
Julius Caesar denarius
Augustus denarius
Tiberius denarius
Caligula AE As
Claudius AE As
Nero Dupondius
Galba AE As
Otho Tetradrachm
Vitellius denarius
Vespasian denarius
Titus denarius
Domitian denarius

Image is clickable for larger size.
To see the coins individually see them in my gallery.
9 commentsJay GT4
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-zg2aP0ewwCVrhb-Caligula_damnatio.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Bronze AS13 viewsC CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT - Bare head left
Vesta SC - Vesta, veiled and draped, seated left, on throne with ornamented back and legs, holding patera in right hand and long transverse sceptre in left
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (37-38 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 10.40g / 28mm / 6h
Rarity: Common
References:
RIC I 38
BMCRE 46
BN 54
Cohen 27
Acquisition/Sale: indalocolecciones eBay

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

DAMNATIO MEMORIAE: This coin seems to have suffered a 'Damnatio Memoriae'. It looks as if the portrait has had cut marks applied to the jaw and neck areas. Interestingly, the ancient writers said that on his assassination, the first strike to Caligula was to his jaw or neck/shoulder areas. Damnatio memoriae is a modern Latin phrase meaning "condemnation of memory", i.e., that a person is to be excluded from official accounts.


ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From The Dictionary of Roman Coins:
Caligula, the grand nephew and murderer of Tiberius, most worthy to succeed that emperor, because of an equally infamous, though not so able a tyrant, reigned from A.D. 37 to A.D. 41.

His real appellation was Caius Caesar, but about the time of Augustus' death, he, still a child, being with the army of the lower Rhine, the soldiers, with whom he was a great favorite, were accustomed in the joking parlance of the camp, to give him the nickname of Caligula (from Caligae) because he constantly appeared in the usual military leggings.

Hence Ausonius, in his poem, referring to this cruel wretch, says --

Post hunc castrensis caligae cognomine
Caesar Successit, saevo saevior ingenio.

As emperor, however, he was always called Caius, and he considered himself insulted by the name of Caligula.

He was the youngest son of Germanicus, the nephew of Tiberius and Agrippina; born in 12 A.D. on the day before the calends of September, at Antium, as Suetonius has proved at great length (in Caligula, ch. 8). In 17 A.D., he went into Syria with his father, at whose death, within two years, he returned to Rome with his mother. After she was banished, he was transferred to his great grand-mother Julia and when she diet to his grand-mother Antonia.

In 31 A.D., after the violent deaths of his brothers Nero and Drusus, and also of Sejanus, whose plots he alone had escaped he was he was the apparent successor to the empire and invested with the Pontificate.

In 33 A.D., on the same day he assumed the toga he laid aside his beard, he was nominated questor and Tiberius invited him to Capraea. He moved in with Tiberius, feigning ignorance or indifference, regarding the murder of his relations, as though it did not concern him. He so obsequiously obeyed Tiberius the it was a common expression, that "there never was a better servant, or a worse master." (Sueton, ch. 10)

In 37 A.D., Tiberius was attacked with a severe illness from which he was recovering when Caligula, at the instigation of Maero, the praetorian prefect, put and end to his life by smothering him.

Caligula entered Rome after Tiberius' death and compelled the Senate to join him, by a Senatus Consultum, in depriving Tiberius, son Drusus junior and the elder Tiberius' heir in his last will, of his right to the empire.

The funeral ceremonies of were performed with due pomp by Caligula.

On the eighth month of his reign he was attacked with severe sickness. On his recovery, he adopted his brother Tiberius, gave him the title of Princeps Juventutis, and afterwards put him to death.

In the calends of July he entered upon the office of Consul Suffectus, as colleague to his uncle Claudius, and after two months resigned it.

In 38 A.D. he conceded to Soaemus, the kingdom of Arabians of Ituraea; to Cotys, Armenia Minor; to Polemon, the son of Polemon, his father's dominions.

Dion wrote, "In a short time he assumed so much the air of a king, that all those honors, which Augustus had accepted only when duly arrived at the sovereignty, and even then with hesitation as they were decreed from time to time, and many of which Tiberius altogether declined, were by Caligula grasped in one day, with the exception only of Pater Patriae, which, however was not long deferred."

In 39 A.D., in the calends of January, he entered his second Consulate and resigned the office in thirty days. (Sueton ch. 17)

Having exhausted the treasury by his profuse expenditure on public spectacles and other extravagances, he endeavoured to repair the deficiency by the slaughter of wealthy citizens; and then proceeded to Gaul, their to practice the like system of murder and spoliation.

The name of Germanicus does not appear on coins of this year, nor ever subsequently.

In 40 A.D., Caligula, without a colleague, entered his third consulate, at Lugdunum (Lyon), in Gaul; and resigned it on the ides of January. (Sueton. ch. 17)

Having invited over from Africa, Ptolemy, the son of Juba, he put him to death on the pretence of the young prince's ostentatious bearing. (Dion, B. lix. 25)

Proceeding to the ocean, as if about to invade Britain, he ordered his soldiers to gather shell-fish, and returned as a conqueror, laden with the spoils of the sea. (Sueton. ch. 46)

L. Vitellius, prefect of Syria, the same year, gave such a lesson to Artabanus, the Persian, who was threatening an invasion of Armenia that the later abandoned his design, and paid his adoration to the statues of Augustus and of Caligula. (Dion, I. e.)

In 41 A.D., he began hid fourth consulate, on the 7th of the ides of January. Shortly afterwards (viz. on the 9th of the calends of February), he was assassinated by the conspirators Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus.

Caligula's accession to the empire was hailed with joy by the Roman people; but their satisfaction was based on no solid foundations, being the result rather of their deep-rooted attachment to his father Germanicus. He seeming, indeed, responded to the fond wishes of the nation, by many acts of piety, justice, and moderation. But it too soon became apparent that these virtues were not of natural growth but owed their exhibition to the policy of Tiberius, who wished through their influences to consolidate his own power in the empire. For there was not act of cruelty, folly, meanness or infamy, which this monster and madman did not delight in perpetrating. He caused his horse, whom he called Incitatus, to be introduced at dinner time, setting before him gilded corn, and drinking his health in golden cups; and he would have created him consul, had he lived long enough. He imitated all the gods and goddesses, in the adoration which he caused to be paid to him, becoming by turns Jupiter, Bacchus, Hercules, Juno, Diana, and Venus. He constructed a bridge of vessels joined together from Puteoli to Baiae, and crossing over with his troops invaded puteoli and then recrossed it in a kind of triumph, delighting in hearing himself called Alexander the Great. By his absurd and extravagant undertakings of this kind, before the year was fully expired, he had squandered the enormous sums of money left by Tiberius. (Vicies ae septics millies IIS. -- See Sestertium).

He both claimed and receive divine worship, and was the greatest blasphemer that ever lived; yet he quailed in the conviction of a deity, and crept under his bed whenever he heard thunder. With savage inhumanity he attended executions in person, and made parents behold the merciless torments inflicted on their children. He contracted and dissolved marriages with equal caprice and dishonesty. Besides his incestuous union with Drusilla, he seized and repudiated three wives, and was at last permanently attached to Caesonia a mother of children by another man, and without your or beauty, but of depravity corresponding with his own.

Other instances of his incredible cruelty and lust may be found in Suetonius, Philo, and Dion. Such infatuations are evident tokens not only of a brutal nature, but also of a distempered intellect. Nor is it possible to entertain other than supreme contempt for the base servility of the Romans, who could offer solemn adoration to a wretch openly guilty of the most detestable and unnatural crimes; and whose adage was oderint, dum metuant (Let them hate so long as they fear).

The gold and silver coins of Caligula are of considerable rarity. Sestertii are also rare. Ases are more common, yet still expensive due to popularity of collecting the infamous emperor and because they generally exhibit good workmanship. When Caligula was destroyed, the dastardly senators, who had so recently sacrificed to him, ordered all his statues to be demolished, his acts abrogated, his money melted down and his inscriptions defaced, in order that his memory might be extinguished forever. Yet this sentence has not prevented a considerable number of his coins from reaching us, though consequently, except for ases, they are of considerable rarity when in good preservation. The coins of Caligula, minted at Rome, do not exhibit Imperator as a surname. This title is used on colonial coins. The only imperial coin of Caligula bearing IMP is a denarius.

On his coins, Caligula resembles his grandfather, but is less noble and has a malignant expression. He was at great pains to cherish this horrid index of his cruel disposition.

Gary W2
Gary W2
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-2WcIZv40JXVImci-Caligula_69.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Bronze As11 viewsC CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT - Bare head left
VESTA SC - Vesta Seated Left, Holding Patera & Sceptre
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (37-38AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 11.61g / 29mm / 180
Rarity: Common
References:
RIC I 38
Acquisition/Sale: timeman21 Ebay

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From The Dictionary of Roman Coins:
Caligula, the grand nephew and murderer of Tiberius, most worthy to succeed that emperor, because of an equally infamous, though not so able a tyrant, reigned from A.D. 37 to A.D. 41.

His real appellation was Caius Caesar, but about the time of Augustus' death, he, still a child, being with the army of the lower Rhine, the soldiers, with whom he was a great favorite, were accustomed in the joking parlance of the camp, to give him the nickname of Caligula (from Caligae) because he constantly appeared in the usual military leggings.

Hence Ausonius, in his poem, referring to this cruel wretch, says --

Post hunc castrensis caligae cognomine
Caesar Successit, saevo saevior ingenio.

As emperor, however, he was always called Caius, and he considered himself insulted by the name of Caligula.

He was the youngest son of Germanicus, the nephew of Tiberius and Agrippina; born in 12 A.D. on the day before the calends of September, at Antium, as Suetonius has proved at great length (in Caligula, ch. 8). In 17 A.D., he went into Syria with his father, at whose death, within two years, he returned to Rome with his mother. After she was banished, he was transferred to his great grand-mother Julia and when she diet to his grand-mother Antonia.

In 31 A.D., after the violent deaths of his brothers Nero and Drusus, and also of Sejanus, whose plots he alone had escaped he was he was the apparent successor to the empire and invested with the Pontificate.

In 33 A.D., on the same day he assumed the toga he laid aside his beard, he was nominated questor and Tiberius invited him to Capraea. He moved in with Tiberius, feigning ignorance or indifference, regarding the murder of his relations, as though it did not concern him. He so obsequiously obeyed Tiberius the it was a common expression, that "there never was a better servant, or a worse master." (Sueton, ch. 10)

In 37 A.D., Tiberius was attacked with a severe illness from which he was recovering when Caligula, at the instigation of Maero, the praetorian prefect, put and end to his life by smothering him.

Caligula entered Rome after Tiberius' death and compelled the Senate to join him, by a Senatus Consultum, in depriving Tiberius, son Drusus junior and the elder Tiberius' heir in his last will, of his right to the empire.

The funeral ceremonies of were performed with due pomp by Caligula.

On the eighth month of his reign he was attacked with severe sickness. On his recovery, he adopted his brother Tiberius, gave him the title of Princeps Juventutis, and afterwards put him to death.

In the calends of July he entered upon the office of Consul Suffectus, as colleague to his uncle Claudius, and after two months resigned it.

In 38 A.D. he conceded to Soaemus, the kingdom of Arabians of Ituraea; to Cotys, Armenia Minor; to Polemon, the son of Polemon, his father's dominions.

Dion wrote, "In a short time he assumed so much the air of a king, that all those honors, which Augustus had accepted only when duly arrived at the sovereignty, and even then with hesitation as they were decreed from time to time, and many of which Tiberius altogether declined, were by Caligula grasped in one day, with the exception only of Pater Patriae, which, however was not long deferred."

In 39 A.D., in the calends of January, he entered his second Consulate and resigned the office in thirty days. (Sueton ch. 17)

Having exhausted the treasury by his profuse expenditure on public spectacles and other extravagances, he endeavoured to repair the deficiency by the slaughter of wealthy citizens; and then proceeded to Gaul, their to practice the like system of murder and spoliation.

The name of Germanicus does not appear on coins of this year, nor ever subsequently.

In 40 A.D., Caligula, without a colleague, entered his third consulate, at Lugdunum (Lyon), in Gaul; and resigned it on the ides of January. (Sueton. ch. 17)

Having invited over from Africa, Ptolemy, the son of Juba, he put him to death on the pretence of the young prince's ostentatious bearing. (Dion, B. lix. 25)

Proceeding to the ocean, as if about to invade Britain, he ordered his soldiers to gather shell-fish, and returned as a conqueror, laden with the spoils of the sea. (Sueton. ch. 46)

L. Vitellius, prefect of Syria, the same year, gave such a lesson to Artabanus, the Persian, who was threatening an invasion of Armenia that the later abandoned his design, and paid his adoration to the statues of Augustus and of Caligula. (Dion, I. e.)

In 41 A.D., he began hid fourth consulate, on the 7th of the ides of January. Shortly afterwards (viz. on the 9th of the calends of February), he was assassinated by the conspirators Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus.

Caligula's accession to the empire was hailed with joy by the Roman people; but their satisfaction was based on no solid foundations, being the result rather of their deep-rooted attachment to his father Germanicus. He seeming, indeed, responded to the fond wishes of the nation, by many acts of piety, justice, and moderation. But it too soon became apparent that these virtues were not of natural growth but owed their exhibition to the policy of Tiberius, who wished through their influences to consolidate his own power in the empire. For there was not act of cruelty, folly, meanness or infamy, which this monster and madman did not delight in perpetrating. He caused his horse, whom he called Incitatus, to be introduced at dinner time, setting before him gilded corn, and drinking his health in golden cups; and he would have created him consul, had he lived long enough. He imitated all the gods and goddesses, in the adoration which he caused to be paid to him, becoming by turns Jupiter, Bacchus, Hercules, Juno, Diana, and Venus. He constructed a bridge of vessels joined together from Puteoli to Baiae, and crossing over with his troops invaded puteoli and then recrossed it in a kind of triumph, delighting in hearing himself called Alexander the Great. By his absurd and extravagant undertakings of this kind, before the year was fully expired, he had squandered the enormous sums of money left by Tiberius. (Vicies ae septics millies IIS. -- See Sestertium).

