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The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
that functioned ''de facto'' as a separate state from 260 to 274. It originated during the
Crisis of the Third Century#REDIRECT Crisis of the Third Century {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, when a series of Roman military leaders and aristocrats declared themselves emperors and took control of Gaul and adjacent provinces without attempting to conquer
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...

Italy
or otherwise seize the central Roman administrative apparatus. It was established by
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus around the year 260,The year of Postu ...

Postumus
in 260 in the wake of
barbarian A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
invasions and instability in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
, and at its height included the territories of
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provi ...

Germania
,
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than a ...

Gaul
,
Britannia Britannia () is the national personification of United Kingdom, Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin ''Britannia'' was the name variously applied to the Britis ...

Britannia
, and (for a time)
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Ancient Rome, Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Roman Republic, Hispania was divided into two Roman province, provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispa ...

Hispania
. After Postumus' assassination in 269 it lost much of its territory, but continued under a number of emperors and usurpers. It was retaken by
Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becomi ...
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
after the Battle of Châlons in 274.


History


Origins

The Roman
Crisis of the Third Century#REDIRECT Crisis of the Third Century {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
continued as the Emperor Valerian was defeated and captured by the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ( Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 '' Ērānshahr''), and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian imperial dynasty bef ...

Sasanian Empire
of
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It ...

Persia
in the
Battle of Edessa The Battle of Edessa took place between the armies of the Roman Empire under the command of Emperor Valerian and Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ( Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭 ...
, together with a large part of the Roman field army in the east. This left his son
Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (; c. 218 – September 268) was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of ...

Gallienus
in very shaky control. Shortly thereafter, the
Palmyrene Palmyrene may refer to: * an inhabitant of ancient Palmyra, Syria * Palmyrene alphabet * Palmyrene Aramaic * Palmyrene Empire * Palmyrene (Unicode block) {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...

Palmyrene
leader
Odaenathus Septimius Odaenathus ( Palmyrene: ; ar, أذينة ; 220 – 267) was the founder king ( ''Mlk'') of the Palmyrene Kingdom who ruled from Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is a ...
gained control of a wide swath of the east, including
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...

Egypt
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in ...
,
Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Bib ...
, and
Arabia Petraea Arabia Petraea or Petrea, also known as Rome's Arabian Province ( la, Provincia Arabia; ar, العربية البترائية; grc, ἐπαρχία Πετραίας Αραβίας) or simply Arabia, was a frontier province A province is almo ...

Arabia Petraea
; while he was nominally loyal to the Roman government, his domain was ''de facto'' independent and has come to be referred to as the
Palmyrene Empire The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived Breakaway state, splinter state of the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petra ...

Palmyrene Empire
. The governors in
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empir ...

Pannonia
staged unsuccessful local revolts. The Emperor left for the Danube to attend to their disruption. This left
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus around the year 260,The year of Postu ...

Postumus
, who was governor of
Germania Superior 250px, Northern part of the province with the Limes Germanicus. Germania Superior ("Upper Germania") was an imperial province of the Roman Empire. It comprised an area of today's western Switzerland, the French Jura mountains, Jura and Alsace re ...
and Inferior, in charge at the Rhine border. An exceptional administrator, Postumus had also ably protected Germania Inferior against an invasion led by the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was ...

Franks
in the summer of 260. In fact, Postumus defeated the Frankish forces at Empel so decisively that there would be no further Germanic raids for 10 years. This all would have combined to make Postumus one of the most powerful men in the western reaches of the Roman Empire. Gallienus's son
Saloninus Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus Valerianus (c. 242 – 260) was Roman Emperor in 260. Early life Saloninus was born around the year 242. His father was the later emperor Gallienus, his mother Cornelia Salonina, a Greeks, Greek from Bithyni ...
and the praetorian prefect Silvanus remained at
Colonia Agrippina ''Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium'' was the Roman colony A Roman colonia (plural ''coloniae'') was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of ...
(
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of th ...
), to keep the young heir out of danger and perhaps also as a check on Postumus' ambitions. Before long, however, Postumus besieged Colonia Agrippina and put the young heir and his guardian to death, making his revolt official. Postumus is thought to have established his capital here or at
Augusta Treverorum Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Treves ( ; french: Trèves ; lat, Augusta Treverorum) and Triers (see also names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley betwee ...

Augusta Treverorum
(
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley be ...

