SULPICIA GALBA GENS
GALBA, the name of a patrician family of the Sulpicia gens: originally patrician, and afterwards
plebeian likewise. It was one of the most ancient Roman gentes, and produced a succession of distinguished men,
from the foundation of the republic to the imperial period. The first member of it who obtained the consulship was
Ser. Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus, in B.C. 500, only nine years after the expulsion of the Tarquins, and the last
of the name who appears on the consular Fasti was Sex. Sulpicius Tertullus in 158 A.D. The family names of the Sulpicii
during the republican period are - CAMERINUS CORNUTUS, GALBA, GALLUS, LONGUS, PATERCULUS, PETICUS, PRAETEXTATUS, QUIRINUS, RUFUS
and SAVERRIO. On coins we find the surnames Galba, Platorinus Produs, Rufus.
1. Publius Sulpicius SER. F. P. N. Galba Maximus
2. Ser. Sulpicius Galba
3. C. Sulpicius Galba
4. Ser. Sulpicius Galba
5. C. Sulpicius Galba
6. Ser. Sulpicius Ser. F. Galba
7. Ser. Sulpicius Ser. F. Ser. N. Galba
8. C. Sulpicius, Ser. F. Galba
9. P. (Sulpicius) Galba
10. Ser. Sulpicius Galba
11. Sulpicius Galba
12. C. Sulpicius Galba
13. Servius Sulpicius Galba
was elected consul for the year B.C.211, al though he had never before held any curule magistracy. He entered upon his office on the ides
of March, and both the consuls of that year had Appulia as their province; but as the senate no longer apprehended much from Hannibal and
the Carthaginians, it was decreed that one of the consuls only should remain in Appulia, and that the other should have Macedonia for his
province. When lots where drawn as to which was to leave Appulia, P. Sulpicius Galba obtained Macedonia, in the operations against which
he succeeded M. Valerius Laevinus. At the close of his consulship his imperium was prolonged for another year, but owing to the boasting
report which Laevinus had made of his own achievements, Sulpicius Galba was ordered to disband his army, and retained the command of only
one legion and of the socci navales, i. e. of the fleet, and a sum of money was placed at his disposal to supply the wants of his
forces. During this year, B.C.. 210, Sulpicius Galba naturally could do but little, and all we know is, that he took the island of Aegina,
which was plundered and given to the Aetolians, who were allied with the Romans, and that he in vain tried to relieve Echinus, which was
besieged by Philip of Macedonia. For the year B. C. 209, his imperium was again prolonged, with Macedonia and Greece as his province.
Besides the Aetolians the Romans had contrived to ally themselves also with Attalus against Philip. The Aetolians in the battle of Lamia
were assisted by 1000 Romans, whom Galba had sent to them, while he himself was stationed at Naupactus. When Philip appeared at Dyme, on
his march against Elis, Galba had landed with fifteen of his ships on the northern coast of Peloponnesus, and his soldiers were ravaging
and plundering the country ; but Philip's sudden arrival compelled them to return to their station at Naupactus. As Philip, however, was
obliged to go back to Macedonia, which was threatened with an invasion by some of the neighbouring barbarians, Galba sailed to Aegina,
where he joined the fleet of Attalus, and where both took up their winter-quarters.
In the spring of B.C. 208, Galba and Attalus, with their united fleets, amounting to sixty ships, sailed to Lemnos, and, while
Philip exerted all his resources to prepare himself for any emergency, Attalus made an attack upon Peparethus, and then crossed with Galba over
to Nicaea. From thence they proceeded to Euboea, to attack the town of Oreus, which was occupied by a Macedonian garrison, but was treacherously
delivered up to Galba. Elated by this easy conquest he made also an attempt upon Chalcis; but he soon found that he would have to contend with
insurmountable difficulties, and sailed to Cynus, a port-town of Locris. In the meantime Attalus was driven by Philip out of Phocis, and, on the
report that Prusias had invaded his kingdom, he went to Asia. Galba then returned to Aegina, and remained in Greece for several years, without
doing any thing worth noticing. The Romans afforded no efficient assistance to the Aetolians, not even after the fall of Hasdrubal, which
considerably lessened their care about the safety of Italy. The Aetolians had to act for themselves aa well, as they could.
