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Key information:


Birthdate: April 28, 32 CE

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 2)

Birthplace: Ferentium, Italy

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 1)

Reign: Otho was declared emperor by the praetorian guard on January 15, 69 CE. He was awarded imperial titles by the Senate on the same day, after the assassination of Galba.

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 6-7)


Poppaea Sabina

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 3)


Otho committed suicide on April 16, 69 CE. He killed himself after losing the Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius, a rival claimant to the throne.

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 9-11) (Plutarch, Life of Otho, 17)

Bust originally identified as Otho, Musei Capitolini, Rome, December 2018.
Aureus of Otho, Palazzo Massimo, Rome, February 2019.

Famous facts and dates

Otho was a friend of emperor Nero, but the two had a falling out after Otho married Nero’s mistress Poppaea Sabina. As a result, Nero ordered them to divorce and banished Otho to Lusitania (Spain) around 59 CE.

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 3)

Otho initially supported Galba and his revolt against Nero, but turned against him in 69 CE after he was passed over as successor. On January 15, 69 CE, Otho won the loyalty of the praetorian guard and ordered them to assassinate Galba.

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 5)

Otho served as emperor for only eight weeks. He was the second emperor to preside over Rome during the period of instability known as the year of the four emperors.

(Suetonius, Life of Otho, 11) (Plutarch, Life of Otho, 17)

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Otho” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 06/12/2021.


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