He both claimed and receive divine worship, and was the greatest blasphemer that ever lived; yet he quailed in the conviction of a deity, and crept under his bed whenever he heard thunder. With savage inhumanity he attended executions in person, and made parents behold the merciless torments inflicted on their children. He contracted and dissolved marriages with equal caprice and dishonesty. Besides his incestuous union with Drusilla, he seized and repudiated three wives, and was at last permanently attached to Caesonia a mother of children by another man, and without your or beauty, but of depravity corresponding with his own.

Other instances of his incredible cruelty and lust may be found in Suetonius, Philo, and Dion. Such infatuations are evident tokens not only of a brutal nature, but also of a distempered intellect. Nor is it possible to entertain other than supreme contempt for the base servility of the Romans, who could offer solemn adoration to a wretch openly guilty of the most detestable and unnatural crimes; and whose adage was oderint, dum metuant (Let them hate so long as they fear).

The gold and silver coins of Caligula are of considerable rarity. Sestertii are also rare. Ases are more common, yet still expensive due to popularity of collecting the infamous emperor and because they generally exhibit good workmanship. When Caligula was destroyed, the dastardly senators, who had so recently sacrificed to him, ordered all his statues to be demolished, his acts abrogated, his money melted down and his inscriptions defaced, in order that his memory might be extinguished forever. Yet this sentence has not prevented a considerable number of his coins from reaching us, though consequently, except for ases, they are of considerable rarity when in good preservation. The coins of Caligula, minted at Rome, do not exhibit Imperator as a surname. This title is used on colonial coins. The only imperial coin of Caligula bearing IMP is a denarius.

On his coins, Caligula resembles his grandfather, but is less noble and has a malignant expression. He was at great pains to cherish this horrid index of his cruel disposition.
Gary W2
Civil_Wars_RIC_121.jpg
Civil Wars of 68-69 Clasped Hands71 viewsCivil Wars of 68-69 AD AR denarius. 3.49 g. Minted by pro-Vitellian forces in Southern Gaul.
O: FIDES EXERCITVVM, two clasped hands.
R: FIDES PRAETORIANORVM, two clasped hands.
-BMC 65; Martin 7; RIC² 121 (Group IV) , Ex Jonathan P. Rosen, Ex Auktion Myers/Adams 7, New York 1974, Nr. 269.

The message of a unified fidelity, or loyalty, of the 'armies' (FIDES EXERCITVVM) and the praetorians (FIDES PRAETORIANORVM) would only be an effective propaganda tool if it was distributed among the praetorians.

David R Sear, writing in RCV, agrees with Kraay (Num. Chron 1949, pp 78.) that this interesting, anonymous civil war issue was produced on behalf of Vitellius, to be used as 'bribe money' to suborn the soldiers, as well as the Praetorian Guard, loyal to Otho in the capital. "In March 69 AD, Vitellian commander Fabius Valens entered Italy from Southern Gaul at the head of a small band of secret agents. Their mission was to infiltrate the capital, especially the ranks of the Praetorians, with the object of disseminating pro-Vitellian propaganda and dissociating the guards from their allegiance to Otho. These coins, struck in advance in Southern Gaul, would thus have played a vital role as 'bribe money'. Despite these covert activities, the Praetorians remained loyal to their Emperor, though all was to be for naught, as the following month, the invading army of Vitellius was victorious at the battle of Bedriacum, and Otho took his own life" - David R Sear

Here is the ad from the New york times December 1, 1974 page 208, advertising the Myers/Adams auction 7:
Several thousand foreign coin collectors are expected here next weekend for the biggest event on their winter calendar, the third annual New York International Numismatic Convention. The three‐day show will be held in the Albert Hall of the Americana Hotel, Seventh Avenue between 52d and 53rd Streets. It will open at 11 A.M. on Friday, with the exhibit area and the dealer bourse to remain open till 8 P.M. On Saturday the hours are 10 A.M. to 8 P.M., and on Sunday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. There will be an admission charge of 50 cents, for which a badge will be issued that will be good for all three days.
As its title indicates, the show emphasizes foreign numismatics to the point of almost excluding U.S. material. This holds true in exhibits as well as in the bourse and throughout the convention program. All of the exhibits are, again, invitational—noncompetitive—and were selected to assure representation of a wide range of international numismatic interests.

One symbol of the convention's success is that the, number of exhibitors and dealers has grown each year. This year there will be 67 bourse tables, roughly a quarter of them occupied by dealers from Europe and Canada; the remainder will be taken by leading U.S. dealers who have established reputations as specialists in ancient and foreign coins.
The convention will have two auctions, both described in some detail in this column a couple of weeks ago. The first, a “prologue” to the convention, will he the Myers/ Adams auction of ancient Greek and Roman coins at 7 P.M. on Thursday. The second, a two‐session sale of foreign coins and paper money, will be conducted by Henry Christensen, Inc., at 7 P.M. on Friday and 1:30 P.M. on Saturday.
3 commentsNemonater
CivilWarsJupiter_RIC_125a.jpg
Civil Wars of 68-69 Jupiter / Vesta48 viewsCivil Wars. Silver Denarius (3.09 g), AD 68-69 Uncertain mint in Southern Gaul, ca. AD 69.
O: I O M CAPITOLINVS, diademed and heroic bust of Jupiter Capitolinus left, small branch before, with slight mantle showing on near shoulder.
R: VESTA P R QVIRITIVM, Vesta seated left, holding patera and torch.
- RIC 125a (Group IV); AM 96; BMC 72; RSC 432. Ex Dr. Rainer Pudill; Ex Auktionshaus H. D. Rauch GmbH Summer 2010 Lot 490

Struck for Vitellius, perhaps by his commander Fabius Valens, in southern Gaul shortly before the First Battle of Bedriacum, which saw the annihilation of Otho's forces in mid-April, AD 69. This type draws on the two most important cults in Rome. The figure of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus invokes the invincible might of Rome, while the figure of Vesta, who was the goddess of the Rome's sacred hearth, symbolizes the Empire's permanence.
1 commentsNemonater
EB0396_scaled.JPG
EB0396 Vitellius / Libertas6 viewsVitellius, AR Denarius, 69 AD.
Obv: A VITELLIVS [GERM IMP] AVG TR P, laureate head right.
Rev: LIBERTAS RESTIT[VTA], Libertas standing facing, head right, holding pileus and long staff.
References: RIC I 105; RSC 47.
Diameter: 18.5mm, Weight: 3.278 grams.
With the same devices as RIC I 81, the difference on this coin is the abbreviated title GERM.
Note: Sold.
EB
Vitellius_01.jpg
Egypt, Alexandria, AD 069, Vitellius21 viewsVitellius
Egypt, Alexandria
Billon-Tetradrachme, year1, AD 69
Obv.: ΩΛOY OYIT KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEPM AYT Head laureate right.
Rev.: Nike advancing left holding wreath and palm, date LA in left field
Billon, 12,73g, 23mm
Ref.: RPC 5372 (18 spec.), Oxford 372, Dattari 340, Geißen 260 ff., Emmett 196/1
Ex Dionysos Numismatik
shanxi
coin56~0.JPG
Egypt, Alexandria; Vitellius22 viewsEGYPT, Alexandria. Vitellius. AD 69. BI Tetradrachm (24mm, 13.48 g, 12h). Dated RY 1 (AD 69). Laureate head right / Nike standing left, holding wreath and palm frond; LA (date) to left. RPC 5372; Köln 260-2; Dattari 340; K&G 19.1.ecoli
1.jpg
Elagabalus AE26 Tetrassarion of Marcianopolis.43 viewsAVT K M AVP H LI ANTWNEINOC, laureate head right,

VP IOVL ANT CELEVKOV MAPKIANOPOLITWN, Victory advancing left,

Issued under the Consular Legate Julius Antonius Seleucus, Governor of Moesia between AD218-222. A 5th century historian Polemius Silvius, mentions a usurper by the name of Seleucus during Elagabal's reign. Whether or not this usurper is our Legate or another Consul (AD 221) by the name of M. Flavius Vitellius Seleucus, is unknown. What is known is that Seleucus was succeeded by Sergius Titianus in AD 222, the year of Elagabal's murder.

AMNG Vol.I No.824, Pg.254

ex-Gitbud & Naumann Münzhandlung München
2 commentsWill Hooton
IfakeFantasyB.JPG
Fantasy33 viewsThis fake has a reverse known from coinf of Falba (Spain only) and Vitellius. The fabric is clearly modern, the portrait is off and the lettering is uneven both in eexecution and actual size. Has "copy" written on, but that would easily "wear out".jmuona
AntipasHalfUnit.jpg
Herod Antipas Half Unit84 viewsHERODIANS. Herod Antipas (4 BCE - 39 CE). Tiberias Mint, Æ half denomination, 19.4mm, 5.3 g.
O: TIBE PIAC in two lines within wreath.
R: HPΩΔOY TETPAPXOY (Herod Tetrarch), vertical palm branch, L to left, ΛZ to right, (RY 37 = 33/34 CE)
Hendin-1212 in GBC 5; ex. Hendin; ex. Teddy Kollek Collection; Menorah Coin Project ANT 15, Die 02/R12; Sear certificate.

Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman. He was brought up in Rome with his brother Archelaus.

In Herod’s will, Antipas had been named to receive the kingship, but Herod changed his will, naming Archelaus instead. Antipas contested the will before Augustus Caesar, who upheld Archelaus’ claim but divided the kingdom, giving Antipas the tetrarchy of Galilee and Perea. “Tetrarch,” meaning ‘ruler over one fourth’ of a province, was a term applied to a minor district ruler or territorial prince.

Antipas married the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. But on one of his trips to Rome, Antipas visited his half brother Herod Philip, the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne II (not Philip the tetrarch). While visiting, he became infatuated with Philip’s wife Herodias, who was quite the ambitious woman. He took her back to Galilee and married her, divorcing Aretas’ daughter and sending her back home. This insulting action brought war. Aretas invaded and Antipas suffered major losses before receiving orders from Rome for Aretas to stop.

According to Josephus, Herod's defeat was popularly believed to be divine punishment for his execution of John the Baptist. Tiberius ordered Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to capture or kill Aretas, but Vitellius was reluctant to support Herod and abandoned his campaign upon Tiberius' death in 37.

It was Herod Antipas’ adulterous relationship with Herodias that brought reproof from John the Baptizer. John was correct in reproving Antipas, because Antipas was nominally a Jew and professedly under the Law. This would lead to John's murder being schemed during a celebration of Antipas' birthday.

On the last day of Jesus’ earthly life, when he was brought before Pontius Pilate and Pilate heard that Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas who happened to be in Jerusalem. Herod, disappointed in Jesus, discredited him and made fun of him, then sent him back to Pilate, who was the superior authority as far as Rome was concerned. Pilate and Herod had been enemies, possibly because of certain accusations that Herod had leveled against Pilate. But this move on Pilate’s part pleased Herod and they became friends.
Nemonater
Year2Shekel.jpg
Judaea, First Revolt Shekel, Year 2127 viewsJudaea, First Jewish War AR Shekel. Dated year 2 (AD 67/8)
O: Hebrew script read from right to left SKL ISRAL “Shekel of Israel”, the date Shin Bet, "Year Two" of the revolution, above Omer cup with beaded rim
R: Hebrew script YRUSLIM H KDOSA “Jerusalem the Holy” around sprig of three pomegranates.

This coin was minted during times of great upheaval in Judaea as well as the rest of the Roman empire.

As Jewish factions were fighting for control in Jerusalem, General Vespasian's armies invaded Galilee in 67 CE with 60,000 men as they began the effort to quell the rebellion started a year earlier. Vespasian captured the commander of Galilee, Josephus ben Matthias, in the little mountain town of Jotapata, which fell after a fierce siege of 47 days. It was the second bloodiest battle of the revolt, surpassed only by the sacking of Jerusalem, and the longest except for Jerusalem and Masada.

Driven from Galilee, Zealot rebels and thousands of refugees arrived in Judea, causing even greater political turmoil in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, back in Rome in 68 CE, Nero commits suicide, plunging the Empire into a civil war. Galba, Otho and Vitellius would assume the purple till Vespasian, leaving the battle in Judaea to Titus, brought the matter to a conclusion in 69.
6 commentsNemonater
RIC121_LugundumB.jpg
Lugdunum_RIC12128 views3,17 gr., max 18 mm, die-axis 4. Although anonymous, this is certainly a pro-Vitellian type. The mint is an educated guess. The RIC number refers to "Civil War" coins, not Vitellius.1 commentsjmuona
marc_antony_denar_legXVI.jpg
MARC ANTONY legionary denarius - 32-31 BC61 viewsobv: ANT AVG III VIR R P C (praetorian galley right)
rev: LEG XVI (Legio XVI Gallica - the legion from Gaul) (legionary eagle between two standards)
ref: Cr544/31, RSC 48, Albert1732 (100eur)
3.35g, 17mm

This legion was founded in 41 or 40 by Octavian, who needed it to put an end to Sextus Pompeius' occupation of Sicily. This legio also took part in the war of the first Marcomanni, against king Maroboduus in Czechia in 6 AD. They fought against German tribes: in the winter of 40/41, Servius Sulpicius Galba (the future emperor) overcame the Chatti. As the part of the army of Germania Inferior (led by Vitellius), XVI Gallica surrendered, at Bonn in April 70, and were renamed XVI Flavia Firma by Vespasianus.
berserker
ANTLEGII~0.jpg
Mark Antony Legionary Denarius LEG II55 viewsANT AVG III VIR R P C
Galley right, mast with banners at prow

LEG II
legionary eagle between two standards


Patrae mint 32-31BC

3.14g

Great "bankers" mark on reverse, a very nice "C"


Origianlly founded by Pompey the Great in 84 BC. Legio II was given the title of "Augusta" in about 25 BC by Augustus. The II Augusta legion took part in Germanicus' campaigns in Germany and was commanded by Germanicus' friend Publius Vitellius who held the rank of legate. Publius Vitellius later prosecuted Piso for the murder of Germanicus.
Jay GT4
ANTLEGII.jpg
Mark Antony Legionary Denarius LEG II68 viewsANT AVG III VIR R P C
galley r. mast with banners at prow

LEG II
legionary eagle between two standards


Patrae mint 32-31BC

3.17g

Perfect tiny hole for suspension with great dark toning


Origianlly founded by Pompey the Great in 84 BC. Legio II was given the title of "Augusta" in about 25 BC by Augustus. The II Augusta legion took part in Germanicus' campaigns in Germany and was commanded by Germanicus' friend Publius Vitellius who held the rank of legate. Publius Vitellius later prosecuted Piso for the murder of Germanicus.

