Aurelius Arpagius
Timeline: Gaul Rising

5th First Citizen of the Gallic Empire
February 17, 305 (de jure), November 8, 305 (de facto) – October 7, 329

Predecessor Carausius
Successor Tetricus II

Governor of Massiliensis
April 8, 301 – April 22, 305

Born November 2, 260
Avaricum, Gallia Lugdenensis, Roman Empire
Died July 15, 331
Political Party Postumian
Religion Gallo-Roman paganism
Aurelius Arpagius was the fifth First Citizen of the Gallic Empire. He was elected First Citizen by the Gallic Senate after the Senate deposed Carausius. Carausius refused to recognize Senate's decision to depose him and appoint Arpagius, which led to the First Gallic Civil War. Arpagius prevailed over Carausius in the civil war.

Arpagius' reign was an important period in early Gallic history. Arpagius presided over the Gallic conquest of Mauritania Tingitana and the relocation of the imperial capital from Colonia Agrippina to Tricassium. The Celtic Renaissance began during Arpagius' reign. Arpagius worked with Frankish chieftain Gundisalf to begin uniting the Franks.

Early Life

Election as First Citizen

Reign as First Citizen

First Gallic Civil War

Third Gallo-Roman War

Consolidating Power

Arpagius learned about the coup against Carausius on November 18, 305. On November 27, he ordered Carausius to be transported to Colonia Agrippina. Carausius arrived on December 27. On January 20, 306, Carausius was put on trial for orchestrating the murder of Tetricus the Elder and leading a rebellion against Arpagius. The trial ended on January 24. Carausius was found guilty and sentenced to death, and this sentence was carried out on January 30.

Arpagius pardoned the senators and generals who had led the coup against Carausius, and he allowed them to keep their respective Senate seats and military commands. The remaining pro-Carausius senators were expelled from the Senate and put on trial for aiding the rebellion, and all but nine of them were convicted; and those convicted received sentences ranging from ten years in prison to death. Arpagius' treatment of generals and other high-ranking military officers who had supported Carausius was mixed. Some of the ones who had not actually engaged in combat against forces loyal to Arpagius were allowed to retain their ranks; but most within this category were demoted, and a few were dismissed from the army. All officers above the rank of centurion — as well as some centurions — who had actively participated in combat with supporters of Arpagius were expelled from the army and put on trial for rebellion against Arpagius; and most of these were convicted and sentenced to either life in prison or death. All of the lower-ranking soldiers who had fought on Carausius' behalf were pardoned. All the provincial governors and duces who had sided with Carausius were put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to either life in prison or death. All of these proceedings were carried out between January and May of 306.

Victory for Arpagius in the civil war meant victory for the Postumians. All of the Princepist senators had sided with Carausius when the war began, and Arpagius replaced all of them with Postumians, except for five who participated in the coup that ended the war. Most of the new senators were Postumians, and those that were not Postumians were affiliated with the "strong leadership" bloc. Likewise, most of the military commanders Arpagius appointed to replace the ones who had supported Carausius were also Postumians. All of the pro-Carausius duces and governors were replaced with Postumians.

Integration of Mauritania Tingitana into the Gallic Empire

Mauritania Tingitana fell to the Gallic Empire with little resistance. The governor and military commanders knew they were severely outnumbered and surrendered within a matter of weeks. The process of integrating Mauritania Tingitana into the Gallic Empire began in April 306. The governor and key military officers and civil administrators were removed from office and placed under house arrest for four months. One of the Gallic generals assumed the governorship.

Arpagius had ordered the Gallic forces to ensure that the everyday lives of the locals were not affected by the change in administration. The invading generals had troops patrol the streets of all the major cities constantly and the countryside as much as practical, but ordered their troops to leave the locals alone so long as they did not cause trouble. Much of the provincial bureaucracy continued to be staffed by locals.

During April, the Gallic governor offered the Roman soldiers the opportunity to join the Gallic army, and many Roman soldiers accepted the offer and were integrated into Gallic units. Also, the governor began working with the governor of Baetica to the north and the governor of Amasiga to the south to build trade links, in order to integrate Mauritania Tingitana into the Gallic Empire's economy. In August 306, the governor began gradually introducing the Gallic currency into the province, and the Gallic currency had fully replaced the Roman currency by 308.

Relocation of the Capital

In November 308, Arpagius proposed to the Senate that a new capital city be chosen for the empire. Colonia Agrippina was located at the eastern edge of the empire, and Arpagius believed it would be good for the capital to be moved to a city in the interior of Gaul, as moving the capital westward would allow for more efficient contact between the central government and the Spanish and African provinces. After several months of delibation, the Senate voted to designate Tricassium (OTL Troyes) as the new Gallic capital city on March 25, 309.

