Roman Empire

Galba, Emperor AD 68-69

RIC 164; BN 72-4; BMC 29-32; Calicó 509, Mint State

Rome. IMP SER GALBA AVG, bare head of Galba right. Reverse: S P Q R/OB C S in two lines within oak wreath.

Upon assuming power Servius Sulpicius Galba immediately set about making himself extremely unpopular. Not only did he seize the property of the wealthy in Rome, often through false accusations and murder, but he committed the worst crime of any would-be tyrant: he failed to reward the soldiers that swept him to power. As a result, when the troops were required to swear their oaths of loyalty on January 1, AD 69, the German legions refused and instead proclaimed Aulus Vitellius, the governor of Germania Inferior, as their emperor. Fourteen days later, Galba was murdered by the Praetorian Guard who named the governor of Lusitania, M. Salvius Otho as their emperor. A collision with horrific consequences could be the only result.