Appius Annius Trebonius Gallus (consul 108)
Appius Annius Trebonius Gallus was a distinguished Roman general and politician who lived in the second half of the 1st century and the first half of the 2nd century in the Roman Empire. He led troops in the Year of Four Emperors, as well as aided in the suppression of the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis.
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 of the year 67; based on his name, his mother may have been a noblewoman with the cognomen Trebonia.
In the year 69 Trebonius Gallus allied himself with Otho by participating in the assassination of then Roman Emperor Galba. He was then appointed a legatus, and with Vestricius Spurinna led the Othonan forces against the troops of Vitellius. The two generals took up a defensive position along the Po River near 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 how to engage the enemy further, Gallus advised him to defer engaging in any battle.
The armies of Otho and Vitellius spent April 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 injured him, and prevented him from attending the final council of war. He sent a messenger with the advice to delay the battle, as Otho’s army was outnumbered. While Trebonius Gallus missed the Battle of Bedriacum, afterwards he made an effort to organize what was left of Otho’s defeated legions. Despite all his efforts, however, he couldn’t prevent Otho taking his life.
During the brief reign of Vitellius Trebonius Gallus withdrew from public life, but after Vitellius was executed in December 69, he was summoned by Marcus Licinius Crassus Mucianus, a representative of the victorious Vespasian. Mucianus asked him for his assistance to end the revolt of Gaius Julius Civilis, in Germania Superior. Trebonius Gallus agreed and with Quintus Petillius Cerialis ended the rebellion. Although this was a tough military assignment, within months the rebellion had ended and the tribes were subdued. This earned him 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.
- 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
Lucius Licinius Sura III,
and Quintus Sosius Senecio II
|Consul of the Roman Empire
with Marcus Appius Bradua
Aulus Cornelius Palma Frontonianus II,
and Publius Calvisius Tullus Ruso