Battle of Bedriacum

The Battle of Bedriacum refers to two battles fought during the Year of the Four Emperors (69) near the village of Bedriacum (now Calvatone), about 35 kilometers (22 mi) from the town of Cremona in northern Italy. The fighting in fact took place between Bedriacum and Cremona, and the battles are sometimes called "First Cremona" and "Second Cremona".

First Battle of Bedriacum

First Battle of Bedriacum
Part of the Year of the Four Emperors
Roman Empire 69AD

The Roman Empire, 69AD. After the death of Nero, four influential generals successively vied for the imperial throne.
Date14 April 69 AD
Result Vitellian victory
Roman Empire Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Marcus Salvius Otho 
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus
Aulus Caecina Alienus
Fabius Valens
Units involved
Legio I Adiutrix
Legio XIII Gemina
Legio XXI Rapax
Legio V Alaudae
10,240 Legionaries 10,240 Legionaries
59,760 Auxiliaries
70,000 Total[a]
Casualties and losses
40,000 killed
  1. ^ The total was 70,000; there were two legions and one legion has a nominal strength of 5,120 soldiers.
  1. ^ The total was 70,000; there were two legions and one legion has a nominal strength of 5,120 soldiers.

Marcus Salvius Otho, with the support and aid of the Praetorian Guard, had his predecessor Galba murdered in January and claimed the throne. Legate Aulus Vitellius, governor of the province of Germania Inferior, had also claimed the throne earlier in the month and marched on Rome with his troops. Vitellius' forces were divided into two armies, one commanded by Aulus Caecina Alienus and the other by Fabius Valens. The Vitellian forces included legions XXI Rapax, V Alaudae and powerful vexillationes from all the other legions stationed on the Rhine, together with a strong force of Batavian auxiliaries, a force of around 70,000 men. The forces commanded by Caecina crossed the Alps by the Great St. Bernard Pass to reach northern Italy. They attacked Placentia but were repulsed by the Othonian garrison and fell back on Cremona to await the arrival of Valens' army.

Otho left Rome on March 14 and marched north to meet the challenge, leaving his brother Titianus in charge of Rome. He made his base at Brixellum. His forces included legions I Adiutrix, XIII Gemina, a forward detachment of XIIII Gemina, the Praetorian Guard and a force of gladiators. His general staff included generals such as Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, who, as governor of Britain, had defeated Boudica eight years before but Otho decided to call his brother Titianus from Rome to act as his commander in chief.

Before Titianus arrived, one engagement had already been fought. Caecina tried to set an ambush at Locus Castorum, a village about half way between Bedriacum and Cremona on the Via Postumia. The Othonians were warned and their army marched for Locus Castorum, led by Suetonius Paulinus. The Othonians had the better of the fighting and Caecina's troops retreated to Cremona. Here they were joined by Valens' army, which had followed a longer route through Gaul.

Titanius had now joined the Othonian armies and took command. It was decided to march on Cremona to give battle, against the advice of Paulinus and other generals, who wished to wait until other legions, had arrived. Otho remained at Brixellum to await the outcome. On 14 April the two armies met on the Via Postumia, nearer Cremona than Bedriacum, with the Othonian troops already tired after a long march. Some of the heaviest fighting was where Otho's 1st Adiutrix legion, recently raised from the marines of Classis Ravennas at Ravenna, clashed with Vitellius' veteran Rapax. The Adiutrix acquitted itself well, capturing the eagle of the 21st, though its commanding officer was killed as the 21st strove to recover it. Elsewhere on the battlefield, Otho's 13th legion was defeated by Vitellius' Alaudae and the Adiutrix eventually gave way when a force of Batavian auxiliaries took them in the flank. According to Dio Cassius about 40,000 men were killed in the fighting. The Othonian troops fled back to their camp in Bedriacum and the next day surrendered to the Vitellian forces and took the oath of allegiance to Vitellius.

When news of the defeat was brought to Brixellum, many of Otho's troops urged him to fight on, pointing out that more troops were on the way but Otho chose suicide rather than cause more deaths. He had been emperor for fewer than three months; Vitellius continued his march on Rome, where he made a triumphal entry and was recognized as emperor by the Senate.

