Featured 12 Caesars: Galba

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by IdesOfMarch01, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member



    Servius Sulpicius Galba was born on December 24, 3 BC in Terracina, Italy to a well-connected and very wealthy family. His paternal grandfather was Servius Sulpicius Galba, praetor in 54 BC and his maternal grandfather was politician Quintus Lutatius Catulus. In his youth, Galba was remarked by both Augustus and Tiberius to have great abilities and destined to be important.

    He became a Consul in 33 AD, followed by a military command in Upper Germany, and then a proconsul in Africa. Just prior to becoming imperator, he was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis (Spain). Suetonius describes his Hispania tenure as “…variable and inconsistent. At first he was vigorous and energetic… but he gradually changed to sloth and inaction, not to give Nero any cause for jealousy, and as he used to say himself, because no one could be forced to render an account for doing nothing.

    Galba would become the first emperor in the so-called “Year of Four Emperors” (which was 69 AD, although he became emperor in 68 AD). Late in the reign of Nero, three of Nero’s governors revolted: Galba (in Spain); Vindex (in Gaul); and Clodius Macer (in North Africa). The rebellions in Gaul and North Africa were ineffective, but Galba’s revolt was successful, resulting in his being proclaimed emperor in April 68, and becoming Augustus in June 68 following Nero’s semi-suicide. Galba then took his armies and marched toward Rome.


    Galba entered the city, was proclaimed emperor by the Senate, and set about immediately to restore Rome’s finances, but his lack of political acumen and penurious nature proved to be his downfall. He refused to pay the Praetorian guards the donative (i.e., bribe) promised to them by Galba’s representative for their support. He also heavily taxed the provinces who refused to support him. He incensed the people by approving few citizenships, foregoing the normal pomp and display the people enjoyed and routinely sentenced accused to death without a trial.

    After only seven months of rule, on January 1, 69, two legions refused to support Galba and promoted Vitellius. Sensing the tide turning against him and toward civil war, Galba tried to suppress this unrest by adopting L. Calpurnius Piso as his heir, but that triggered Otho, one of Galba’s earliest supporters, to respond. Otho marched on Rome and on January 15 was the first of what would be rival forces to arrive, slaying both Galba and Piso, becoming the second of four emperors that would rule during 69.

    Side Note:

    The entire civil war of 68 – 69 AD was mostly one of greed and power. The Roman citizens were curiously detached, uninvolved in the machinations among the generals other than being occasionally victimized. Citizens believed the participants didn’t merit being fought over, and thought the war was generally without any real substance. The ancient historian Tacitus describes the atmosphere as:

    “Close by the fighting stood the people of Rome, like the audience at a show, cheering and clapping this side or that in turns as if this were a mock battle in the arena. Whenever one side gave way, men would hide in ships or take refuge in some great house. They were then dragged out and killed at the instance of the mob, who gained most of the loot, for the soldiers were bent on bloodshed and massacre, and the booty fell to the crowd.”

    About the Coins

    Despite his short tenure, Galba’s coinage is described by Vagi as “… among the most complex and diverse in the entire Roman series. Not only did he strike as Imperator (which includes many of the anonymous “civil war coinages,” notably including those on which his facial features are assimilated in the portrait of Divus Augustus), but he also struck as emperor. He coined in all three metals… [his] reverse types are varied, and many of them are historical in content. Most of his coinage as Imperator is propagandistic in nature…

    7 - Galba mint set.jpg

    My sestertius of Galba might be the most artistic 12 Caesars portrait in my collection, and is even more striking in hand than the pictures illustrates.

    Let’s see those Galbas!

    Next: Otho
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    A lovely collection of coin @IdesOfMarch01. I like the portrait on the denarius best. I really like the denarii of Galba. I have only 2, but I am always on the lookout for his rarer denarii.

    Galba AR denarius, VF, Rome mint, ( 3.512g, 19.0mm, 180o), Nov 68 - Jan 69 A.D.;
    elegant style, light toning on nice surfaces, high-points flatly struck,
    Obv: IMP SER GALBACAESAR AVG, laureate head right;
    Rev: HISPANIA (counterclockwise starting on left), Hispania advancing left, draped, poppy and two stalks of grain in extended right hand, round shield and two transverse spears in left hand;
    RIC I 193 (R2), BMCRE I 16, RSC II 83, BnF III 89, Hunter I 1 var. (no CAESAR, Aug - Oct 68), SRCV I (2000) 2103 var. (same)
    Ex: the Jyrki Muona Collection; Ex: Forum Ancient Coins
    Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database.
    Paid 720.00 USD

    GALBA new.jpg

    GALBA, A.D. 68-69. AR Denarius
    (3.38 gms),
    Rome Mint, ca. A.D. July 68-January 69..
    Obv: "IMP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG PM" Laureate bust of Galba facing right;
    Rev:: Virtus standing facing, holding parazonium upwards and leaning on vertical spear.
    NGC Ch F, Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5.
    Provenance: From the Graywood Collection.
    Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database.
    Paid: 258.00 USD
    Galba ric 236.jpeg
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  4. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Very nice presentation, write up, and gorgeous coinage. I agree, I particularly like the Sestertius.

    My Galbas:

    My Sestertius has been man-handled...
    RI Galba AE Sestertius SPQR - O.B - CIV.SER in Wreath.jpg
    RI Galba AE Sestertius SPQR - O.B - CIV.SER in Wreath

    I captured a Quinarius as I enjoy the denomination, and they are usually a little more difficult to find:
    RI GALBA AR Quinarius Lugdunum mint laureate r Victory globe stdng left 15mm 1.5g SCARCE.JPG
    RI GALBA AR Quinarius Lugdunum mint laureate r Victory globe stdng left 15mm 1.5g SCARCE
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  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    The portraiture on those bronzes are terrific IOM, I only have two Galba an Imperial As and Alexandrian Tet. 353.jpeg 20160821_114551.jpg 20160821_114611.jpg
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  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    that is one of the finest billons i've ever seen
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  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

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  8. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Love the bronzes & gold!