Trier
);
Lugdunum Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum (; modern Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located ...
(
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about ...

Lyon
) was one of the most important cities in the area under his control. Postumus did not make any effort to extend his control into Italy or to depose Gallienus. Instead, he established parallel institutions modeled on the Roman Empire's central government: his regime had its own praetorian guard, two annually elected consuls (not all of the names have survived), and probably its own senate. According to the numismatic evidence, Postumus himself held the office of consul five times. Postumus successfully fended off a military incursion by Gallienus in 263, and was never challenged by him again. However, in early 269 he was challenged by Laelianus, who was probably one of his own commanders and was declared emperor at Mogontiacum (
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western states of Germany, state of Germany. It covers and has about 4.05 million residents. It is the ninth largest and ...

Mainz
) by his
Legio XXII Primigenia 300px, This denarius, struck in 193 under Septimius Severus, celebrates XXII ''Primigenia'', one of the legions which supported the commander of the Pannonian army in his bid for Roman emperor, purple Legio XXII Primigenia ("Fortune's Twenty-Se ...
. Postumus quickly retook Mogontiacum and Laelianus was killed. In the aftermath of the battle, however, Postumus himself was overthrown and killed by his own troops, reportedly because he did not allow them to sack the city.


After Postumus

Marius was installed as Emperor upon Postumus's death, but died very shortly after; ancient sources writing much later state that he reigned only two days, though it is more likely, based on the numismatic record, that he reigned for a few months. Subsequently,
Victorinus Marcus Piavonius VictorinusSome of the inscriptions record his name as M. Piavvonius Victorinus, as does the first release of coins from the Colonia mint. A mosaic from Augusta Treverorum (Trier) lists him as Piaonius. was emperor in the Gallic ...

Victorinus
came to power, being recognized as Emperor in northern Gaul and Britannia, but not in Hispania. Gallienus had been killed in a coup in 268, and his successor in the central Roman provinces,
Claudius Gothicus Marcus Aurelius Claudius 'Gothicus' (10 May 214 – January 270), also known as Claudius II, was Roman emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alemanni and decisively defeated the Goths at the Battle of Naissus ...
, re-established Roman authority in
Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis can be seen in the south of modern-day France as a Roman province. Gallia Narbonensis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin w ...
and parts of
Gallia Aquitania Gallia Aquitania ( , ), also known as Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais: ''Aguiéne''), archaic Guyenne or Guienne ( oc, Guiana), is a historical region of southwestern France France ...
; there is some evidence that the provinces of Hispania, which did not recognize Postumus's successors in Gaul, may have realigned with Rome then. Victorinus spent most of his reign dealing with insurgencies and attempting to recover the Gaulish territories taken by Claudius Gothicus. He was assassinated in 271, but his mother
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
took control of his troops and used her power to influence the selection of his successor. With Victoria's support, Tetricus was made Emperor, and was recognized in Britannia and the parts of Gaul that had recognized Victorinus. Tetricus fought off Germanic barbarians who had begun ravaging Gaul after the death of Victorinus, and was able to re-take Gallia Aquitania and western Gallia Narbonensis while Claudius Gothicus's successor
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
was in the east fighting the
Palmyrene Empire The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived Breakaway state, splinter state of the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petra ...

Palmyrene Empire
, now in open revolt against Roman authority under Queen
Zenobia Septimia Zenobia ( Palmyrene: ''Btzby''/''Bat-Zabbai''; 240 – c. 274 AD) was a third-century queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْ ...

Zenobia
. Tetricus established the imperial court at
Trier Trier ( , ; lb, Tréier ), formerly known in English as Trèves ( ;) and Triers (see also Names of Trier in different languages, names in other languages), is a city on the banks of the Moselle (river), Moselle in Germany. It lies in a valley be ...

Trier
, and in 273 he elevated his son, also named Tetricus, to the rank of
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. In 60 BC, Caesar, Marcus Licin ...
. The following year the younger Tetricus was made co-consul with his father, but the area under their control grew weak from internal strife, including a mutiny led by the usurper
FaustinusFaustinus was a 3rd-century CE political figure who launched a rebellion against the Gallic Emperor Tetricus I. His full name and his year of birth are unknown. According to a small number of literary sources (Aurelius Victor Sextus Aurelius Victor ...
. By that time Aurelian had defeated the Palmyrene Empire and had made plans to reconquer the west. He moved into Gaul and defeated Tetricus at the Battle of Châlons in 274; according to some sources, Tetricus offered to surrender in exchange for clemency for him and his son before the battle. This detail may be later propaganda, but either way, Aurelian was victorious, and the Gallic Empire was effectively ended. In contrast with his propaganda after the recent defeat of Zenobia, Aurelian did not present his recapture of Gaul as a victory over a foreign enemy, and indeed many officials who had served in the army and administration of the Gallic Empire continued their careers—including Tetricus, who was appointed to an administrative post in Italy.


