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This article is about the scenario in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. For the scenario in Age of Empires, see Year of the Four Emperors.

The Year of the Four Emperors is the second scenario of the Imperium Romanum campaign in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, featuring a reworked version of the scenario of a similar name in the original game. The player leads the Vespasian's easterns legions into Rome against the governor of Hispania, Galba; the governor of Lusitania, Otto; and the commander of the Germania Inferior, Vitellius.

Scenario instructions[]


Italia, 69 CE

The brutal and likely insane Emperor Nero has died by his own hand, leaving no heir. Reveling in delusions of grandeur, a number of claimants to the throne have cast their lots forward. However, the soldiers under your command, Vespasian, are adamant in their belief that rule of the empire should be yours. Use your eastern legions to seize control of Rome while defending your flanks from the armies of the other usurpers. Place a monument in Rome to mark your ascension to the throne.
—In-game section

Starting conditions[]

Numerous Farms, Storage Pits and Houses.


  • Protect your Wonder.
  • Destroy Galba's Wonder.
  • Build a new wonder where Galba's Wonder stood.


  1. Immediately establish a defense around your Wonder. You may need to build a new town around your Wonder.
  2. Build a strong offensive force before you attack the orange Wonder - the enemy will be waiting.
  3. In this scenario, you play as the Palmyran civilization. Familiarize yourself with their technology tree.



  • Player (Palmyrans): The player starts with an elite strike force on the eastern edge of the map. The player also owns a Wonder, 4 Towers and 4 Legions in the heart of the city.


  • Rome (Romans): Rome owns a huge city lying in the center of the map. They do not have any army and are completely passive. They tend to switch their stance to enemy as the player's Catapult wreaks havoc through the city.


  • Galba (Romans): Galba controls the Wonder that needs to be replaced in order to win the scenario. They have a small garrison guarding the entry of the city, a large army guarding the Wonder and a town inside the city. Their Towers infest the whole city.
  • Vitellius (Romans): Vitellius controls two small towns at the north side of the city. Their habitat is loosely guarded.
  • Otho (Romans): This player is situated on the western island. They will occasionally send landing parties via transport. They also have a small outpost at the west side of the city.


The player is given a post-Iron Age force at the beginning. Group the Catapults and Priests, put Catapults on no attack stance, attack the tower to draw out the garrison, then pull back the Catapult. Wait for their Ballistae and Catapult them down while dealing with infantry with the player's own infantry and camels, then use the catapult to destroy the brown towers. Leave a bunch of Legions to defend the Wonder. Ignore their Wonder for now. Go out of the town from the west, then go north, and destroy the yellow town. They are out-teched, so it should be easy. Go east along the map edge and destroy another yellow town. Now they should be silenced and won't catapult down the player's Wonder. Brown has a base on the western island and will transport some archers over (and maybe some siege), so watch the Wonder. Now if the Heavy Catapults are still alive (they should, as no one can out-shoot them yet), destroy their Wonder in the city. Beware of their Ballistae, Catapult, and Priest. Build a Wonder to win.

Brown will also build another Wonder in their base, but they cannot win with it, so it is a waste of resources.

Red will probably declare the player an enemy when the player "accidentally" damages their buildings. They won't fight back, so all the player loses is the shared sight.


Historical notes[]

The suicide of the Emperor Nero in 68 CE triggered a civil war between numerous claimants to the throne. During this chaotic year, four different men were recognized as emperor, if only temporarily. Galba, the legate in Hispania Tarraconensis, was elevated to the status of emperor and advanced on Rome, claiming the Empire as his own. He was extremely unpopular, however, due to a plurality of poor administrative decisions, chief among them his failure to pay the customary donative to the Praetorian Guard—the personal army of the Imperial household.

Sensing the ineffectuality of the emperor (who became so frail that he had to be carried on a litter), two more magnates advanced their claim. Marcus Salvius Otho bribed the Praetorian Guard to assassinate Galba and took his seat in the imperial palace, but soon discovered that he was quite unfit to govern. Meanwhile, Vitellius, commander of the legions of the Rhine and Gaul, advanced on Rome with his battle-hardened forces. After a defeat at Bedriacum, Otho committed suicide, ostensibly to spare the Empire from descending into civil war.

Vitellius entered Rome and was recognized as emperor by the Senate. However, several of the eastern provinces had thrown their support behind Vespasian, a capable commander with an extensive track record of military success, most recently having quashed a revolt in Judea. Under the command of Marcus Antonius Primus, Vespasian's troops marched towards the Imperial City, winning a victory at Bedriacum, the same town where the Vitellians had defeated Otho's army. Vitellius attempted to abdicate, but was slain along with his family. Shortly thereafter, Vespasian traveled to Rome, where his supreme power was cemented by the passing of a piece of legislation known as the Lex de Imperio Vespasiani.
—in-game section


Hail Caesar! Your outstanding victories in the field have made you the unquestioned heir to the throne in Rome. The people are tired of civil war and look forward to your enlightened rule. The duties of managing the Roman Empire are vast, and you will find yourself heavily burdened, but your legacy as a restorer of order and an effective administrator will live on for millennia. Fortune beckons you to further glory!
—in-game section


The throne of Rome might have been yours if you had been as competent as many of your admirers had believed. Apparently, they grossly overestimated the extent of your skills. The new emperor holds no grudges, however. He commands that you report to the royal latrines, where he anticipates that your skillset will ensure that you are able to truly "clean up."
—in-game section