VRBS ROMA COLLECTION
Ancient Roman and Greek Coins:
212 – April 270
Quintillus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus Augustus; c. 212
– April 270) was Roman Emperor for a few months in 270.
Early life and election as Emperor:
Quintillus was born at Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior. Originating
from a low-born family, Quintillus came to prominence with the accession
of his brother Claudius II Gothicus to the imperial throne in 268.
Quintillus was possibly made Procurator of Sardinia during his brother’s
reign. He was declared emperor either by the Senate or by his brother’s
soldiers upon the latter's death in 270.
Eutropius reports Quintillus to have been elected by soldiers of the Roman
army immediately following the death of his brother. The choice was
reportedly approved by the Roman Senate. Joannes Zonaras reports
him elected by the Senate itself. Records however agree that the
legions which had followed Claudius in campaigning along the Danube were
either unaware or disapproving of Quintillus' elevation. They instead
elevated their current leader Aurelian as emperor.
Reign of Quintillus:
The few records of Quintillus' reign are contradictory. They disagree
on the length of his reign, variously reported to have lasted as few as
17 days and as many as 177 days (about six months). Records also
disagree on the cause of his death. Historia Augusta reports him
murdered by his own soldiers in reaction to his strict military discipline.
Jerome reports him killed, presumably in conflict with Aurelian.
John of Antioch and Joannes Zonaras reported Quintillus to have committed
suicide by opening his veins and bleeding himself to death. John
reports the suicide to have been assisted by a physician. Claudius
Salmasius pointed that Dexippus recorded the death without stating causes.
All records however agree in placing the death at Aquileia.
Quintillus was reportedly survived by his two sons.
The Historia Augusta reports Claudius and Quintillus having another brother
named Crispus and through him a niece, Claudia, who reportedly married
Eutropius and was mother to Constantius Chlorus. Some historians
however suspect this account to be a genealogical fabrication to flatter
Surviving Roman records considered Quintillus a moderate and capable Emperor.
He was seen as a champion of the Senate and thus compared to previous Emperors
Servius Sulpicius Galba and Publius Helvius Pertinax. All three were
highly regarded by Senatorial sources despite their failure to survive
a full year of reign.
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