23 Facts About Galba


Galba was the sixth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 68 to 69.


Galba was the first emperor in the Year of the Four Emperors and assumed the throne following Emperor Nero's suicide.


Galba retired from his positions during the latter part of Claudius' reign, but Nero later granted him the governorship of Hispania.


Unable to gain popularity with the people or maintain the support of the Praetorian Guard, Galba was murdered on the orders of Otho, who became emperor in his place.


Galba was not related to any of the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, but he was a member of a distinguished noble family.


One of Galba's ancestors had been consul in 200 BC, and another of his ancestors was consul in 144 BC; the later emperor's father and brother, both named Gaius, would hold the office in 5 BC and AD 22 respectively.


Galba's grandfather was a historian and his son was a barrister whose first marriage was to Mummia Achaica, granddaughter of Quintus Lutatius Catulus and great-granddaughter of Lucius Mummius Achaicus; Galba prided himself on his descent from his great-grandfather Catulus.


Galba would remain a widower for the rest of his life.


Galba became praetor in about 30, then governor of Aquitania for about a year, then consul in 33.


Galba was appointed as governor of Africa in 44 or 45.


Galba retired at an uncertain time during the reign of Claudius, possibly in 49.


Galba, who suffered from chronic gout by the time he came to the throne, was advised by a corrupt group which included the Spanish general Titus Vinius, the praetorian prefect Cornelius Laco, and Icelus, a freedman of Galba.


Galba seized the property of Roman citizens, disbanded the German legions, and did not pay the Praetorians and the soldiers who fought against Vindex.


Galba disbanded a cohort of Germans, whom the previous Caesars had made their body-guard and had found absolutely faithful in many emergencies, and sent them back to their native country without any rewards, alleging that they were more favourably inclined towards Gnaeus Dolabella, near whose gardens they had their camp.


Galba condemned to death distinguished men of both orders on trivial suspicions without a trial.


Galba rarely granted Roman citizenship, and the privileges of threefold paternity to hardly one or two, and even to those only for a fixed and limited time.


Galba was of average height, very bald, with blue eyes and a hooked nose.


Galba met his end in the seventy-third year of his age and the seventh month of his reign.


The senate, as soon as it was allowed to do so, voted him a statue standing upon a column adorned with the beaks of ships, in the part of the Forum where he was slain; but Vespasian annulled this decree, believing that Galba had sent assassins from Spain to Judaea, to take his life.


Suetonius went on to say that Galba was visited by the Roman Goddess Fortuna in his dreams twice, on the latter occasion she "withdrew her support".


Galba tried to ensure his authority as emperor was recognised by adopting the nobleman Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus as his successor.


Galba either tried to buy his life with a promise of the withheld bounty or asked that he be beheaded.


Galba's head was bought for 100 gold pieces by a freeman who threw it at Sessorium where his master Patrobius Neronianus had been killed by Galba.