Second Battle of Bedriacum

Second Battle of Bedriacum
Part of the Year of the Four Emperors
Date24 October 69 AD
Result Vespasianic victory
Roman Empire Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Marcus Antonius Primus
Aulus Caecina Alienus
Units involved
Legio III Gallica
Legio VIII Augusta
Legio VII Claudia
Legio VII Galbiana
Legio XIII Gemina
Legio XXI Rapax
Legio V Alaudae
Legio I Italica
Legio XXII Primigenia
Legio IV Macedonica
25,600 Legionaries[a] 25,600 Legionaries
  1. ^ And an unknown number of cavalry
  1. ^ And an unknown number of cavalry

Meanwhile, the legions stationed in the Middle East provinces of Judaea and Syria had acclaimed Vespasian as emperor. Vespasian had been given a special command in Iudaea 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 and a strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus.

Before the eastern legions could reach Rome, the Danubian legions of the provinces of Raetia and Moesia also acclaimed Vespasian as Emperor in August. Three of these legions, III Gallica, VIII Augusta and VII Claudia had been on their way to support Otho when they heard of his defeat at the first battle of Bedriacum. They had been made to swear allegiance to Vitellius, but when they heard of Vespasian's bid for power they switched their support to him. They persuaded the other two legions, VII Galbiana and XIII Gemina to join them, which the XIII Gemina did all the more readily as they were one of the legions which had been defeated at First Bedriacum, and had been made to build amphitheatres for Valens and Caecina as punishment. Led by the commanding officer of the seventh Galbiana, Marcus Antonius Primus, they marched on Rome, and having a shorter distance to march reached Italy before Mucianus' troops.

When Vitellius heard of Antonius' approach, he dispatched Caecina with a powerful army composed of XXI Rapax, V Alaudae, I Italica and XXII Primigenia together with detachments from seven other legions and a force of auxiliaries. The first of Antonius' legions had arrived at Verona, but though urged to attack them before the remainder of the army arrived, Caecina declined to do so. Caecina had been plotting with Lucilius Bassus, commander of the Classis Ravennas, the Roman fleet at Ravenna, to switch their support to Vespasian. His troops refused to follow his lead however, and put him in chains. Valens, who had been delayed by illness, had by now set out from Rome.

Caecina's army, now without their general, advanced on Cremona. Antonius was now based at Bedriacum, and advanced towards Cremona with a force of cavalry. They encountered the vanguard of the Vitellian army between Bedriacum and Cremona on the 24 October and a battle followed, with Antonius sending back to Bedriacum for the legions. Antonius' troops had the better of the fighting, and the Vitellian troops retreated to their camp outside Cremona.

Antonius' forces advanced along the Via Postumia towards Cremona. They were opposed by a powerful Vitellian army, who had been reinforced by other legions including legion IIII Macedonica, but were still without a commander as Valens had not yet arrived. By now night had fallen and the battle continued through the hours of darkness. The seventh Galbiana, Antonius' own legion, suffered heavy casualties and lost its eagle for a while, though one of its centurions later sacrificed his own life to win it back. Eventually Antonius' forces began to gain the upper hand, and the turning point came when dawn broke. Antonius' third Gallica had served in Syria for many years and while there had adopted a local custom. As the sun rose they turned to the east to salute it, and this was misinterpreted by the Vitellian forces who thought that they were greeting reinforcements from the east and lost heart. The Vitellian forces were driven back into their camp, which was taken by Antonius' forces. Antonius then attacked Cremona itself, which surrendered. Cremona was sacked and then burned by the victorious troops. Antonius was embarrassed by the episode and forbade the keeping of Cremonans as slaves, resulting in many being murdered by their captors to evade punishment.[1]

Antonius continued to Rome, where Vitellius was taken prisoner and shortly afterwards killed. The way was thus cleared for Vespasian to ascend the throne near the end of this bloody year of crisis.


  1. ^
  • The Encyclopedia Of Military History: From 3500 B.C. To The Present. (2nd Revised Edition 1986), R. Ernest Dupuy, and Trevor N. Dupuy. pp. 127–128
  • P.A.L. Greenhalgh The Year of the Four Emperors (Weidenfeld and Nicolson,1975)
  • Michael Grant The twelve Caesars (Weidenfeld and Nicolson,1975)

Coordinates: 45°05′24″N 10°08′24″E / 45.0900°N 10.1400°E


== Events ==

=== AD 60 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Roxolani are defeated on the Danube by the Romans.

Emperor Nero sends an expedition to explore the historical city Meroë (Sudan).

Vitellius is (possibly) proconsul of Africa.

Agrippa II of the Herodians rules the northeast of Judea.

