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date: 28 November 2020

Vitellius, Auluslocked

, Roman emperor, 15–69 ce
  • Brian Campbell

Extract

Aulus Vitellius, (15–69 ce), Roman emperor in 69, son of Lucius *Vitellius, an influential figure under the Julio-Claudians, was friendly with *Gaius(1), *Claudius, and *Nero. Consul in 48, he became proconsul of Africa (see pro consule; africa, roman), then served as legate (see legati) to his brother in the same post. *Galba appointed him governor of Lower Germany (see germania) in November 68, perhaps thinking that his reputed indolence made him less of a political threat. Vitellius won over the disaffected soldiers in the province by an ostentatious display of generosity. On 2 January 69 Vitellius was proclaimed emperor by his troops, and quickly won the support of the legions of Upper Germany, which had refused allegiance to Galba on 1 January. His main supporters were the legionary legates *Fabius Valens and A. *Caecina Alienus, and soon most of the western provinces and Africa were on his side.

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