1st Century Rome ( 9th Caesar): Vitellius gold Aureus, 69AD, NGC CHVF



Vitellius, 2 January – 20 December 69 (recognized as Emperor in Rome on 19 April). Aureus struck in late April-20 through December of 69 AD only, depicting A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P with his Laureate head facing right. On the reverse LIBERTAS RESTITVTA is depicted with Libertas standing facing, head facing right, holding pileus in her right hand and long rod in her left. Calicó 562. This is a very rare and highly sought after issue among collectors of the 12 caesar set. Struck on a good sized flan and well-centered.

The origins of the Vitellius family are unclear and seem to have been controversial even in antiquity, the grandfather of the later Emperor, Publius Vitellius, belonged to the equestrian order. The sons of Publius obtained all the senatorial dignities. The most successful career, however, was the father of the Emperor, L. Vitellius, who under Tiberius came to his first regular consulate. L. Vitellius seems to have had a strong power instinct. On a good relationship with Messalina, the third woman of Claudius, he entered the highest circles in the imperial house. In the years 43 and 47, however, L. Vitellius also held the consulate, together with Emperor Claudius, who also elected him as a colleague for the Censor’s office, who were together in the years 47-48. In the year 48, the two sons of L. Vitellius, Aulus and Lucius, were consecutively consuls. Aulus Vitellius came early to the imperial court and was said to have lived as a boy at Tiberius on Capri after Sueton. Of all the successors on the throne, Vitellius was able to remain in the narrow circle around the respective Emperor. Even the defeat of Nero was evidently unscathed by Vitellius, and Galba even sent Vitellius as an imperial legate to the troops in the Germania Inferior. The armies on the Rhine were, however, already in trouble and began to rebel against Galba. Not least because of the high reputation of his father, the soldiers raised the Vitellius in Cologne to emperor. After the murder of Galba and the battle against Otho, Vitellius moved into the capital Rome as a new emperor. From his few months of domination, his reputation as a spendthrift and insatiable personage, who gladly took advantage of the opportunity to take part in the banquet, in order to be able to continue.

“Most celebrated was the banquet his brother gave him in honor of his arrival in Rome, and the two thousand of the rarest fish and seventy birds were on the table, and he even surpassed this dinner on the occasion of the inauguration of a bowl Because of its immense proportions, “the shield of the Minerva, a town secretary,” in which livers of parrots, brains of pheasants and peacocks, flamingos and milk of moray eels, which had been summoned by their captains and guerrillas from the Parthian empire to the sea of ​​Gibraltar, were sipped.”

At the same time, the Emperor was regularly invited to dinner. “While this couple [the emperor’s pair], who lived from foreign money, never sought the height of an exertion, his hosts were in great difficulty, except for a few, whom the Emperor made a counter-offer A group lunch, another lunch, another another the main meal, and the last of them concerned certain kinds of desserts,

“consolations for an exhausted appetite.”