The following events in Roman Britain (Britannia) take place in 60 or 61:

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, Roman governor of Britain, captures the island of Mona (Anglesey), the last stronghold of the druids.

Prasutagus, king of the Iceni (in modern East Anglia), dies leaving a will which passes his kingdom to his two daughters and emperor Nero. The Roman army, however, annexes the kingdom as if conquered, depriving the nobles of their hereditary lands and plundering the land. The king's widow, Boudica, is flogged and forced to watch their daughters publicly raped. Roman financiers, including Seneca the Younger, call in their loans.

Boudica leads a rebellion of the Iceni against Roman rule in alliance with the Trinovantes, Cornovii, Durotriges and Celtic Britons. The Iceni and Trinovantes first destroy the Roman capital Camulodunum (Colchester), wipe out the infantry of the Legio IX Hispana (commanded by Quintus Petillius Cerialis) and go on to burn Londinium (London) (probably destroying London Bridge) and Verulamium (St Albans), in all cases massacring the inhabitants in the thousands.

Paulinus defeats the rebels at the Battle of Watling Street using a flying wedge formation, imposes wide-ranging punishments on native Britons, and the Romanization of Britain continues. Boudica either poisons herself or falls sick and dies.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The First Epistle of Peter, if by Saint Peter, is probably written between this year and c. AD 64.

Paul of Tarsus journeys to Rome, but is shipwrecked at Malta. He stays for three months and converts Publius, the first Bishop of Malta.

====== Art and science ======

Hero of Alexandria writes Metrica, Mechanics, and Pneumatics.

AD 60–79 – House of the Vettii, Pompeii, is rebuilt.

=== AD 61 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Publius Petronius Turpilianus and Lucius Caesennius Paetus become Roman consuls.

Galba becomes governor of Hispania Tarraconensis.

The following events in Roman Britain (Britannia) take place in 60 or 61:

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, Roman governor of Britain, captures the island of Mona (Anglesey), the last stronghold of the druids.

Prasutagus, king of the Iceni (in modern East Anglia), dies leaving a will which passes his kingdom to his two daughters and emperor Nero. The Roman army however annexes the kingdom as if conquered, depriving the nobles of their hereditary lands and plundering the land. The king's widow, Boudica, is flogged and forced to watch their daughters publicly raped. Roman financiers, including Seneca the Younger, call in their loans.

Boudica leads a rebellion of the Iceni against Roman rule in alliance with the Trinovantes, Cornovii, Durotriges and Celtic Britons. The Iceni and Trinovantes first destroy the Roman capital Camulodunum (Colchester), wipe out the infantry of the Legio IX Hispana (commanded by Quintus Petillius Cerialis) and go on to burn Londinium (London) (probably destroying London Bridge) and Verulamium (St Albans), in all cases massacring the inhabitants in thousands.

Paulinus defeats the rebels at the Battle of Watling Street using a flying wedge formation, and imposes wide-ranging punishments on native Britons, but is removed from office after an enquiry instituted by Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus (appointed procurator 61) and the Romanization of Britain continues. Boudica either poisons herself or falls sick and dies.

=== AD 62 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Nero marries for the second time, to Poppaea Sabina, ex-wife of Marcus Salvius Otho.

After the death of Burrus and the disgrace of Seneca, Nero is free from their influence and becomes a megalomaniacal artist fascinated by Hellenism and the Orient. Tigellinus becomes Nero's counselor. His rule is highly abusive.

Nero completes the Baths of Nero in Rome.

A great earthquake damages cities in Campania, including Pompeii (February 5).

The Parthians invade Armenia and lay siege to Tigranocerta. The city is well-fortified and garrisoned by the Romans. The assault fails and king Vologases I retreats. Instead, he makes preparations to invade Syria.

Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo strengthens the fortifications on the Euphrates frontier. He builds a strong flotilla of ships equipped with catapults and a wooden bridge across the river, which allows him to establish a foothold on the Parthian shore.

Lucius Caesennius Paetus advances towards Tigranocerta, but by lack of supplies he makes camp for the winter in the fortress at Rhandeia in northwestern Armenia.

Vologases I leads the Parthian army in a full-scale assault on the Euphrates, Legio X Fretensis and men of the other two legions (Legio III Gallica and Legio VI Ferrata) defending the eastern bank of the river, fighting off a desperate attack.

Battle of Rhandeia: The Roman army (two legions) is defeated by the Parthians under king Tiridates I. Paetus surrenders and withdraws his disheveled army to Syria.

