43rd Emperor of the Roman Empire

Aureus of Emperor Quintillus.
Reign 270 (17–177 days)
Full name Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus (from birth to accession);
Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus Augustus (as emperor)
Born c. 220
Birthplace Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior
Died 270 (aged 50)
Place of death Aquileia, Italia
Predecessor Claudius II
Successor Aurelian
Offspring 2 sons

Quintillus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus Augustus;[1][2] c. 220 – April 270), commonly known as Quintillus, was Roman Emperor for less than a year in 270.


Early Life and Election as Emperor

Quintillus was born at Sirmium in Illyricum.[3] Originally coming from a low born family, Quintillus came to prominence with the accession of his brother Claudius II Gothicus to the imperial throne in 268. He had possibly been made Procurator of Sardinia during his brother’s reign,[4] and upon the death of his brother in 270, Quintillus was declared emperor either by the Senate or by his brother’s soldiers.

Eutropius reports Quintillus to have been elected by soldiers of the Roman army immediately following the death of his brother.[5] The choice was reportedly approved by the Roman Senate. Joannes Zonaras reports him elected by the Senate itself.[6] 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.[7]

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).[8] 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.[9] Jerome reports him killed, presumably in conflict with Aurelian.[10] John of Antioch and Joannes Zonaras reported Quintillus to have committed suicide by opening his veins and bleeding himself to death.[6] John reports the suicide to have been assisted by a physician.[11] Claudius Salmasius pointed that Dexippus recorded the death without stating causes.[12] All records however agree in placing the death at Aquileia.

Quintillus was reportedly survived by his two sons.[13]

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.[14] Historians however suspect this account to be a genealogical fabrication to flatter Constantine I.[15]

Surviving Roman records considered Quintillus a moderate and capable Emperor.[16] 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.[15]


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • Banchich, Thomas, "Quintillus (270 A.D)", De Imperatoribus Romanis
  • Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I: AD260-395, Cambridge University Press, 1971
  • Canduci, Alexander (2010), Triumph & Tragedy: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Immortal Emperors, Pier 9, ISBN 978-1741965988 
  • Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001
  • Gibbon, Edward. Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire (1888)


  1. ^ In Classical Latin, Quintillus' name would be inscribed as MARCVS AVRELIVS CLAVDIVS QVINTILLVS AVGVSTVS.
  2. ^ Jones, pg. 759
  3. ^ "These men are usually called the Illyrian emperors since they all were born in that province (Illyricum) and were raised to power by legions stationed there" The Ancient World, Joseph Ward Swain
  4. ^ Canduci, pg. 92
  5. ^ Eutropius IX:12
  6. ^ a b Zonaras, 12:26
  7. ^ Gibbon, Ch. 11
  8. ^ Southern, pg. 110
  9. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 12:5
  10. ^ Jerome, Chronica s.a. 271
  11. ^ John of Antioch, fr. 154 FHG IV, p. 599
  12. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 12:6
  13. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 13:9
  14. ^ Historia Augusta, Claudius, 13:1
  15. ^ a b Banchich, www.roman-emperors.org/quintil.htm
  16. ^ See Eutropius, IX:12

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Claudius II
Roman Emperor
Succeeded by

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