Tetricus I: Emperor of the Gallic Empire
Background: The Roman Empire, during the Crisis of the Third Century (circa 235-284 AD), experienced significant political, economic, and military challenges. During this tumultuous period, the Empire split into three separate entities: the Roman Empire, the Palmyrene Empire, and the Gallic Empire.
The Gallic Empire:
The Gallic Empire (260–274 AD) consisted of the Roman provinces of Britannia, Gallia, and Hispania. It was established when Postumus rebelled against the central Roman authority and declared himself emperor. This separate entity existed for 14 years, providing a buffer against the Germanic tribes to the north.
Gaius Pius Esuvius Tetricus became emperor of the Gallic Empire in 271 AD, succeeding Victorinus. Before becoming emperor, Tetricus was the governor of Aquitania, a region in southwestern Gaul. Under his rule, the Gallic Empire enjoyed a brief period of stability.
However, the relative peace of his reign was challenged by internal pressures and the ever-present threat of reintegration by the central Roman authority. Throughout his reign, he faced difficulties like usurpation attempts and the instability of the Rhine frontier.
End of the Gallic Empire:
In 274 AD, after re-conquering the breakaway Palmyrene Empire in the east, the Roman Emperor Aurelian turned his attention to the Gallic Empire in the west. Tetricus I, realizing the futility of resisting the seasoned and well-led Roman legions, reportedly made a secret agreement with Aurelian. When the two forces met at the Battle of Châlons, Tetricus I surrendered, effectively ending the Gallic Empire and reuniting it with the Roman Empire.
Rather than executing or humiliating Tetricus, Aurelian spared him. Tetricus and his son, Tetricus II, were allowed to live and were even given positions within the Roman administration. This gracious act by Aurelian was likely meant to show other potential rebels the benefits of loyalty to the central Roman authority.
Obverse: IMP TETRICVS PIVS AVG, laureate bust right, drapery on the left shoulder.
Reverse: PAX AETERNA, Pax standing left
Diameter: 18 mm
24k Gold plated
Made in the USA