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Back in Caesar's day - that's Julius Caesar, mind you - the Fifth Cohort was something! Twelfth Legion Fulminata, pride of Rome! But these days? Disgraceful what we've come to.

–Vitellius talking about the Fifth Cohort, in The Son of Neptune

Gaius Vitellius Reticulus, simply known as Vitellius, was a legacy of Aesculapius and is now a Lar. He has been around since the Legion was founded and used to be a medic in the Fifth Cohort before his death.

History

Vitellius was a member of the Roman Legion when it was first created. He acted as a member of the Fifth Cohort as a medic during the time of Julius Caesar, but claimed to be part of the Punic Wars as well.

On his sixteenth birthday, he was changing his clothes in the river for his Liberalia (his rite of passage into manhood). As he took off his childhood toga to clean off to put on the adult one, a chicken ran into his loincloth and ran off with it (but he wasn't wearing it at the time). He took it as a sign he was a descendant of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. He took his third name to be Reticulus, which meant undergarment, to remind him of the day a chicken stole his loincloth.

From there, Vitellius became a member of the Roman Legion when it was first created. He acted as a member of the Fifth Cohort as a medic during the time of Julius Caesar, but claimed to be part of the Punic Wars as well. He eventually died and became a Lar for the Fifth Cohort, guiding them and watching over them.

The Heroes of Olympus

The Son of Neptune

Hazel first introduces Vitellius to Percy soon after Percy has arrived at Camp Jupiter. He ran up to Hazel and Percy as she was showing him the camp for the first time. As he ran, he tripped over his toga a few times and was out of breath by the time he caught up with them, despite being dead. He looked over Percy and wondered if he could be a new recruit for the Fifth Cohort. He asked Percy if had all his teeth, if he could fight, and if he cleaned stables. Percy says he has all his teeth and can fight, but he doesn't clean stables.

Hazel Levesque

Hazel Levesque, who introduced Percy to Vitellius.

Vitellius then tells Percy that only the best recruits are allowed in the Fifth, despite the Fifth having such a bad reputation in recent years. He begins to mention that the Fifth Cohort used to be the pride of Rome during the days of Julius Caesar, but is upset at what the cohort has become. He then directs his attention to Hazel and how she uses a spatha in place of a regular sword. He then turns to Percy and tells him that he smells like a Greek sewer. Before he can say anymore, Hazel tells him they have to get Percy to the augur and he should check on Frank Zhang in the armory. At this, Vitellius comments that they let someone on probatio check the armor and that they will be ruined.

While Frank talks to himself, wishing that Apollo would claim him so he could be an archer, but Vitellius appears and disagrees. He then criticized Frank's care of the armor, despite his own toga being baggy, his tunic being too small, and his scabbard falling from his belt every three seconds. He then calls archers wimps and that soldiers should kill each other with swords and spears like he did during the Punic Wars. However, Frank mentioned that Vitellius was in Caesar's army, which was hundreds of years after the Punic Wars and he couldn't be alive that long. In anger, Vitellius started stabbing Frank with his scabbard, but it didn't hurt Frank at all and he just pretended it did it humor the Lares.

After he calmed down, Vitellius remembered that Frank just had his sixteenth birthday and the fact that he wasn't claimed was the reason Frank was in a bad mood. He proceeds to tell him that his sixteenth birthday was his day of manhood and his parent should have claimed him, but maybe his dad thought he was younger because of his babyish face. He then tells Frank the story of his own claiming, when a chicken stole his loincloth.

Frank1111

Frank Zhang, who Vitellius talked to in armory.

When Frank tried to brush him off, Vitellius mentioned the Gorgon Blood Frank had taken from the river, despite Frank not telling anyone about it. When explaining that while one vial of blood heals anything, another vial will kill anything, he asked which was which. Frank said however that he didn't know which was which. Despite not knowing, Vitellius correctly guesses that he kept them to possibly solve his problem with the burned stick that kept Frank alive. He explaining that he felt bad for him, he starts talking about Frank's ancient roots from both Roman and Greek bloodlines. However, he instantly stops when mentioning Juno and then changes the subject, claiming the vials could also be used to possibly help Percy's memory problem, something Frank didn't consider. Vitellius then says he should save them as they may need them on his quest, but vanishes when Reyna entered the room with Argentum and Aurum. Vitellius reappeared before the Senate meeting to talk about the quest, remembering the senate meeting where Caesar was killed. Frank and the other than brush him off.