Ex-ECIN, Ex-Littleton Coin Company
Jay GT4
LEG_VI.jpg
Mark Antony Legionary Denarius LEG VI 100 viewsANT AVG III VIR R P C
galley r. mast with banners at prow

Rev LEG VI legionary eagle between two standards

Patrae mint 32-31BC

The photo appears to show this as LEG VII but in hand you can see that the second I is a scratch
Background History on the VI Legion

Raised in Cisalpine Gaul in 58 BC by Julius Caesar, the Sixth Legion served with him during his tenure as governor and was withdrawn to Spain in 49 BC where it earned the title “Hispaniensis”.

Later seeing action at Pharsalus in 48 BC, Julius Caesar took the 6th to Alexandria to settle the dispute in Egypt with Cleopatra. Alexandria was laid to siege and the 6th was almost wiped out losing almost two thirds of its entire manpower. Julius Caesar eventually triumphed when reinforcements arrived.

Julius Caesar took his “Veteran Sixth Legion” with him to Syria and Pontus. The Legion then served in Pontus under Caesar in 48 BC and 47 BC. This culminated in the battle of Zela where victory was won by Legio VI.

During Caesar’s African war against Scipio, the Sixth Legion deserted en masse from Scipio to reinforce Caesar and fought under him.

The legion was disbanded in 45 BC after Munda establishing a colony at Arelate (Arles), but was re-formed by Lepidus the following year (44 BC) and given over to Marcus Antonius the year after that. Following the defeat of the republican generals Cassius and Brutus in successive battles at Philippi in 42 BC and the subsequent division of control between Antony and Octavian, a colony was again formed from retired veterans at Beneventum in 41 BC (this is the colony which it is believed became Legio VI Victrix) and the remainder of Legio VI Ferrata was taken by Antony to the East where it garrisoned Judea.

Legio VI fought in the Parthian War in 36 BC.

Another Legio VI Victrix evidently saw action at Perusia in 41 BC, which presents us with a problem because the official Legio VI Ferrata was at that moment with Anthony in the East. This is explained in Lawrence Keppie's excellent book The Making of the Roman Army - from Republic to Empire (pp.134); “Octavian did not hesitate to duplicate legionary numerals already in use by Antony. The latter had serving with him legio V Alaudae, legio VI Ferrata and legio X Equestris. Soon we find Octavian's army boasting of a legio V (the later Macedonica), legio VI (the later Victrix) and legio X (soon to be Fretensis). Of these, legio V and legio X, and less certainly legio VI, bore under the empire a bull-emblem which would normally indicate a foundation by Caesar; but the true Caesarian legions with these numerals (Alaudae, Ferrata and Equestris) were with Antony.”

It would seem, therefore, that Octavian had again used the veterans of Caesars Sixth Legion, this time from those left at Beneventum, to form the core of his own Sixth Legion used at Perusia.

Both Legio VI’s (Ferrata and Victrix) fought at the Battle of Actium, after this event the legio VI Ferrata was dispatched back to Judea and the next time we hear of the legio VI Victrix was in Spain.

Legio VI Ferrata was severely mauled at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC by the forces loyal to Caesar's nephew and heir, Octavian. Following the Battle of Actium, another colony of veterans seems to have been created at Byllis, probably together with soldiers from other legions, and the remainder of VI Ferrata was moved to Syria/Judea where it was to remain.

From 9 BC to 73 AD the VI Ferrata was garrisoned the area of Judea. It was in this time frame that Jesus Christ was tried before Pontius Pilatus, the Roman Governor of Judea.

From 54 AD to 68 AD the Legion served under Corbulo at Artaxata and Tigranocerta against the Parthians. In 69 AD the Legion returned to Judea and fought in the Jewish Civil War. As the Jewish Civil War wound down, the sixth was placed under Mucianis and fought against Vitellius. Legion VI was largely responsible for Mucianis victory over the forces of Vitellius during the brief Roman Civil War .
Titus Pullo
Otho_ric_19.png
Otho AR Denarius86 viewsOtho, 69.
Denarius, Rome;
3.03 g.
Obv: Head r .IMP M OTHO CAESAR AUG TR P
Rev:Equitas stands l. with scales and scepter. PONT MAX
BMC 6; Coh. 9; RIC² 19.
Fine tone fine
Ex: The Jyrki Muona collection
auction Fritz Rudolf Künker 304, Osnabrück March 2018, No. 1073
auction Fritz Rudolf Künker 312, Osnabrück October 2018, No. 2822.

I am thrilled to have bought my second denarius of Otho. Otho was the second of the emperors n the year of the four emperors in 69 CE. After losing a battle to Aulus Vitellius he took his own life rather than needlessly spill more blood.

I absolutely love the portrait on this coin. It is rendered in a truly artistic style. The PONT MAX reverse is rarer than the SECURITAS reverse of my first coin of OTHO. This coin was struck on a rather large flan and the quality of silver is very nice indeed.

After winning this coin I was contacted by Dr. Jyrki Muona who informed me that the coin once belonged to him. Dr. Muona has written on the topic of coins of Otho including the paper "The Rome mint coins of Marcus Salvius Otho". I am very pleased to own a coin of Otho from his collection.

Some have claimed that Otho was an insignificant historical figure and that his coins are only collected because collecting the 12 Caesars based on the book by Suetonius means that one needs a coin of Otho. I would have to disagree. Otho ruled in a time of civil war during a truly formative century for the Roman empire. He also gave his life to spare others. To me this makes him significant enough for me.
6 commentsorfew
Otho_tet.jpg
Otho Tetradrachm271 viewsAYTOKPATWP M OΘWN KAICAP CEBACTOC
Laureate head right
ETOYC A
Eagle, wings raised, standing left on two laurel branches, wreath in beak, palm branch in left field, crescent between eagle's legs

Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch ad Orontem

69 AD

14.44g

Prieur-101, RPC-4199, McAlee-316.
Rare
ex-ANE

Amazing jet black toning

From Numiswiki:
"Having to contest the crown with his competitor Vitellius, whom he three times defeated, Otho was vanquished in his turn at the battle of Bedriacum and rather than be the coccasion of further bloodshed in civil war, he preferred making the sacrifice of his life, and with a frimness wholly unlooked for from so effeminately luxurious a character,deliberately slew himself with his own hand. He died on the 16th of April 69 AD, in the 37th year of his age, having reigned only ninety-five days."
8 commentsJay GT4
Vitellius_ensemble.jpg
PADUAN, Vitellius38 viewsVitellius aftercast paduan
Imitation Sesterce de Vitellius coulé

Avers : A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP AVG P M TR P. Laureate and draped bust right
Revers : HONOS ET VIRTVS. Honos and Virtus standing facing one another. Exergue : S C
Réfs : Klawans 2; Lawrence 27.
Diamètre : 38 mm | Poids : 18,7 g

Je le sens bien comme étant une copie moulée d' un vrai Padouan .. (vu également la présence de la tortue et du dauphin sous les pieds d' Honos et Virtus). La difficulté consistant à connaître l' époque du moulage ... là je ne trouve aucuns documents la précisant (c' est peut être juste impossible à savoir).
Est ce un moulage de Cavino lui même ou du moins XVII ème ? (puisqu' il existe bel et bien des "Padouans coulés" ) .. ou un moulage postèrieur jusque XIX ème ? Je pencherai pour cette hypothèse pour celui ci .. c' est tellement difficile de s' y retrouver dans les faux finalement ...

http://www.sesterzio.eu/Cavino/cavino.htm
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=97685.0
Vamp
Vespasian~0.jpg
RIC 0002 Vespasian denarius404 viewsIMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG
Laur. head of Vespasian right

IVDAEA
Judaea as mourning captive seated right on ground at foot of trophy.

Celebrating the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the first Jewish Revolt. Portrait looks like a cross between Otho and Vitellius

Rome 69-70 AD

RIC 2 (C2); Sear 2296

3.285g

Ex-Maridvnvm; Ex-Forum!

8 commentsJay GT4
Vespasian_COSITER~0.jpg
RIC 0021 Vespasian Denariius75 viewsIMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG
laureate head right

COS ITER TR POT
Aequitas standing left holding scales and sceptre

Rome 70 AD

3.51g

RIC II 21 (C), BMC 17, RSC 94a, Sear 2284


Another early portrait that has Vitellius' features.

New Photo
5 commentsJay GT4
Vespasian_COSITER.jpg
RIC 0029 Vespasian denarius161 viewsIMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG

Laur. head of Vespasian right

COS ITER TR POT

Pax seated left holding olive branch and caduceus

Rome 70 AD

RIC 29 (C3), BMC 26, RSC 94h, Sear 2285

3.4g

Interesting early portrait looks very much like Vitellius
4 commentsJay GT4
R_667_Vitellius.jpg
RIC 1, p.273, 103 - Vitellius, Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia27 viewsVitellius
Denarius, Rome, AD 69
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVGVST TR P, laureate head right
Rev.: LIBERI IMP GERM AVG, confronted draped busts of Vitellius' son (on left) and daughter (thought to have been named Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia)
Ag, 3.090g, 18.1mm, 180o
Ref.: RIC² 103, RSC II 2, BMCRE I 29, BnF III 62

Ex FORVM ANCIENT COINS
3 commentsshanxi
othoreplica2a.jpg
RIC 8 replica28 viewsThis box contained the three replicas: Galba, Otho, Vitellius-jmuona
TheCivilWarsComp.jpg
Roman Civil Wars 68-6991 viewsNero, Vindex, Galba, Otho, Vitellius x2 and Vespasian x38 commentsNemonater
vitellius.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE - VITELLIUS - MACEDON52 viewsVitelius provincial AE Macedonian shield MACEDON AE 24, 6.86 g. Obv.: Bare head left. Legend in Greek. Rev.: Legend in Greek around Macedonian shield. 1 commentsdpaul7
Domitian_-_Fourree_denarius_1~0.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Domitian - Fourree denarius 1121 viewsObverse: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS II - Laureate head right.
Reverse: (CONCOR) DIA PR - Concordia seated left with patera and cornucopia.
mm. 17 - g. 1,87
Obverse legend known only for AE - Reverse belong to Vitellius (Cohen 18)
Fourree.
FlaviusDomitianus
Vitellius.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius69 viewsVitellius, AR denarius, 3,29 g. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right / XV VIR SACR FAC Tripod, raven below, dolphin above. RSC 111, BMC 39.
Ex UBS Ancient Coins Auction 59
3 commentsIlya_VK
Vitellius.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius Denarius63 viewsA VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right / PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera. RIC 107 RSC 72. 3.2 grams. Stuart Francis
0083-210~0.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, VITELLIUS Denarius, RIC 86, Wildwinds example99 viewsRome mint, July - December 20, AD69
A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, Laureate head of Vitellius right
XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below
3.43 gr, 16-18 mm
Ref : RCV # 2201var, Cohen cf # 110 et suiv, RIC I # 86 (this example illustrated in Wildwinds)
7 commentsPotator II
65988q00.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D., Gold aureus13 viewsSH65988. Gold aureus, RIC I 94, BMCRE I 23, BnF III 54, Calicó 565, Cohen I 54 var. (branch in right hand), F, weight 7.029 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Apr - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR, Lucius Vitellius (emperor's father) togate, seated left on curule chair, extending right, in left eagle-tipped scepter, feet on stool; very rare (RIC R2)Joe Sermarini
vitellius.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, AR Denarius16 views1 commentsNumis-Student
bpJ2K1Vitellius.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, AR Denarius, Late April - 20 Dec 69 AD.66 viewsObv: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP
Bare head, right.
Rev: XV VIR SACR FAC
Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying on top and raven standing below.
Denarius, 3.28 gm, 17.9 mm, RIC 70.
Scarce
Massanutten
Vitel.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, Denarius163 viewsVitellius 69 A.D.

Obv: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN
Rev: FIDES EXERCITVVM
Lugdunum Mint
RIC 53
2 commentsBarry
Vitellius BMC1 obv and rev.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, RIC 6674 viewsVitellius
AR Denarius
Rome Mint. 69 A.D.
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP - Laureate bust right.
Rev: CONCORDIA P R - Concordia seated left holding patera and cornucopiae.
Ref: RIC 66. Cohen 18. RCV 2196. RSC 18.
seraphic
vitese03a~1.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius, sestertius, RIC 141204 viewsÆ sestertius (25.02g, 36mm, 6h). Rome, AD 69.
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG P M TR P, laureate draped bust right.
Rev.: S C, Mars, helmeted, naked, cloak over left shoulder, advancing right with spear and legionary standard.
RIC 141 (R); BMC 58; Cohen 79 (80 fr.); RCV 2208
Ex Edgar L. Owen, Andover, NJ, 1997
8 commentsCharles S
2770222.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Vitellius. AD 69. AR Denarius WELL STRUCK BUST55 viewsVitellius. AD 69. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.07 g, 6h).
Rome mint. Struck circa April-December.
Laureate head right / Victory seated left, holding wreath and palm.
RIC I 88; RSC 119. VF, light roughness on bust, areas of porosity on reverse.
2 commentsAdrian W
Vespasian r103-o.jpg
Roman, Vespasian576 viewsI love this portrait! The sneer/scowl seems so real!

TITVS FLAVIVS VESPASIANVS, born in 9 AD to Vespasia Polla and Flavius Sabinus, entered public service and was serving as Governor of Judaea in 68 when Nero committed suicide. The eastern legions resented the quick succession of Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, since the Rhine legions had caused it all. In July of 69 the eastern legions proclaimed Vespasian, and the legions of Illyricum followed. Vitellius was killed on December 20, 69 and Vespasian reigned mildly for the next ten years. He died of illness on June 23, 79, was succeeded by his older son Titus, and was deified by the Senate.
4 commentsjimwho523
vitese03a.jpg
Roman, Vitellius sestertius minted Rome, A.D. 69601 views25.02g, Ø 36mm, 6h
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG PM TR P, laurate head right
Rev.: S C, Mars, helmeted, naked, advancing right with spear and legionnary standard.
Ref.: RIC 141 (R); BMCRE 58; C. 79; Sear (II) 2208
4 commentsCharles S
vespasian_tet.jpg
RPC 2412 Vespasian Tetradrachm138 viewsΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒA ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΥ LB
Laureate head right

Dated LB Year 2 (69/70 AD).

