Marcus Salvius Otho, a Roman emperor, born A. D. 32, died in April, 69. His family traced its origin to the kings of Etruria. His father, Lucius Otho, held many places of honor and trust under Tiberius. During the early years of Nero's reign Marcus Otho was his intimate associate in various excesses and debaucheries; but Nero's love for Poppaea, whom Otho had seduced from her husband, caused a coolness between them, and Otho was virtually banished by an appointment as governor of Lusi-tania, where he remained ten years. He was afterward active in opposition to Nero, and aided in placing Galba on the throne, A. 1). 68. As a reward for this service, he expected to be named Galba's successor, but the latter adopted Piso Licinianus. This disappointment and his heavy debts made him desperate; and he said publicly that if he were not emperor soon he would be ruined. He accordingly conspired among the guards, who proclaimed him emperor, and put Galba to death, after a reign of seven months. But a few days before this event the legions in Germany had proclaimed Vitellius emperor, and Otho was scarcely seated upon the throne when he was called upon to oppose this new claimant.
After an offer of a large sum to Vitellius to relinquish his claim, which was refused, he marched against him with an army, and defeated his forces in three battles; but in a general engagement near Bedriacum, between Mantua and Cremona, the army of Otho was completely defeated after a hard-fought battle. Otho himself was not upon the field, and when the news was brought to him, he settled all his affairs with great deliberation and then committed suicide, having reigned only 95 days.