Postumus, Gallic Empire, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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Postumus was an incredibly skilled general and administrator. Rebelling against Gallienus, Postumus succeeded in uniting Gaul, Spain, and Britain into what was essentially an empire within an empire. Enjoying tremendous military success against the Germans, he kept his Gallic Empire secure and prosperous. In 268 A.D. he quickly destroyed the forces of the usurper Laelianus, but his refusal to allow his forces to sack Moguntiacum (Mainz, Germany) led to his assassination by disgruntled troops.



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Postumus on

Obverse| Legends|



Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany)
Lugdunum (Lyon, France)
Mediolanum (Milan, Italy under Aureolus)
Treveri (Trier, Germany)


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POSTVMVS (Marcus Cassianus Latinius), born in an obscure village of Gaul, was, on account of his remarkable valor and  other good qualities, appointed by Valerianus to be Praefect of Gaul, and guardian of its frontier against the Germans, whose incursions he also effectively repressed during the first years of Gallienus' reign. That prince had already entrusted to him the care of his son, Saloninus, a mark of confidence which he faithfully repaid, until the year 258, when he assumed the title of Augustus, and all the accustomed honors connected therewith.

The commencement of his usurpation was sullied by an act as cruel as it was traitorous. He caused Saloninus, who had taken refuge in Cologne, to be delivered up to him, and he put him to death with Sylvanus, the youth's preceptor, who had become his enemy. He then established his reign over Gaul, Spain, and Britain, in each of which three provinces the people acknowledged him with joy as their Emperor; whilst he, by his courage and wisdom, defended them from every foe, and, though a usurper, saved the empire from threatened destruction. At the head of the Roam armies in the west, he drove the barbarians beyond the Rhine, and built forts to restrain them.

This Restitutor Galliarum, as he is styled on his coins, having established public tranquillity, not less by the influence of his character for justice, moderation, end sagacity, that by the power of his victorious sword, took the dignity of consul three times, and associated his son Postumus with him in the government, under the title of Caesar and Augustus.

Gallienus having made war upon him with fluctuating success, Postumus took Victorinus, a brave and able general, into colleague-ship; and by their united efforts, in spite of the hostility of the legitimate Emperor, and the numerous tyranni who were tearing the empire to pieces, the provinces were nobly rescued from
the attacks of the barbarous tribes that swarmed on the frontiers. Crowned with success in arms, Postumus reigned with glory and honor over the western provinces, until the period when Laelianus assumed the purple in the city of Mayence. It was after vanquishing this adventure about A.D. 268, that he and his son were assassinated by his own soldiers, instigated by an officer named Lollianus. Thus perished Postumus after a reign, which, rendered alike brilliant by his personal merit and his military talents, caused him justly to be regarded not only as by far the most illustrious of "the thirty tyrants," but also as one whom nature had formed to be a hero, and qualified at once to govern and defend the state.

On the coins of Postumus, which are numerous, especially in base silver, and first and third brass, he is styled IMP POSTVMVS AVG - IMP CAES POSTVMVS P F AVG. - Also IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, with sometimes
Same pieces of Postumus likewise bear another head, which was for a long time supposed to represent that of his son. (See Postumus junior).

All his coins, though of Roman, die, were struck in the provinces of Gaul, where he reigned as Emperor. His gold coins are of the highest rarity, and one is unique — See Akerman's Catalogue.

Junia Donata is conjectured to have been the wife of Postumus, but nothing is known of a princess so named, nor is even her existence proved.  The piece published by Chifflet from a MS. of Goltzius is suspected by Beauvais, and pronounced by Eckhel, Mionnet, and Akerman, to be false.

As the authority of Postumus did not extend over Italy, he was never acknowledged by the Senate of Rome. This circumstance did not, however, deter him from investing himself with the usual titles of legitimate Emperors. He even caused the senatorial mark of S C on many of his brass monies, but not on the greater portion.

His coins generally exhibit the portrait radiated; sometimes, however, crowned with laurel, but more rarely is the head covered with a helmet. A great number of his medals seen to have been, not struck, but cast. Other, evidently re-struck, still retain remains of the impression of preceding emperors and empresses: a circumstance which shows that he hastily re-stamped with his own "image and superscription" a part of the current coin of the empire.

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