Nike walking left, holding wreath and palm.

EGYPT. Alexandria.

Billon Tetradrachm
24mm - 13.12g

Köln 276; Dattari 360; Milne 393; Emmett 204; RPC II 2412.

VF, gray toning,

ex-Vauctions sale 243 lot 58 Barry P. Murphy

Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor at Alexandria on July 1, 69 AD. This cut short the coinage of Vitellius at the Egyptian capital which had begun only two months before
5 commentsJay GT4
RPC2401sm.jpg
RPC-2401-Vespasian131 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.65g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: EI-PH-NH; Eirene standing, l., with corn-ears and caduceus
RPC 2401 (25 spec.).
Acquired from Almanumis, August 2014.

The first coins struck for Vespasian anywhere in the empire are those dated "Year 1" (LA) from Alexandria Egypt. The two legions stationed there under the Prefect Tiberius Julius Alexander were the first to declare him emperor. According to Tacitus - "The first move to convey imperial status to Vespasian took place at Alexandria. This was due to the eagerness of Tiberius Alexander, who caused his legions to swear allegiance to the new emperor on 1 July" (Hist 2.79). The year 1 coins were struck between 1 July and 28 August. The obverse legend of these first coins lack the title Augustus (sebastos). However, those dated Year 2 (29 August 69 - 28 August 70) include the title, which is strong evidence that Vespasian did not immediately adopt it during the first two months of his reign. Vespasian did not arrive in Alexandria until December, so the Alexandrian die engravers probably had no idea of the new emperor's appearance. Understandably, these early portraits have more than a passing similarity to those of Vitellius. It is interesting to note this tetradrachm was struck nearly 6 months before the senate in Rome recognised Vespasian as emperor and the first imperial coins in his name were struck there.

This tetradrachm displays the unique "Alexandrian" style quite well - a large squarish head, crudely engraved, with a thick mop of hair. Despite its lack of artistry and clunkiness, I quite adore this charming style. A chunky coin in hand.
5 commentsDavid Atherton
RPC2404sm.jpg
RPC-2404-Vespasian67 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.67g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: AΛEΞAN-ΔPEIA; Alexandria standing, l., with wreath and sceptre
RPC 2404 (16 spec.).
Ex Zeus Galleries, eBay, August 2015.

Alexandria struck the very first coinage for Vespasian in July and August of 69 after the legions under Tiberius Alexandria hailed him as emperor on 1 July. This coin is dated to his first regnal year at Alexandria and was minted in those heady days. The portrait is similar to the tetradrachms struck for Vitellius, most likely because the engravers had no image of Vespasian to go by. According to Tacitus (Hist. III, 48) he had not yet arrived in Alexandria by the time reports of the battle of Cremona reached him in the middle of November. Fittingly on the reverse, Alexandria (or Alexander the Great?) is seen here offering a victor's wreath, presumably to Vespasian, and holding a sceptre.

It's difficult to find these Alexandrian tets in decent condition. They are typically well circulated and worn and this example is no exception, but it's nicely toned and the heavy wear has not been too unkind.
4 commentsDavid Atherton
RPC2412.jpg
RPC-2412-Vespasian73 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.79g
Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LB before neck
Rev: No Legend; Nike flying l., with wreath and palm
RPC 2412 (37 spec.).

Struck during Vespasian's second regnal year in Alexandria (29 August 69 to 28 August 70), this early tetradrachm is in surprisingly good Alexandrian style. Most of these early tetradrachms were struck in a some what crude style, happily this one was not! The reverse design of Nike is a continuation of a type previously minted for Vitellius at Alexandria.

In good condition and fairly well centered.

2 commentsDavid Atherton
othozuz.JPG
Second_RIC 10_zuz22 viewsBaar Kochba revolt "denarius", originally a SECVRITAS Otho Rome mint coin. On the lower left of the obverse one can see the name clearly and on the other side remnants of the original reverse legend "..CV RI T..." as well as the wreath held by Secvritas are visible. The common host coins the zuz were struck on are denarii of Trajan, Vespasian and Domitian; Titus, Nerva, Nero and Galba being less frequent. Otho is distinctly rare and a restruck Vitellius I have not seen.
It is fun to try to figure out the original type.
jmuona
RIC6_TarracoB.jpg
Tarraco_RIC630 views3,32 gr., max 18 mm, die-axis 6. Strictly speaking this is not included in RIC, as the obverse legend is of RIC type 2b, not 2a. However, as this is only a question of the gap between the words VITELLIUS and IMP, I regard it as only a die variant.jmuona
12_Caesars.jpg
The 12 Caesars + One Virtual tray423 viewsAfter seeing Potator's image of his 12 Caesar's I was inspired to do my own (of course including Mark Antony! While compiling my list I realized I'm missing a Julius Caesar portrait so a non portrait had to fill in. It's difficult choosing which coin to include in this set, in some cases I only had one (Galba) but others I had many more to choose from (Flavians). I do have better portraits of some but I thought these had more interesting types:

Marcus Antonius denarius
Julius Caesar denarius
Augustus denarius
Tiberius denarius
Caligula AE As
Claudius AE As
Nero Dupondius
Galba AE As
Otho Tetradrachm
Vitellius denarius
Vespasian denarius
Titus denarius
Domitian denarius

Image is clickable for larger size.
To see the coins individually see them in my gallery.
13 commentsJay GT4
The_12_Caesars_opt.jpg
The Twelve Caesars90 viewsA denarius of each of the first 12 Caesars: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian2 commentsLegatus
XII_CAESARS.JPG
THE TWELVE CAESARS103 views First Row
1: Julius Caesar, RSC 39
2: Augustus, RIC 51
3: Tiberius, RIC 26
4: Caligula (plated), RIC 18

Second Row
5: Claudius (plated), RIC 39
6: Nero, RIC 47
7: Galba, RIC 167
8: Otho, RIC 8

Third Row
9: Vitellius, RIC 66
10: Vespasian, RIC 334
11: Titus, RIC 206
12: Domitian, RIC 173

To see individual coins with descriptions, click links below

Imperators through the Julio-Claudian Emperors
Civil War through Flavian Dynasty
4 commentsSPQR Coins
12_Caesars.jpg
THE TWELVE CAESARS110 viewsFirst Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
1: Julius Caesar
2: Augustus
3: Tiberius
4: Caligula

Second Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
5: Claudius
6: Nero
7: Galba
8: Otho

Third Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
9: Vitellius
10: Vespasian
11: Titus
12: Domitian
8 commentsSPQR Matt
Tiberius_(14-37)__Æ_Sestertius_(33mm,_27_07g,_12h)_166_26.jpg
Tiberius (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius 8 views(no legend) - Triumphal quadriga without driver, stepping right, drawing a cart decorated with Victory, a trophy and a prisoner
TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVST P M TR POT XXXVII - Legend surrounding large S C
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (35-36 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 27.07g / 33mm / 12h
Rarity: Rare
References:
RIC 60
C. 66
BMC 113
CBN 91
Provenances:
Bertolami Fine Arts
Acquisition/Sale: Bertolami Fine Arts VCoins

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

The empty Quadriga probably alludes to the action of L. Vitellius against the Parthians, although no decision is known about the attribution of the Signa triumphalia to L. Vitellius. The father of the future emperor had been sent by Tiberius as legatus Augusti pro praetore to Syria, as in Armenia the Parthian king Artabanos III had used his son Arsakes. Lucius Vitellius was extremely successful, not only succeeded in establishing a king of Rome's mercy in Armenia, but also in Parthia himself to install a new king. Artabanos III had to flee to the Scythians.
Gary W2
Tiberius_(14-37)__Æ_Sestertius_(33mm,_27_07g,_12h)_166_26~0.jpg
Tiberius (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius15 views(no legend) - Triumphal quadriga without driver, stepping right, drawing a cart decorated with Victory, a trophy and a prisoner
TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVST P M TR POT XXXVII - Legend surrounding large S C
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (35-36 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 27.07g / 33mm / 12h
Rarity: Rare
References:
RIC 60
C. 66
BMC 113
CBN 91
Provenances:
Bertolami Fine Arts
Acquisition/Sale: Bertolami Fine Arts VCoins

The empty Quadriga probably alludes to the action of L. Vitellius against the Parthians, although no decision is known about the attribution of the Signa triumphalia to L. Vitellius. The father of the future emperor had been sent by Tiberius as legatus Augusti pro praetore to Syria, as in Armenia the Parthian king Artabanos III had used his son Arsakes. Lucius Vitellius was extremely successful, not only succeeded in establishing a king of Rome's mercy in Armenia, but also in Parthia himself to install a new king. Artabanos III had to flee to the Scythians.

Per RIC-Rare
Gary W2
Titus_RIC_II_129.jpg
Titus RIC II 0129102 viewsTitus 79-81 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint, Jan. 1-June 30, 80 A.D.. (3.31g, 18.9mm, 6h). Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M, laureate head left. Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII, P P, tripod with fillets, dolphin above. RIC II 129, RSC 323.

This type was minted the same year as the inauguration of the Flavian Amphitheatre and Titus’ pulvinaria series. It also echoes a type of Vitellius which had a Raven under the tripod. Some of Titus’ coins have ravens on the tripod, but not this example. This is another of the less common left facing portraits.
2 commentsLucas H
Vespasian-RIC-847.jpg
Vespasian86 viewsAR denarius
Weight: 3.52 g
76 AD
Obverse: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG / laureate head of Vespasian right
Reverse: COS VII / Eagle with wings spread, standing front on low garlanded base, head left
RIC 847

The reverse is possibly a reference to Mucianus death, which occured around the time the coin was minted. After the death of Galba (69), Mucianus and Vespasian (who was at the time in Iudaea) both swore allegiance to Otho, but when the civil war broke out Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the imperial throne...
4 commentsMarcus Lepidus
Vesp_den_3.jpg
Vespasian Denarius18 viewsAR Denarius
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG ; laur. hd. r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; Aequitas stg. l., holding scales and scepter.

RIC 5. BMC 17. CBN 10.
On many of these, the portrait strongly ressembles that of Vitellius. This is because they were struck in Rome and Lugdunum prior to Vespasian's triumphant arrival, and the die-cutters had no accurate bust to model the dies from. They compromised, and simply modified the dies they had used for the previous ruler.
Tanit
V19f.jpg
Vespasian RIC 19 (2)136 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, January - June 70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER FORT RED; Fortuna, draped, standing l.,setting r. hand on prow and holding cornucopiae in l. hand
RIC 19 (C). BMC 7. RSC 84. BNC 7.
Ex eBay, March 2017.

Early in Vespasian's reign the Rome mint had a hard time getting his portrait right because he spent the balance of his first year as emperor in Egypt. There is a wide variation in portrait types and styles until the mint was able to procure a suitable portrait bust. Some, such as the one on this common Fortuna type, are unmodified Vitellius portraits. Certainly this denarius was one of the first coined for Vespasian at the mint.

A strikingly unusual portrait struck on a large flan.
4 commentsDavid Atherton
vespasian aequitas.JPG
Vespasian RIC 21 (1)174 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Rome Mint, January - June 70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; Aequitas, draped, standing l., holding scales in r. hand, transverse rod in l.
RIC 21 (C). BMC 17. RSC 94a. BNC 10.
Acquired from Nedao Coins, November 2005.

Vespasian was either in Egypt or on his way to Rome when many of these coins were struck. The die cutters most likely did not have Vespasian's bust to work from and used modified busts of Vitellius.

Believe it or not this is not a common reverse type to find. I had much difficulty in locating one in VF condition and in a style that I found pleasing.
2 commentsVespasian70
Vespasian_RIC_II_0021.jpg
Vespasian RIC II 002128 viewsVespasian. 69-79 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint, 70-Jan-June A.D. (3.08g, 19m, 5h). Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right. Rev: COS ITER TRPOT, Aequitas standing left with scales and rod. RIC II 21, BMC 17, RSC 94a.

Issued in Vespasian’s first year, this example has a more typical Vespasian portrait than others of this era which tend to favor Vitellius.
As an attorney, I love Aequitas which was the Roman personification of justice and equality. The scales persist as a representation of the same in the legal community today.
Worn, but with full legends and complete devices, this is a decent example of an early type.
1 commentsLucas H
Vespasian_RIC_RIC_II_29.jpg
Vespasian RIC II 002734 viewsVespasian 69-79 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Jan-June 70 A.D. (3.20g, 19.1mm, 6h). Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right. Rev: COS ITER TR POT, Pax standing left with branch and caduceus. RIC II 27.

The inward facing lettering changed in 73 A.D.. The early denarii of Vespasian fail to depict the characteristic portrait of Vespasian seen on later coinage. Some coins from this time period bear portrait more reminiscent of Vitellius than Vespasian.
1 commentsLucas H
Vespasian_RIC_II_0029_1.jpg
Vespasian RIC II 0029.131 viewsVespasian 69-79A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint Jan-June, 70 A.D. (3.43g, 18.4m, 6h). Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right. Rev: COS ITER TR POT, pax seated left with branch and caduceus. RIC II 29. Ex HBJ.

During this time, more and more of the portraiture reflects Vespasian’s characteristic features. Some still show signs of Vitellius, but Vespasian had been in Rome for some months now. These early runs only face right, are only inscribed from right to left which alternated on 73 A.D.

This is a duplicate, and one in which, despite agonizing over it, I cannot decide which I like better. The obverse of this is nicer, but I like the reverse of the other. Which do you like and why?
1 commentsLucas H
Vespasian_529.jpg
Vespasian RIC II 155962 viewsVespasian 69-79 A.D. AR Denarius. Antioch Mint 72-73 A.D. (3.18g, 17.2mm, 6h). Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right. Rev: Vespasian standing right in quadriga with branch and sceptre. RIC II 1563, RPC II 1931, RCV 2279.

Commemorating the Judea Capta Triumphal parade, celebrated in 71 AD., this is one of the more rarely issued eastern denari of the Flavian reign. Typical of Antioch, this coin has a high relief portrait. This is issue formed part of the last issue of Vespasian’s denarii from the Syrian region. The suppression of the revolt in Judea was the highpoint of the Flavians' successes, and allowed Vespasian to have much needed coin from the plunder of the Second Temple in Jerusalum, coin that his predecessors, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius lacked as they assumed the purple.
5 commentsLucas H
V221aa.jpg
Vespasian RIC-22132 viewsÆ Sestertius, 19.38g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; S C in exergue; Victory stg. r., l. foot on helmet, inscribing OB / CIV / SERV on shield on palm tree; to r., Judaea std. r.
RIC 221 (C3). BMC 582. BNC 561.
Ex CNG eAuction 453, 2 October 2019, lot 522.