In B.C. 204 Galba was recalled from Greece, and succeeded by the proconsul, P. Sempronius. In the year following he was appointed
Dictator for the purpose of holding the comitia, and summoniug Cn. Servilius from Sicily. In B.C. 200, the year in which war again broke out, Galba
was made consul a second time, and obtained Macedonia as his province. The people at Rome were highly dissatisfied with a fresh war being undertaken,
before they had been able to recover from the sufferings of the Carthaginian one; but the senate and Galba carried their plan, and the war against
Philip was decreed. Galba was permitted to select from the army which Scipio had brought back from Africa all those that were willing to serve again,
but none of those veterans were to be compelled. After having selected his men and his ships, he sailed from Brundusium to the opposite coast. On his
arrival he met Athenian ambassadors, who implored his protection against the Macedonians, and he at once sent C. Claudius Centho with 20 ships and
1000 men to heir assistance. But as the autumn was approaching when Galba arrived in his province, he took up his winter-quarters in the neighbourhood
of Apollonia. In the spring of B.C. 199, he advanced with his army through the country of the Dassaretii, and all the towns and villages on his road
surrendered to him, some few only being taken by force. The Romans, as well as Philip, were ignorant of the movements which each was making, until the
outposts of the two armies met by accident, and a skirmish took place between them. The hostile armies then encamped at some distance from each other,
and several minor engagements took place, in one of which the Romans sustained considerable loss. Hereupon a regular battle of the cavalry followed,
in which the Romans were again beaten, but the Macedonians, who were hasty in their pursuit of the enemy, suddenly found themselves attacked on their
flanks, and were put to flight, during which Philip nearly lost his life. These engagements occurred near the passes of Eordea. Immediately after this
defeat Philip sent a messenger to Galba to sue for a truce; the Roman deferred his decision till the next day, but in the night following Philip and
his army secretly left the camp, without the Romans knowing in what direction the king had gone. After having stayed for a few days longer, Galba
marched towards Pluvina, and then encamped on the banks of the river Osphagus, not far from the place where the king had taken up his post. Here
again the Romans spent their time in petty conquests, and nothing decisive was done, and in the autumn Galba went back with his army to Apollonia.
For the year following T. Villius Tappulus was elected consul, with Macedonia as his province, and Galba returned to Rome. In B.C. 197,
he and Villius Tappulus were appointed legates to T. Quintius Flamininus in Macedonia, and in the next year, when it was decreed at Rome that
ten commissioners should be sent to arrange with Flamininus the affairs between Rome and Macedonia, Galba and Tappulus were ordered to act as two
of those commissioners. In B.C. 193, Galba and Tappulus were sent as ambassadors to Antiochus; they first went to Eumenes at Pergamus, as they had
been ordered, who urged the Romans to begin the war against Antiochus at once. For a short time Galba was detained at Pergamus by illness, but he
was soon restored and went to Ephesus, where, instead of Antiochus, they found Minion, whom the king had deputed with full power. The result of
the transactions was the war with Antiochus.
This is the last event recorded of Galba, in whose praise we have very little to say, and whose conduct in Greece, in connection
with the Aetolians, greatly contributed to the demoralisation of the Greeks.
(Liv. xxv. 41, xxvi.l, 28, xxvii. 7,10,22, 31—33, xxviii. 5—7, xxix. 12, xxx. 24, xxxi. 4—8, 14, 22, 27, 33—40,
xxxii. 28, xxxiii. 24, xxxiv. 59, xxxv. 13, 14, 16 ; Polyb. viii. 3, ix. 6, &c., 42, x. 41, xvi. 24, xviii. 6, xxiii. 8 ; Appian, Maced. 2,
&c.; Eutrop. iii. 14 ; Oros. iv. 17.)
was elected curule aedile in B.C. 208, and three years later he was one of the ambassadors that were sent to Asia to solicit the
friendship of Attains in the impending war between the Romans and Philip of Macedonia. In 203, he was elected pontiff in the place
of Q. Fabius Maximus, and in this capacity he died in B.C. 198.
