The Odour of a Dead Enemy is always sweet

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Vitellius is born September 24th 15 AD. He was a virtuous man and an exceptionally endearing being to all who surrounded him. Here are some traits of his personality which should have made him the first on the list of "good Emperors".

    • A wonderful childhood: He spent his boyhood and early youth at Capreae among the prostitutes of Tiberius, being branded for all time with the nickname Spintria..
    • he was loved for his beautiful qualities :Stained by every sort of baseness as he advanced in years, he held a prominent place at court, winning the intimacy of Gaius by his devotion to driving and of Claudius by his passion for dice. But he was still dearer to Nero because they had these same qualities.
    • an incredible family spirit: He had for wife Petronia and by her a son Petronianus, who was blind in one eye. Since this son was named as his mother's heir on condition of being freed from his father's authority, he manumitted him, but shortly afterwards killed him to inherit the great fortune of his mother and maternal grandfather.
    • recognized as a very sensitive man: When he came to the plains where the battle was fought and some shuddered with horror at the mouldering corpses, he had the audacity to encourage them by the abominable saying, that "the odour of a dead enemy was sweet and that of a fellow-citizen sweeter still".
    • an example of self-control: He divided his feasts into three, sometimes into four a day, breakfast, luncheon, dinner, and a drinking bout; and he was readily able to do justice to all of them through his habit of taking emetics. He could never refrain, even when he sacrificing or making a journey, from snatching bits of meat and cakes amid the altars, almost from the very fire, and devouring them on the spot; and in the cookshops along the road, viands smoking hot or even those left over from the day before and partly consumed.
    • Full of compassion: when his mother died, he was suspected of having forbidden her being given food when she was ill, because a woman of the Chatti, in whom he believed as he would in an oracle, prophesied that he would rule securely and for a long time, but only if he should survive his parent...
    • A peaceful and quiet death: he was eventually dragged out of a hiding-place and struck down by Vespasian's supporters. "Yet I was once your emperor," were his last words. Vitellius was beheaded and his head paraded around Rome, and his body thrown into the Tiber. He was 54 years old.
    Vitellius marble bust (Neverland Museum)

    You are probably telling yourself that this man cannot be perfect, that he must surely have flaws; he certainly did, but why be negative and concentrate on his weak points? We still have the right to dream, to fantasize about what could have become of the Roman Empire if this exceptional man had reigned for 20 years rather than 8 short months ... About his coinage, Vitellius followed the tradition of Augustus and began to issue coinage that portrayed his two children. He also minted both gold and silver coinage showing the image of his father in a propaganda attempt to show his qualifications to be emperor. Even if they are not cheap, Vitellius' coins are not hard to find. Many of his coins were struck on small flans; so it's not easy to buy specimens with full legend. About 40 different reverse types have been minted from only 3 mints (Rome, Tarraco? and Lugdunum). Here is an interesting detail concerning the chronology of his Rome's coinage according to RIC Vol. 1 :


    But now enough talking; please show us, on the day of his birth, your own examples of Vitellius' coins!

    Rome 17.5mm 2.74g
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member gave me flashbacks to a guy I used to work for. He is an Argentinian who was in the Argentine Marines but ended up in a military jail some how. He told us the story about how he and his brother escaped from jail and ran through the woods and saw multiple bodies that were burning and rotting in the forest.

    He asked us "Have you ever smelled a dead body?...It smells sweet..."

    He was an absolute sociopath and a horrible human being.

    Thanks for that little bit of PTSD :)

    Great coin, though.
  5. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Adding another ear hole...

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  6. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    HILARIOUS write up!!! Though, the guy must've had some bad points:wacky: tenor-5.gif
    To Vitsmellius, truly a great and honourable tub of turds:pompous::hilarious:
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  7. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    On his birthday, we can reflect upon the greatest contribution he made to the welfare of the Empire ....he died.


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  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    @octavius , that coin just CAN NOT be Vitellius... he is not part of the Ear Club!

    BTW, AWESOME coin! Well done.

    And, LOL, we should be celebrating his DEATH day, not his birth!
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My only whole denarius of Vitellius has a portrait left over from Otho.

    My fourree is only 3/4 present for duty.
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  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Great write-up! Here's my one Vitellius:

    Vitellius AR Denarius, Jul 18-Dec 69 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TRP / Rev. Tripod-lebes (cauldron) surmounted by dolphin lying right on top, with raven standing right below, XV VIR SACR FAC. RIC I 109, RSC II 111 (ill.), Sear RCV I 2201 (ill.), BMCRE 39. 18.5 mm., 3.1 g. [See Sear RCV I at p. 421, explaining that the reverse “refers to Vitellius’ membership in the priestly college of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, ‘fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.’ This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets ,a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor.]

    New Vitellius jpg version.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..earhole with a bun...:D...1 of the 4 and 12.... vitellius denarius 001.JPG vitellius denarius 003.JPG
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Looks like Vitellius but...
    Vespasian ric 27.jpg
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  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    What a guy that Vitellius was! :D Thanks for the entertaining writeup, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix.

    Vitellius - Den Victory ex Haymes 3723.jpg
    AR Denarius. 3.24g, 18.1mm. Rome mint, April - December AD 69. RIC 71; Cohen 121. O: A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right. R: Victory draped and seated to left, holding patera and palm.
    Ex Dr C. Haymes Collection
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  14. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    I discovered that my rough Sestertius is an unrecorded variant:

    Bildschirmfoto 2020-09-24 um 07.30.56.png

    A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP AVG P M TR P - Laureate and draped bust of Vitellius right
    S C - Mars, naked but for helmet and cloak over shoulders, advancing right, holding spear in right hand and legionary standard (aquila) over shoulder in left
    Sestertius, Rome September-October AD 69
    35,64 mm / 24,29 gr / 6 h
    RIC 141 var. (trophy instead of aquila over Mars’ shoulder) = BMCRE 58 = RCTV I 2208; CBN 108 var. (trophy) = Cohen 79; CBN 104 var. (trophy and legend ends P M TR) = Cohen 79; Mazzini 80 var. (Mars holds aquila, but obv. legend ends P M TR) = Cayon (Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano) 29

    Attached Files:

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  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  16. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    A nice man ideed, who deserved his fate, in the end....

    Vitellius, Denarius - Rome mint, July - December 20, AD69
    A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, Laureate head of Vitellius right
    XV VIR SACR FAC, Tripod-lebes with dolphin lying right on top and raven standing right below
    3.43 gr, 16-18 mm
    Ref : RCV # 2201var, Cohen cf # 110 et suiv, RIC I # 86 (this example illustrated in Wildwinds)

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  17. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  18. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . . Supporter

    Seems like my kind of guy . . .

    "Everybody entering this world brings joy! Some when they arrive, some when they leave!" - Zoid

    Are you sure reincarnation isn't 'a thing?' Today's politicians . . . .

    Never mind, I don't wanna get . . . . .


    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  19. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Roman Egypt, Alexandria. Vitellius, AD 69. Billon Tetradrachm (25mm, 13.35g). Dated RY 1 (AD 69). Obv: Laureate head right. Rev: Nike walking right, holding wreath and palm. Ref: Köln 259; Dattari 339; Milne 375; Emmett 195; RPC I 5373. Ex Barry Murphy.

  20. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..i love those transitional coins! very nice..:)
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  21. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Enjoyable read and pic's. To all of you thank you.
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