Year of the Four Emperors

Year of the Four Emperors

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The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

, Otho
Otho
Otho , was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.- Birth and lineage :...

, Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

, and Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

.

The suicide of emperor Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, in 68, was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war
Roman civil wars
There were several Roman civil wars, especially during the late Republic. The most famous of these are the war in the 40s BC between Julius Caesar and the optimate faction of the senatorial elite initially led by Pompey and the subsequent war between Caesar's successors, Octavian and Mark Antony in...

 since Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69, Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 witnessed the successive rise and fall of Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

, Otho
Otho
Otho , was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.- Birth and lineage :...

 and Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 until the final accession of Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, first ruler of the Flavian Dynasty
Flavian dynasty
The Flavian dynasty was a Roman Imperial Dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian , and his two sons Titus and Domitian . The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

. This period of civil war has become emblematic of the cyclic political disturbances in the history of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The military and political anarchy created by this civil war had serious repercussions, such as the outbreak of the Batavian rebellion
Batavian rebellion
The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior between 69 and 70 AD. It was an uprising against Roman rule by the Batavians and other tribes in the province and in Gaul...

. (The Jewish Revolt was already in progress.)

Nero to Galba


In 65, the Pisonian conspiracy
Pisonian conspiracy
The conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso in AD 65 represented one of the major turning points in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero...

 attempted to restore the Republic, but failed. A number of executions followed leaving Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 with few political allies left in the Senate. In late 67 or early 68, Caius Julius Vindex
Vindex
Gaius Iulius Vindex, of a noble Gaulish family of Aquitania given senatorial status under Claudius, was a Roman governor in the province of Gallia Lugdunensis. In either late 67 or early 68, he rebelled against the tax policy of the Emperor Nero...

, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul. It is named after its capital Lugdunum , possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint...

, rebelled against Nero's tax policy, with the purpose of substituting Servius Sulpicius Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

, for Nero.

Vindex's revolt in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 was unsuccessful. The legions
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

 stationed at the border to Germania marched to meet Vindex and confront him as a traitor. Led by Lucius Verginius Rufus
Lucius Verginius Rufus
Lucius Verginius Rufus , was a Roman commander of upper Germany during the late 1st century. He was three times consul , born near Comum, the birthplace of the two Plinys....

, the Rhine army defeated Vindex in battle and Vindex killed himself. Galba was at first declared a public enemy by the Senate.

By June of 68, the Senate took the initiative to rid itself of Nero, declaring him a public enemy and Galba emperor. Nymphidius Sabinus
Nymphidius Sabinus
Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, or Nymphidius Sabinus, was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, during the rule of Emperor Nero from 65 until his death in 68. He shared this office together with Gaius Ophonius Tigellinus, replacing his previous colleague Faenius Rufus...

, desiring to become emperor himself, bribed the Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

 to betray Nero. Nero committed suicide. Galba was recognized as emperor and welcomed into the city at the head of his legions
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

, which were VI Victrix
Legio VI Victrix
Legio sexta Victrix was a Roman legion founded by Octavian in 41 BC. It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and perhaps held veterans of that legion, and some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion....

, I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix was a Roman legion levied in Africa by the governor Lucius Clodius Macer in 68....

, I Adiutrix
Legio I Adiutrix
Legio prima Adiutrix , was a Roman legion formed in 68, possibly by Galba under orders of Nero. The last record mentioning the Adiutrix is in 344, when it was stationed at Brigetio , in the Roman province of Pannonia...

, III Augusta
Legio III Augusta
Legio tertia Augusta was raised in the year 43 BCE most likely by the consul Gaius Vibius Pansa and the emperor Augustus who served the Roman Empire in North Africa until at least the late 4th century CE. It is possible that it fought in the battle of Philippi against the murderers of Caesar...

, and VII Gemina
Legio VII Gemina
Legio septima Gemina was a Roman legion; its full name was Legio VII Gemina Felix. VII Gemina dates back to the Year of the four emperors , when the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, Galba, levied a legion to march on Rome...

.

Galba to Otho


This turn of events gave the German legions not the reward for loyalty that they had expected but rather accusations of having obstructed Galba's path to the throne. Their commander, Rufus, was immediately replaced by the new emperor. Aulus Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 was appointed governor
Roman governors of Germania Inferior
This is a list of Roman governors of Germania Inferior . Capital and largest city of Germania Inferior was Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium , modern-day Cologne....

 of Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in today's Luxembourg, southern Netherlands, parts of Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia left of the Rhine....

. The loss of political confidence in Germania's loyalty also resulted in the dismissal of the Imperial Batavian
Batavian rebellion
The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior between 69 and 70 AD. It was an uprising against Roman rule by the Batavians and other tribes in the province and in Gaul...