The commonness of most Judaea Capta types underscores how important the Jewish War and subsequent defeat of the Jews was to the fledgling Flavian dynasty. This iconic sestertius from the second bronze issue of 71 was struck in fairly plentiful numbers and copies a similar Victory type coined under Vitellius. It very likely was the first 'Judaea Capta' type struck for Vespasian. Colin Kraay records 21 different reverse dies used for this one type alone. The iconography on the reverse is quite explicit. Victory, nude from the waist up, is inscribing a shield attached to the trunk of a palm tree, the palm being a topographical symbol for the land of Judaea. The personification of Judaea herself sits in dejected mode to the right of the palm. The inscription on the shield, OB CIV SERV - 'for saving the citizens', credits the emperor for keeping the empire safe. The clear allegorical message of the reverse giving the credit to Vespasian for defeating the Jews and saving the empire would have been quite apparent to most people handling this coin. The amount of propaganda squeezed from the rebellion of such a small region is indeed remarkable. Josephus' declaration of the Jewish War as the 'greatest' of all time would have been quite welcomed by the Flavian regime.

Beautiful dark olive green patina good style.

NB: Special thanks to Curtis Clay for the Kraay citation.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
V238aa.jpg
Vespasian RIC-23876 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.68g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: MARS VICTOR; S C in field; Mars, armoured, adv. l., with Victory and trophy
RIC 238 (C). BMC 552. BNC 509.
Ex CNG E443, 1 May 2019, lot 530.

A sestertius struck in Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. The reverse features the first Mars type coined for the new emperor, copied from one previously struck for Vitellius. Mars is seen here in full military dress instead of the heroic nude he is normally depicted as on the contemporary denarii. This MARS VICTOR type pays proper respect to the god of war for granting Flavian success in the recently concluded Jewish War (an open display of celebration for defeating Vitellius would be taboo on the coinage). The portraits from this aes issue can be quite extraordinary. C.H.V. Sutherland in his book Roman Coins writes: 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture ... The beauty of this work lay in it's realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution ...' (p. 189). Perhaps, a portrait such as this is what Sutherland had in mind when he wrote that passage.

The minor porosity does not detract from the superb veristic portrait and beautiful dark brown patina.
5 commentsDavid Atherton
V282.jpg
Vespasian RIC-28242 viewsÆ Dupondius, 14.36g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.
Rev: TVTELA AVGVSTI; S C in exergue; Tutela std. l., with a child either side
RIC 282 (R2). BMC 596. BNC 572.
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, July 2019. Ex The Morris Collection.

Tutela, the goddess of guardianship, is a rare personification on Roman coinage. She first appears on the dupondii of Vitellius and later under Vespasian during his great bronze issue of 71, both on the dupondius and a unique sestertius. The type under Vespasian is extremely scarce with only two reverse dies known for the dupondius. The unique sestertius was acquired by Curtis Clay, for which he wrote the following concerning the TVTELA reverse type:

'Cohen suggested a dynastic interpretation of this TVTELA AVGVSTI rev. type: Vitellius seated with his two children, one boy and one girl, under Vitellius; Domitilla, Vespasian's deceased wife, seated with her sons Titus and Domitian under Vespasian.

Mattingly, in BMC, p. xliv, modified Cohen's interpretation: "Cohen can hardly be right in identifying the woman with Domitilla, but the children seem to stand for Titus and Domitian, and Tutela is the guardian care of the Emperor that watches over his sons."

However, I prefer Mattingly's alternate interpretation, which he explains in a footnote:

"Or the children might represent citizens and Tutela would then be the Emperor's ward over his subjects. Cf. Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus, 5, an omen that portended 'desertam rem p. civili aliqua perturbatione in tutelam eius ac velut in gremium deventuram' ['that the Roman state, abandoned because of some civil agitation, would fall under his protection (tutela) and as it were into his lap']....Martial (v.1.7ff.) addresses Domitian as 'o rerum felix tutela salusque / sospite quo gratum credimus esse Iovem' [O happy protector (tutela) and savior of our affairs, whose continuing good health makes us believe that Jupiter is on our side']."

These quotes, and others that Mattingly indicates in the same note, show that 'tutela' was commonly used in Vespasian's day to mean the emperor's solicitous care for his subjects. Plus, the few later appearances of a Tutela type on Roman coins, under Tetricus I and Carausius, do not include children and seem to refer to governing not childrearing.'

As can clearly be seen on this well preserved dupondius the two children standing either side of Tutela are togate, indicating that they are both boys and perhaps can be viewed as further evidence that Mattingly's alternate theory is correct and the two children do indeed represent the empire's citizens. Unfortunately, the Tutela type was struck rather fleetingly in 71 and did not become part of Vespasian's regular canon of reverse types.

One of the finest known examples of the type. A double die match with the ANS specimen 1906.236.246.

NB: BMC 527 records the type with an obverse reading COS II, however, the obverse has been tooled from an original COS III die. Its reverse die is also known to be paired with other COS III obverses.
7 commentsDavid Atherton
V315a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-31574 viewsÆ As, 9.84g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PROVIDEN in exergue; S C in field; Altar
RIC 315 (R). BMC -. BNC -.
Acquired from Dr. Claus W. Hild, May 2019.

Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. The altar depicted is dedicated to Providentia, the personification of the emperor's divine providence. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon, confining the type to the as issues. This example is the rare Rome mint variant with the unique abbreviated 'PROVIDEN' legend struck during the great bronze issue of 71. It is missing from the BM's extensive collection. The variant spellings can range the gamut from 'PROVID' to 'PROVIDENT'.

Well centred with a nice dark coppery patina.
3 commentsDavid Atherton
Vespasianus_RIC_4.jpg
Vespasian(us)74 viewsVespasian, denarius.
Rome mint, 69 - 70 AD.
RIC 19, RSC 84.
18mm, 3.1g.
Obv. IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right.
Rev. COS ITER FORT RED, Fortuna standing left holding rudder on prow & cornucopia.

This 'first-year' type of Vespasian wishes him a safe, speedy return from the East, by ship (hence the prow). The bust type on this example is youthful, compared to the 59 year old newly acclaimed Emperor. It is thought that these issues struck before Vespasian's arrival in Rome were often based on portraits of previous emperor Vitellius, or very dated busts/descriptions of Vespasian.
3 commentsMarsman
V1200_(2).jpg
Vespasian-RIC-120055 viewsÆ As, 11.19g
Lyon mint, 72 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Altar
RIC 1200 (C). BMC 820. BNC -.
Ex Museum Surplus, May 2019.

Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. The altar depicted is dedicated to Providentia, the personification of the emperor's divine providence. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon. This common example is from the latter mint, struck in 72.

Solid example with a rich dark brown patina.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
V1235.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-123542 viewsÆ As, 9.42g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Garlanded Altar
RIC 1235 (C). BMC 846 var. BNC 848 var.
Acquired from Kölner, June 2019.

Late in Vespasian's reign the mint at Lyon (ancient Lugdunum) struck a fairly large issue of bronze at a time when the mint at Rome was winding down its own bronze production. Presumably this late issue was produced to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces. Many of the types were recycled from earlier issues from both Rome and Lyon. The common PROVIDENT altar type was sometimes struck at Lyon with a decorative garland, as seen on this example. Although this variant is not rare, surprisingly it is missing from the BM collection. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. It was later revived during the recent Civil War and was struck by both Galba and Vitellius.

Provenanced to an old 'South German collection from the 1920s to the 1950s'. Nice old cabinet tone.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
V1339.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1339123 viewsAR Denarius, 3.07g
Uncertain Spanish mint, 69-70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: LIBERTAS PVBLICA; Libertas stg. l., with pileus and rod
RIC 1339 (R2). BMC 360. RSC 259. BNC -.
Ex Pecunem 39, 4 January 2016, lot 874.

Late in 69 during the waning stages of the Civil War, Spain began striking coins for Vespasian. Some of these Spanish issues may be earlier than those struck at Rome. The Libertas reverse was copied from the Spanish coinage of Galba and both he and Vitellius issued left facing portraits in the province. The metal analysis by K. Butcher and M. Ponting of this issue shows Spanish silver was used in its production, however, the location of the mint is a mystery. The coin's style is different than those traditionally attributed to Tarraco(?), so another mint must have been active in the province. Also of note, the style is very similar to those of RIC's Uncertain western mint group 2 denarii. The reverse type of Libertas was used by the various contenders during the Civil War to show they were rescuing the Roman people from 'tyranny'.

A wonderful portrait in similar style to the Spanish issues of Vitellius. Very rare.
8 commentsDavid Atherton
V1340.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1340125 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Uncertain Spanish mint, 69-70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: VICTORIA IMP VESPASIANI; Victory stg. l. on globe, with wreath and palm
RIC 1340 (R). BMC 362. RSC 630. BNC 30.
Ex Private Collection; acquired from Incitatus Coins, December 2012.

This early undated denarius of Vespasian is fairly rare and is minted in an eye appealing style. The mint itself is uncertain, but the reverse type of Victory and Globe under Vitellius at Tarraco and the prominence of left facing busts of Galba and Vitellius from there as well, suggests a Spanish location despite the different style between the series. Future die links will most likely clear the matter up. My hunch is that it is indeed Tarraco (as assigned in the BMCRE) and the style differences can be explained by different engravers working at the mint and/or the elapsed time between the issues. The Paris specimen (BNC 30) is attributed to Rome.

The coin is quite a beauty. The style is almost baroquely garish in its representation of Vespasian, luscious locks and all.

6 commentsDavid Atherton
V1368sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1368130 viewsAR Denarius, 3.60g
Uncertain mint, 69-71 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IMPER below; Vespasian riding l., r. hand raised
RIC 1368 (R2). BMC 419. RSC 221. BNC 378.
Ex Künker 304, 19 March 2018, lot 1085.

Fascinating coins often come out of civil war. In late October 69 the Second Battle of Cremona was fought between the legions of Vitellius and Vespasian. It resulted in the utter defeat of the Vitellian side and their slow retreat towards Rome. Not long afterwards the Spanish legions went openly for Vespasian, which up until that point had only been neutrally friendly toward him. Coins were quickly struck for Vespasian in the newly won province. Most of these are attributed to Tarraco and an unknown Spanish mint. Intriguingly, a small military issue was contemporaneously struck at an uncertain mint somewhere in the western empire - Mattingly thought perhaps Aquileia. The issue contains some stylistic affinities with the Spanish series, but more importantly, recent metal analysis by K. Butcher and M. Ponting show the silver content is almost identical to that of the Spanish coins. It is very likely these early military denarii were also struck in Spain in late 69 soon after the province went over to Vespasian.

Here we have an extremely rare denarius from that uncertain military issue showing Vespasian in military dress riding left in the act of addressing his troops. Clearly, this is a propaganda type that was produced to help consolidate the legions in a newly won province. The type occurs no where else and is unique to the series. The portrait bears no resemblance to Vespasian, which is further evidence of the coin's early mintage, perhaps pre-dating the other Spanish issues.

Struck in high relief on a large flan.
9 commentsDavid Atherton
32- Vitellius.JPG
Vitellius49 viewsAR Denarius, 69 AD
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right .
Rev: Victory seated left holding patera and palm branch.
18mm, 3.2gm
RIC 71, RSC 121
jdholds
00vitelius.JPG
VITELLIUS160 viewsAR denarius.69 AD. 3,14 grs. Laureate head right. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P / Liberty standing right,holding pileus and long sceptre. LIBERTAS RESTITVTA.
BMC 372, 31. RIC 105.
Jan Elsen. List 254. Lot 184.
benito
2490331.jpg
Vitellius24 viewsAR Denarius (20mm, 3.09 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck circa April-December AD 69. Laureate head right / Victory seated left, holding patera and palm branch. RIC 110; RSC TLP
00060-Vitellius.jpg
Vitellius 99 viewsVitellius AS
27 mm 9.37 gm
O: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN
Laureate head left, globe at point of bust
R: VICTORIA AVGVSTI
Victory advancing left, holding shield inscribed S P/Q R
5 commentsKoffy
00vitelius~0.jpg
VITELLIUS116 viewsAR denarius.69 AD. 3,14 grs. Laureate head right. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P / Liberty standing right,holding pileus and long sceptre. LIBERTAS RESTITVTA.
BMC 372, 31. RIC 105.
benito
vitelius1.jpg
VITELLIUS65 viewsAR denarius. 69 AD. 3.26 grs. Laureate head right. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P / Tripod-lebes, dolphin right above, raven right below. XV VIR SACR FAC.
RIC 109 . RSC 111.
benito
vitelius1~0.jpg
VITELLIUS170 viewsAR denarius. 69 AD. 3.26 grs. Laureate head right. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P / Tripod-lebes, dolphin right above, raven right below. XV VIR SACR FAC.
RIC 109 . RSC 111.
benito
1797439_10201245662439409_413921510_n.jpg
Vitellius50 viewsRoman Empire
Vitellius
(Reign as 8th Emperor of the Roman Empire April 16-Dec. 22, 69 AD)
(b. 15 AD, d. 69 AD)


Obverse: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, Laureate head of Vitellius facing right

Reverse: FIDES EXERCITVVM, Hands in handshake




Silver Denarius
Minted in Tarraco Jan.-June 69 AD



Translations:

A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN= Aulus Vitellius Imperator(Commander-in-Chief) Germanicus
FIDES EXERCITVVM= Loyalty of the Armies

Tarraco = Tarragona, Spain



References:
RIC I 27
ERIC II 101
Sphinx357
015~1.JPG
Vitellius25 viewsDenier, Lugdunum (Lyon), 3,19 g, 18,5 mm.
A/ A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, Tête laurée de Vitellius à droite, grènetis.
R/ VICTORIA AVGVSTI, la Victoire debout à gauche avec un bouclier inscrit SP/QR, grènetis.
1 commentsGabalor
Vitellius_RIC_107.jpg
Vitellius52 viewsVitellius, denarius.
RIC 107
Obv. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right.
Rev. PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera.
3 commentsMarsman
IMG_1759.JPG
Vitellius121 viewsStatue of Vitellius in the Louvre Museum, Paris. Photo taken by me in May 2014. Note the statue has retained some pigmentation from the original paint.1 commentsMasis
2015-01-07_01_07_48-3_(550x264).jpg
Vitellius2 viewsAncient Aussie
vitel.jpg
Vitellius (69 A.D.)74 viewsAR Denarius
O: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P,Laureate head right.
R: S P Q R / OB / C S in three lines within wreath.
Rome Mint, 69 A.D.
3.15g
18.5mm
RIC I 83; RSC 86.
4 commentsMat
vitelltet.jpg
Vitellius (69 A.D.)43 viewsEgypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: ΩΛΟΥ ΟΥΙΤ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡΜ ΑΥΤ, laureate head right.
R: Nike advancing left, holding wreath with her extended right hand and palm frond with her left; LA (date) to left.
26mm
12.1g
RPC 5372; Köln 260-2; Dattari 340; K&G 19.1. Emmett 196.1
6 commentsMat
RS036-Roman-AR_denarius,_Vitellius_(69_AD)-019884.JPG
VITELLIUS (69 AD), AR denarius, LIBERTAS485 viewsObverse- A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right.
Reverse- LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas, draped, standing facing holding pileus and long rod.
RIC 105, RSC 47, 16-19 mm, 3.05 g.
Ex-Lars Rutten of Rutten & Wieland, Switzerland, from a swap through his VCoins store.