A violent storm destroys 200 ships in the port of Portus.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Lucan writes a history of the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey.

The making of Still Life, a detail of a wall painting from Herculaneum, begins (finished in AD 79). It is now kept at Museo Nazionale in Naples.

====== Religion ======

Paul of Tarsus is imprisoned in Rome (approximate date).

=== AD 63 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Vespasian becomes governor of Africa.

Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo is restored to command after the Roman debacle at the Battle of Rhandeia; he invades Armenia and defeats Tiridates I, who accepts Roman sovereignty; Parthia withdraws from the war.

Pompeii, the city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is heavily damaged by a strong earthquake. Fearing an eruption of the volcano, many of the 20,000 inhabitants leave their homes in a panicked flight.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea goes to Glastonbury on the first Christian mission to Britain.

====== Arts and sciences ======

Aulus Cornelius Celsus writes a dictionary (encyclopedia) on the arts and sciences.

=== AD 64 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

July 19 – Great Fire of Rome: A fire begins in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control, while emperor Nero allegedly plays his lyre and sings as he watches the blaze from a safe distance. There is no hard evidence to support this claim: fires were very common in Rome at the time. The fire destroys close to one-half of the city and it is officially blamed on the Christians, a small but growing religious movement. Nero is accused of being the arsonist by popular rumour.

Persecution of Christians in Rome begins under Emperor Nero. Peter the Apostle is possibly among those executed.

Nero proposes a new urban planning program based the creation of buildings decorated with ornate porticos, the widening of the streets and the use of open spaces. This plan will not be applied until after his death in 68.

Lyon sends a large sum of money to Rome to aid in the reconstruction. However, during the winter of 64–65, Lyon suffers a catastrophic fire itself, and Nero reciprocates by sending money to Lyon.

Phoenicia becomes part of Syria.

====== Asia ======

The Kushan sack the town of ancient Taxila (in present-day Pakistan).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The year the First Epistle of Peter is traditionally believed to be written.

====== Arts and sciences ======

Seneca proclaims the equality of all men, including slaves.

=== AD 65 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

April 19 – The freedman Milichus betrays the Pisonian conspiracy led by Gaius Calpurnius Piso to kill the Roman emperor Nero and all the conspirators are arrested.

Cestius Gallus becomes legate of Syria.

After a stage performance in which he appears and shocks the senatorial class considerably, Nero engages in a series of reprisals against Seneca, Tigellinus, pro-republican senators, and anyone else he distrusts.

Nero kills his pregnant wife, Poppea Sabina, by kicking her stomach.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Gospel of Matthew is probably written between 60 and this year.

Paul of Tarsus ordains Timothy as bishop of Ephesus (traditional date).

In China, the first official reference to Buddhism is made.

The first Christian community in Africa is founded by Mark, a disciple of Peter. Mark begins to write his gospel.

Probable martyrdom date of the apostle Thaddeus, also called Saint Jude in Armenia.

Probable martyrdom date of the apostle Simon the Canaanite in Armenia.

=== AD 66 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

September 22 – Emperor Nero creates the Legio Legio I Italica. He appoints Titus Flavius Vespasian legate of the army of Judea and in command of three legions — V Macedonica, X Fretensis and XV Apollinaris.

October – The Jewish Revolt (66–70 AD) commences against the Roman Empire. The Zealots lay siege on Jerusalem and annihilate the Roman garrison (a cohort of Legio III Cyrenaica). The Sicarii capture the fortress of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea.

Mid–late October – Cestius Gallus, legate of Syria, marches into Judea and leads a Roman army of 30,000 men to put down the Jewish rebellion. At its core is Legio XII Fulminata, plus 2,000 picked men from the other three Syrian legions, six more cohorts of infantry and four alae of cavalry, and over 14,000 auxiliaries furnished by Rome's eastern allies, including Herod Agrippa II and two other client kings, Antiochus IV of Commagene and Sohaemus of Emesa, who lead their forces (largely archers and cavalry) in person.

Gallus leads his main force down the coast from Caesarea via Antipatris to Lydda, detaching other units, by land and sea, to neutralize the rebel strongholds at Joppa, Narbata and the Tower of Aphek. With Galilee and the entire Judean coast in his hands, Gallus assumes his campaign before the winter rains render the roads impassable. He turns inland and marches on Jerusalem, taking the road via the plain at Emmaus. Gallus succeeds in conquering Beit She'arim (the "New City") on the Bezetha Hill.