 Bodyguards and rebellion.

Galba did not remain popular for long. On his march to Rome, he either destroyed or took enormous fines from towns that did not accept him immediately. In Rome, Galba cancelled all the reforms of Nero, including benefits for many important persons. Like his predecessor, Galba had a fear of conspirators and executed many senators and equites without trial. The army was not happy either. After his safe arrival to Rome, Galba refused to pay the rewards he had promised to soldiers who had supported him. Moreover, in the start of the civil year of 69 on January 1, the legions of Germania Inferior refused to swear allegiance and obedience to the new emperor. On the following day, the legions acclaimed Vitellius, their governor, as emperor.

Hearing the news of the loss of the Rhine legions, Galba panicked. He adopted a young senator, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus was a Roman nobleman who lived in the 1st century. Licinianus was one among the sons of consul of 27 Marcus Licinius Crassus Frugi and Scribonia....

, as his successor. By doing this he offended many people, and above all Marcus Salvius Otho, an influential and ambitious man who desired the honour for himself. Otho bribed the Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

, already very unhappy with the emperor, to his side. When Galba heard about the coup d'état he went to the streets in an attempt to stabilize the situation. It proved a mistake, because he could attract no supporters. Shortly afterwards, the Praetorian Guard killed him
Sempronius Densus
Sempronius Densus was a centurion in the Praetorian Guard in the 1st century. He was bodyguard to the deputy emperor, and is remembered by history for his courage and loyalty in singlehandedly defending his charge from scores of armed assassins, while all his comrades deserted or switched sides.On...

 in the Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

.
Otho's legions: XIII Gemina
Legio XIII Gemina
Legio tertia decima Gemina was one of the most prominent Roman legions. It was one of Julius Caesar's key units in Gaul and in the civil war, and was the legion with which he famously crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 BC. The legion appears to have still been in existence in the fifth century...

 and I Adiutrix
Legio I Adiutrix
Legio prima Adiutrix , was a Roman legion formed in 68, possibly by Galba under orders of Nero. The last record mentioning the Adiutrix is in 344, when it was stationed at Brigetio , in the Roman province of Pannonia...


Otho to Vitellius


Otho was recognised as emperor by the Senate that same day. The new emperor was saluted with relief. Although ambitious and greedy, Otho did not have a record for tyranny or cruelty and was expected to be a fair emperor; however, trouble in the form of Vitellius was marching down on Italy from Germany.

Vitellius had behind him the finest legions of the empire, composed of veterans of the Germanic Wars
Germanic Wars
The Germanic Wars is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BCE and 439 CE. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd...

, such as I Germanica
Legio I Germanica
Legio I Germanica was a Roman legion, possibly levied in 48 BC by Julius Caesar to fight for him in the civil war against Pompey...

 and XXI Rapax
Legio XXI Rapax
Legio vigesima prima rapax was a Roman legion levied in 31 BC by Augustus, probably from men previously enlisted in other legions. The XXI Rapax was destroyed in 92 by the Dacians and Sarmatians...

. These would prove to be his best arguments in his bid for power. Otho was not keen to begin another civil war and sent emissaries to propose a peace and inviting Vitellius to be his son-in-law. It was too late to reason; Vitellius' generals had half of his army heading to Italy. After a series of minor victories, Otho was defeated in the Battle of Bedriacum
Battle of Bedriacum
The Battle of Bedriacum refers to two battles fought during the Year of the Four Emperors near the village of Bedriacum , about from the town of Cremona in northern Italy...

. Rather than flee and attempt a counter-attack, Otho decided to put an end to the anarchy and committed suicide. He had been emperor for a little more than three months.
Vitellius' legions: I Germanica
Legio I Germanica
Legio I Germanica was a Roman legion, possibly levied in 48 BC by Julius Caesar to fight for him in the civil war against Pompey...

, V Alaudae
Legio V Alaudae
Legio quinta Alaudae sometimes known as Gallica, was levied by Julius Caesar in 52 BC from native Gauls. Their emblem was an elephant, and their cognomen Alaudae came from the high crest on their helmets, typical of the Gauls, which made them look like larks...

, I Italica
Legio I Italica
Legio prima Italica was a Roman legion levied by emperor Nero on September 22, 66 . There are still records of the I Italica in the Danube border in the beginning of the 5th century...

, XV Primigenia
Legio XV Primigenia
Legio quinta decima Primigenia - a name of the goddess Fortuna) was a legion of the Roman army.It was originally levied by the emperor Caligula in 39, to aid in the Germanic campaigns and was stationed in the Rhine frontier until 70, when it was destroyed during the Batavian rebellion with the V...