(Liv. xxvii. 21, xxix. 11, xxx. 26, xxxii. 7.)
was elected Pontifex in B.C. 201, in the place of T. Manlius Torquatus, but died as early as B.C. 198.
(Liv. xxx. 39, xxxii. 7.)
was curule aedile in B.C. 188, in which year he dedicated twelve gilt shields in the temple of Hercules, out of the fines
which he and his colleague had exacted. In the year following he was appointed praetor urbanus, and supported M. Fulvius in
his demand of a triumph. In B.C. 185, he was a candidate for the consulship, but without success.
(Liv. xxx viii. 35, 42, xxxix. 5, 32.)
was praetor urbanus in B.C. 171.
(Liv. xlii. 28, 31.)
was tribune of the soldiers, and belonged to the second legion in Macedonia, under Aemilius Paullus, to whom he was personally hostile.
After the conquest of Perseus, B.C. 167, when Aemilius had returned to Rome, Galba endeavoured to prevent a triumph being conferred upon
the former; but he did not succeed, although his efforts created considerable sensation. He was praetor in B.C. 151, and received Spain as
his province, where a war was carried on against the Celtiberians. On his arrival there he hastened to the relief of some Roman subjects who
were hard pressed by the Lusitanians. Galba succeeded so far as to put the enemy to flight; but as, with his exhausted and undisciplined
army, he was incautious in their pursuit, the Lusitanians turned round, and a fierce contest ensued, in which 7000 Romans fell. Galba then collected
the remnants of his army and his allies, and took up his winter-quarters at Conistorgis. In the spring of B.C. 150, he again marched into Lusitania,
and ravaged the country. The Lusitanians sent an embassy to him, declaring that they repented of having violated the treaty which they had concluded
with Atilius, and promised henceforth to observe it faithfully. The mode in which Galba acted on that occasion is one of the most infamous and atrocious
acts of treachery and cruelty that occur in history. He received the ambassadors kindly, and lamented that circumstances, especially the poverty of
their country, should have induced them to revolt against the Romans. He promised them fertile lands if they would remain faithful lilies of Rome.
He induced them, for this purpose, so leave their homes, and assemble in three hosts,
with their women and children, in the three places which
he fixed upon, and in which he himself would inform each host what territory they were to occupy. When they were assembled in the manner he had
prescribed, he went to the first body, commanded them to surrender their arms, surrounded them with a ditch, and then sent his armed soldiers into
the place, who forthwith massacred them all. In the same manner he treated the second and third hosts. Very few of the Lusitanians escaped from
the bloody scene; but among the survivors was Viriathus, destined one day to be the avenger of the wrong done to his countrymen. Appian states that
Galba, although he was very wealthy, was extremely niggardly, and that he did not even scruple to lie or perjure himself, provided he could thereby
gain pecuniary advantages. In the year following, when he had returned to Rome, the tribune, T. Scribonius Libo, brought a charge against him for
the outrage he had committed on the Lusitanians; and Cato, then 85 years old, attacked him most unsparingly in the assembly of the people. Galba,
although a man of great oratorical power himself, had nothing to say in his own justification; but bribery, and the fact of his bringing his own
children and the orphan child of a relative before the people, and imploring mercy, procured his acquittal. Notwithstanding this occurrence, however,
he was afterwards made consul for the year B.C. 144, with L. Aurelius Cotta. The two consuls disputed in the senate as to which of them was to
undertake the command against Viriathus in Spain: great dissension prevailed also in the senate; but it was resolved in the end, that neither
should be sent to Spain, and that Q. Fabius Maximus Aemilianus, the consul of the year before, should continue to command the army in Spain.
He must have survived the year B.C. 138, for in that year, he spoke for the publicani. (Cic. Brut. 22.) Cicero speaks of his talent as
an orator in terms of high praise, and calls him the first among the Romans whose oratory was what it should be. He seems to have been a man of
learning; his oratory had great power, which was increased by his passionate gesticulation during delivery. Cicero found his orations more
old fashioned than those of Laelius and Scipio, and says, that for this reason they were seldom mentioned in his time.
