Gallic Empire

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The Gallic Empire (Latin: Imperium Galliarum) is the modern name[by whom?] for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century.

It was founded by Postumus in 260 in the wake of barbarian invasions and instability in Rome, and at its height included the territories of Germania, Gaul, Britannia, and Hispania. After Postumus' assassination in 268 it lost much of its territory, but continued under a number of emperors and usurpers. It was retaken by Roman Emperor Aurelian after the Battle of Châlons in 274.

Contents

History

Origins

The Crisis of the Third Century began as Emperor Valerian was defeated and captured by the Sassanid Empire of Persia, leaving his son Gallienus in very shaky control. Shortly thereafter, the Palmyrene Empire, which came to encompass Egypt, Syria, Judea, and Arabia Petraea also broke away.

The governors in Pannonia staged unsuccessful local revolts. The emperor left to the Danube to attend to their disruption. This left Postumus, who was governor of Germania Superior and Inferior, in charge at the Rhine border. The imperial heir Saloninus and the praetorian prefect Silvanus remained at Colonia Agrippina (Cologne), to keep the young heir out of danger and perhaps also as a control on Postumus' ambitions. Before long, however, Postumus besieged Colonia Agrippina and put the young heir and his guardian to death. Postumus established his capital at Cologne.

The Gallic Empire had its own senate, two annually elected consuls (not all of the names of the consuls have survived) and its own praetorian guard. Postumus himself seems to have held the office of consul five times.

Postumus successfully fended off Gallienus in 263, and was never challenged by him again. However, in early 268 he was challenged by Laelianus, probably one of his commanders, who was declared emperor at Mainz by his Legio XXII Primigenia. Postumus quickly retook Mainz and Laelianus was killed. However the success meant little and he was overthrown and killed by his own troops, reportedly because he did not allow them to sack the city.[1]

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