Remarks on Galba

GALBA was, for a private man, the most wealthy of any who had ever aspired to the imperial dignity. He valued himself upon his being descended from the family of the Servi, but still more upon his relation to Quintus Catulus Capitolinus, celebrated for integrity and virtue. He was likewise distantly related to Livia, the wife of Augustus; by whose interest he was preferred from the station which he held in the palace, to the dignity of consul; and who left him a great legacy at her death. His paisimonious way of living, and his aversion to all superfluity or excess, were construed into avarice as soon as he became emperor; whence Plutarch observes, that the pride he took in his tem perance and economy was unseasonable. While he endeavoured to reform the profusion in the public expenditure, which prevailed in the reign of Nero, he ran into the opposite extreme; and it is objected to him by some historians, that he maintained not the imperial dignity in a degree consistent with decency. He was not sufficiently attentive either to his own security or the tranquillity of the state, when he refused to pay the soldiers the donative which he had promised them. This breach of faith seems to be the only act in his life that affects his integrity; and it contributed more to his ruin than even the odium which he incurred by the open venality and rapaciousness of his favnurites, particularly Vinius.

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