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2. A. vitellius was consul stiffectus a. d. 32, in the same year with Cn. Domitius, the father of the emperor Nero, and he died in that year. He was distinguished for the splendour of his entertainments.
3. Q. vitellius was one of those whom Tiberius (Tacit. Annal. ii. 48) removed from the senate or allowed to withdraw, on the ground of their scandalous life and the wasting of their property.
4. P. vitellius served under Germanicus in Germany (Tacit. Ann. i. 70), and he conducted the second and fourteenth legions in their return from the expedition against the Catti and other German tribes A. d. 15. He was afterwards sent with C. Antius to make the census of the Gauls. (Tacit. Ann. ii. 6.) Vitellius was one of the prosecutors of Cn. Piso, who was charged with the death of Germanicus, and Vitellius was eloquent in his accusation. (Tacit. Ann, iii. 10, 13.) He subsequently obtained the dignity of the praetor-ship. After the death of Sejanus, among whose friends he was, he was accused on some vague charo-es ; while he was in custody, he asked for a
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penknife, with which he inflicted a slight wound on himself. The wound was not mortal, but Vitellius died shortly after from grief and vexation. (Tacit. Ann. v. 8 ; Suet Vitell. c. 2.) His wife Acutia was tried on the charge of Majestas, and convicted. (Tacit. Ann. vi. 47.)
5. L. vitellius was father of the emperor and of the emperor's brother Lucius. Lucius, the father was a consummate flatterer, and by his arts he gained promotion. He se.t the example of adoring Caesar Caligula as a god, but this was done mainly to save his life. After being consul in A. d. 34, he had been appointed governor .of Syria, and he had induced Artabanus, the king of the Parthians, not only to come to a conference with him, but also to make his obeisance to the signa of the legions, which were apparently marked with the Roman emperor's effigy, or were accompanied by it. (Dion Cassius, lix. 27.) Vitellius had got favourable terms of peace from Artabanus. But all this only excited Caligula's jealousy, and he sent for Vitellius to put him to death. The governor saved himself by his abject humiliation and the gross flattery, which pleased and softened the savage tyrant. A story is told so extravagant as hardly to be credible, if anything were not credible of a madman like Ca-
ligula. The emperor on one occasion said that he had commerce with the moon, and asked Vitellius if he had ever seen their embraces. Vitellius, affecting profound veneration, with his eyes on the ground, and in a faint tremulous voice replied, " To you gods alone, my master, is it permitted to see one another." Nobody ever beat this, and Vitellius reigned the king of flatterers. He paid the like attention to Claudius and to Messalina. He was rewarded by being twice consul with Claudius, and censor. He and Messalina are accused of being the chief cause of the death of Valerius Asiaticus. (Tacit. Annal. xi. 1—3.) After the execution of Messalina, he artfully removed the difficulty which Claudius had about celebrating his marriage with his niece Agrippina, by making it appear that the Senate and the people wished for the marriage. The Senate carried their adulation and hypocrisy so far as to say that they would compel the emperor to the marriage, if he hesitated. (Tacit. Ann. xii. 5, &e.) When Claudius was celebrating the Secular Games, the compliment of this outrageous flatterer
was, ** Saepe facias ;" which is as much as to say, 411 O king, live for ever." Vitellius, though one of the strong partizans of Agrippina, was accused (a. d. 52) of majestas by Junius Lupus, a senator ; but the accusation only ruined the accuser. (Tacit. Ann. xii. 42.) Lucius died of paralysis soon after he was attacked. He saw his two sons by Sextilia consuls before he died, and indeed both of them were consuls in the same year, a. d. 48, in which the emperor Claudius and Lucius Vitellius were censors. The Senate honoured the man with a public funeral and a statue in front of the Rostra, bearing the inscription " Pietatis immobilis erga Principem." " As to L. Vitellius," says Tacitus (Ann. vi. 32), " 1 am not ignorant that he had a bud name in Rome, and that many scandalous things were said of him, but in the administration of the provinces he showed the virtues of a former age."
6. L. vitellius, the son of Lucius, and the brother of Aulus, afterwards emperor, was consul in A. D. 48. He was one of those who advised the death of Caecina (Tacit. Hist. iii. 37) ; and he is accused of taking off Junius Blaesus by poison. When A. Vitellius quitted Rome for the camp in the Apennines, Lucius was left to defend the city ; but on the news of Tarracina being occupied by the partizans of Vespasian, the emperor sent his brother Lucius with six cohorts and five hundred horse to put down the insurrection in Campania. Lucius took Tarracina (Tacit. Hist. iii. 76, &c.), and made a great slaughter. If he had marched to Rome after this success, he might have made a formidable resistance to the party of Vespasian, for Lucius was -a man of great activity and energy. But the feeble conduct of the emperor at Rome soon brought the contest to an end. Lucius was on his march from Tarracina to Rome, when he surrendered to the party of Vespasian, and was taken to the city and put to death. (Tacit. Hist. iv. 2 ; Dion Cass.lxv. 22.) [G. L.]
VITELLIUS, AULUS, the son of L. Vitellius, who was three times consul and censor, was bom probably on the 24th of September, a. d. 15. Aulus was consul during the first six months of a. d. 48, and his brother Lucius during the six following months. He was proconsul of Africa for a year, and during another year legatus of the same province under his brother, in which capacities he is said to have behaved with integrity. He had some knowledge of letters and some eloquence. His vices made him a favourite of Tiberius, Cains Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, who loaded him with favours. People were much surprised when Galba chose such a man to command the legions in Lower Germany, for he had no military talent. His great talent was eating and drinking. When he left Rome for his command, his affairs were so embarrassed that he had to put his wife Galeria, Fundana and his children in lodgings, and to let his house. Some of his creditors wished to prevent him from leaving Rome ; and he only got rid of their importunity by dishonest proceedings against some, and giving security to others. When he became emperor he compelled his creditors to give up their securities, and told them that they ought to be content with having their lives spared. (Sueton. Vitellius, c. 3, &c. •, Dion Cass. Ixv.)