Nisha Rathode

Lucius Vitellius the Elder

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Name  Lucius the
Role  Political figure
Died  51 AD

Lucius Vitellius the Elder
Children  Vitellius, Lucius Vitellius the Younger
Grandchildren  Vitellio Petroniano, Vitellius der Jungere, Vitellia
Similar People  Vitellius, Otho, Vespasian, Aemilia Lepida

Lucius Vitellius Veteris or the Elder (before 7 BC – 51) was the youngest of four sons of quaestor Publius Vitellius and the only one who did not die through politics.



Under Emperor Tiberius, he was consul in 34 and governor of Syria in 35. He deposed Pontius Pilate in 36 after complaints from the people in Samaria. He supported Emperor Caligula, and was a favorite of Emperor Claudius' wife Empress Valeria Messalina. During Claudius' reign, he was Consul again twice in 43 and 47, and governed Rome while the Emperor was absent on his invasion of Britain. Around the time that Claudius married Agrippina the Younger in 47, 48 or 49, Vitellius served as a Censor. Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews Antiquities of the Jews Chapter 15 (Ant. 15.405 (15.11.4) records that he wrote Tiberius Caesar to request that the Jewish high priestly robe be allowed back under Jewish control and this request was granted.

He wielded great influence and was known for his outstanding character, though at one time, a Roman Senator accused him of treason. He died of paralysis in 51. Lucius received a state funeral and had a statue on the rostra ‘steadfast loyal to the Emperor’.


Lucius married a Roman woman named Sextilia, a reputable woman from a distinguished family. She gave birth to two sons named Aulus Vitellius Germanicus (the ephemeral Emperor in 69), and Lucius Vitellius.

In fiction

Vitellius is a prominent character in Robert Graves's novel Claudius the God, an intimate friend of Claudius.


Lucius Vitellius the Elder Wikipedia

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