Such were the fortunes of Galba, a man surpassed by few Romans in lineage and wealth, and both in wealth and lineage the foremost of his time. During the reigns of five emperors he lived with honour and high repute, so that it was by his high repute, rather than by his military power, that he overthrew Nero.
For of his partners in the task, some were by all men deemed unworthy of the imperial dignity, and others deemed themselves unworthy. But to Galba the imperial title was offered and by him it was accepted; and by simply lending his name to the bold measures of Vindex, he gave to his revolt (as his rebellious agitation was called) the character of a civil war, because it had acquired a man who was worthy to rule.
Wherefore, in the belief that he was not seizing the conduct of affairs for himself, but rather giving himself for the conduct of affairs, he set out with the idea of commanding the petted creatures of Tigellinus and Nymphidius as Scipio and Fabricius and Camillus used to command the Romans of their time.
But being gradually weighed down by his years, in arms and camps, indeed, he was an
‘imperator’ of a severe and ancient type; but just as Nero put himself in the hands of his most insatiate favourites, so Galba put himself in the hands of Vinius and Laco and their freedmen, and they made merchandise of everything, so that he left behind him no one who wished him still in power, but very many who were moved to pity at his death.