Causes

The Gallic Empire was symptomatic of the fragmentation of power during the third-century crisis. It has also been taken to represent autonomous trends in the western provinces, including proto- feudalistic tendencies among the Gaulish land-owning class whose support has sometimes been thought to have underpinned the strength of the Gallic Empire, and an interplay between the strength of Roman institutions and the growing salience of provincial concerns. One of Postumus' primary objectives as emperor was evidently the defence of the Germanic frontier; in 261 he repelled mixed groups of
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was ...

Franks
and
Alamanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribes * * * on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or ...
to hold the Rhine ''
limes Lime or Limes primarily refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime or Limes may also re ...
'' secure (though lands beyond the upper Rhine and Danube had to be abandoned to the barbarians within a couple of years). In so doing, Postumus positioned himself avowedly as not only the defender and restorer of Gaul, but also as the upholder of the Roman name. The usurpation of power over Britain and northern Gaul by
Carausius Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius (died 293) was a military commander of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. He was a Menapian from Belgic Gaul, who usurped power in 286, during the Carausian Revolt, declaring himself emperor in Britain and ...
just twenty years later reflects a continuing trend by which local loyalties from the landed aristocracy and deteriorating morale in the legions enabled Carausius to seize power in Britain. Similarly with the withdrawal of legions after 408, many Britons desired a localized Roman authority rather than nationalist revolt. The desire for Roman order and institutions was entirely compatible with a degree of national or regional separatism.


List of Gallic Emperors

The Gallic Emperors are known primarily from the
coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fr ...
s they minted. The political and military history of the Gallic Empire can be sketched through the careers of these emperors. Their names are as follows: *
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus around the year 260,The year of Postu ...

Postumus
260–269 **( Laelianus 269, usurper) * Marius 269 *
Victorinus Marcus Piavonius VictorinusSome of the inscriptions record his name as M. Piavvonius Victorinus, as does the first release of coins from the Colonia mint. A mosaic from Augusta Treverorum (Trier) lists him as Piaonius. was emperor in the Gallic ...

Victorinus
269–270 **(
Domitian II Domitian II ( la, Domitianus) was probably a Roman soldier of the mid 3rd century who was acclaimed Roman emperor, emperor, probably in northern Roman Gaul, Gaul in late 270 or early 271, and struck coins to advertise his elevation. It is now gen ...
271?, usurper) * Tetricus the Elder 270–274 ** Tetricus the Younger 270–274 (son of Tetricus;
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. In 60 BC, Caesar, Marcus Licin ...
) **(
FaustinusFaustinus was a 3rd-century CE political figure who launched a rebellion against the Gallic Emperor Tetricus I. His full name and his year of birth are unknown. According to a small number of literary sources (Aurelius Victor Sextus Aurelius Victor ...
274?, usurper)


Consuls of the Gallic Empire


Family tree


See also

*
Palmyrene Empire The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived Breakaway state, splinter state of the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petra ...

Palmyrene Empire
*
Roman governors of Germania Inferior This is a list of Roman governors of Germania Inferior (and '' Germania Secunda'' from 395 until the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476). Capital and largest city of Germania Inferior was Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (CCAA), modern-d ...
*
BagaudaeBagaudae (also spelled bacaudae) were groups of peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial farmhand, agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and tenant farmer, paying rent ...


Notes


References


Bibliography

*{{cite book , last1=Drinkwater , first1=J. F. , title=The Gallic Empire: Separatism and Continuity in the north-western provinces of the Roman Empire, A.D. 260-274 , date=1987 , publisher=Steiner , location=Stuttgart , isbn=978-3515048064


External links


Gallic Consuls
260 establishments 274 disestablishments 3rd century in Roman Gaul States and territories established in the 260s States and territories disestablished in the 3rd century Former empires in Europe Crisis of the Third Century