Appius Annius Trebonius Gallus (consul 108)
Trebonius Gallus was born into the gens Annia and was a member of the venerable family of the Annii Regilli. Regilli means ‘Little Queen’. He was related to the Roman Senator Marcus Annius Verus, who was a brother-in-law of Roman Emperor Hadrian and father of the Roman Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. Faustina the Elder was the mother of Roman Empress Faustina the Younger and aunt of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His father, may have been Appius Annius Gallus, one of the Suffect Consuls in the year 67 and his mother may have been a noblewoman with the cognomen Trebonia.
In the year 69 Trebonius Gallus, became an ally to Otho and helped him to assassinate the then Roman Emperor Galba. Then as a serving Legatus, Trebonius Gallus was a general under the command of the Roman Emperor Otho with Vestricius Spurinna in his expedition against the troops of Vitellius in Northern Italy.
He was sent out by Otho to occupy the banks of the Po river (with several contingents) and took up a defensive position around Mantua. Trebonius Gallus was to aid Spurinna and when Vitellius’ general Aulus Caecina Alienus, tried to storm Placentia. Little was needed for the defense of the city was fierce. When Caecina laid siege to Placentia, Trebonius Gallus hastened with a detachment of his army to the relief of the place. When Otho assembled his council, to decide upon the mode of acting, Eallus advised him to defer engaging in any battle.
By April the armies of Otho and Vitellius were maneuvering for strategic advantage, and Trebonius Gallus prepared his men to march to the main camp of Bedriacum. He had a fall from his horse which impaired him however, was he unable to attend the final council of war personally. He sent a messenger with the advice to delay the battle, as Otho’s army was outnumbered. Trebonius Gallus had missed the Battle of Bedriacum, but rode afterwards to try to organize what was left of Otho’s legions and he couldn’t prevent Otho taking his life.
During the brief reign of Vitellius, Trebonius Gallus had withdrawn from public life. After the death of Vitellius in 69, Vespasian had become Roman Emperor. He was summoned by Marcus Licinius Crassus Mucianus, a representative of the victor of Vespasian. Mucianus had asked him for his assistance to end the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis, in Germania Superior. Trebonius Gallus was sent with Quintus Petillius Cerialis to end the rebellion. Although this was a tough military assignment, within months the rebellion had ended and the tribes were subdued. After the rebellion was over, Trebellius Gallus possessed the goodwill of the Flavian dynasty.
Trebonius Gallus served as an ordinary consul in the year 108. On a stone at Olympia, Greece, there is an honorific inscription dedicated to Trebonius Gallus, who was a consular colleague to Marcus Appius Bradua in 108.
He married an unnamed noblewoman, through whom he had a son called Appius Annius Trebonius Gallus, who served as one of the consuls in the year 139.
- Pomeroy, The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity p. 14
- Bunson, A dictionary of the Roman Empire p. 174
- Birley, The Roman Government of Britain p. 112
- M. Dunson, A dictionary of the Roman Empire, Oxford University Press, 1995
- A. R. Birley, The Roman Government of Britain, Oxford University Press, 2005
- S. B. Pomeroy, The murder of Regilla: a case of domestic violence in antiquity, Harvard University Press, 2007