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Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus[1] (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.[2] 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,[3] 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.[4] The choice was reportedly approved by the Roman Senate. Joannes Zonaras reports him elected by the Senate itself.[5] 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.[6]

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).[7] 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.[8] Jerome reports him killed, presumably in conflict with Aurelian.[9] John of Antioch and Joannes Zonaras reported Quintillus to have committed suicide by opening his veins and bleeding himself to death.[10] 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.

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