69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors

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Oxford University Press, Dec 1, 2005 - History - 336 pages
4 Reviews
The Year of Four Emperors, so the ancient sources assure us, was one of the most chaotic, violent, and frightening periods in all Roman history. It was a time of assassinations and civil war, of armies so out of control that they had no qualms about occupying the city of Rome, and of ambitious men who ruthlessly seized power only to have it wrenched from their grasps. In 69 AD, Gwyn Morgan offers a fresh look at this period, based on two considerations to which insufficient attention has been paid in the past. First, that we need to unravel rather than cherry-pick between the conflicting accounts of Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius, our three main sources of information. And second, that the role of the armies, as distinct from that of their commanders, has too often been exaggerated. The result is a remarkably accurate and insightful narrative history, filled with colorful portraits of the leading participants and new insights into the nature of the Roman military. A strikingly vivid account of ancient Rome, 69 AD is an original and compelling account of one of the best known but perhaps least understood periods in all Roman history. It will engage and enlighten all readers with a love for the tumultuous soap opera that was Roman political life.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - barlow304 - LibraryThing

Good narrative history, but the important analytical framework is relegated to the appendices. A little too much ODTAA, but a solid account. I would have preferred a shorter narrative with more closely reasoned arguments Read full review

69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors

User Review  - Kirkus

A modern historian fills in the gaps left by previous accounts of the Roman Empire's most politically chaotic year. The period between June 68 and December 69 saw four different men claim the imperial ... Read full review


List of Maps Introduction
The Fall of Nero and the JulioClaudian House
The Reign of Galba June 68 to January
Adoption and Assassination January
The Opening of the Vitellian Offensive January and February
Otho Prepares for War January and February
The War between Otho and Vitellius March and April
The Reign of Vitellius April to September
The Opening of the Flavian Offensive August to October
End Game November and December
The Principal Sources for 6869
Characterizations of Galba and Otho
Checklist of the Legions Operational in 6869

Vespasian through August 69

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About the author (2005)

Gwyn Morgan is Professor of Classics and History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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