Rare Twelve Caesar’s Vitellius AD 69 Gold Aureus NGC VF Only Ruled For 8 Months
Even measured by a tumultuous and cruel time, Vitellius, born 24 September 15, was a terrible emperor despised by the Roman army, civilians, and Senate. Reigning for eight months of the “Year of Four Emperors” in 69, succeeding Galba and Otho, Vitellius was the first to add the honorific cognomen Germanicus to his name instead of Caesar.
Vitellius executed Roman creditors demanding repayment for their financing of the Legion. With financial affairs in a state of calamity, Vitellius took to killing citizens who had named him as their heir, often together with any co-heirs. Moreover, he engaged in the pursuit of every possible rival, inviting them to the palace with promises of power, only to order their assassination. His claim to the throne was soon challenged by legions stationed in the eastern provinces, who proclaimed their commander Vespasian emperor instead. War ensued, leading to a crushing defeat for Vitellius at the Second Battle of Bedriacum in northern Italy. Once he realised his support was wavering, Vitellius prepared to abdicate in favor of Vespasian but was executed in Rome by Vespasian’s soldiers on 22 December 69.
The Senate acknowledged Vespasian as emperor on the following day, beginning a phase of relative stability.
Rare Twelve Caesar’s Vitellius AD 69 Gold Aureus NGC VF
Obverse: Head of Vitellius, laureate, left
Lettering: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P
Translation: Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Imperator Tribunicia Potestas Aulus Vitellius Germanicus, supreme commander (Imperator), tribunician power.
Reverse: Libertas, draped, standing front, head right, holding pileus in right hand and rod in left
Lettering: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA
Translation: Libertas Restituta, Freedom restored.
Mint: Spanish Mint (Tarraco?)