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P. Sulpicius Galba

1. P. Sulpicius, SER. F. P. N. GALBA MAXIMUS. was elected consul for the year B. C. 211, although he had never before held any curule magistracy. He entered upon his office on the ides of March, and both the consuls.of that year had Appulia as their province; but as the senate no longer apprehended much from Hannibal and the Carit was decreed that one of the consuls only should remain in Appulia, and that the other should have Macedonia for his province. When lots where drawn as to which was to leave Appulia, P. Sulpicius Galba obtained Macedonia, in the operations against which he succeeded M. Valerius Laevinus. At the close of his consulship his imperium was prolonged for another year, but owing to the boasting report which Laevinus had made of his own achievements, Sulpicius Galba was ordered to disband his army, and retained the command of only one legion and of the socii navales, i. e. of the fleet, and a sum of money was placed at his disposal to supply the wants of his forces. During this year, B. C. 210, Sulpicius Galba nacould do but little, and all we know is, that he took the island of Aegina, which was plundered and given to the Aetolians, who were allied with the Romans, and that he in vain tried to relieve Echinus, which was besieged by Philip of Macedonia. For the year B. C. 209, his imperium was again prolonged, with Macedonia and Greece as his province. Besides the Aetolians the Romans had contrived to ally themselves also with Attalus against Philip. The Aetolians in the battle of Lamia were assisted by 1000 Romans, whom Galba had sent to them, while he himself was stationed at Naupactus. When Philip appeared at Dyme, on his march against Elis, Galba had landed with fifteen of his ships on the northern coast of Peloponnesus, and his soldiers were ravaging and plundering the country; but Philip's sudden arrival compelled them to return to their station at Naupactus. As Philip, however, was obliged to go back to Macedonia, which was threatened with an invasion by some of the neighbouring barbarians, Galba sailed to Aegina, where he joined the fleet of Attalus, and where both took up their winter-quarters.

In the spring of B. C. 208, Galba and Attalus, with their united fleets, amounting to sixty ships, sailed to Lemnos, and, while Philip exerted all his resources to prepare himself for any emergency, Attalus made an attack upon Peparethus, and then crossed with Galba over to Nicaea. From thence they proceeded to Euboea, to attack the town of Oreus, which was occupied by a Macedonian garrison, but was treacherously delivered up to Galba. Elated by this easy conquest he made also an attempt upon Chalcis; but he soon found that would have to contend with insurmountable difficulties, and sailed to Cynus, a port-town of Locris. In the meantime Attalus was driven by Philip out of Phocis, and, on the report that Prusias had invaded his kingdom, he went to Asia. Galba then returned to Aegina, and remained in Greece for several years, without doing any thing worth noticing. The Romans afforded no efficient assistance to the Aetolians, not even after the fall of Hasdrubal, which considerably lessened their care about the safety of Italy. The Aetolians had to act for themselves as well as they could.

In B. C. 204 Galba was recalled from Greece, and succeeded by the proconsul, P. Sempronius. In the year following he was appointed dictator for the purpose of holding the comitia, and summoning Cn. Servilius from Sicily. In B. C. 200, the year in which war again broke out, Galba was made consul a second time, and obtained Macedonia as his province. The people at Rome were highly dissatisfied with a fresh war being undertaken, before they had been able to recover from the sufferings of the Carthaginian one; but the senate and Galba carried their plan, and the war against Philip was decreed. Galba was permitted to select from the army which Scipio had brought back from Africa all those that were willing to serve again, but none of those veterans were to be compelled. After having selected his men and his ships, he sailed from Brundusium to the opposite coast. On his arrival he met Athenian ambassadors, who implored his protection against the Macedonians, and he at once sent C. Claudius Centho with 20 ships and 1000 men to their assistance. But as the autumn was approaching when Galba arrived in his province, he took up his winter-quarters in the neighbourhood of Apollonia. In the spring of B. C. 199, he advanced with his army through the country of the Dassaretii, and all the towns and villages on his road surrendered to him, some few only being taken by force. The Romans, as well as Philip, were ignorant of the movements which each was making, until the outposts of the two armies met by accident, and a skirmish took place between them. The hostile annies then encamped at some distance from each other, and several minor engagements took place, in one of which the Romans sustained considerable loss. Hereupon a regular battle of the cavalry followed, in which the Romans were again beaten, but the Macedonians, who were hasty in their pursuit of the enemy, suddenly found themselves attacked on their flanks, and were put to flight, during which Philip nearly lost his life. These engagements occurred near the passes of Eordea. Immediately after this defeat Philip sent a messenger to Galba to sue for a truce; the Roman deferred his decision till the next day, but in the night following Philip and his army secretly left the camp, without the Romans knowing in what direction the king had gone. After having stayed for a few days longer, Galba marched towards Pluvina, and then encamped on the banks of the river Osphagus, not far from the place where the king had taken up his post. Here again the Romans spent their time in petty conquests, and nothing decisive was done, and in the autumn Galba went back with his army to Apollonia.

For the year following T. Villius Tappulus was elected consul, with Macedonia as his province, and Galba returned to Rome. In B. C. 197, he and Villius Tappulus were appointed legates to T. Quintius Flamininus in Macedonia, and in the next year, when it was decreed at Rome that tell commissioners should be sent to arrange with Flamininus the affairs between Rome and Macedonia, Galba and Tappulus were ordered to act as two of those commissioners. In B. C. 193, Galba and Tappulus were sent as ambassadors to Antiochus; they first went to Eumenes at Pergamus, as they had been ordered, who urged the Romans to begin the war against Antiochus at once. For a short time Galba was detained at Pergamus by illness, but he was soon restored and went to Ephesus, where, instead of Antiochus, they found Minion, whom the king had deputed with full power. The result of the transactions was the war with Antiochus. This is the last event recorded of Galba, in whose praise we have very little to say, and whose conduct in Greece, in connection with the Aetolians, greatly contributed to the demoralisation of the Greeks. (Liv. 25.41, xxvi.l, 28, 27.7, 10, 22, 31-33, 28.5-7, 29.12, 30.24, 31.4-8, 14, 22, 27, 33-40, 32.28, 33.24, 34.59, 35.13, 14, 16; Plb. 8.3, 9.6, &c., 42, 10.41, 16.24, 18.6, 23.3; Appian, Maced. 2, &c.; Eutrop. 3.14; Oros. 4.17.)

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Polybius, Histories, 8.3
    • Polybius, Histories, 9.6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 41
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