Postumus and his Gallic Empire

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus Maximus, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Active Member

    The Gallic Empire
    The period of the Gallic empire is very interesting for several reasons. It was the longest and most successful ursurpation that took place. Moreover, good sources are scarce over this period.

    The beginning of the uprising
    During the second half of the 50s in the third century. There was much unrest in the provinces on the Rhine. Various tribes including the Franks and the Juthingi plundered Germania and Gaul. Gallienus regularly beats the invaders as this coin proves.

    Around 259 Gallienus was confronted with various ursurpations and raids. That meant he had to shift his attention.
    The tribes clearly understood that the emperor was leaving because in 259 or 260 they undertook their biggest looting. They even plundered Tarragona in Spain. The looters, however, were awaited by a certain Postumus during their retreat. Probably this happened in the south of what is now the Netherlands. The looters were then defeated. We actually know very little about Postumus. But he was probably governor.
    After the victory, the troops moved to Cologne. Gallienus' son Saloninus stayed there. He claimed the loot for himself. This made the soldiers furious and they killed Saloninus and his counselor Silvanus. They then proclaimed Postumus emperor.

    The reign of Postumus
    Postumus then had coins minted. These are the two coins from the first issue in which Postumus uses reverse sides to identify itself as an emperor. The upper coin recalls the victory over the Juthingi and Franks. The lower coin shows the river god rhine, this refers to the fact that Postumus has stopped the danger from the other side of the rhine.
    Over the years until his death, we must focus primarily on the coins. because we hardly have any written sources about his life. In the second issue, there are mainly many coins with Hercules on the reverse, such as this one.
    Hercules is the most common on all sides on Postumus coins. This indicates that Postumus Hercules found an important god.


    The following coin shows a galley. possibly this backside refers to a journey from Postumus to Britain. Another possibility is that it refers to an expedition across the Rhine.

    In 266, Gallienus attacked the Gallic Empire. the reverse side shows the loyalty of the soldiers.

    Gallienus fell ill during this campaign. That's why he had to give up the fight. Possibly this reverse side with Asclepius on it refers to the fact that Gallienus was sick and Postumus was healthy. So the gods were with Postumus and not with Gallienus.

    Around 268 Postumus had to devalue the coins. We do not sure what the reason is for this.

    The revolt of Laelianus
    At the beginning of 269 Postumus was confronted with a large-scale uprising. Laelian, a high-ranking man, revolted. we actually know nothing about his further function or role. more can be said about the cause of the uprising. A gold Aureus of Laelianus shows Hispania. it has long been thought that this refers to Laelianus origin. but actually there is no evidence for that. A recent idea is that Hispania did not separate itself from the Gallic empire after the death of Laelianus. but as early as 268. this could also explain the devaluation of Postumus coins. The golden Aureus therefore wants to refer to the fact that Hispania is lost. And to ensure that the empire does not crumble further, Laelianus must take over the power of Postumus.


    The power of Postumus began to decline in 268. That is why he had these coins minted at the beginning of 269. this coin below refers to the fact that Postumus reigned for almost ten years.
    In the spring of 269 Postumus defeated Laelianus near Mainz. Laelianus was killed there. The troops asked Postumus if they could plunder the city. however, he did not allow them this. When they heard that, they became furious and they killed Postumus.

    Where struck Postumus his coins?
    Where Postumus had coins minted has long been debated. some mention Lyon but that mint was not active during this period. A newer insight mentions Cologne as the only mint, but this too may not be correct given the large stylistic differences. a recent study what I read is thinking of two mints. The most important was Trier and the other Cologne. Cologne was the capital, but that does not mean that it was also the most important mint. Postumus coins are divided into two types. type I and type II. From type II, much more coins were found in the Cologne area than in other treasures. this implies that Cologne was type II. Type II, however, was only made from 268. This means that up to 268 all Postumus coins were minted in Trier.

    The Gallic empire

    the blue part is the Gallic Empire

    Photos of coins come from
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  3. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Excellent write-up. I'll check my Gallienus coins.
  4. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Super interesting research. It always been a mystery to me finding out where coins of Postumus were minted. For example, my only one has been attribuated to Cologne by the seller, but on wildwinds it’s Trier !
    I also included below a screenshot about Lyons coins from wildwinds.

    Postumus RIC 93
    Mars on reverse
    Trier? 262 AD


  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Tribunicia Potestas

    Postumus getting some love from Serapis, the Greco-Egyptian deity. SERAPI COMITI AVG means that Serapis was a companion of the emperor.



