“I begin to talk about times, full of misfortunes, full of fierce battles, distempers and quarrels, about the times, wild and furious, even in a peaceful time. Four princeps who died a violent death, three civil wars, a number of external and many that were both civil and external, ”the ancient Roman historian Tacitus described the“ year of four emperors ”.
It all started with the fact that the Roman commander Guy Julius Vindex in March 68 raised a rebellion against Emperor Nero. Servius Sulpicius Galba, who was promised the throne in the event of a successful campaign, took his side. The interests of Nero were defended by the legions of Lucius Vergnius Ruff. After two months of confrontation, Ruf decided to let the soldier Galba to the walls of the eternal city.
Nero was left without support. The only way out of this situation was suicide. June 9, 68, the ruler-artist committed suicide, and Galba became the emperor of Rome.
The new emperor immediately turned the population of Rome against himself. First, with the beginning of his reign was a brutal massacre that unleashed on the streets of the city. Secondly, he decided to confiscate gifts, pardoned from the master's shoulder Nero. In this way, Galba wanted to replenish the treasury. And the soldiers who supported Galba did not deserve the voiced coins promised to them.
By January, 69, a new uprising had matured: the legions of Lower Germany had been proclaimed emperor Vitellius. Then Galba found it necessary to insure and urgently chose a successor. His choice fell on Lucius Calpurnia Pizon. However, this act Galba only hammered a nail into his own coffin. Mark Salvius Otho, who hoped to be in the position of Peason, stood at the head of the conspirators. On January 15, 69, the emperor and his successor were killed. The new ruler was proclaimed Otho.
Otho's reign lasted until mid-April. All this time his confrontation with Vitellius continued. The battle of Bedriac was a fateful one in this fight. Upon learning that his troops were defeated, Otho repeated the fate of Nero - committed suicide. April 19, the emperor was recognized Vitellius.
But Vitellius was not able to fully feel the taste of power. The Romans condemned him for rampant spending and noisy feasts, as well as the fact that the soldiers of Vitellius plundered the city with impunity and killed local residents. In the summer of 69, another uprising broke out: this time, the eastern legions came out for the proclamation of the emperor Titus Flavius Vespasin. The figure of Vespasin, by the way, was interesting in that he turned out to be the first Roman ruler who did not emerge from an aristocratic environment: his grandfather was a simple peasant, and his father was a horseman.
So, the confrontation between Vitellius and Vespasian began. In October 69, the troops of Vitellius were defeated during the second battle of Bertiac, and on December 20 of the same year, the current emperor was killed. The body of Vitellius thrown into the river Tiber. The next day, Vespasian was recognized as the emperor. The history of the Roman coups ended for a long time: Vespasian managed to establish relations with the senate, and after the death of the emperor, the throne was taken by his own son and the full namesake of Titus Flavius Vespasian, better known under the first name.