The move to Tricassium would not happen for almost a decade. After the Senate chose Tricassium, they commissioned architects to design a new imperial palace. Construction of the new palace began in March 310. Arpagius and the Senate left Colonia Agrippina on September 6, 318 and arrived in Tricassium on September 19, 318, although the construction of the new imperial palace would not be complete until July 321. The various bureaucracies of the empire moved their headquarters from Colonia Agrippina to Tricassium between November 318 and September 320.

Military Reform

After the Gallic Empire broke away from the Roman Empire, its military had been very similar the Roman military. Arpagius carried out two major reforms during his reign.

Arpagius announced his first reform came in July 308. Up until that point, legions had consisted of ten cohorts, which in turn consisted of six centuariae (nominally groups of one hundred soldiers, but in practice groups of eighty); plus a small cavalry contingent. The centuriae were to be replaced with quinquagintaniae (groups of fifty), and the commander of a quinquagintania would be called a quinquagintanion. Cohorts would consist of consist of eight quinquagintaniae. Legions would consist of six cohorts, plus a hundred-strong cavalry unit. Though the legions would be smaller, they would be more mobile.

The second major reform was announced in March 316. The Gallic Empire had always had a navy, which was formed from local branches of the Roman navy when the Gallic Empire became independent; but the Roman Empire had long neglected its navy, and the Gallic Empire had inherited this tendency of neglect. Arpagius wanted to dramatically expand the Gallic navy from ten thousand men to fifty thousand. This expansion took years to accomplish.

Arpagius also expanded the overall size of the Gallic army. On the eve of the First Gallic Civil War, the army had approximately 160,000 men. After the Third Gallo-Roman War, that number had declined by 15,000. In the decade after the wars, Arpagius took steps to expand the army to 200,000 men.

Expansion of African Territory 

During 318, Arpagius launched a campaign to conquer some territory located between the provinces of Amasiga and Mauritania Tingitana. This territory was easily annexed, and it was added to Amasiga. Within a couple of years, a military outpost had been established in that area.

Religious Reforms 

Starting in the late 310s, Arpagius began implementing changes to the Gallic state religion to make it more distinctly Celtic. In the late 310s, Arpagius began to de-emphasize the deities that were exclusively Greco-Roman in origin. Then during the 320s, he began promoting Gallic mythology over Roman mythology and Romanized Gallic mythology. Memory of Gallic mythology had been retained in northern and central Gaul, and Arpagius was a native of was in central Gaul, so the changes to he made to the state religion resulted in a shift toward authentically pre-Roman paganism. Roman mythology and the worship of exclusively Roman deities would persist in Spain and southern Gaul.

Gallo-Frankish Relations 

The Franco-Saxon War 

The Franco-Saxon War took place between 314 and 315. The war began in August 314, when bands of Saxons raided Frankish lands. Many Frankish villages were devastated. Several Frankish leaders led a counterinvasion in September, but the campaign proved disorganized, and the Frankish forces were quickly routed. Later in September, the Saxons began an effort to drive the Franks out of their territory. By the end of October, the Franks had lost a quarter of their lands to the Saxons, and thousands of Franks were fleeing to Gallic territory. In November, the Frankish chieftains met to choose one of themselves to lead the war effort. A young chieftain named Gundisalf was chosen for this role. After this, the Frankish military operations became better-organized, so the Franks were able to stop the Saxons from advancing further.

In January 315, Arpagius chose to aid the Franks, for fear that if the Saxons prevailed, they would attack Colonia Agrippina, which was still the imperial capital. He sent two legions to Frankish territory. By late February, all of the Franks' pre-war territory had been won back from the Saxons. The Gallic and Frankish forces launched a massive punitive campaign against the Saxons that lasted until May.

The Rise of Gundisalf

Like most Germanic tribes, the Franks were not a single polity, but a group of independent chiefdoms. Due to the initially disorganized nature of the Frankish response to the Saxon invasion, Arpagius felt that it was necessary for the Franks to be consolidated into a unified nation-state.

Arpagius believed that the Frankish chieftain Gundisalf would be most fit to lead the Franks, so he began working with Gundisalf to help him gain hegemony over the rest of the Franks. In October 315, Arpagius invited Gundisalf to Colonia Agrippina to discuss Arpagius' vision for the Franks. Arpagius and Gundisalf met between October 24 and November 2. Gundisalf agreed to unify the Franks under his rule. The two leaders then discussed strategies for achieving that goal.

During 316, Gundisalf began forging ties with various person and groups in other Frankish chiefdoms. During the following year, the Gallic Senate passed legislation that changed the trade policy with the Franks so that it favored Gundisalf's chiefdom over others. Little else happened for several years. Then in the summer of 321, Gundisalf orchestrated the assassination of a rival chieftain. The assassination was successfully carried out on July 10, and the chieftain's successor was an ally of Gundisalf. In April 322, a different chieftain allied with Gundisalf killed a rival chieftain and took over his chiefdom. Then in February 324, Gundisalf himself took over a rival chiefdom. In July 326, Gundisalf married the daughter of another chieftain, thereby ensuring that he would inherit control of that chiefdom.

Retirement and Death