Year of the Four Emperors (68 - 69 AD)

Nero's tyrannical behaviour encouraged conspiracies. Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero in March A.D. 68 and he was eager to promote a figurehead. Servius Sulpicius Galba, the aged governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, accepted Vindex's invitation and soon gained support from the army and most of the governors in the western provinces. Galba was renowned for his severity and greed, coupled with a tactless and superior attitude. It was his blunt refusal to reward the troops for their support which hastened his end; the legions in Germany declared Aulus Vitellius their new emperor. Galba was hacked to death in the Roman Forum and his head paraded around the city.

Meanwhile, Marcus Salvius Otho, governor of Lusitania under Nero, won over the Praetorian Guard and seized power before Vitellius could reach Rome. Otho seemed an able man, but the Senate viewed him with suspicion and the army in Germany had already proclaimed a rival emperor. The forces of Otho and Vitellius met at Cremona in April AD 69. With his legions completely routed, Otho committed suicide on April 16th.

Vitellius was a tool of the German legions who had declared him emperor. He had no great achievements to his name, and was known as a glutton. In July A.D. 69 Vitellius learned that the eastern legions had proclaimed a new emperor, their general Titus Flavius Vespasianus. The forces of Vitellius and Vespasian met at the second battle at Cremona in October A.D. 69 and Vespasian's hardened troops won the day. An orgy of destruction followed as Vespasian's victorious legions entered Rome. Vitellius was murdered in the Forum on December 20th. Vespasian was confirmed Emperor in absentia. James R. Wadman B.A., M.A. [History and Archaeology] for Time Line Originals.

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Select from the coin links below to navigate around our catalogue:

Vindex CoinsVindex: The Twelve Caesars (March - May 68 AD)
Galba CoinsGalba (8th June - 15th January 69 AD)
Otho CoinsOtho (15th January - 17th April 69 AD)
Vitellius CoinsVitellius (17h April - 22nd December 69 AD)

Vindex 000412

Vindex Civil War 'Julian Star' Denarius
Silver, 3.49 grams; 17.48 mm. The Twelve Caesars, Civil Wars: REVOLT OF VINDEX IN GAUL. Obverse: CAESAR AVGVSTVS; laureate head of Augustus right. Reverse: DIVVS IVLIVS; eight rayed comet (sidus Iulium) with tail DOWNWARDS. RIC 92 variant. Crude civil war copy from an Augustan prototype RIC 37, minted in Vienne. Good fine-very fine.

The 'Julian star' was the comet which appeared in the heavans shortly after Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C. It was taken as a sign of the late dictator’s divinity.

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Vindex 000412

Main Roman Coin Book and Other References:

RIC = Mattingly, Harold    The Roman Imperial Coinage
BMC = Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum
RSC = Seaby, H A    Roman Silver Coinage
RCV = Sear, David R    Roman Coins and Their Values
Cr = Crawford, Michael    The Roman Republican Coinage
SB = Sear, David R    Byzantine Coins and Their Values
S = Coins of England and the United Kingdom
WW = (reference & attribution site)

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