Year of Four Emperors
Roman Emperors — versus — Galba, Otho, Vitellius
Galba (June 68 to Jan 69) vs. Otho (Jan 69 to Apr 69)
Otho (Jan 69 to Apr 69) vs. Vitellius (Apr 69 to Dec 69)
Vitellius (Apr 69 to Dec 69) vs. Vespasian (Dec 69, reigned 10 years)
Finally, in Vespasian (reigned 70 to 79), Rome was fortunate to have a competent and capable emperor. He quickly set about restoring order. However, during the preceding civil wars, the Gallic Province of Batvia had revolted, destroyed two legions, and declared itself independent from Rome. Vespasian took the time to raise a large enough force to overwhelm the rebels, marched over the Alps and routed the Batavians at the battle of Bingen.
Counting the Batavian rebellion, six men had claimed the imperial throne in less than a two year period. Nero died in June 68. Galba ruled until January 69, Otho until April 69, Vitellius until Dec 69, and finally Vespasian who ruled for ten years until 79 A.D. In addition, Julius Sabinus briefly declared himself emperor of Gaul in early 70. Given the great difficulty of the situation, Rome was fortunate its civil wars in 69 were as limited as they were.
|Battle of Bedriacum
Fought April 14, 69, between the legions of the Emperor Otho and the Vitellians under Valens. The Imperial troops were utterly routed, and driven back to their camp, which they surrendered to the Vitellians on the following day.
|Battle of Campus Castorum (
Fought in 69 between the revolted legionaries, 70,000 strong, under Valens and Caecina, and the army of the Emperor Otho under Suetonius Paulinus. The Imperial troops gained some advantage, but Suetonius did not consider himself strong enough to follow it up, and was relieved of his command by Otho.
|Battle of Cremona (
Fought December 69, between the Vitellians, and the Flavians under Antonius Primus, 40,000 strong. The Vitellians, who were without a leader, having deposed their general, Caecina, were attacked in their camp, and after a hard fight, which lasted throughout the night, were totally routed. The victors sacked and burnt Cremona.
|Battle of Bingen (
In the year 70, Petilius Cerialis, who, with four Roman legions, had crossed the Alps from Switzerland, surprised the revolted Gauls under Tutor, in their camp at Bingen. The Gallic legionaries in Tutor's army deserted to the Romans, and Tutor was totally defeated.
|Declared emperor after Nero was deposed. Served less than a year.|
|Emperor for three months in 69 A.D. Committed suicide rather than continue civil war.|
|Emperor for nine months in 69 A.D. Known as an incompetent glutton.|
|First emperor of humble origins. Founder of Flavian dynasty.|
|Led a failed rebellion in Northern Germany during year of 3 emperors. Executed by Vespasian.|
|Commanders of legion of the lower Rhine. Supporters and advisors of Vitellius.|
|Nobleman of the Old School in||Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church|
|Battle of Bedriacum and the Death of Otho in||Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church|
|Imperial Glutton in||Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church|
|Burning of the Capitol in||Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church|
|Man of Business in||Pictures from Roman Life and Story by Alfred J. Church|
|Two Short Reigns in||The Story of the Romans by H. A. Guerber|
|Titus in||Famous Men of Rome by John H. Haaren & A. B. Poland|
|Galba in||Our Young Folks' Plutarch by Rosalie Kaufman|
|Otho in||Our Young Folks' Plutarch by Rosalie Kaufman|
|Reign of a Glutton in||Historical Tales: Roman by Charles Morris|
The Followers of Civilis
Vitellius Torn by the Mob