Galba

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Servius Sulpicius Galba (24 December 3 BC – 15 January 69), commonly known as Galba, was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex. He was the first emperor of the Year of the Four Emperors.

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Origins and rise to power

He was born as Servius Sulpicius Galba near Terracina, "on the left as you go towards Fundi" in the words of Suetonius.

Through his paternal grandfather ("more eminent for his learning than for his rank — for he did not advance beyond the grade of praetor" and who "published a voluminous and painstaking history", according to Suetonius), who predicted his rise to power (Suetonius, 4), he was descended from Servius Sulpicius Galba. Galba's father attained the consulship, and although he was short, hunchbacked and only an indifferent speaker, was an industrious pleader at the bar.

His mother was Mummia Achaica, the granddaughter of Catulus and great-granddaughter of Lucius Mummius Achaicus. They only had one other child, an elder son called Gaius who left Rome after squandering the greater part of his estate, and committed suicide because Tiberius would not allow him to take part in the allotment of the provinces in his year. On his father's remarriage to Livia Ocellina, Galba was adopted by her and took her names, remaining Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba until becoming emperor.

He came from a noble family and was a man of great wealth, but was unconnected either by birth or by adoption with the first six Caesars. In his early years he was regarded as a youth of remarkable abilities, and it is said that both Augustus and Tiberius prophesied his future eminence (Tacitus, Annals, vi. 20; Suet. Galba, 4).

His wife, however, was connected at least by the marriage of some of her relatives to some of the Julii-Claudii. The couple had two sons, Galba Major and Galba Minor who died during their father's life. Galba Major was the elder son and born circa 25 AD. Hardly anything is known about his life as he died young. He was engaged to his stepsister Antonia Postuma, but they never wed, which leads modern historians to believe that he died during this time. Their engagement is dated to 48, and that is generally believed to be his time of death. Galba Minor was the younger son. His date of birth was later than 25 but before 30. This Galba outlived his older brother, but did not live a long time. He was a quaestor in 58, but he was never seen in politics after that. Suetonius mentions that "Galba Minor had discovered his father's affair with a male slave and threatened to tell his stepmother, which led to death of him." His time of death is generally believed to be around 60 AD. Galba Minor was never married and had no children.

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