Year of the Four Emperors (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Roman Empire experienced a period of civil wars and rule by three short-lived emperors that culminated in the establishment of the Flavian Dynasty.
Summary of Event
By 68 c.e., the Roman emperor Nero’s oppressive policies and personal extravagance had caused many prominent Romans to turn against him. In March, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Central Gaul, rose in rebellion against Nero. Servius Sulpicius Galba, the governor of Nearer Spain, supported Vindex’s revolt; in April, Galba’s troops hailed their leader as general of the senate and people of Rome. In May, Vindex’s rebellion was crushed, but in June, Nero committed suicide and the Roman senate subsequently recognized Galba as emperor. After his accession, he executed some of Nero’s supporters and massacred thousands of troops that Nero had assembled in Rome. Moreover, he introduced certain austere measures to stabilize imperial finances, including a refusal to pay the Praetorian Guard a special bonus promised in Galba’s name by their commander in return for their desertion from Nero to Galba. As a result of these policies, Galba alienated the Praetorian Guard and most of the people of the city of Rome.
In early January of 69 c.e., the Roman legions stationed along the Rhine frontier rose in rebellion against Galba and acclaimed as emperor Aulus Vitellius, the governor of Lower Germany. Meanwhile Otho, a former...
(The entire section is 1470 words.)
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