Publius Vitellius - Uncle of Emperor Vitellius

Vitellius served as an aide to Germanicus during the German Campaign (15 C.E.), taking command of two Legions, the II and XIV, and withdrawing them by land from the theater of operations. A friend of Germanicus, he was horrified by the general’s suspicious death in 19. Using all of his skills he helped secure the trial and downfall of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, the man believed to be Germanicus’s murderer.

He received a priesthood in 20 for his work but was implicated in the fall of the Prefect Sejanus in 31 and imprisoned. According to Tacitus, he asked for a knife, slit his wrists, and died a short time later. Suetonius wrote that his wrists were bandaged, and he survived briefly, dying of illness and despair.

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