Another fairly scarce Civil War emperor who ruled from April to December of 69 AD. This coin has some moderate goldish-colored toning which does not show in the slightly overexposed photos, and it is more attractive in hand.
2 commentslordmarcovan
20180814_204514.jpg
VITELLIUS (69). Denarius. Rome.81 viewsObv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P. Laureate head right.
Rev: CONCORDIA P R. Concordia seated left on throne, holding patera and cradling cornucopia.
RIC 90.
Weight: 3.4 g.
Diameter: 19 mm.
5 commentsCanaan
TW-09.jpg
Vitellius (A.D. 69)28 viewsAR Denarius, A.D. 69, Rome, 18mm, 2.64g, 180°, RIC I 109; scarce.
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P. Laureate head right.
Rev: XV VIR SACR FAC. Tripod alter with dolphin above and raven below.
Joseph D5
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-j5Eu3HcIfQ7zR-Vitellius_As.jpg
Vitellius (Augustus) Coin: Bronze As 5 viewsA VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN - Laureate head left
FIDES EXERCITVVM. S.C. - clasped hands
Exergue:


Mint: Tarraco (January-June AD 69)
Wt./Size/Axis: 8.00g / 27mm / 180
References:
RIC I, 42
Acquisition/Sale: Lucernae Catawiki/internet $0.00 10/17
Notes: Jan 1, 19 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

Fides Exercitvvm means "the loyalty of the armies".
Gary W2
00738.jpg
Vitellius (RIC 107, Coin #738)9 viewsRIC 107 (Scarce), AR Denarius, Rome, 69 AD.
OBV: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P; Laureate head right.
REV: PONT MAXIM; Vesta, veiled and draped, seated right on throne,
holding patera in right and vertical sceptre in left hand.
SIZE: 18.4mm, 3.10g
MaynardGee
VITELLIUS__69_AD__AR_Denarius.jpg
Vitellius (with Otho portrait) AR Denarius. Victory51 viewsVitellius (with Otho portrait) AR Denarius.
A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TRP, laureate head right
Victory seated left, holding patera in right hand and palm branch in left.
2.82gm. RSC 119; RIC 88
3 commentsAntonivs Protti
Vitellius_RIC44.jpg
Vitellius - As - RIC 4414 viewsObv: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN. Laureate head l., globe at point of bust
Rev: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA S-C to l. and r. Libertas, dr. stg facing, head r. r. holding pileus, l. long rod
Size: 28 mm
Weight: 13,33 g
Mint: Spain (Tarraco?)
Date: 69 AD
Ref: RIC I 44, BMC 106
Rarity: S
vs1969
Vitellius denier.jpg
Vitellius - denarius71 viewsA. VITELLIVS GERM. IMP. AVG. TR.P. ; laureate bust right.
XV VIR SACR. FAC. ; dolphin on globe resting on tripod, raven beneath.
Ginolerhino
Vitellius.jpg
Vitellius - RIC-90128 viewsVITELLIUS. 69 AD. AR Denarius (18mm - 2.71 g). Rome mint. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right / CONCOR-DIA P R, Concordia seated left, holding patera in right hand, cornucopia in left. RIC I 90; BMCRE 20; RSC 18.7 commentsBud Stewart
VitLVitCurule.jpg
Vitellius / L. Vitellius Denarius88 viewsVitellius (69 AD). AR Denarius, 18 mm, 2.51 g. Rome mint. Struck late April to December 20, 69.
O: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right.
R: L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR, L. Vitellius seated left on curule chair, holding branch and eagle-tipped sceptre.
RIC I, 97 (R); Cohen 55 (40 Francs).

Lucius Vitellius the elder, the father of the emperor of the same name, had an impressive career under Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. He achieved the highest honors attainable by a private man at Rome under the Empire: consul for the third time and censor. He held these offices during the reign of Claudius, being a close friend of the emperor and the most influential Roman senator.

Vitellius died unexpectedly from a paralytic stroke in 51 and received a statue on the speaker's platform on the Roman Forum, with the inscription 'Of unwavering loyalty to the emperor'.

The year 36 saw an incident which deserves mentioning. In Judaea, a Samaritan, claiming to be Moses reincarnate, gathered an armed following. The prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, intervened immediately, dispersed the crowd, and had the ringleaders executed. The Samaritans considered his violence excessive and appealed to the Syrian governor. Vitellius heard their complaints, sent Pilate back to Italy and appointed Marcellus. Pilate's co-ruler in Judaea, the high priest Joseph Caiaphas, was replaced by his brother-in-law Jonathan.
2 commentsNemonater
vitellius_02_s.jpg
Vitellius AE Sestertius85 viewsObv: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG P M TR P - Laureate and draped bust right.
Rev: S C - Mars advancing right, holding spear and trophy.
Mint: Rome
Year: 69 AD
Weight: 23.25g
Ref: RIC I 141
Notes: Rare. Corrosion pitting on the obverse.
oa
vitellius_01.jpg
Vitellius AR Denarius76 viewsObv: Bare head right.
Rev: Concordia seated left, holding patera and cornucopia.
Mint: Rome
Date: Late April - 20 December 69 AD
Ref: RIC I 66
Notes: Scarce
oa
Vitellius.jpg
Vitellius As - RIC 4246 viewsObverse: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate head left
Reverse: FIDES EXERCITVVM, clasped hands
Size: 28mm, 10.2gm
Minted: Tarraco 69 AD
Id#'s: RIC 42, Cohen 34, BMC 103
2 commentsickster
Vitellius_Concordia.JPG
Vitellius Concordia650 viewsVitellius Concordia Denarius, 18.79mm, 2.8g
OBV: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TRP, laureate head right
REV: CONCOR-DIA PR, Concordia seated left holding patera and cornucopiae
RIC I - 90, BMCRE 20, RSC 18

RARE
Romanorvm
VitelliusDenarius.jpg
Vitellius Denarius79 viewsLaureate head right, A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P / Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below, XV VIR SACR FAC. Rome mint, April - December 20, AD69. RIC I 109 (pg. 273).socalcoins
Vitellius1.jpg
Vitellius denarius50 viewsfr: A VITELLIUS GERMANICVS IMP
re: CONCORDIA PR
1 commentspax
Vitellius.jpg
Vitellius denarius137 viewsA VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P
Laureate head right

PONT MAXIM
Vesta enthroned right holding patera and sceptre

Rome
July-Dec 69 AD

2.65g

Sear 2200, RIC 107

Ex-Calagary Coins
Jay GT4
009.jpg
Vitellius Denarius104 viewsRIC I 71 Rome, RSC 121
2.71 g, 18 mm
A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right
Victory seated left holding patera and palm branch
Scarce
2 commentsMark Z2
Vitellusblack1.png
Vitellius Denarius9 viewsVitellius AD 69-69. Rome

Denarius AR

17mm., 2,55g.

[A] VITELLIVS GERM IMP A[VG TR P], laureate head right

[P]ONT [MAXIM], Vesta, veiled and draped, seated left on throne, holding vertical scepter in left hand and patera in right.

Venders References: RIC I 107; RSC 72; BMCRE 34-7; BN 71-4.

AAWX
RL
Vitellius,_AR_Denarius__Tarraco,_Spain__3_69g__Clasped_Hands__RIC_30__Ex_Friume_Hoard.jpg
Vitellius Denarius - Ex Friume Hoard40 viewsVitellius. 16 Apr. - 22 Dec. AD 69. AR Denarius, May-June AD 69. Tarraco, Spain. 3.69g. 18mm. 7h. A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, his laureate head rt., globe at point of bust. / FIDES EXERCITVVM (VM ligatured), clasping right hands. RIC 30; BMCRE 114; SB 52; RSC 33a.

Ex Friume Hoard, Portugal, deposited c. AD 95-6 and found in 1953.
Fausta
121b.jpg
Vitellius Denarius - Vesta (RIC 107)81 viewsAR Denarius
Rome 69 AD
3.40g

Obv: Laureate bust of Vitellius (R)
A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P

Rev: Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera.
PONT MAXIM

RSC 72, BMC 34.
5 commentsKained but Able
Vitellius_2_RIC_109.jpg
Vitellius Denarius A.D. 69 RIC 109, RSC 111, BMC 39 38 viewsA VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right / XV VIR SACR FAC Tripod, raven below, dolphin above.
Maximum Diameter: 17.0 mm
Weight: 3.31 g

Tiny banker's mark in obverse field.
2 commentsTheEmpireNeverEnded
Vitellius3_opt.jpg
VITELLIUS Denarius RIC 107, Vesta17 viewsOBV: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right
REV: PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera
1.44g, 19mm

Struck at Rome, Apr/Dec 69 AD
Legatus
Vitellius_2.jpg
VITELLIUS Denarius RIC 109, Tripod19 viewsOBV: AVITELLIVSGERMIMPAVGTRP - Laureate head right
REV: XVVIRSACRFAC - Tripod, dolphin above and raven below
2.9g, 19mm

Minted at Rome, Apr-Dec 69 AD
Legatus
vitelius-reshoot.jpg
Vitellius Denarius, Lugdunum mint, 69 AD15 viewsRoman Imperial, Vitellius Denarius, Lugdunum mint, (69 AD)

Obverse: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate head right; globe at point of bust.

Reverse: VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory flying left, holding shield inscribed SP/QR.

Reference: RIC 62, RSC 99.

Ex: Holding History Coins
Gil-galad
vitellius.jpg
Vitellius Denarius. Lugdunum mint, 69 AD.15 viewsVitellius Denarius. Lugdunum mint, 69 AD.

OBV: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate head right; globe at point of bust.

REV: VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory flying left, holding shield inscribed SP/QR.

REF: RIC 62, RSC 99.

Ex: Holding History +photo
Gil-galad
vitellius_Macedon.jpg
Vitellius Macedon198 viewsOUITELLIOS GERMAIKOS AVTOK
Laureate head of Vitellius left

ΣEBAΣTOΣ MAKEΔONΩN
around round Macedonian shield

AE25
Macedonia
69 –70 A.D.

8.46g

RPC 1616, Moushmov 5878, Varbanov 2465
Rare

Sold Forum Auctions March 2016
3 commentsJay GT4
vitellius_ric_77.jpg
Vitellius RIC 009956 viewsVitellius AR Denarius
69 CE
17 mm 3.32 g
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM AVG IMP TR P: Head of Vitellius, laureate, right
Rev: L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR: Bust of Lucius Vitellius, laureate and draped, right; eagle-tipped sceptre in front
RIC 99
Ex: Silbury Coins January 27, 2019
4 commentsorfew
Vitellius_dynastic_smalljpg.jpg
Vitellius RIC 010168 viewsVitellius (AD 69). AR denarius
(18mm, 2.95 gm, 5h).
NGC VG 4/5 - 4/5. Rome.
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head of Vitellius right
Rev: LIBERI IMP GERM AVG, bareheaded and draped busts of the children of Vitellius (Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Junior and Vitellia), facing one another.
RIC I 101. Rare.
Ex: Heritage Auctions November 29, 2018 Lot 65074
5 commentsorfew
new_vitellius_combined.jpg
Vitellius RIC 010724 viewsVitellius Denarius. 69 AD (19.61 mm, 3.09 g)
Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right
Rev: PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding sceptre and patera.
RIC 107 (S), RSC 72, BMC 34.
Ex: Frank Robinson




Vitellius ruled for 8 months in 69CE. He was the third of the four emperors in 69 CE. Vitellius was not a very good ruler. He was in fact rather notorious in appetites and was quite a scandal.

I like this coin for the legend on the obverse. I really like having the complete legend. The portrait is worn as is the reverse. His denarii are available quite readily, though some are quite rare.
orfew
vitellius_109.jpg
Vitellius RIC I, 109197 viewsVitellius AD 69
AR - Denar, 3.01g, 18mm
Rome Apr.- Dec. 96
obv. A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P
laureate head r.
rev. XV VIR SACR FAC
Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below
RIC I, 109; C.111; BMCR.39
Scarce; good Fine

Vitellius was member of the XVviri sacris faciundis. This collegium of priests was responsible for the interpretation of the Sibyllinic Books. They were bought by Tarquinius Priscus and contained instructions for religious procedures. Augustus brought them into the temple of Apollo 12 BC for there were connections to Apollo. AD 408 they were destroyed by Stilicho.

Tripod and dolphin were the symbols of the XVviri. The raven is a symbol of the prodigies.
Jochen
38190q00.jpg
Vitellius Tarraco Denarius90 viewsRS38190. Silver denarius, RIC I 6, BMCRE I 85, Fair, Spain, Tarraco mint, weight 2.384g, maximum diameter 18.0mm, die axis 180o, 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS IMP GERMANICVS, laureate head left, globe at point of bust; reverse CONSENSVS EXERCITVVM, Mars advancing left, holding aquila and vexillum; rare;cliff_marsland
Vitellius_AE_AS.jpg
Vitellius Æ As. Tarraco, 69 A.D. Mars advancing left96 viewsVitellius Æ As. Tarraco, 69 A.D. A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, Laureate bust left, globe at point of bust / CONSENSVS EXERCITVVM, Mars advancing left, holding spear in right hand and aquila with vexillum in left. SC. RIC I 40; BMC 99-102; BN 16; Cohen 25
Antonivs Protti
62.jpg
Vitellius, AD 6935 viewsAR denarius, 20.13mm (3.35 gm).

