Galba   [3 BCE - 69 CE; murdered]

Wealthy & influential patrician, who as governor of Spain orchestrated the rebellion that precipitated the fall of Nero (68 CE). Servius Sulpicius Galba's political career had been favored by all previous emperors of the house of Caesar. And Nero himself had appointed him to his post as governor. But fearing that the emperor was plotting his assassination, Galba encouraged Vindex, the Roman governor of Lyons to revolt & used his influence to rally political & military support for him. The conjunction of Nero's suicide & Vindex's defeat paved the way for Galba to be the first Roman who was not directly related to the house of Caesar to be proclaimed emperor by the Senate.  But once in office (June 68 CE) his puritanical policies rapidly lost him support.  Instead of currying the favor of the Senate and military, he concentrated on a sweeping purge of Senators and other highly placed officials of Nero's administration, including the officers of the Praetorian guard who had guaranteed his succession. His favoritism for the Gallic troops who had rebelled against Nero alienated the legions in Germany who had defeated Vindex.  When the 72 year old emperor  by-passed his most influential supporter in the Senate, Otho, to designate another successor, the imperial guard killed him & his heir and proclaimed Otho emperor (Jan 69 CE).  Instead of capitalizing on widespread opposition to Nero's regime, Galba's policies only plunged Rome deeper into civil war.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 18.216; 
                  _____, War
4.494-499, 546.
                  Suetonius, Lives of Caesars: Galba.
                  Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Galba.

Other resources on line:

It is uncertain whether this silver tetradrachma minted at Antioch in early 69 CE was issued before or after Galba's assassination. The Greek inscription surrounding the portrait of the ill-fated emperor reads (clockwise from the bottom left): Autokratoris Servios Galbas Sebastos ["of Emperor Servius Galba Augustus"]. For high resolution images of this & an earlier coin issued by Galba, see Joseph Sermarini's excellent numismatic website Forum Ancient Coins.

 Perspective on the World of Jesus 

Copyright 1999-2017 by Mahlon H. Smith
All rights reserved.

an American Theological Library Association Selected Religion Website
OCLC catalog no.: 62046512