(Appian, Hispan. 58, 59, 60; Liv« xlv. 35, 36, Epit. 49; Suet. Galb. 3; Oros. iv; 20"; Val.
Max. viii. 1. § 2, 7. § 1 ; Plut. Cat. Maj. 15 ; Nepos, Cat. 3; Gell. i. 12, 23,xiii. 24; Cic. de Orat. i. 10, 13, 53, 60, ii.
2, 65, iii. 7, Brut. 22, 23, 24, 33, 86, 97, Orat. ^ad Att. xii. 5, pro Muren. 28, Tuscul. i. 3, A cad. ii. 16, de Re Publ. iii.
30, ad Herenn. iv. 5; Fronto, Epist< p. 85, ed. Rom.; Meyer, Fragm. Orat. Rom. pp. 120, &c., 164, &c.)
a son of No. 6, succeeded Calpurnius Piso as praetor in Spain, and was consul in
B.C. 108; and in 100, during the disturbances of Appuleius Saturninus, he took up arms" to defend the republic against the revolutionists.
(Appian, Hispan. 99 ; J. Obseq. 100 ; Cic. pro Rab. perd. 70)
apparently a son of No. 6, and son-in-law of P. Crassus Mucianus, was quaestor in B.C. 120.
During the transactions with Jugurtha he was accused of having been bribed by the Numidian, and was condemned in B.C. 110 by a lex Mamilia. Cicero states
that C. Sulpicius Galba enjoyed great favour with his contemporaries for his father's sake. His defence against the charge of being bribed by Jugurtha was
read by Cicero when yet a boy, and delighted him so much that he learned it by heart. At the time of his condemnation he belonged to the college of pontiffs,
and was the first priest that was ever condemned at Rome by a judicium publicum.
(Cic. Brut. 26, 33, 34, de Oral. i. 56.)
was appointed one of the judices in the case of Verres B.C. 70, but was rejected by Verres.
Cicero calls him an honest, but severe judge, and says that he was to enter on some magistracy that
same year. He seems to be the same as the Galba who was one of the competitors of Cicero for the consulship. In B.C. 57 he is mentioned as pontifex,
and in 49 as augur. Whether he is the same as the Galba who served as legate under Sulla in the war against Mithridates
must remain uncertain.
To which of the preceding P. Galbae the following coin belongs is doubtful. It has on the obverse a female head, and on
the reverse a culter, a simpuvium, and a secespita, with P. Galb. AE
Also see Galba Coin Reference
(Cic. in Verr. i. 7, 10, de Petit. Cons.2, ad Att. i.l, ix. 9, de Harusp. Resp. 6 ; Ascon. in Cic. in Tog. cand. p. 82; Appian, Mithrid. 43.)
a grandson of No. 6, and great-grandfather of the emperor Galba. He was sent by Caesar at the beginning
of his Gallic campaign, in B.C. 58, against the Nantnates, Veragri and Seduni, and defeated them; but he, nevertheless, led his army back into the
country of the Allobrogians. In B.C. 54 he was praetor urbanus. In B.C. 49 he was a candidate for the consulship; but, to the annoyance of his
friend J. Caesar, he was not elected. He was a friend of Decimus Brutus and Cicero; and in the war of Mutina, of which he himself gives an account
in a letter to Cicero still extant (ad Fam. x. 30), he commanded the legio Martia.
According to Suetonius, he was one of the conspirators against the life of J, Caesar.
(Caes. B. G. iii. 1, 6, viii. 50; Dion Cass. xxxvii. 48, xxxix. 5, 65; Cic. ad Fam. vi. 18, xi. 18j Philip, xiii. 16; Val, Max. vL
2. § 11.) Suetonius (Galba, 3; comp. Appian, B. C. ii. 113)
a son of No. 10, and grandfather of the emperor Galba, Was a man devoted to literary pursuits,
and never rose to a higher office in the state than the praetorship. He was the author of an historical work which Suetotonius calls multiplex nee incuriosa
historia. The nature of this work is unknown.
