The original conquest of Gaul had been relatively easy and the borders of Roman control had since steadily expanded to the Atlantic and onto the Rhine. In many ways Gaul now appeared to be as peaceful as Spain and thus a settled part of the Republic. As elsewhere, this peace was shattered by isolated revolts and sometimes by a major incursion by the German tribes. These were mostly dealt with by the legions kept in the region and rarely, if at all, had Gaul been the centre of the Senate’s concerns. Overall, Gaul had become seen as a region that was steadily Romanising and would soon be accepted as a group of fully Roman provinces.
This illusion was shattered first by the massive barbarian incursions in 705 AUC that forced the retention in the West of the legions that had been deployed from Syria to crush the Numidian revolt.
The new colony on the Aquitainian coast line provoked a major revolt in the south west.
The province quickly fell and the Gauls moved to besiege the long settled Ruteni.
Sextus Longinus took the only legion in the region (the 5th) and drove the Gauls back from Ruteni
It was an important, but not a decisive victory.
At the same time, the tribes to the north of the Alps revolted in support of a German horde that had just poured across the border.
Fortunately by late winter of 706 the Numidian revolt ended, freeing up fresh legions to assist in restoring order in Gaul.
Sextus Longinus continued his campaign in the South West and was able to extend Roman control by establishing a veteran’s colony at Santones.
As he finally brought the rebels to bay
At the same time, Curio was able to restore order on the Rhine.
Briefly by June 706, it appeared as if the addition of fresh legions had restored Roman control. However, the sequence of revolt and incursion continued.
The steady sequence of battles, saw the legions gradually weakened. Although most battles ended in victory, here and there, the legions were overwhelmed and Curio’s 7th Legion then was almost wiped out at Biturges.
The defeat at Pictones, became more serious when a fresh German horde appeared on the Rhine in late summer 707.
The 1st and 9th Legions were ordered back from the East, it appeared that the situation in the West was now so desperate that it became the main theatre for the Roman army.
Crossing the Alps in late autumn they surprised the Germans at Vindelicia
While the freshly raised 14th Legion helped to restore order in Gaul.
By June 708, the twin incursion was over
As a protective measure Roman control was extended to cover the entire West bank of the Rhine.
However, the return of peace was to be a brief interlude. As in Britain, the increasing violence of Rome’s domestic politics was to have an impact on military operations.