Otho (32 – 69 CE, reigned 15 Jan – 16 Apr 69) is a somewhat controversial emperor. On the one hand, he seems to have been a principled individual given the accepted norms of his time. On the other, Otho probably holds the record for number of Roman soldier deaths per day on the throne. Initially a friend of Nero, their relationship soured when Otho married Nero’s mistress, Poppaea Sabina. To solve the love triangle problem Nero appointed Otho governor of the province of Lusitania (Portugal) – quite literally at the end of the Roman earth – and kept Poppaea for himself. Understandably, Otho held a grudge and supported Galba in his rebellion against Nero in 68, leading to Nero’s death. Only six months later, Otho turned on Galba after being passed over as named successor and arranged for the emperor’s assassination on January 15, 69 CE. Otho was proclaimed emperor the same day. While Otho set about finishing Nero’s fabulous Domus Aurea to the tune of half a million gold pieces, the army of Vitellius was already marching out of Germany for Rome. Poor Otho, barely king for a day, had to prepare for war as his life most certainly depended on it. Suetonius tells us that in his haste Otho failed to pay attention to the omens which 'were most unfavorable’. The armies met at Betriacum where the battle, depending on which source you read, ended inconclusively or with a crushing defeat for Otho – either way there was massive loss of life. Reinforcements for Otho’s army were on the way, and most authors suggest that his forces likely could have rallied and yet still won the war. But Otho, apparently aghast at the deaths of his countrymen and unwilling to be responsible for more, took a long drink of cold water, got a good night’s sleep, arose at dawn, and promptly stabbed himself through the left breast with a sharp dagger. Upon discovering his body, Suetonius writes that Otho’s soldiers, ‘kissed the dead man’s hands and feet, weeping bitterly, and praising him as the best man they had ever known’.