Praetorian prefecture of Gaul

Praetorian prefecture of the Gauls
Praefectura praetorio Galliarum
Praet. Prefecture of the West Roman Empire
337-477
510-536
Location of Prefecture of Gaul
Praetorian Prefectures of the Roman Empire (395)
CapitalAugusta Treverorum (until 395/407)
Arelate (from 395/407)
Historical eraLate Antiquity
 • Established337
 • Conquest of Provence by the Visigoths477
 • Re-established by the Ostrogoths510
 • Fall of Provence to the Franks536
Political subdivisionsDiocese of Gaul
Diocese of Britain
Diocese of Spain
Diocese of the Seven Provinces
Today part of Andorra
 Belgium
 Netherlands
 Luxembourg
 Germany
 Morocco
 France
 Monaco
  Switzerland
 Spain
 Portugal
 United Kingdom

The Praetorian Prefecture of Gaul (Latin: praefectura praetorio Galliarum) was one of four large prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.

History

The prefecture was established after the death of Constantine I in 337, when the empire was split up among his sons and Constantine II received the rule of the western provinces, with a praetorian prefect as his chief aide. The prefecture comprised not only Gaul, but also of Roman Britain, Spain, and Mauretania Tingitana in Africa Proconsulare. Its territory overlapped considerably with what was once controlled by the short-lived Gallic Empire in the 260s.

After the permanent partition of the Empire in 395 into West and East spheres of control, the prefecture of Gaul continued to belong to the Western Roman Empire. Augusta Treverorum (present-day Trier in Germany) served as the prefecture's seat until 407 (or, according to other estimates, in 395), when it was transferred to Arelate (Arles).

The prefecture continued to function until 477, when the last areas under its control were seized by the Visigoths after the abolition of the Western imperial government of Ravenna in the previous year.

In 510, the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great re-established the prefecture in the small part of Gaul (the Provence) that he had just conquered, with headquarters again at Arelate. This short lived revival lasted until the area was in turn conquered by the Franks in 536, while the Ostrogoths were occupied by the East Roman invasion of Italy.