A former friend of Nero's and a key figure in the Roman political
elite, Otho’s fortunes turned for the worse when he became involved with a woman
desired by Nero himself. In order to remove his competition, Nero simply exiled
him to faraway Portugal under the guise of a "promotion". Some ten years later
after Nero's own ill-fated end, Otho hoped to return to Rome as Caesar under
Galba who had gathered an army and prepared to claim the crown. Galba had had a
politically favorable relationship with Otho and it's conceivable that the two
could have had such an agreement. On becoming Augustus, however, Galba for
whatever reason sidestepped Otho and named Piso Licianus, a garden variety
aristocrat, as his successor. Infuriated at hearing the news of this betrayal,
Otho summoned a sympathetic army and within days had Galba executed and placed
himself as emperor.
Otho still had to deal with the approaching army of Vitellius who were
already enroute to fight Galba. Although he set out with an able army to meet
Vitellius's forces an unexpected turn of events had Otho commit suicide just
prior to a major engagement. He did this, apparently, out of a patriotic need to
end the civil war.
AR Denarius 69 A.D.
3.13 g., 18 mm.
Obv. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P: Bare-headed bust right
Rev. PONT MAX: Ceres staning left, with grain ears and cornucopiae