A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right / Victory seated left, holding patera. Rome mint, struck AD 69.

RIC I, 071; RSC II, 121.
1 commentssocalcoins
Vitellius_k.jpg
Vitellius, AD 698 viewsAR Denarius, 20mm, 3.1g, 6h; Rome mint.
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P; Laureate head right.
Rev.: PONT MAXIM; Vesta, veiled, seated on throne right, holding patera and scepter.
Reference: RIC I 107, p. 273 / 17-145-450
John Anthony
Vitellius_RIC_66.JPG
Vitellius, April 16 - December 22, 69 AD 142 viewsObv: A VITE(LLIVS GERMANIC)VS, bare head of Vitellius facing right.

Rev: CORCORDIA PR, Concordia standing left, holding patera and cornucopia

Silver Denarius, Rome mint, April - May 69 AD

3.2 grams, 18 mm, 180°

RIC I 66, RSC 21, S2196, VM 3b
2 commentsSPQR Coins
Vitellius_RIC_71.JPG
Vitellius, April 16 - December 22, 69 AD 58 viewsObv: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head of Vitellius facing right.

Rev: No legend, Victory seated left, holding a patera in right hand and a palm in her left.

Silver Denarius, Rome mint, April - July, 69 AD

3.2 grams, 18.1 mm, 180°

RIC I 71, RSC 121, S2202 (var.), VM 1

Ex: FORVM
2 commentsSPQR Matt
0083-210.jpg
Vitellius, Denarius - *205 viewsRome mint, July - December 20, AD69
A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, Laureate head of Vitellius right
XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below
3.43 gr, 16-18 mm
Ref : RCV # 2201var, Cohen cf # 110 et suiv, RIC I # 86 (this example illustrated in Wildwinds)
6 commentsPotator II
Viteas01-2.jpg
Vitellius, RIC 42, As of AD 6972 viewsÆ as (9.5g, Ø28mm, 12h), Tarraco mint, struck AD 69
Obv.: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, laureate head of Vitellius facing left, globe at tip of bust.
Rev.: FIDES /EXERCITVVM (in two lines in field above and below) two clasped hands; S C below.
RIC 42; BMC 103; Cohen 34
Charles S
Viteas02-2.jpg
Vitellius, RIC 46, As of AD 6938 viewsÆ As (_._g, Ø__mm, 6h), Tarraco mint, struck AD 69
Obv.: A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, bare head of Vitellius facing left.
Rev.: VICTORIA AVGVSTI (around) S C (in field), Victoria advancing left holding shield.
RIC 46; BMC 107
Charles S
vitese03a~0.jpg
Vitellius, RIC 141, Sestertius of AD 69133 viewsÆ sestertius (25.02g, Ø 36mm, 6h), Rome mint, struck AD 69
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG PM TR P, laureate, draped bust of Vitellius facing right.
Rev.: S C in field, Mars, helmeted, naked, advancing right with spear and legionnary standard.
RIC 141 (R); BMC 58; Cohen 79, Sear (RCV II) 2208
ex Edgar Owen, 1997
4 commentsCharles S
ViteDu01-2.jpg
Vitellius, RIC 162, As of AD 6955 viewsÆ Dupondius (10.5g, Ø27mm, 6h), Rome mint, struck AD 69
Obv.: A VITELLIVS GERMA IMP AVG P M TR P, laureate draped bust of Vitellius facing right.
Rev.: CONCORDIA AVGVSTI (around) S C (in ex.), Concordia seated left holding cornucopiae and offering from a patera over an ornamented altar.
RIC 162
ex Numismatik Lanz (via eBay, 2008)
Charles S
VITEL-1-ROMAN.jpg
Vitellius, RIC I-059 Lugdunum57 viewsAR Denarius
Lugdunum mint, 69 A.D.
18mm, 3.18g
RIC I-59, RSCv.2-90

Obverse:
A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN
Laureate head right

Reverse:
VESTA P R QVIRITIVM
Vesta, veiled and draped, seated left on throne, right holdind patera, left supporting torch.
1 commentsWill J
52122_175130025837868_6641879.jpg
VITELLIUS, ROME, 69 AD. SILVER DENARIUS. DOLPHIN, RAVEN, TRIPOD.24 viewsVitellius - Roman Emperor: 69 A.D. -
Silver Denarius 19mm, 3 gm. Rome, July - December 69 A.D.
A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right.
XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod-lebes surmounted by dolphin right; below, raven standing right.
Reference: RIC I 70; RSC 115; BMC 3.
*VF, blue patina, some find patina. Excelent metal. _205rb
Antonivs Protti
freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee_022.JPG
Vitellius. Koinon of Macedon Æ25 / Shield31 viewsAttribution: RPC I 1616
Date: 69 AD
Obverse: OYITEΛΛΙOΣ ΓEPMANIKOΣ AYTOKPATΩP, Head of Vitellius left
Reverse: ΣEBAΣTOΣ MAKEΔONΩN, Macedonian shield
Size: 25.88mm
Weight: 9.61 grams
Description: good Fine+. Includes old collector paper envelope.
Antonio Protti
EM_081_AS_Vitellius.JPG
Vitellius: 69 AD "The Year of the Four Emperors"34 viewsAE As; Tarraco (Spain) Mint
Struck 69AD
Obv. - laureate head left; A.VITELLIUS.IMP.GERMAN
Rev. - Libertas standing left, holding pileus and scepter, S / C either side; LIBERTAS /RESTITUTA
10.21 grams
26.2 mm
cmcdon0923
EM_082_AS_Vitellius.JPG
Vitellius: 69 AD "The Year of the Four Emperors"60 viewsAE As; Tarraco (Spain) Mint
Struck 69AD
Obv. - laureate head left; A.VITELLIUS.IMP.GERMAN
Rev. - Libertas standing left, holding pileus and scepter, S / C either side; LIBERTAS /RESTITUTA
13.77 grams
27.2 mm
3 commentscmcdon0923
EM_086_AS_Vitellius.jpg
Vitellius: 69 AD "The Year of the Four Emperors"17 viewsAE As
Spanish (Tarraco?) mint
Struck 69 AD (Jan - June)
Obv. - Laureate head left, globe at point of neck; A.VITELLIVS.IMP.GERMAN.
Rev. - Victory advancing left, holding shield inscribed SP/QR in two lines; VICTORIA / AVGVSTI / S-C either side
27 mm, 7.90 grams
1 commentscmcdon0923
PontiusPilate29BCHendin648.jpg
[18H648] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 29 BC48 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, "SIMPULUM;" Hendin 648, AVF/VF, 15.3mm, 2.20 grams, struck 29 C.E. Nice round, good weight Pontius Pilate Prutah.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
PontiusPilate30BCHendin649.jpg
[18H649] Pontius Pilate Prefect under Tiberius Prutah, "LIZ", 30 BC70 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, 'LIZ;' Hendin 649, VF, 15.5mm, 1.90 grams. Struck 30 C.E. Nice historic coin.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
PontiusPilate31BCHendin650.jpg
[18H650] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 31 BC68 viewsPONTIUS PILATUS PRUTAH. Hendin 650, aVF, 14.3mm, 1.94 grams. Minted 31 C.E. FULL "LIH" Date, (H partially hidden behind pretty patina can be revealed.)

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin754.jpg
[18H759a] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta49 viewsVespasian. 69-71 AD. AR Denarius;17mm, 3.28g; Hendin 759, RIC 15. Obverse: Laureate head right; Reverse: Jewess seated right, on ground, mourning below right of trophy, IVDAEA below. Ex Imperial Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VesJudCapt.jpg
[18H759] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta173 viewsSilver denarius, Hendin 759, RIC 15, BM 35, RSC 226, S 2296, Fair, 2.344g, 17.0mm, 180o, Rome mint, 69-70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IVDAEA in exergue, Jewess, mourning, seated at right of trophy.

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin779.jpg
[18H779] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta issue130 viewsOrichalcum dupondius, Hendin 779, RIC II 1160, BMCRE 809 (same dies), aVF, Lugdunum mint, 9.969g, 27.7mm, 180o, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III, radiate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse VICTORIA NAVALIS S C, Victory standing right on a prow, wreath in right, palm frond over should in left (Refers to a victory on the Sea of Galilee during the recapture of Judaea); rough; rare (R2). Ex FORVM.




De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
TrajSepphorisGalilee.jpg
[18H907] Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Sepphoris, Galilee219 viewsBronze AE 23, Hendin 907, BMC 5, Fair, 7.41g, 23.1mm, 0o, Sepphoris mint, 98 - 117 A.D.; obverse TPAIANOS AYTO]-KPA[TWP EDWKEN, laureate head right; reverse SEPFW/RHNWN, eight-branched palm bearing two bunches of dates.

At the crossroads of the Via Maris and the Acre-Tiberias roads, Sepphoris was the capital of Galilee and Herod Antipas' first capital. Damaged by a riot, Antipas ordered Sepphoris be rebuilt. Flavius Josephus described the rebuilt Sepphoris as the "ornament of all Galilee." Since Sepphoris was only five miles north of Nazareth, Jesus and Joseph may have found work in Antipas' rebuilding projects. Sepphoris was built on a hill and visible for miles. This may be the city that Jesus spoke of when He said, "A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."

Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a brilliant general and administrator was adopted and proclaimed emperor by the aging Nerva in 98 A.D. Regarded as one of Rome's greatest emperors, Trajan was responsible for the annexation of Dacia, the invasion of Arabia and an extensive and lavish building program across the empire. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. Shortly after the annexation of Mesopotamia and Armenia, Trajan was forced to withdraw from most of the new Arabian provinces. While returning to Rome to direct operations against the new threats, Trajan died at Selinus in Cilicia.
See: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/indexfrm.asp?vpar=55&pos=0.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Trajan (A.D. 98-117)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

This is perhaps the most important and best known of all Edward Gibbon's famous dicta about his vast subject, and particularly that period which he admired the most. It was a concatenation of chance and events which brought to the first position of the principate five men, each very different from the others, who each, in his own way, brought integrity and a sense of public duty to his tasks. Nerva's tenure was brief, as many no doubt had expected and hoped it would be, and perhaps his greatest achievement was to choose Trajan as his adoptive son and intended successor. It was a splendid choice. Trajan was one of Rome's most admirable figures, a man who merited the renown which he enjoyed in his lifetime and in subsequent generations.

The sources for the man and his principate are disappointingly skimpy. There is no contemporaneous historian who can illuminate the period. Tacitus speaks only occasionally of Trajan, there is no biography by Suetonius, nor even one by the author of the late and largely fraudulent Historia Augusta. (However, a modern version of what such a life might have been like has been composed by A. Birley, entirely based upon ancient evidence. It is very useful.) Pliny the Younger tells us the most, in his Panegyricus, his long address of thanks to the emperor upon assuming the consulship in late 100, and in his letters. Pliny was a wordy and congenial man, who reveals a great deal about his senatorial peers and their relations with the emperor, above all, of course, his own. The most important part is the tenth book of his Epistulae, which contains the correspondence between him, while serving in Bithynia, and the emperor, to whom he referred all manner of problems, important as well as trivial. Best known are the pair (96,97) dealing with the Christians and what was to be done with them. These would be extraordinarily valuable if we could be sure that the imperial replies stemmed directly from Trajan, but that is more than one can claim. The imperial chancellery had developed greatly in previous decades and might pen these communications after only the most general directions from the emperor. The letters are nonetheless unique in the insight they offer into the emperor's mind.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, wrote a long imperial history which has survived only in abbreviated form in book LXVIII for the Trajanic period. The rhetorician Dio of Prusa, a contemporary of the emperor, offers little of value. Fourth-century epitomators, Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, offer some useful material. Inscriptions, coins, papyri, and legal texts are of major importance. Since Trajan was a builder of many significant projects, archaeology contributes mightily to our understanding of the man.

Early Life and Career
The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica , where their ancestors had settled late in the third century B.C. This indicates that the Italian origin was paramount, yet it has recently been cogently argued that the family's ancestry was local, with Trajan senior actually a Traius who was adopted into the family of the Ulpii. Trajan's father was the first member of the family to pursue a senatorial career; it proved to be a very successful one. Born probably about the year 30, he perhaps commanded a legion under Corbulo in the early sixties and then was legate of legio X Fretensis under Vespasian, governor of Judaea. Success in the Jewish War was rewarded by the governorship of an unknown province and then a consulate in 70. He was thereafter adlected by the emperor in patricios and sent to govern Baetica. Then followed the governorship of one of the major military provinces, Syria, where he prevented a Parthian threat of invasion, and in 79/80 he was proconsul of Asia, one of the two provinces (the other was Africa) which capped a senatorial career. His public service now effectively over, he lived on in honor and distinction, in all likelihood seeing his son emperor. He probably died before 100. He was deified in 113 and his titulature read divus Traianus pater. Since his son was also the adoptive son of Nerva, the emperor had officially two fathers, a unique circumstance.

The son was born in Italica on September 18, 53; his mother was Marcia, who had given birth to a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, five years before the birth of the son. In the mid seventies, he was a legionary legate under his father in Syria. He then married a lady from Nemausus (Nimes) in Gallia Narbonensis, Pompeia Plotina, was quaestor about 78 and praetor about 84. In 86, he became one of the child Hadrian's guardians. He was then appointed legate of legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, from which he marched at Domitian's orders in 89 to crush the uprising of Antonius Saturninus along the Rhine. He next fought in Domitian's war against the Germans along Rhine and Danube and was rewarded with an ordinary consulship in 91. Soon followed the governorship of Moesia inferior and then that of Germania superior, with his headquarters at Moguntiacum (Mainz), whither Hadrian brought him the news in autumn 97 that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva, as co-ruler and intended successor. Already recipient of the title imperator and possessor of the tribunician power, when Nerva died on January 27, 98, Trajan became emperor in a smooth transition of power which marked the next three quarters of a century.