    Postumus also had some talented artists at the mint (wherever it was). Check out this aureus with a 3/4 facing portrait. (not mine)

  6. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Yes, Postumus is indeed getting a lot of love in the last 24 hours! :kiss:

    Postumus AR Antoninianus Aesculapius.jpg

    And now, a modern movie remake featuring our beloved Gallic star....

    From Gaul With Love

    A remake of James Bond's "From Russia with Love," starting Postumus as himself.... A remake with less shooting, less booze, less sex, and less thrilling action, but featuring tons of melancholic cigarette smoking and plenty of mime action. In other words, typical French :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Wow, very nice write up @Parthicus Maximus !

    RI Gallienus 253-268 CE Ant Milan mint Laetitia

    RI Saloninus 259 BI Ant Stndg Globe Spear Captive at feet


    RI Postumus 259-268 CE Antoninianus Cologne Oriens ex @TIF

    RI Postumus struck by Aureolus 268 CE Revolt of Milan Concordia

    RI Laelianus CE 269 AE Ant 19mm 3.4g Moguntiacum mint Radiate cuirassed Victory RIC Vb 9 p373, Usurper to the Usurper...

    RI Marius 269 Gallic Usurper BI Ant CONCORD MILIT Clasped Hands

    RI Victorinus 269-270 CE BI Ant Gallic Empire Salus


    RI Tetricus I 271-274 CE Ant LAETITIA

    RI Tetricus II 273-274 CE BI Ant SPES w Flower
  8. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Parthicus Maximus, Thanks for the interesting post with excellent photos. Are the coins illustrated from your collection ?
    Parthicus Maximus likes this.
  9. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Active Member

    No, unfortunately, these coins do not come from my collection. I do have a few. but I wanted all the Coins to be nicely photographed and I can't really take good pictures. I hope to have all these coins soon. Although the Laelianus Aureus is unfeasible for me.
  10. Bert Gedin

    Bert Gedin Well-Known Member

    "The leader of the Roman Empire (as depicted on coins !)asked what frozen rain was called. His followers replied: "Hail, Caesar" ".
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  11. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the interesting write-up!

    Are you referring to Jerome Mairat's thesis "The Coinage of the Gallic Empire" (2014)? It seems that he has conclusive evidence for Trier as the main mint of the Gallic Empire. Here is a chart of the two more detailed mint location scenarios he considers possible, while thinking the scenario on the right more likely (from Mairat 2014, p. 47):
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  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Great post! Hopefully these coins (or some like them) will be yours soon. :)

    Here's my favourite portrait of Postumus, on an Aureolus issue:
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  13. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Active Member

    I did indeed refer to that. Thank you for placing the chart.
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  14. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Nice writeup! Here's a new to me Postumus coin. Although the reverse is struck with worn dies, I liked the uncleaned look. I have another of this type that is better and shinny silver but sometimes if I find a fun dirty one cheap... I can't help myself.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  15. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great post, @Parthicus Maximus. This one is my only Postumus...I’m going to need to get an upgrade eventually.


    Postumus, Antoninianus, Trier, 263-65 AD, (3.32g, 22mm). Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right / Moneta standing left, holding scales and cornucopia. Flan crack.
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  16. Pishpash

    Pishpash Mater dracones - spero

    My fav


    ex Stevex6
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  17. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Supporter! Supporter

    POSTUMUS 259-268 CE struck at Lugdunum GAA-255 OBV.jpg GAA-255 REV.jpg
    Obv. IMP.C.POSTVMVS.P.F.AVG. Radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right.
    Rev. MONETA.AVG. Moneta standing l., holding scales and cornucopia. RICV #75
  18. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Very interesting write up PM ...Thanks
    My only Postumus coin...Just really liked the serene portrait...
    Postumus, Antoninianus, 260-269, Trier, , Billon 21MM
    Obverse- Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG
    Reverse- Serapis standing left, raising hand & holding sceptre; prow at his feet to left SERAPI COMITI AVG
    RIC-329 Trier mint (AD 267)

    ps..I love the portrait style of Severus Alexander's coin...Wow!
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  19. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Supporter! Supporter

    Victorinus INVICTVS
    Tetricus I COMES.AVG GDA-177.jpg GDA-177 REV.jpg GEC-335 OBV.jpg GEC-335 REV.jpg
  20. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    Nice job @Parthicus Maximus !

    Here is my last Posthumus coin with a post-mint damage.


    Postumus Antoninianus, 260-269 AD

    O:Obv: IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: Rev: IMP X COS V, Nemesis with palm branch in left hand. 20 mm, 3.3g.
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  21. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    At the Trier mint they produced coins which looked like good silver Antonnianii coins,
    the Cologne mint not so. Both are low silver contence coins , less then 20 %.

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