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Key information:


Birthdate: Disputed. Suetonius offers September 7, 15 CE and September 24, 15 CE as possible birthdates for Vitellius. 

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 3)

Birthplace: Unkown.

Reign: Vitellius was proclaimed emperor by his troops in modern day Cologne on January 2, 69 CE. He was awarded imperial titles by the Senate on April 19, 69 CE.

(Tacitus, Histories, 2.55)



(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 6)

Galeria Fundana

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 6)


Aulus Vitellius Petronianus (son by Petronia)

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 6)

Aulus Vitellius Germanicus (son by Galeria Fundana)

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 6)

Vitellia (daughter by Galeria Fundana)

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 6)


Killed by supporters of Vespasian, a rival claimant to the throne, on December 20, 69 CE in Rome. His last words were: “yet I was once your emperor.”

(Tacitus, Histories, 3.84-85)

Masculine Bust once thought to be Vitellius, Musei Capitolini, Rome, November 2018.
Sestertius of Vitellius, Palazzo Massimo, Rome, February 2019.
Portrait of Vitellius, NY Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, October 2019.

Famous facts and dates

Vitellius lived with Tiberius at Capri as a young man. Here, he befriended future emperors Caligula and Claudius.

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 3-4)

Vitellius was appointed governor of Germania Inferior by Galba in 68 CE. A year later, Vitellius would launch his revolt against Galba from here.

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 7)

Vitellius was a glutton. As emperor, held massive feasts three or four times a day.

(Suetonius, Life of Vitellius, 13)

After his defeat at the Second Battle of Bedriacum, Vitellius tried to resign the position of emperor. However, before he was able to, he was stopped by the praetorian guard and sent back to the imperial palace. As a result, he was captured and killed by the forces of Vespasian once they reached Rome.

(Tacitus, Histories, 3.84-85)

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Vitellius” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 06/28/2021.


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