2003 The Gallic Empire

The Gallic Empire is a classic example of “pseudo history”. Every person and event can be found in historical documents but the way the implications of recorded events are interpreted has been changed.

Incidentally I have used the cover of Joy Chant’s book High Kings not because her book deals with similar material but because George Sharp’s cover illustration has haunted be for the best part of thirty years. It is the model for William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury in my books about Ximene. In her book Joy tells the history and myths of the Celts as they might have been told by the ancient bards.

I started my  research from the surprising realisation that the existence of the “Gallic Empire’’ of AD 260-274 has been glossed over or not mentioned at all in many histories. I believe the reasonfor this omission that this event it does not fit very well with the accepted theories of how the Roman Empire evolved.

A little research quickly reveals that there was not only one attempt to establish a totally parallel empire. This was not an isolated event. The contents of this topic drip with the identification of people and dates. I have done this deliberately, so that readers can check for themselves the validity of the underlying history. It would be a reasonable approach to start with Wikipedia and work outwords from there.

In AD 260  the emperor Valens was defeated by the Parthians. He was captured and spent the rest of his life as a slave.  It was the signal for Marcus Cassianus Latinus Posthumous  to declare Britain, Gaul and Hispania and Raetia independent of Rome. He created a new empire , on the Roman model complete with senators and consuls. The “Gallic Empire” lasted less than ten years but was only the tip of the iceberg. Hidden away in lists of the Emperors of Rome is the evidence that the Celtic nations never accepted Roman rule, looking for every chance to declare independance. One possible interpretation is that to the Celts the Romans were just another clan, one which was usually powerful enough to provide a High King, having the right of leadership. However when the Roman state put forward a leader who did not meet Celtic expectations they never hesitated to look for and promote an alternative.

Examination of the apparently chaotic succesion of Roman emporers shows that the  instability has its origins in the competitiveness between the Western Celts; Hispania, Gaul ,Britannia and Raetia and the Eastern Celts;  Germania, Norica Pannonia, Northern Moesia and Western Dacia. The armies in these areas who  usually had large numbers of the local population in their ranks, consistantly voted for their own commanders as “High Kings” and therefore Emperors.

If the two armies voted for different candidates, and they almost always did, then the way of solving the difference was the Celtic way – confrontation.

There were of course civil wars in Rome before the Gauls were taken into the empire but those wars were quite different, they were political, to decide how Rome was structured, not to decide who led Rome.

Rome tolerated the continual Celtic interference, and became subject to an essentially Celtic culture, because of the importance of the Western Empire and the wealth created by it. However, as pressures from outside the empire grew, the instability caused by the celtic culture became critical.  It had become so much of the “Roman Way” that Roman central administration either did not recognise or could not counteract the damage it was doing.

It took a Non Roman Magister Militarum, Stilicho to recognise the root cause of Rome’s instability. Stilicho spent much of his life trying to stabilise the empire, but it was only after an unsucessful visit to Britain and involvement in internal conflicts within Britain that he recognised that the problem was the Celtic Culture. His answer was innovative. Allow Non-Celtic peoples, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Alemani,Burgundians,Sueves,Alans,Vandals, to flood through the western empire and destroy the Celtic structure.

It was not intended to be the end of the empire as he had a plan to the reconquer the West at some later date, after the Celtic structure had been destroyed. It is possible that the Visigoths were used in an initial attempt to retake the empire  (only four years after the original migrations).  In the event they also set up an independent state.

The retaking of the West was attempted much later under Valantinian.  Valantian’s invasion of the west failed because in the interregnum local groups had merged for self protection and slowly but surely leaders emerged who guided various groupings towards nationhood.

The Celtic culture was maintained down the atlantic seaboard and in the Pyrenees but the process of discrimination, assimilation and absorption and occasionally elimination has carried through until the 21st century. However in Occitan the harp and the bagpipes are still played.


The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.