Some periods of history stand out, others are unknown. Some achieve landmark status - take Roman Britain as an example. 55BC is known as the initial invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar, 43AD as the successful invasion of Britain by the armies of the Emperor Claudius, and 60AD as the rebellion of Queen Boudicca of the Iceni.

The end of Roman Britain is much heralded as being dated to 410AD, but this is probably misleading and misrecorded. And some other key events are well known, but the dates less so - folks know about Hadrian's Wall, they know about Roman Londinium, and that Constantine the Great was declared emperor in York. Occasionally, people are aware of another wall north of Hadrian's Wall called the Antonine Wall.

For Classicists and certainly Romanists, these core elements are taught and awareness is fairly high. Given that Britannia was the further westerly province of the Roman Empire, that the capital was Rome itself, it's not entirely surprising that we don't know more. Most Emperors of Rome didn't visit here (though more came than we often realise), and the physical remains, whilst vast sites archaeologically, are not high standing structures as enjoyed in many other parts of the empire.

But it has always struck me as odd that the period of history almost unknown is that of the third century Gallic Empire. That there were a string of generals, high ranking bureaucrats and officials who declared independence from Rome and established their own Empire. From 260AD through to 274AD Britannia was not part of the Empire run from Rome, but had a series of Emperors and until the very end Britain was a fully fledged part of this rebellion or breakaway.

And yet, talking to enthusiasts, romanists and others, the Gallic Emperors of Postumus, Victorinus and Tetricus I and Tetricus II are virtually unknown. It is an act of neglect and feels almost deliberate and conscious and I have never understood why. For me these four Emperors (there were others, less successful, and even less well known) were the first Romans who regarded Britain as core to their very existence, that revealed the key role Britain had within the Empire and who can be truly said and thought of as rulers of Britainnia and Gaul. Pick up quality text books on Roman Britain and you will struggle to find more than a passing reference to these Emperors - even the later rebels of Carausius and Allectus get more coverage for their shorter and less successful breakaway.

Over the coming blog posts and weeks I shall try and unpick the facts from the fiction, bring these figures of our own history alive. I will seek to draw together the story that were the independent Emperors who governed Britain and whom history has ignored. Let the Gallic Emperors come alive and their success be known and understood. Their time has come.