After the Giant Army and Polybotes are defeated at Camp Jupiter thanks to Percy, Vitellius claims that he demanded Percy join the Fifth Cohort because he saw his talent.

Personality

Vitellius thinks that newer generation of Roman demigods need to "Roman Up," take pain and suffering and be more traditional. He constantly refers to old Roman wars and other incidents, like Julius Caesar's assassination. He wants the glory of the Fifth Cohort restored and only "the best" for the Fifth so he takes a special interest in new recruits. Hazel describes him as "eccentric...one of the oldest Lares."

Appearances

Vitellius is a Lar with a purple aura. He's described as an old man with a medicine-ball belly and a toga so long he keeps tripping on it. He also has a sword with a belt that keeps falling off.

Abilities

  • Being a Lares, Vitellius can't hurt living things with his sword, but is able to attack other undead beings like Shades.
  • Vitellius is a medic for the Fifth Cohort, so he has some medical knowledge.
  • Vitellius has some way of gaining knowledge. He knew about Frank having the vials of Gorgon Blood even before he told anyone and also knew about Frank's relation to the Argonaut Periclymenus. He also seems to have some knowledge of Juno's plan about uniting Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter, as well as the Prophecy of Seven.

Trivia

  • According to Frank, other cohorts call him "Vitellius the Ridiculous."
  • His middle name, Reticulus, means undergarment, since a chicken ran away with his loincloth.
  • His name can also be spelled "Vitallius."
  • He is named after Vitellius, a Roman Emperor who lasted only for eight months.
  • Vitellius claims to be alive during the Punic Wars and alive during the time of Julius Caesar, which took place hundreds of years apart. However, if he died during the Punic Wars and became a Lares, he could have been around during Caesar's time.
The Heroes of Olympus
Core Series: The Lost Hero | The Son of Neptune | The Mark of Athena | The House of Hades | The Blood of Olympus
Main Characters: Jason Grace | Piper McLean | Leo Valdez | Percy Jackson | Frank Zhang | Hazel Levesque | Annabeth Chase | Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano | Nico di Angelo | Gleeson Hedge
Minor Characters: Rachel Elizabeth Dare | Thalia Grace | Octavian | Fleecy | Dakota | Ella | Tyson | Mrs. O'Leary | Arion | Hylla | Echo | Bob | Calypso
Olympian Gods: Zeus | Hera | Poseidon | Hades | Ares | Demeter | Athena | Apollo | Artemis | Hephaestus | Aphrodite | Hermes | Dionysus
Minor Gods: Achelous | Aeolus | Asclepius | Boreas | Keto | Khione | Thanatos | Iris | Hypnos | Hecate | Nemesis | Mithras | Notus | Triptolemus | Zephyros | Serapis | Kymopoleia | Nike | Phorcys
Roman Gods: Jupiter | Juno | Neptune | Pluto | Mars | Minerva | Ceres | Lupa | Bellona | Fortuna | Janus | Terminus | Vulcan | Mercury | Pomona | Aquilon | Hercules | Cupid | Auster | Favonius | Letus | Victoria | Orcus
Giants: Enceladus | Porphyrion | Polybotes | Alcyoneus | Ephialtes | Otis | Damasen | Clytius | Mimas | Orion | Hippolytus | Thoon | Periboia
Undead: Echo | Gray | Lityerses | Medea | Midas | Narcissus | Otrera | Phineas | Sciron
Primordial Gods: Gaea | Tartarus | Ourae | Nyx | Chaos | Ouranos | Akhlys | Erebos | Hemera | Elpis | Spes
Companion Books: Percy Jackson and the Olympians | Demigods and Monsters | The Ultimate Guide | The Demigod Files | The Demigod Diaries | The Son of Sobek | The Singer of Apollo | The Staff of Serapis | Percy Jackson's Greek Gods | Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes | The Crown of Ptolemy | Demigods & Magicians