Aureus – Galba Caesar NGC XF. Strike 5/5; Surface 3/5; Fine Style. Galba (SERVIVS SVLPICIVS GALBA CAESAR AVGVSTVS) was Roman Emperor for eight months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vendex. He was the first emperor of the Year of the Four Emperors.
This coin was struck at an uncertain mint in Gaul, possibly Narbo, circa April-late autumn AD 68. SER GALBA IMPERATOR, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / [VICTORIA] P R, Victory standing on globe facing, head left, holding wreath and palm frond. This is a Very Rare coin. Certified by NGC as having a prefect 5/5 strike and nearly perfect 3/5 surface.
Galba’s primary concern during his brief reign was restoring state finances, and to this end he undertook a number of unpopular measures, the most dangerous his refusal to pay the praetorians the reward promised in his name. Galba scorned the notion that soldiers should be “bribed” for their loyalty. He was notoriously cruel throughout the Empire; according to the historian Suetonius, Galba levied massive taxes against areas that were slow to receive him as Emperor.
He also sentenced many to death without trial, and rarely accepted requests for citizenship. He further disgusted the populace by his meanness and dislike of pomp and display. Advanced age destroyed his energy, and he was entirely in the hands of favorites.
Three of these — Titus Vinius, who became Galba’s colleague as consul, Cornelius Laco, the commander of the Praetorian Guard, and Galba’s freedman Icelus Marcianus — were said to virtually control the emperor. The three were called “The Three Pedagogues” because of their influence on Galba. All this made the new emperor gravely unpopular.
During the later period of his provincial administration, Galba was indolent and apathetic, but this was due either to a desire not to attract Nero’s notice or to the growing infirmities of age. Tacitus says all pronounced him worthy of the empire, until he became emperor (“omnium consensū cāpax imperiī nisi imperasset“).
On 1 January 69, two legions in Germania Superior refused to swear loyalty to Galba. They toppled his statues, demanding that a new emperor be chosen. On the following day, the soldiers of Germania Inferior also rebelled and took the decision of who should be the next emperor into their own hands, proclaiming the governor of the province, Vitellius, as Emperor.
This outbreak of revolt made Galba aware of his own unpopularity and of the general discontent. In order to check the rising storm, he adopted as his heir and successor L. Calpurnius Piso. The populace regarded the choice of successor as a sign of fear and the Praetorians were indignant, because the usual donative was not forthcoming. Furthermore, M. Salvius Otho, who was expecting to be adopted, was alienated by the choice of Piso.
Otho had governed Lusitania and was one of Galba’s earliest supporters. He was disappointed at the selection of Piso and entered into communication with the discontented Praetorians, and he was hailed by them as their emperor on 15 January 69. Galba at once set out to meet the rebels, though he was so feeble that he had to be carried in a litter. He was met by a troop of Otho’s cavalry and was killed near Lacus Curtius.
One guard, centurion Sempronius Densus, died defending him. Piso was killed shortly afterwards. According to Plutarch, during Galba’s last moments he offered his neck, and said, “Strike, if it be for the good of the Romans!” According to Suetonius, Galba prior to his death had put on a linen corset—although remarking that it had little protection against so many swords.
After his death, Galba’s head was brought to Otho, who gave it to his camp followers who paraded and mocked it—the camp followers’ mocking was their angry response to a remark by Galba that his strength was unimpaired. The head was then bought by a freedman so he could throw it on the place where his former master had been executed on Galba’s orders. Galba’s steward buried both head and trunk in a tomb by the Aurelian Road. — Wikipedia