Europe 69 AD: Year of the Four Emperors: Galba
Already 69 years old when he displaced the 30-year-old Nero, the weak and indecisive Galba proved to be unable to impose his authority in Rome. In January 69 AD the Rhine legions mutinied against him, proclaiming their commander Vitellius—whom Galba had appointed to lead them just months earlier—as emperor. What would become known as the Year of Four Emperors had begun.
?? 68–8 Sep 70 AD Simon bar Giora▲
After clashing with the Judean provisional government in 66/67 AD, the Jewish general Simon bar Giora took refuge in the Sicarii stronghold of Masada. When Jerusalem fell to the Zealots in early 68, Simon reemerged in March/April to lead a campaign against them. Defeating the Zealots by April 69, Simon was captured and executed following the Roman capture of Jerusalem in 70.
8–9 Jun 68 AD Overthrow of Nero▲
In June 68 AD Nymphidius Sabinus, a prefect of the Praetorian Guard, spread the lie that Nero had fled to Egypt, persuading the troops to rise against him and the Senate to proclaim Galba emperor. Abandoned by his guards, Nero escaped the palace and committed suicide outside Rome with the assistance of his secretary. Nymphidius then declared himself Nero’s successor, only to be executed by the Praetorians as Galba approached Rome.
8 Jun 68–15 Jan 69 AD Principate of Galba▲
In June 68 AD the Roman Senate proclaimed Galba—a 69-year-old rebel governor of Hispania Tarraconensis—as emperor, deposing Nero. Old, physically weak, and indecisive, Galba fell under the influence of corrupt advisors when he arrived in Rome and was soon challenged when the Rhine legions mutinied in January. Betrayed by Marcus Salvius Otho, former governor of Lusitania, Galba was assassinated by the Praetorian Guard later that month.
1 Jan–16 Apr 69 AD Vitellius’ Rebellion▲
In late 68 AD the new Roman emperor Galba sent the good natured and unambitious Aulus Vitellius to take command of the army in Lower Germania. Despite this measure, Caecina and Fabius Valens, commanders of two legions on the Rhine, refused to renew their vows of allegiance to Galba in January, proclaiming Vitellius as emperor at Cologne. Soon joined by the armies of Gaul, Britain, and Raetia, Vitellius marched on Rome, overthrowing the emperor Otho (who had by this time replaced Galba).