    Galba, (68 - 69 A.D.)
    AR Tetradrachm, 13.6, 23mm, 12h; Egypt: Alexandria, AD 68.
    Obv.: ΛOY KAIΣ ΣOYΛΠ ΓAΛBA [-]; Laureate head right, LA in right field.
    Rev.: AΛEΞAN - ΔPEA; Draped bust of Alexandria right wearing elephant headdress.
    Reference: Dattari 298; RPC I, 5326
    From the Aethelred Collection

    Galba (68 - 69 A.D.)
    AR Tetradrachm
    SYRIA, Seleucis and Pieria. Antioch
    R: Eagle standing left, wreath in beak, on two laurel branches; palm to left, ETOYC B (date) below.
    Antioch Mint
    RPC I 4198; Prieur 100; SNG Copenhagen 163a
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  9. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks, the Alexandrian's were struggling with Galba's portrait judging by the nose.
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  10. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks, it looked a little worse when I bought it as I have removed some of the red oxide adhesion on the obverse.
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  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    nice coins of Galba and i like the different models. Galba silver denarius 001.JPG Galba silver denarius 002.JPG
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  12. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    I'm really enjoying the writeups you have created, Ides. You have a good balance of historical detail and the "personal touch." That the coins are outstanding examples is a characteristic of your approach. Great stuff, this.

    Servius Sulpicius Galba (68-69)
    (BMCRE 8; RSC 55; RIC 4)
    Minted at Rome


    bare bust of Galba, laureate, facing r.

    The facial features on this coin are not common to his coins generally, but are known on other examples. The prominent nose with the disfiguring bulb just below the supraorbital ridge (prominent eyebrow) and strongly defined zygomatic arch (cheekbone) gives a crude, almost bestial appearance to the emperor's visage. A respondent in another thread commented on a similar image on a coin of orphew (see above), "I wonder if it has to do with the fact that Galba only ruled for 7 months. Perhaps the engravers at the various mints [sic] simply didn't have enough time and practice to settle into a more-or-less homogeneous style. ... One sees a hint of Nero in Galba's busts, and I can even imagine the engravers being told, 'Well he looks like Nero, but with a smaller head and a larger, aquiline nose.'"

    Since there are examples with a similar, though less prominent bulb on the nose, and some without anything like it altogether, on other coins, it would seem that there was indeed some confusion about just how to represent the actual feature.

    Livia draped, standing left, holding patera in r. hand and long scepter in left

    On the use of Livia for the reverse, Mattingly commented thusly: "Livia, consecrated by Claudius, is represented as a divine being with scepter and patera. Suetonius tells us that Livia had assisted Galba in his youthful career...." to which he appends the quotation in Latin to the effect that: Augusta Livia is noteworthy above all on account of her gracious life valued by many who speak in testimony of her in death. (my loose translation). About the image he adds an interesting footnote: The patera, which belongs strictly to the priest or priestess, is commonly transferred to the object of worship." This observation is in keeping with the role of ritual enactment of myth as a drama in which the temple functionaries stand in for the mythological figures. At any rate, it is the gracious generosity of Livia toward Galba that is being celebrated in and by this reverse.
  13. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    great coins and write-up!
  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    I love that dupondius @IdesOfMarch01 (the others aren't bad either :D)

    My only galba is the weak part of my 12 Caesars set even though it's quite scarce

    Galba, As minted in Rome AD 68
    SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG PON M TR PPP, Laureate head of Galba right
    Rome seated left, SC in field
    10,60 gr
    Ref : Cohen #182

  16. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great coins all
    galb11 (1).JPG
    AE25 Diobol
    Alexandria, Egypt.
    Obv. Laur. head left.
    Rev. Bust of Isis right.
    Dattari 320. Year 2 = 68/69 AD.
  17. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Stunning coins! And it's not often I write that!

    Excellent write-up too.
  18. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    yours is not so worn and shows what mine used to look like. very good write up on it also.
  19. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Great writeup... and your coins put most museum collections to shame!

    I have a Sestertius of a similar type, albeit not nearly as flawless as yours:

    Bildschirmfoto 2017-09-12 um 13.09.50.png Bildschirmfoto 2017-09-12 um 13.09.59.png

    SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG TR P, laureate and draped bust of Galba right
    LIBERTAS PVBLICA S C,Libertas standing left, holding pileus in extended right hand and vertical sceptre at her side in left.

    Sestertius, Rome October 68
    37.06 mm / 25.33 gr

    RIC 388; BMCRE 69-70; CBN 194; Cohen 112; Kraay (“The Aes Coinage of Galba”, ANS NNM 133) p. 88, 200 (obv. die A148, rev. die unlisted).
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  20. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    I love the variety of coins posted!!

    Naturally, I 'like' IOM's incredible coins and the wonderful write-ups---that sestertius is stunning!!!

    Mu sole 'budget' example from an old practice photo:

    galba denarius with wreath reverse 001.JPG galba denarius with wreath reverse 002.JPG
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  21. Multatuli

    Multatuli Homo numismaticus Supporter

    Here is one of my 2 denarii. One has been posted twice before in others threads, so I will pass it.
    Here is the other:
    IMG_4635.JPG IMG_4638.JPG
    RIC I 167
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