(Suet. Galb. 3.)
a son of No. 11, and father of the emperor Galba. He was consul in A.D. 22, with D. Haterius Agrippa. He was
humpbacked, and an orator of moderate power. He was married to Mummia Achaica, a great granddaughter of Mummius, the destroyer of Corinth. After her
death he married Livia Ocellina, a wealthy and beautiful woman. By his former wife he had two sons, Caius and Servius. The former of them is said by
Suetonius (Galb. 3) to have made away with himself, because Tiberius would not allow him to enter on his proconsulship; but as it is not known
that he ever was consul, it is more probable that Suetonius is mistaken, and that what he relates of the son Caius applies to his father, C. Sulpicius
Galba, who, according to Tacitus (Ann. vi. 40), put an end to himself in A.D. 36.
a Roman emperor, who reigned from June, A.D. 68 to January A.D. 69.
He was descended from the family of fhe Galba a branch of the patrician Sulpicia Gens, but had no connection with the family of Augustus,
which became extinct by then death of Nero. He was a son of Sulpicius Galba [Galba, No. 12] and Mummia Achaica,
and was born in a villa near Terracina, on the 24th of December, B.C. 3. Livia Ocellina, a relative of Livia,
the wife, of Augustus, and the second wife of Galba's father, adopted young Servius Sulpicius Galba, who on this account altered his name into L. Livius
Ocella, which he bore down to the time of his elevation. Both Augustus and Tiberius are said to have told him, that one day he would be at the head of
the Roman world, from which we must infer that he was a young man of more than ordinary talents. His education appears to have been the same as that of
other young nobles of the time, and we know that he paid some attention to the study of the law. He married Lepida, who bore him two sons, but both
Lepida and her children died, and Galba never married again, although Agrippina, afterwards the wife of Claudius, did all she could to win his attachment.
He was a man of great wealth, and a favourite of Livia, the wife of Augustus, through whose influence he obtained the consulship. She also left him a
considerable legacy, of which, however, he was deprived by Tiberius. He was invested with the curule offices before attaining the legitimate age.
After his praetorship, in A.D. 20, he had the administration of the province of Aquitania. In A.D. 33 he was raised to the consulship on the
recommendation of Livia Brasilia, and after this he distinguished himself in the administration of the province of Gaul, A.D. 39, where he carried
on a successful war against the Germans, and restored discipline, among the troops. The Germans had invaded Gaul, but after severe losses they were
compelled by Galba to return to their own country. On the death of Caligula many of his friends urged him on to take possession of the imperial throne,
but he preferred living in a private station, and Claudius, the successor of Caligula, felt so grateful to him for this moderation, that he received him
into his suite, and showed him very great kindness and attention. In A.D. 45 and 46, Galba was entrusted with the administration of the province of Africa,
which was at the time disturbed by the licentiousness of the Roman soldiers and by the incursions of the neighbouring barbarians. He restored peace, and
managed the affairs of the province with great strictness and care, and on his return he was honoured with the ornamenta triumpkalia and with the
dignity of three priesthoods; he became a member of the college of the Quindeciniviri, of the sodales Titii, and of the Augustales. In the reign of Nero
he lived for several years in private retirement, for fear of becoming, like many others, the victim of the tyrant's suspicion, until, in B.C. 61, Nero
gave him Hispania Tarraconensis his province, where he remained for a period of eight years. In maintaining discipline among his troops, his strictness
at first bordered upon cruelty, for the severest punishments were inflicted
for slight offences, but during the latter period of his administration he
became indolent, for fear, it is said, of attracting the attention of Nero, but more probably as a natural consequence of old age. In A.D. 68, when the
insurrection of C. Julius Vindex broke out in Gaul, and Vindex called upon the most distinguished men in the other provinces to join him, he also sent
messengers to Galba, whom he looked upon as the most eminent among the generals of the time, and whom he had destined in his mind as the successor of
Nero. Vindex accordingly exhorted him to vindicate the rights of oppressed humanity. Galba, who was at the same time informed that some officers in Spain
had received secret orders from Nero to murder him, resolved at once to take the perilous step, and place himself at the head of the Roman world, although
he was already upwards of seventy years old. He assembled his troops, excited their sympathy for those who had been murdered by Nero, and was at once
proclaimed imperator by the soldiers. He himself, however, at first professed to act only as the legate of the Roman senate and people. He began to
organize his army in Spain, instituted a kind of senate which was to act as his council, and made all preparations for a war against Nero.
