Servius Sulpicius Galba (consul 144 BC)

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This article is about the Roman consul. For the Roman praetor, see Servius Sulpicius Galba (praetor). For the Roman emperor, see Galba.

Servius Sulpicius Galba was a consul of Rome in 144 BC.[1]


Servius Sulpicius Galba served as tribune of the soldiers part of the second legion in Macedonia, under Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, to whom he was not favourable. After the conquest of Perseus in 167 BC, following Aemilius' return to Rome, Galba attempted to prevent a triumph for Aemilius. Galba did not succeed, but his efforts created notoriety.[2]


Further information: Lusitanian War

Servius Sulpicius Galba was a praetor in 151 BC, and received Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, including modern Spain and Portugal) as his province, where a war was being fought against the Celtiberians. When Galba arrived, he immediately went to confront the Lusitanians. Galba successfully drove the enemy away, but he had exhausted his undisciplined army and Galba decided not to pursue the enemy. The Lusitanians turned around and a fierce battle ensued in which 7000 Romans died. Galba then led the remnants of his army and his allies to his winter-quarters at Conistorgis.[2]

In the spring of 150 BC, Galba again went to war against the Lusitanians. They soon sent an emissary to Galba, declaring they had made a mistake of making war against Roman subjects, and requested to return to a treaty they had made with Atiliusand.

Galba committed atrocious acts of treachery and cruelty. He met with the emissaries and agreed that it had not been their fault in waging war against the Roman (and Galba's) provinces - they had no choice due to the poverty of their own country - so Galba suggested that the Lusitanians become allies of Rome and receive fertile land on which to colonise. Galba promised lands in different areas, so when the Lusitanians agreed to Galba's offer, they split into three different factions to march to their destination. When they arrived, they were met with Galba's forces and massacred.

Very few of the Lusitanians escaped with their lives; but among the survivors was Viriathus, destined one day to be the avenger of the wrong done to his countrymen.

Appian states that Galba, although very wealthy, was extremely [stingy], and that he did not even scruple to lie or perjure himself, provided he could thereby gain pecuniary advantages.[2]

In the following year, when Galba had returned to Rome, the tribune, Lucius Scribonius Libo, brought a charge against him for the outrage he had committed on the Lusitanians. Cato the Elder, then 85 years old, attacked him mercilessly in the assembly of the people. Galba, educated in the rhetoric of the day, had nothing to say in his own defence. Instead, Galba relied on bribery before bringing his children, and the orphan child of a relative before the people, and imploring mercy, got his acquittal.[2]


Despite his atrocities, Galba was afterwards made consul in the year 144 BC, with Lucius Aurelius Cotta, and the two consols fought over who would take military command in a conflict against the Viriathus in Hispania. They pulled the senate into factions until the resolution that neither of them would go. The senate chose Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus, the consul of the year before, should continue to command the army in Hispania.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Galba, Servius Sulpicius (consul)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Text copied verbatim from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
Political offices
Preceded by
Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus and Lucius Hostilius Mancinus
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Lucius Aurelius Cotta
144 BC
Succeeded by
Appius Claudius Pulcher and Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus