Eastern Mediterranean 69 AD: Flavian Revolt
Midway through the first Jewish–Roman war, civil war broke out in the Roman Empire, triggered by the overthrow of Nero in June 68 AD. By April 69 Vitellius, commander of the Rhine legions, had defeated Otho—the second emperor that year—but his reign was soon challenged in the East, where many had supported Otho. In July the legions in Egypt, Judea, and Syria rose up under the leadership of the general Vespasian—who had been suppressing the Jewish revolt—and prepared to march on Italy.
14 Apr 69 AD First Battle of Bedriacum▲
In early spring 69 AD Aulus Caecina and Fabius Valens led Vitellius’ armies invaded Italy via the Great St Bernard Pass. When Caecina was repulsed by the garrison of Placentia, the Roman emperor Otho—against the advice of his generals, including Boudica’s defeater Gaius Suetonius Paulinus—decided to attack. Marching to meet the Vitellian forces between Cremona and Bedriacum, the Othonian army was defeated with heavy casualties and fled the field.
16 Apr–21 Dec 69 AD Principate of Vitellius▲
Following the defeat of Otho in April 69 AD, Vitellius made his way to Rome with his Rhine legions and assumed the position of emperor. Although he initiated a few long-lasting reforms and attempted to rally public support by imitating the still-popular Nero, his rule was viewed with distrust by the Syrian and Danube legions, who soon rallied behind Vespasian and invaded Italy. Facing defeat, Vitellius attempted to abdicate but was stopped by his supporters, leading to his ultimate defeat and execution in December.
1–11 Jul 69 AD Flavian Revolt▲
The legions of the east were distrustful of the influence the Rhine legions had over Vitellius, especially as many of the Danube legions had supported Otho. By mid-69 AD conspirators in the east had persuaded the 59-year-old general Titus Flavius Vespasian—at the time engaged in suppressing the Jewish revolt—to make a bid for the throne. On 1 July Vespasian was proclaimed emperor at Alexandria, traveling to Judea and Syria to receive oaths of allegiance over the next ten days.