, I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix was a Roman legion levied in Africa by the governor Lucius Clodius Macer in 68....

, III Augusta
Legio III Augusta
Legio tertia Augusta was raised in the year 43 BCE most likely by the consul Gaius Vibius Pansa and the emperor Augustus who served the Roman Empire in North Africa until at least the late 4th century CE. It is possible that it fought in the battle of Philippi against the murderers of Caesar...

, and XXI Rapax
Legio XXI Rapax
Legio vigesima prima rapax was a Roman legion levied in 31 BC by Augustus, probably from men previously enlisted in other legions. The XXI Rapax was destroyed in 92 by the Dacians and Sarmatians...


Otho legions: I Adiutrix
Legio I Adiutrix
Legio prima Adiutrix , was a Roman legion formed in 68, possibly by Galba under orders of Nero. The last record mentioning the Adiutrix is in 344, when it was stationed at Brigetio , in the Roman province of Pannonia...


Vitellius to Vespasian


On the news of Otho's suicide, Vitellius was recognized as emperor by the Senate. Granted this recognition, Vitellius set out for Rome; however, he faced problems from the start of his reign. The city was left very skeptical when Vitellius chose the anniversary of the Battle of the Allia
Battle of the Allia
The Battle of the Allia was a battle of the first Gallic invasion of Rome. The battle was fought near the Allia river: the defeat of the Roman army opened the route for the Gauls to sack Rome. It was fought in 390/387 BC.-Background:...

 (in 390 BC), a day of bad auspice
Auspice
An auspice is literally "one who looks at birds", a diviner who reads omens from the observed flight of birds...

s according to Roman superstition, to accede to the office of Pontifex Maximus
Pontifex Maximus
The Pontifex Maximus was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post...

.

Events would seemingly prove them right. With the throne tightly secured, Vitellius engaged in a series of feasts, banquets (Suetonius
Lives of the Twelve Caesars
De vita Caesarum commonly known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire written by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus.The work, written in AD 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, was the most popular work of Suetonius,...

 refers to three a day: morning, afternoon and night) and triumphal parades that drove the imperial treasury close to bankruptcy. Debts were quickly accrued and money-lenders started to demand repayment. Vitellius showed his violent nature by ordering the torture and execution of those who dared to make such demands. With financial affairs in a state of calamity, Vitellius took the initiative of killing citizens who named him as their heir, often together with any co-heirs. Moreover, he engaged in a pursuit of every possible rival, inviting them to the palace with promises of power only to have them assassinated.

Meanwhile, the legions stationed in the African province of Egypt and the Middle East provinces of Iudaea (Judea/Palestine)
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

 and Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

 had acclaimed Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 as emperor. Vespasian had been given a special command in Judaea by Nero in 67 with the task of putting down the Great Jewish Revolt. He gained the support of the governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus. A strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus. Vespasian himself traveled to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 where he had been acclaimed Emperor on July 1, thereby gaining control of the vital grain supplies from Egypt. Vespasian's son Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

 remained in Judaea to deal with the Jewish rebellion. Before the eastern legions could reach Rome, the Danubian legions of the provinces of Raetia
Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

 and Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 also acclaimed Vespasian as Emperor in August, and led by Marcus Antonius Primus
Marcus Antonius Primus
Marcus Antonius Primus was a Roman Empire general.Primus was born at Tolosa in Gaul. During the reign of Nero, he was resident in Rome and a member of the Senate, from which he was expelled for conspiring to forge a will with Valerius Fabianus, and was banished from the city...

 invaded Italy. In October, the forces led by Primus won a crushing victory over Vitellius' army at the Second Battle of Bedriacum
Battle of Bedriacum
The Battle of Bedriacum refers to two battles fought during the Year of the Four Emperors near the village of Bedriacum , about from the town of Cremona in northern Italy...

.

Surrounded by enemies, Vitellius made a last attempt to win the city to his side, distributing bribes and promises of power where needed. He tried to levy by force several allied tribes, such as the Batavians, only to be refused. The Danube army was now very near Rome. Realizing the immediate threat, Vitellius made a last attempt to gain time and sent emissaries, accompanied by Vestal Virgin
Vestal Virgin
In ancient Roman religion, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins , were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The College of the Vestals and its well-being was regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome, as embodied by their cultivation of the sacred fire that could not be...

s, to negotiate a truce and start peace talks. The following day, messengers arrived with news that the enemy was at the gates of the city. Vitellius went into hiding and prepared to flee, but decided on a last visit to the palace. There he was caught by Vespasian's men and killed. In seizing the capital, they burned down the temple of Jupiter.