November – Battle of Beth-Horon: Gallus abandons the siege of Jerusalem and chooses, for uncertain reasons, to withdraw west to winter quarters, where he is ambushed and defeated by Judean rebels. Some 5,300 Roman troops are killed, as well as all their pack animals, their artillery (which is to serve the Jews of Jerusalem during Titus's siege operations four years later), and the greatest disgrace of all, the eagle standard of Legio XII Fulminata. Gallus abandons his troops in disarray, fleeing to Syria.

====== Britannia ======

Suetonius Paullinus, governor of Britannia, becomes a Roman Consul.

The Roman Legio II Augusta is stationed at Gloucester.

====== Asia ======

Baekje invades Silla in the Korean Peninsula, and captures Castle Ugok.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Dioscorides writes his De Materia Medica, a treatise on the methodical treatment of disease by use of medicine (approximate date).

====== Astronomy ======

Halley's Comet is visible.

====== Religion ======

The First Epistle to Timothy is written (speculative date, if actually written by St. Paul).

=== AD 67 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Vindex revolts, first in a series of revolts that lead to Nero's downfall.

Gaius Licinius Mucianus replaces Cestius Gallus as governor of Syria.

Judea (Roman province): Vespasian arrives in Ptolemais, along with Legio X Fretensis and Legio V Macedonica to put down the Jewish Revolt.

Vespasian is joined by his son Titus, who brings Legio XV Apollinaris from Alexandria. By late spring the Roman army numbers more than 60,000 soldiers, including auxiliaries and troops of king Agrippa II.

Jewish leaders at Jerusalem are divided through a power struggle, a brutal civil war erupts, the Zealots and the Sicarii execute anyone who tries to leave the city.

Siege of Jotapata and massacre of its 40,000 Jewish inhabitants. The historian Josephus, leader of the rebels in Galilee, is captured by the Romans. Vespasian is wounded in the foot by an arrow fired from the city wall.

Fall of the Jewish fortress of Gamla in the Golan to the Romans and massacre of its inhabitants.

Nero travels to Greece, where he participates in the Olympic Games and other festivals.

Sardinia becomes a Roman province.

Nero, jealous of the success of Corbulo in Armenia, orders that he be put to death. Corbulo literally "falls on his sword".

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Martyrdom of apostles Peter and Paul in Rome.

Linus succeeds Peter as the second Bishop of Rome.

=== AD 68 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Final year that Tacitus records Annals, a written history of the Roman Empire.

June 8 – The Roman Senate accepts emperor Galba.

June 9 – Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide four miles outside Rome. He is deserted by the Praetorian Guard and then stabs himself in the throat.

Legio I Macriana liberatrix and Legio I Adiutrix are created.

Lucius Clodius Macer revolts against emperor Nero.

Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, father of Trajan, becomes consul.

Trajan moves to Scythopolis and crosses the Jordan River with Legio X Fretensis. He lays siege to Jericho and destroys the monastery of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are originated.

The Roman Senate declares Nero as a persona non grata. In the line of succession, Galba follows Nero.

Winter – Titus sets up camp at Jericho and the Romans cut off escape routes toward Jerusalem.

Venutius successfully deposes his wife Cartimandua and becomes the ruler of the Brigantes.

====== Asia ======

An iron chain suspension bridge is constructed in China

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Buddhism officially arrives in China with the building of the White Horse Temple.

Ignatius of Antioch becomes the third bishop of Antioch.

The Gospel of Mark is written (approximate date).

The Essenes place the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves at Qumran.

=== AD 69 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Year of the Four Emperors: After Nero's death, Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian succeed each other as emperor during the year.

January 1 – The Roman legions in Germania Superior refuse to swear loyalty to Galba. They rebel and proclaim Vitellius as emperor.

January 10 – Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus is adopted by Galba and appointed to deputy Roman Emperor.

January 15 – Galba and his adopted son Piso are murdered by the Praetorian Guard on the Roman Forum.

Otho seizes power in Rome, proclaims himself emperor, and reigns for three months before committing suicide.

Marcus Trebellius Maximus, governor of Britannia, is forced the flee to Gaul after a mutiny of Legio XX Valeria Victrix at Deva Victrix (Chester).

April 14 – First Battle of Bedriacum: Vitellius defeats Otho's legions; Otho commits suicide.