Some of his soldiers, however, soon began to repent, and as he was engaged in suppressing, this spirit among his own men, he received the intelligence
of the fall of Vindex, who in despair had put an end to himself. Being thus deprived of his principal supporter, Galba withdrew to Glunia, a small town
of his province, and was on the point of following the example of Vindex. But things suddenly took a different turn. Nymphidius Sabinus, praefect of the
praetorians at Rome, created an insurrection there, and some of the friends of Galba, by making munificent promises in his name, succeeded in winning the
troops for him. Nero was murdered. Galba now took the title of Caesar, and, accompanied by Salvius Otho, the governor of Lusitania, he went to Rome, where
ambassadors soon arrived from all parts of the empire to do homage to Galba as the lawful sovereign. Galba by this time seems to have lost the good
qualities that distinguished his earlier years: a report of his severity and avarice had preceded him to Rome; and it soon became manifest that the
accounts of his avarice were not exaggerated. Instead of doing all he could to win the favour of the soldiers, who had only just become aware of the
fact that they had it in their power to dispose of the sovereignty, and that they might depose him just as they had raised him, he made several
unpopular changes in the army at Rome, and punished with severity those who opposed his measures. The large donatives which his friends had promised
in his name were not given, and various rumours about his niggardly and miserly character were sedulously spread at Rome, and increased the discontent.
Some of his arrangements were wise enough; and had he not been the victim of avarice, the common foible of old age, and been able to part with some of
his treasures, he might lave maintained himself oh the throne, and the Roman world would probably not have had much reason to complain. In addition to
this, he was completely under the sway of three favorites, T. Vinius, Cornelius Laco, and Icelus; and the arbitrary manner in which he acted under they:
influence showed that the times were little better than they had been under Nero. His unpopularity with all classes daily increased, and more
especially among the soldiers. The first open outbreak of discontent was among the legions of Germany, which sent word to the Praetorians at Rome, that
they disliked the emperor created in Spain, and that one should be elected who was approved of by all the legions. Similar outbreaks occurred in Africa. Galba, apparently blind to the real cause of the discontent, and attributing it to his old age and his having no heir, adopted Piso Licinianus,
a noble young Roman, who was to be his coadjutor and successor. But even this act only increased his unpopularity; for he presented his adopted son to
the senate and the soldiers, without giving to the latter the donatives customary on such occasions. Salvius Otho, who had hoped to be adopted by
Galba, and had been strongly recommended by T. Vinius, now secretly formed a conspiracy among the troops. The insurrection broke out six days after
the adoption of Piso Licinianus. Galba at first despaired, and did not know what to do, but at last he took courage, and went out to meet the rebels;
but as he was carried across the forum in a sedan-chair, a troop of horsemen, who had been waiting for his arrival, rushed forward and cut him down,
near the Lacus Curtius, where his body was left, until a common soldier, who passed by, cut off his head, and carried it to Otho, who had in the mean
time been proclaimed emperor by the praetorians and legions. His remains were afterwards buried by one Argius in his own garden. A statue of his,
which the senate erected on the spot where he had been murdered, was afterwards destroyed by Vespasian, who, believed that Galba had sent assassins
into Judaea to murder him.
Coin of Galba. The reverse represents a Corona Civica, and is therefore accompanied with the inscription OB CS that is ob cives servatos.
Also see Galba Coin Reference
(Tac. Hist. i. 1—42; Dion. Cass, Ixiv. 1-^-6; Suet. Galba; Plut. Galba;Aurel. Vict. De Goes. 6; Eutrop; vii. 10 ;
Niebuhr, Led. onflie Hist. of.Kome^ vol. ii. p. 226, ed. L. Schmitz.)