Early Years through the Dacian Wars
Trajan did not return immediately to Rome. He chose to stay in his German province and settle affairs on that frontier. He showed that he approved Domitian's arrangements, with the establishment of two provinces, their large military garrisons, and the beginnings of the limes. Those who might have wished for a renewed war of conquest against the Germans were disappointed. The historian Tacitus may well have been one of these.

Trajan then visited the crucial Danube provinces of Pannonia and Moesia, where the Dacian king Decebalus had caused much difficulty for the Romans and had inflicted a heavy defeat upon a Roman army about a decade before. Domitian had established a modus vivendi with Decebalus, essentially buying his good behavior, but the latter had then continued his activities hostile to Rome. Trajan clearly thought that this corner of empire would require his personal attention and a lasting and satisfactory solution.

Trajan spent the year 100 in Rome, seeing to the honors and deification of his predecessor, establishing good and sensitive relations with the senate, in sharp contrast with Domitian's "war against the senate." Yet his policies essentially continued Domitian's; he was no less master of the state and the ultimate authority over individuals, but his good nature and respect for those who had until recently been his peers if not his superiors won him great favor. He was called optimus by the people and that word began to appear among his titulature, although it had not been decreed by the senate. Yet his thoughts were ever on the Danube. Preparations for a great campaign were under way, particularly with transfers of legions and their attendant auxiliaries from Germany and Britain and other provinces and the establishment of two new ones, II Traiana and XXX Ulpia, which brought the total muster to 30, the highest number yet reached in the empire's history.

In 101 the emperor took the field. The war was one which required all his military abilities and all the engineering and discipline for which the Roman army was renowned. Trajan was fortunate to have Apollodorus of Damascus in his service, who built a roadway through the Iron Gates by cantilevering it from the sheer face of the rock so that the army seemingly marched on water. He was also to build a great bridge across the Danube, with 60 stone piers (traces of this bridge still survive). When Trajan was ready to move he moved with great speed, probably driving into the heart of Dacian territory with two columns, until, in 102, Decebalus chose to capitulate. He prostrated himself before Trajan and swore obedience; he was to become a client king. Trajan returned to Rome and added the title Dacicus to his titulature.

Decebalus, however, once left to his own devices, undertook to challenge Rome again, by raids across the Danube into Roman territory and by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against her. Trajan took the field again in 106, intending this time to finish the job of Decebalus' subjugation. It was a brutal struggle, with some of the characteristics of a war of extirpation, until the Dacian king, driven from his capital of Sarmizegethusa and hunted like an animal, chose to commit suicide rather than to be paraded in a Roman triumph and then be put to death.

The war was over. It had taxed Roman resources, with 11 legions involved, but the rewards were great. Trajan celebrated a great triumph, which lasted 123 days and entertained the populace with a vast display of gladiators and animals. The land was established as a province, the first on the north side of the Danube. Much of the native population which had survived warfare was killed or enslaved, their place taken by immigrants from other parts of the empire. The vast wealth of Dacian mines came to Rome as war booty, enabling Trajan to support an extensive building program almost everywhere, but above all in Italy and in Rome. In the capital, Apollodorus designed and built in the huge forum already under construction a sculpted column, precisely 100 Roman feet high, with 23 spiral bands filled with 2500 figures, which depicted, like a scroll being unwound, the history of both Dacian wars. It was, and still is, one of the great achievements of imperial "propaganda." In southern Dacia, at Adamklissi, a large tropaeum was built on a hill, visible from a great distance, as a tangible statement of Rome's domination. Its effect was similar to that of Augustus' monument at La Turbie above Monaco; both were constant reminders for the inhabitants who gazed at it that they had once been free and were now subjects of a greater power.

Administration and Social Policy
The chief feature of Trajan's administration was his good relations with the senate, which allowed him to accomplish whatever he wished without general opposition. His auctoritas was more important than his imperium. At the very beginning of Trajan's reign, the historian Tacitus, in the biography of his father-in-law Agricola, spoke of the newly won compatibility of one-man rule and individual liberty established by Nerva and expanded by Trajan (Agr. 3.1, primo statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabiles miscuerit, principatum ac libertatem, augeatque cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva Traianus,….) [13] At the end of the work, Tacitus comments, when speaking of Agricola's death, that he had forecast the principate of Trajan but had died too soon to see it (Agr. 44.5, ei non licuit durare in hanc beatissimi saeculi lucem ac principem Traianum videre, quod augurio votisque apud nostras aures ominabatur,….) Whether one believes that principate and liberty had truly been made compatible or not, this evidently was the belief of the aristocracy of Rome. Trajan, by character and actions, contributed to this belief, and he undertook to reward his associates with high office and significant promotions. During his principate, he himself held only 6 consulates, while arranging for third consulates for several of his friends. Vespasian had been consul 9 times, Titus 8, Domitian 17! In the history of the empire there were only 12 or 13 private who reached the eminence of third consulates. Agrippa had been the first, L. Vitellius the second. Under Trajan there were 3: Sex. Iulius Frontinus (100), T. Vestricius Spurinna (100), and L. Licinius Sura (107). There were also 10 who held second consulships: L. Iulius Ursus Servianus (102), M.' Laberius Maximus (103), Q. Glitius Atilius Agricola (103), P. Metilius Sabinus Nepos (103?), Sex. Attius Suburanus Aemilianus (104), Ti. Iulius Candidus Marius Celsus (105), C. Antius A. Iulius Quadratus (105), Q. Sosius Senecio (107), A. Cornelius Palma Frontonianus (109), and L. Publilius Celsus (113). These men were essentially his close associates from pre-imperial days and his prime military commanders in the Dacian wars.

One major administrative innovation can be credited to Trajan. This was the introduction of curators who, as representatives of the central government, assumed financial control of local communities, both in Italy and the provinces. Pliny in Bithynia is the best known of these imperial officials. The inexorable shift from freedmen to equestrians in the imperial ministries continued, to culminate under Hadrian, and he devoted much attention and considerable state resources to the expansion of the alimentary system, which purposed to support orphans throughout Italy. The splendid arch at Beneventum represents Trajan as a civilian emperor, with scenes of ordinary life and numerous children depicted, which underscored the prosperity of Italy.

The satirist Juvenal, a contemporary of the emperor, in one of his best known judgments, laments that the citizen of Rome, once master of the world, is now content only with "bread and circuses."

Nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet, atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses. (X 78-81)

Trajan certainly took advantage of that mood, indeed exacerbated it, by improving the reliabilty of the grain supply (the harbor at Ostia and the distribution system as exemplified in the Mercati in Rome). Fronto did not entirely approve, if indeed he approved at all. The plebs esteemed the emperor for the glory he had brought Rome, for the great wealth he had won which he turned to public uses, and for his personality and manner. Though emperor, he prided himself upon being civilis, a term which indicated comportment suitable for a Roman citizen.

There was only one major addition to the Rome's empire other than Dacia in the first decade and a half of Trajan's reign. This was the province of Arabia, which followed upon the absorption of the Nabataean kingdom (105-106).

Building Projects
Trajan had significant effect upon the infrastructure of both Rome and Italy. His greatest monument in the city, if the single word "monument" can effectively describe the complex, was the forum which bore his name, much the largest, and the last, of the series known as the "imperial fora." Excavation for a new forum had already begun under Domitian, but it was Apollodorus who designed and built the whole. Enormous in its extent, the Basilica Ulpia was the centerpiece, the largest wood roofed building in the Roman world. In the open courtyard before it was an equestrian statue of Trajan, behind it was the column; there were libraries, one for Latin scrolls, the other for Greek, on each side. A significant omission was a temple; this circumstance was later rectified by Hadrian, who built a large temple to the deified Trajan and Plotina.

The column was both a history in stone and the intended mausoleum for the emperor, whose ashes were indeed placed in the column base. An inscription over the doorway, somewhat cryptic because part of the text has disappeared, reads as follows:

Senatus populusque Romanus imp. Caesari divi Nervae f. Nervae Traiano Aug. Germ. Dacico pontif. Maximo trib. pot. XVII imp. VI p.p. ad declarandum quantae altitudinis mons et locus tant[is oper]ibus sit egestus (Smallwood 378)

On the north side of the forum, built into the slopes of the Quirinal hill, were the Markets of Trajan, which served as a shopping mall and the headquarters of the annona, the agency responsible for the receipt and distribution of grain.

On the Esquiline hill was constructed the first of the huge imperial baths, using a large part of Nero's Domus Aurea as its foundations. On the other side of the river a new aqueduct was constructed, which drew its water from Lake Bracciano and ran some 60 kilometers to the heights of the Janiculum Hill. It was dedicated in 109. A section of its channel survives in the basement of the American Academy in Rome.

The arch in Beneventum is the most significant monument elsewhere in Italy. It was dedicated in 114, to mark the beginning of the new Via Traiana, which offered an easier route to Brundisium than that of the ancient Via Appia.

Trajan devoted much attention to the construction and improvement of harbors. His new hexagonal harbor at Ostia at last made that port the most significant in Italy, supplanting Puteoli, so that henceforth the grain ships docked there and their cargo was shipped by barge up the Tiber to Rome. Terracina benefited as well from harbor improvements, and the Via Appia now ran directly through the city along a new route, with some 130 Roman feet of sheer cliff being cut away so that the highway could bend along the coast. Ancona on the Adriatic Sea became the major harbor on that coast for central Italy in 114-115, and Trajan's activity was commemorated by an arch. The inscription reports that the senate and people dedicated it to the []iprovidentissimo principi quod accessum Italiae hoc etiam addito ex pecunia sua portu tutiorem navigantibus reddiderit (Smallwood 387). Centumcellae, the modern Civitavecchia, also profited from a new harbor. The emperor enjoyed staying there, and on at least one occasion summoned his consilium there.

Elsewhere in the empire the great bridge at Alcantara in Spain, spanning the Tagus River, still in use, testifies to the significant attention the emperor gave to the improvement of communication throughout his entire domain.

Family Relations; the Women
After the death of his father, Trajan had no close male relatives. His life was as closely linked with his wife and female relations as that of any of his predecessors; these women played enormously important roles in the empire's public life, and received honors perhaps unparalleled. His wife, Pompeia Plotina, is reported to have said, when she entered the imperial palace in Rome for the first time, that she hoped she would leave it the same person she was when she entered. She received the title Augusta no later than 105. She survived Trajan, dying probably in 121, and was honored by Hadrian with a temple, which she shared with her husband, in the great forum which the latter had built.

His sister Marciana, five years his elder, and he shared a close affection. She received the title Augusta, along with Plotina, in 105 and was deified in 112 upon her death. Her daughter Matidia became Augusta upon her mother's death, and in her turn was deified in 119. Both women received substantial monuments in the Campus Martius, there being basilicas of each and a temple of divae Matidiae. Hadrian was responsible for these buildings, which were located near the later temple of the deified Hadrian, not far from the column of Marcus Aurelius.

Matidia's daughter, Sabina, was married to Hadrian in the year 100. The union survived almost to the end of Hadrian's subsequent principate, in spite of the mutual loathing that they had for each other. Sabina was Trajan's great niece, and thereby furnished Hadrian a crucial link to Trajan.

The women played public roles as significant as any of their predecessors. They traveled with the emperor on public business and were involved in major decisions. They were honored throughout the empire, on monuments as well as in inscriptions. Plotina, Marciana, and Matidia, for example, were all honored on the arch at Ancona along with Trajan.

The Parthian War
In 113, Trajan began preparations for a decisive war against Parthia. He had been a "civilian" emperor for seven years, since his victory over the Dacians, and may well have yearned for a last, great military achievement, which would rival that of Alexander the Great. Yet there was a significant cause for war in the Realpolitik of Roman-Parthian relations, since the Parthians had placed a candidate of their choice upon the throne of Armenia without consultation and approval of Rome. When Trajan departed Rome for Antioch, in a leisurely tour of the eastern empire while his army was being mustered, he probably intended to destroy at last Parthia's capabilities to rival Rome's power and to reduce her to the status of a province (or provinces). It was a great enterprise, marked by initial success but ultimate disappointment and failure.

In 114 he attacked the enemy through Armenia and then, over three more years, turned east and south, passing through Mesopotamia and taking Babylon and the capital of Ctesiphon. He then is said to have reached the Persian Gulf and to have lamented that he was too old to go further in Alexander's footsteps. In early 116 he received the title Parthicus.

The territories, however, which had been handily won, were much more difficult to hold. Uprisings among the conquered peoples, and particularly among the Jews in Palestine and the Diaspora, caused him to gradually resign Roman rule over these newly-established provinces as he returned westward. The revolts were brutally suppressed. In mid 117, Trajan, now a sick man, was slowly returning to Italy, having left Hadrian in command in the east, when he died in Selinus of Cilicia on August 9, having designated Hadrian as his successor while on his death bed. Rumor had it that Plotina and Matidia were responsible for the choice, made when the emperor was already dead. Be that as it may, there was no realistic rival to Hadrian, linked by blood and marriage to Trajan and now in command of the empire's largest military forces. Hadrian received notification of his designation on August 11, and that day marked his dies imperii. Among Hadrian's first acts was to give up all of Trajan's eastern conquests.

Trajan's honors and reputation
Hadrian saw to it that Trajan received all customary honors: the late emperor was declared a divus, his victories were commemorated in a great triumph, and his ashes were placed in the base of his column. Trajan's reputation remained unimpaired, in spite of the ultimate failure of his last campaigns. Early in his principate, he had unofficially been honored with the title optimus, "the best," which long described him even before it became, in 114, part of his official titulature. His correspondence with Pliny enables posterity to gain an intimate sense of the emperor in action. His concern for justice and the well-being of his subjects is underscored by his comment to Pliny, when faced with the question of the Christians, that they were not to be sought out, "nor is it appropriate to our age." At the onset of his principate, Tacitus called Trajan's accession the beginning of a beatissimum saeculum, and so it remained in the public mind. Admired by the people, respected by the senatorial aristocracy, he faced no internal difficulties, with no rival nor opposition. His powers were as extensive as Domitian's had been, but his use and display of these powers were very different from those of his predecessor, who had claimed to be deus et dominus. Not claiming to be a god, he was recognized in the official iconography of sculpture as Jupiter's viceregent on earth, so depicted on the attic reliefs of the Beneventan arch. The passage of time increased Trajan's aura rather than diminished it. In the late fourth century, when the Roman Empire had dramatically changed in character from what it had been in Trajan's time, each new emperor was hailed with the prayer, felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan." That reputation has essentially survived into the present day.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

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