Vitellius, Aulus ô´ləs vĭtĕl´ēəs [key], AD 15–AD 69, Roman emperor (AD 69). He was made commander of the legions on the lower Rhine by Galba in AD 68. On Galba's death he was proclaimed emperor at Colonia Agrippina (now Cologne). The generals who favored him defeated his rival, Otho, in Italy, and Vitellius was briefly the emperor. He distinguished himself by extravagance, debauchery, and general incompetence. When his rival in the East, Vespasian, moved into Italy, Vitellius quickly lost his supporters. His troops were defeated at Cremona, and Vitellius fought with Vespasian's brother, Flavius Sabinus, in Rome. When Vespasian's troops entered Rome, Vitellius was captured while in hiding and murdered.
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