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History 6, Review Lesson 28 – The Year of the Four Emperors

The Year of the Four Emperors consisted of Emperor Galba, Emperor Otho, Emperor Vitellius, and Emperor Vespasian. They all were Emperors in the following year of Nero’s death.

Even though this period is called The Year of the Four Emperors there were actually 5 rulers. ; but technically started after Nero died, so I won’t focus on him.

Emperor Galba reigned for 7 months; nothing significant happened in his reign. He was a pretty good ruler until he offended the people and the head of the Praetorian Guard murdered him. The Praetorian Guard was instilled to protect the current emperor, not kill him! This rebellion of the Guard was started by Otho, a greedy man who only wanted power. Somehow he Otho was able to bribe the guard to kill Galba and his successor so Otho would become the next emperor.

Power hungry Otho was the emperor for a little more than three months before he cracked under the pressure and committed suicide.

The position then fell to Vitellius, but he then fell out of favor with the people. He became Pontius Maximus, the role of high priest in Ancient Rome, on a very “evil” day in Roman history (the Romans lost a  great battle and didn’t want to do anything important) and Vitellius had been spending lavishly which emptied the treasury and made taxes go up.

While all this was happening Vespasian the Roman general at the time was in Judea trying to calm a rebellion. He was called back, murdered Vitellius and became emperor. This is becoming a reoccurring pattern.

Vespasian was the best emperor in this year of emperors he started a new dynasty called the Flavian Dynasty and he created a period of relative stability and continuity between rulers.

As you can see, History repeats itself, it even repeats itself IN history. Thanks for reading!

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Author: sophiaelahirpc

Part-time 10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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