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

Vitellius coins for sale in the Forum Ancient Coins shop.

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


Numismatic References

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

Obverse Legends


Average well preserved denarius weight 3.30 grams.


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Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

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

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

The following are the principal reverse legends of his coins:

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

View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins


VITELLIVS. L VITELLIVS COS III CENSOR. Lucius Vitellius Consul III. Censor - on gold and silver coins of L. Vitellius with reverse of A. Vitellius.

View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
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