Europe 270: Aurelian vs Quintillus

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 13 Oct 270 (The Crisis of the Third Century (II): Aurelian vs Quintillus), showing the following events: Zenobia at Marid; Claudius II’s Vandal War; Principate of Quintillus; Aurelian’s revolt; Palmyrene invasion of Egypt.

Claudius Gothicus died of the plague in 270 and was succeeded by his brother Quintillus. However, the general Aurelian, commander of the Danube legions, disputed Quintillus’ claim and deposed him just a few months later.


Gallic Empire

The rival Roman regime led by Postumus and his successors in Gaul (260–274) is often referred to as the Gallic Empire by modern historians. This term has no real historical basis; identity-wise, the Gallic emperors were simply Roman usurpers who successfully held out in Gaul for 14 years, but lacked the strength to take Rome.

Palmyrene Empire

The region controlled by the Palmyrene queen Zenobia in the name of her son Vaballathus (267–273) is often called the Palmyrene Empire by modern historians. This term was not used at the time and, despite her expansionism, Zenobia continued to officially recognize the authority of Rome—with her son as a king under the Roman emperor—up until Aurelian’s move against her domain in late 271. After this, Zenobia openly rebelled, declaring Vaballathus emperor and herself an empress, but here she was probably acting as a usurper challenging Aurelian rather than a secessionist attempting to create an independent empire.

Main Events

270? Zenobia at Marid

In c.270, when Zenobia conquered Arabia Petraea, the inland desert region of Dumatha asserted its independence. According to Arab legend, Zenobia attempted to storm the major local fortress at Marid but was forced to wikipedia

??–Aug 270 Claudius II’s Vandal War

In 270 Claudius Gothicus traveled to Sirmium to fight the Hasdingi Vandals, who had invaded Pannonia. However, the emperor had contracted the plague during his recent war with the Goths and by August he was dead. By this point the Hasdingi were encroaching into the territory of the Iazyges, who seem to have merged with their fellow Sarmatians, the wikipedia

Aug–Oct 270 Principate of Quintillus

When news of Claudius Gothicus’ death reached Italy, his brother Quintillus, posted in Aquileia, was proclaimed emperor by the troops and swiftly recognized by the Senate. Quintillus’ reign lasted just a few months—long enough to be acknowledged across the Roman Empire—when the Danube legions rose in support of Aurelian. With even his own troops soon declaring for Aurelian, Quintillus committed suicide by opening his veins in the traditional Roman wikipedia

Sep 270 Aurelian’s revolt

Before Claudius Gothicus departed for Pannonia, he placed the general Aurelian in command in Thrace and Moesia to finish off the Goths. After Claudius’ death and the completion of this task, Aurelian marched to Sirmium, where he claimed to be Claudius’ chosen successor. The Danube legions immediately rallied to his support, declaring Aurelian emperor and denouncing the claim of wikipedia

Oct 270 Palmyrene invasion of Egypt

In 270 an officer named Timagenes rebelled in Egypt in favor of Zenobia, prompting the Palmyrene queen to dispatch her general Zabdas to his aid. Invading with a force of 70,000 Palmyrenes, Syrians, and others, Zabdas decisively defeated the 50,000 Egyptian defenders in battle. Victorious, Zabdas then departed, leaving a garrison of 5,000 in control of wikipedia