April 17 – After the Battle of Bedriacum, Vitellius becomes emperor.

Marcus Vettius Bolanus becomes the new governor of Britain and faces a second insurrection of Venutius, king of the Brigantes.

July 1 – Tiberius Julius Alexander orders his legions in Alexandria to swear allegiance to Vespasian as emperor.

August 1 – Batavian rebellion: The Batavians in Germania Inferior (Netherlands) revolt under the leadership of Gaius Julius Civilis.

German warbands cross over to join the revolt and attack the fortress at Mainz.

The Batavians attack Roman forts on the Rhine frontier; Fectio and Traiectum (modern Utrecht) are destroyed.

In Gallia Belgica, cohors II Tungrorum, raised from the inhabitants of Atuatuca Tungrorum in the north-west of the Ardennes Forest, revolt against the Romans.

The Danubian legions of Raetia and Moesia proclaims Vespasian as emperor.

October 24 – Second Battle of Bedriacum: Flavians under Antonius Primus defeat the Vitellians.

December 22 – Vitellius is captured and murdered by the Gemonian stairs. Vespasian becomes emperor.

Judea: The Jewish Revolt – Vespasian lays siege to Jerusalem; the city is captured the following year by his son Titus.

Josephus, Jewish rebel leader, is dragged before Vespasian and becomes his historian (he "prophesied" him his elevation to the purple).

Legio I Macriana liberatrix is disbanded.

The Flavian dynasty starts.

AD 69

AD 69 (LXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Rufinus (or, less frequently, year 822 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 69 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Alpinius Montanus

Alpinius Montanus (fl. 1st century CE) was one of the Treviri, a tribe of the Belgae, the indigenous peoples living in northern Gaul. He was the commander of a cohort in the army of the Roman emperor Vitellius, and was sent into Germany after the Battle of Bedriacum in the year 69. Tacitus mentions that Montanus and his men accepted the Vitellians' defeat by the Flavians and felt little attachment to either side. Together with his brother, Decimus Alpinius, he joined the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis against Roman rule in the next year. He was one of those who crossed the Rhine to try to rally support for the rebellion among the peoples of Germania Libera.

Appius Annius Gallus

Appius Annius Gallus was a Roman senator and general who flourished during the first century. He held the office of suffect consul in 67 with Lucius Verulanus Severus as his colleague. The suffect consul of 67 is commonly identified as the general who supported Otho during the Year of the Four Emperors.

Except for his tenure as suffect consul, Gallus' life prior to the year 69 is a blank. In that year, the ephemeral emperor Otho selected him to be one of his generals. Gallus, along with Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and Aulus Marius Celsus, led the assembled troops north from Rome to confront the legions supporting Vitellius near the Po river. Tacitus notes that Gallus took command of the lead elements along with Titus Vestricius Spurinna. Once they reached the Po, Severus sent Spurinna on to occupy Placentia while he marched to Verona. Upon hearing that Spurinna's men were encircled by soldiers loyal to Vitellius, Gallus moved to assist his associate, but stopped at Bedriacum when word reached him that the enemy was driven off after an unsuccessful assault.Gallus was not present at the Battle of Bedriacum that followed, because he had been injured by a fall from his horse. Along with Suetonius Paulinus and Marius Celsus, he opposed engaging Vitellius' men immediately, concurring with their advice that Otho would do better to wait until the legions from the Balkans arrived. Nevertheless, Emperor Otho ignored their advice and his men were defeated at Bedriacum. When Vedius Aquila, the commander of one of legions supporting Otho, returned to camp and found himself the potential victim of a murderous group of defeated soldiers, Annius Gallus intervened and saved his life.Despite having supported one of the unsuccessful rivals for the imperial insignia, Gallus managed to avoid becoming a victim of the ensuing proscriptions. He is next found as a general under Vespasian, assigned to assist in suppressing the Sequani, who had risen in revolt along with the Batavians. Werner Eck sees this as evidence that Gallus had been appointed governor of Germania Superior near the end of the year 69, and continued in this position until 72 when he was replaced by Gnaeus Pinarius Cornelius Clemens.His actions after returning to Rome from Germania Superior are not known.

Aulus Caecina Alienus

Aulus Caecina Alienus, Roman general, was born in Vicetia (modern Vicenza).

He was quaestor of Hispania Baetica (southern Iberia) in AD 68. On the death of Nero, he attached himself to Galba, who appointed him to the command of Legio IV Macedonica at Mogontiacum in Germania Superior (Upper Germany). Having been prosecuted for embezzling public money, Caecina went over to Vitellius, who sent him with a large army into Italy.

