The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in succession; Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.
The suicide of Emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war (the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony’s death in 30 BC) and from June of 68, Rome witnessed the successive rise and fall of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, before the accession of Vespasian in July 69. The social, military, and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, including the outbreak of the Batavian rebellion, in which a powerful Germanic tribe – the Batavi- revolted (and was not suppressed until AD 70).
Galba was in his seventies when he became princeps, following a proclamation by the praetorians, Senate, and people. He had served as governor of Nearer Spain for the past eight years, before joining Vindex in a rebellion against the emperor Nero, which ultimately compelled the ruler’s suicide. Given the political turmoil around the time go Galba’s accession, we cannot be sure whether the due order of formalities was followed. A proclamation by the ‘people’ may refer to mere popular demonstration, and not to comitial proceedings, although Zonaras (xi, I3) does state that the Senate decreed to Galba the powers appropriate to an emperor. Galba was murdered on January 15th 69 AD by the troops of Otho – a formerly loyal ally whom Galba had not made his heir.