Marcus Salvius Otho

The First Battle of Bedriacum. 14 April 69 AD.

Marcus Salvius Otho, with the support and aid of the Praetorian Guard, had his predecessor Galba murdered in January and claimed the throne. Legate Aulus Vitellius, governor of the province of Germania Inferior, had also claimed the throne earlier in the month and marched on Rome with his troops. Vitellius’ forces were divided into two armies, one commanded by Aulus Caecina Alienus and the other by Fabius Valens. The Vitellian forces included legions XXI Rapax, V Alaudae and powerful vexillationes from all the other legions stationed on the Rhine, together with a strong force of Batavian auxiliaries, a force of around 70,000 men. The forces commanded by Caecina crossed the Alps by the Great St. Bernard Pass to reach northern Italy. They attacked Placentia but were repulsed by the Oth...

Otho and The Three-Month Reign – April 16, 69 AD

Marcus Salvius Otho was born to a wealthy family, descending from the princes of Etruria. His noble connections found him in the company of the Roman elite from the beginning, and he is noted as one of the most extravagant nobles in the company of the emperor Nero. He was married to Poppaea Sabina and she insisted Otho introduce her to Nero in 58 AD. He did so, and Nero and Poppaea began an affair which ended the friendship between Nero and Otho. Nero assigned Otho the governorship of the Roman province of Lusitania (modern-day parts of Portugal and Extremadura, Spain), where he administered with moderation, as opposed to his previous nature.  You can see the history through Etruscan coins. In 68 AD, his governor neighbor in Hispania Tarraconensis, Servius Sulpicius Galba, rebelled against...

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