Caecina crossed the Alps, but was defeated near Cremona by Suetonius Paulinus, the chief general of Otho. Subsequently, in conjunction with Fabius Valens, Caecina defeated Otho at the decisive battle of Bedriacum (Betriacum).The incapacity of Vitellius tempted Vespasian to take up arms against him. Caecina, who had been entrusted with the repression of the revolt, turned traitor, and tried to persuade his army to go over to Vespasian, but was thrown into chains by the soldiers.

After the overthrow of Vitellius, he was released, and taken into favor by the new emperor. But he could not remain loyal to anyone. In 79 he was implicated, along with Eprius Marcellus, in a conspiracy against Vespasian, and was put to death by order of Titus.Tacitus described Caecina as a man of handsome presence and boundless ambition, a gifted orator and a great favourite with the soldiers.

Battle of Cremona

For the battle between Romans and Gauls, see Battle of Cremona (200 BC). For the battle during the Year of the Four Emperors, see Battle of Bedriacum.

The Battle of Cremona took place on the night of 31 January to 1 February 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession between a French force under Maréchal Villeroi and an Imperial/Austrian army led by Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Fabius Valens

Fabius Valens of Anagnia (d. 69) was a Roman commander favoured by Nero. In 69 he was commander of Legio I Germanica based in Germania Inferior. When the troops refused to endorse the new emperor Galba after Nero's death, he had them proclaim Vitellius, the governor of Germania Inferior, as emperor.

The forces supporting Vitellius were divided into two armies for the march on Rome, one of them commanded by Valens. Valens' troops took a route through Gaul, probably to recruit additional soldiers, before eventually joining with the other Vitellian army, led by Caecina, at Cremona. By then Galba had been killed and Otho had been proclaimed emperor at Rome. Otho's forces met the combined Vitellian armies at the first Battle of Bedriacum. Valens and Caecina won a decisive victory, and Otho committed suicide when he heard the news of his army's defeat. Vitellius was able to make a triumphant entry into Rome.However, the armies in the east had proclaimed Vespasian as emperor, and two armies supporting Vespasian marched on Rome. The first to reach Italy was composed of five legions from Pannonia and Moesia, commanded by Antonius Primus. Valens was ill at the time, so that the force that Vitellius despatched from Rome to counter this threat was commanded by Caecina. Caecina tried to betray Vitellius and proclaim Vespasian as emperor, but his army refused to follow his lead, and put him in chains. By this time Valens had recovered from his illness and was on his way to join the army, but before he could arrive, the second Battle of Bedriacum had been fought and the Vitellian forces defeated by Antonius.

Valens tried to continue the struggle, and departed by ship from Pisa for Gaul to try to raise new troops. He put in at Hercules Monoecus (modern Monaco) but was advised not to try to march inland as a procurator named Valerius Paulus had raised a strong force from former members of Otho's Praetorian Guard. These had been dismissed from the service after Vitellius' victory, but were only too ready to re-enlist to support Vitellius' rival. Valens therefore sailed on, and was cast up by a storm on the Stoechades (modern Iles d'Hyeres, near Toulon). Here he was caught by surprise by some galleys sent after him by Valerius Paulinus, and captured. Paulinus sent him back to Italy, where he was executed by beheading at Urvinum (modern Urbino). His head was taken to Narni to be shown to the Vitellian troops who were still resisting there and had been hoping that Valens would return with reinforcements. The sight of Valens' head was enough to persuade them to surrender.

One anecdote says that he appeared on the music-stage hall at Nero's coming of age celebrations, not at the command of Nero but voluntarily. At the time this was frowned upon, and many people thought that he was merely a man of fashion.

Flavian dynasty

The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.

The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava. One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague. On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66. Substantial conquests were made in Great Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians. In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.

The Flavians also initiated economic and cultural reforms. Under Vespasian, new taxes were devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content. A massive building programme was enacted by Titus, to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.

Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

The Flavian dynasty was unique among the four dynasties of the Principate Era, in that it was only one man and his two sons, without any extended or adopted family.

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (; fl. 1st century) was a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica.

Legio III Gallica

Legio tertia Gallica ("Gallic Third Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded around 49 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar for his civil war against The Republicans led by Pompey. The cognomen Gallica suggests that recruits were originally from Gaul. The legion was still active in Egypt in the early 4th century. The legion's symbol was a bull.

