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The West Breaks Away

By the time of the rule of Gallienus, the central authority at Rome was failing to retain the absolute power and authority it had once held. Gallienus was busy fending off invaders on the northern and eastern frontiers, and had little time to deal with the problems of the western provinces. Many Romans found themselves trusting in regional powers rather than the distant emperor. Postumus, governor of Lower Germany, led a revolt in the autumn of 260 AD, which led to the "Gallic Empire"'s independence for nearly fifteen years. Postumus and his successors never attempted to march on Rome; rather, they attempted to make the distinctive personality of the western Roman provinces a source of strength. The Gallic Empire was prosperous and self-sufficient, and lasted until Tetricus, the last Gallic Emperor, was defeated at Châlons-sur-Marne, resulting in the reabsorption of Gaul, Britain and Germany into the Roman Empire by the emperor Aurelian.