Contents -- Previous Article -- Next Article

Galba

Emperor A. D. 68 - 69

Galba was an old man of 73 when he became emperor. It was a time when many generals were at the head of rebellious armies, finally having had enough of Nero's vain antics and bad government. Vindex in Gaul, Otho in Lusitania (Western Spain and Portugal), and Galba in Spain each led independent revolts. Also leading other armies were Clodius Macer and Vitellius. This was a total of five generals competing for the throne, but most of these men stated that they didn't want to be emperor.

Galba was the first to reach Rome, and the Praetorian Guard trapped the unfortunate Nero in a friend's house in Ostia, where the cowardly Nero committed suicide. Galba did not long outlive him. By now, the Roman army legions were used to being paid a bonus when a new emperor ascended the throne. Galba was a man who believed that a Roman soldier should do his duty out of love for his country and not to expect any extra pay for doing what he was supposed to do. Even when he was informed that one of his own agents promised a bribe to the Praetorian Prefect, Galba replied, "It is my policy to levy troops, not bribe them" Galba also angered his supporter Otho by choosing another man, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus as his heir. Otho then turned against Galba and led troops toward Rome. The angry soldiers murdered Galba in the streets of Rome on January 15th, A.D. 69. Galba had been emperor for only seven months.


Go to next article on Emperor Otho
Go back to previous article on Clodius Macer


Return to Roman Emperors Table of Contents
Return to History and Technology Back Pages - The home page for this entire site.