The Senate acknowledged Vespasian as emperor on the following day. It was December 21, 69, the year that had begun with Galba on the throne.
Vitellius legions: XV Primigenia
Legio XV Primigenia
Legio quinta decima Primigenia - a name of the goddess Fortuna) was a legion of the Roman army.It was originally levied by the emperor Caligula in 39, to aid in the Germanic campaigns and was stationed in the Rhine frontier until 70, when it was destroyed during the Batavian rebellion with the V...

Vespasian legions: III Augusta
Legio III Augusta
Legio tertia Augusta was raised in the year 43 BCE most likely by the consul Gaius Vibius Pansa and the emperor Augustus who served the Roman Empire in North Africa until at least the late 4th century CE. It is possible that it fought in the battle of Philippi against the murderers of Caesar...

, I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix
Legio I Macriana liberatrix was a Roman legion levied in Africa by the governor Lucius Clodius Macer in 68....


Aftermath


Vespasian did not meet any direct threat to his imperial power after the death of Vitellius. He became the founder of the stable Flavian dynasty
Flavian dynasty
The Flavian dynasty was a Roman Imperial Dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian , and his two sons Titus and Domitian . The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 that succeeded the Julio-Claudians and died of natural causes as emperor in 79, with the famous last words, "Vae, puto deus fio" ("Dear me, I must be turning into a god...").

68

  • April – Galba
    Galba
    Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

    , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis
    Hispania Tarraconensis
    Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

    , and Vindex
    Vindex
    Gaius Iulius Vindex, of a noble Gaulish family of Aquitania given senatorial status under Claudius, was a Roman governor in the province of Gallia Lugdunensis. In either late 67 or early 68, he rebelled against the tax policy of the Emperor Nero...

    , governor of Gallia Lugdunensis
    Gallia Lugdunensis
    Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul. It is named after its capital Lugdunum , possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint...

     rebel against Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

  • May – The Rhine legions defeat and kill Vindex in Gaul
  • June – Nero is declared a public enemy (hostis) by the senate (June 8) and commits suicide (June 9); Galba is recognized emperor.
  • November – Vitellius
    Vitellius
    Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

     nominated governor of
    Roman governors of Germania Inferior
    This is a list of Roman governors of Germania Inferior . Capital and largest city of Germania Inferior was Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium , modern-day Cologne....

     Germania Inferior
    Germania Inferior
    Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in today's Luxembourg, southern Netherlands, parts of Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia left of the Rhine....


69

  • January 1 – The Rhine legions refuse to swear loyalty to Galba
  • January 2 – Vitellius acclaimed emperor by the Rhine
  • January 15 – Galba killed by the Praetorian Guard
    Praetorian Guard
    The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

    ; in the same day, the senate recognizes Otho
    Otho
    Otho , was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.- Birth and lineage :...

     as emperor
  • April 14 – Vitellius defeats Otho
  • April 16 – Otho commits suicide; Vitellius recognized emperor
  • July 1 – Vespasian
    Vespasian
    Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

    , commander of the Roman army in Judaea
    Iudaea Province
    Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

    , proclaimed emperor by the legions of Egypt
    Aegyptus (Roman province)
    The Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BC after Octavian defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed his lover Queen Cleopatra VII and annexed the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula...

     under Tiberius Julius Alexander
    Tiberius Julius Alexander
    Tiberius Julius Alexander was an equestrian governor and general in the Roman Empire. Born into a wealthy Jewish family of Alexandria but abandoning or neglecting the Jewish religion, he rose to become procurator of Judea under Claudius...

  • August – The Danubian legions announce support to Vespasian (in Syria) and invade Italy in September on his behalf
  • October – The Danube army defeats Vitellius and Vespasian occupies Egypt
  • December 20 – Vitellius killed by soldiers in the Imperial Palace
  • December 21 – Vespasian recognized emperor

See also

  • Tacitus
    Tacitus
    Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

    , Histories
    Histories (Tacitus)
    Histories is a book by Tacitus, written c. 100–110, which covers the Year of Four Emperors following the downfall of Nero, the rise of Vespasian, and the rule of the Flavian Dynasty up to the death of Domitian.thumb|180px|Tacitus...

  • Year of the Five Emperors
    Year of the Five Emperors
    The Year of the Five Emperors refers to the year 193 AD, in which there were five claimants for the title of Roman Emperor. The five were Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus and Septimius Severus....

     (193)
  • Year of the Six Emperors
    Year of the Six Emperors
    The Year of the Six Emperors refers to the year 238, during which six people were recognised as emperors of Rome.The emperor at the beginning of the year was Maximinus Thrax, who had ruled since 235. Later sources claim he was a cruel tyrant, and in January 238 a revolt erupted in North Africa...

    (238)