Legio I Italica

Legio prima Italica ("Italian First Legion"): the epithet Italica is a reference to the Italian origin of its first recruits) was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded by emperor Nero on September 22, 66 (the date is attested by an inscription). There are still records of the I Italica on the Danube border at the beginning of the 5th century. The emblem of the legion was a boar.

Legio V Alaudae

Legio quinta alaudae ("Lark-crested Fifth Legion"), sometimes also known as Gallica, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in 52 BC by the general Gaius Julius Caesar (dictator of Rome 49-44 BC). It was levied in transalpine Gaul to fight the armies of Vercingetorix, and was the first Roman legion to comprise non-citizens. The legion was destroyed in AD 86 at the battle of Tapae in Domitian's Dacian War.

Legio XI Claudia

Legio undecima Claudia ("Claudius' Eleventh Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. XI Claudia dates back to the two legions (the other was the XIIth) recruited by Julius Caesar to invade Gallia in 58 BC, and it existed at least until the early 5th century, guarding lower Danube in Durostorum (modern Silistra, Bulgaria). The emblem of the legion is not known; it could have been, as all of the Caesar's legions, the bull or possibly the she-wolf lactating the twins.


Otho (; Latin: Marcus Salvius Otho Caesar Augustus; 28 April 32 – 16 April 69 AD) was Roman emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69 AD. He was the second emperor of the Year of the Four Emperors.

A member of a noble Etruscan family, Otho was initially a friend and courtier of the young emperor Nero until he was effectively banished to the governorship of the remote province of Lusitania in 58 AD following his wife Poppaea Sabina's affair with Nero. After a period of moderate rule in the province, he allied himself with Galba, the governor of neighbouring Hispania Tarraconensis, during the revolts of 68 AD. Accompanying Galba on his march to Rome, he aspired to succeed the aged emperor, but revolted and murdered Galba on being passed over for the succession.

Inheriting the problem of the rebellion of Vitellius, commander of the army in Germania Inferior, Otho led a sizeable force which met Vitellius' army at the Battle of Bedriacum. After initial fighting resulted in 40,000 casualties, and a retreat of his forces, Otho committed suicide rather than fight on and Vitellius was proclaimed emperor.


Lucius Salvius Otho Titianus was the elder brother of the Roman Emperor Otho (reigned 69). As a Roman senator, he was consul in the year 52 as the colleague of Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix, and appointed consul as his brother's colleague for the period from Galba's murder to the end of February. Titianus was present at the First Battle of Bedriacum.

Titianus was a member of the Arval Brethren, serving as promagistrate at least five times beginning in the year 57 into the year 69. The sortition awarded him the proconsular governorship of Asia for the term 63/64.

Titus Vestricius Spurinna

Titus Vestricius Spurinna (ca. 24–after 105 AD) was a Roman senator, consul, and a friend and role model of Pliny the Younger. He was consul at least twice, the first time possibly in 72, and the second in the year 98 as the colleague of the emperor Trajan. Spurinna is one of the correspondents in Pliny's Letters, and had literary interests of his own, including writing lyric poetry. Pliny says dinner parties at his home were often enlivened by scenes from Roman comedy.Pliny admired Vestricius Spurinna for his active but orderly life as a septuagenarian. He enjoyed conversation, reading and writing, exercise, and bathing. His diet was simple but good, and he enjoyed the full use of his faculties, remaining both physically and mentally vigorous.

Vedius Aquila

Vedius Aquila was a military commander of ancient Rome who lived in the 1st century CE. He commanded the thirteenth legion, and was one of Otho's generals during the Year of the Four Emperors. He was present in the First Battle of Bedriacum, in which Otho's troops were defeated by those of Vitellius, in 70.

After Otho's suicide, Vedius Aquila subsequently espoused Vespasian's party.


Vitellius (; Latin: Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus; 24 September 15 – 22 December 69 AD) was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69 AD. Vitellius was proclaimed 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.

Vitellius was the first to add the honorific cognomen Germanicus to his name instead of Caesar upon his accession; the latter name had fallen into disrepute in many quarters because of the actions of Nero.

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.

Year of the Four Emperors

The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.The suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69 Galba, Otho, and Vitellius successively rose and fell, the latter overlapping with the July 69 accession of Vespasian, who founded the Flavian dynasty. The social, military and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, which included the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi.

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