Rise and fall of the Roman Empire, from Romulus to Byzantium
Also Etruscans, Carthage
Page last modified 6/4/2019
Second split into East & West; end (or Germanification) of West, 340-552.
First split into East & West (285-323)
Emperor Theodosius I (347-395)
Emperor Trajan (53-117 )
Emperor Nero (37-68)
Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE)
“The sick die here because they cannot sleep; For when does sleep come in rented rooms? It costs a lot merely to sleep in this city” Juvenal, Roman poet.
1748, Excavations on the site of Pompeii began.
1461, The last Byzantine outpost, at Trabzon, fell to the Ottoman Turks.
29/5/1453. THE TURKS CONQUERED CONSTANTINOPLE, following a siege of over a year.
12/5/1453, The Ottoman Sultan ordered the walls of Constantinople be bombarded with huge cannon balls fired from an 8 metre long, 1.05 metre calibre, cannon.
6/4/1453, The Turkish attack on Constantinople began.
6/1/1449, Constantine XI was crowned Byzantine Emperor at Mistra. He was the last in a line of rulers that can be traced to the founding of Rome.
1448, Byzantine Emperor John VIII Paleologus died aged 57 after a 23-year reign. He was succeeded by his 44-year-old brother who reigned until 1453 as Constantine XI Paleologus, the last of the Byzantine Emperors.
6/9/1422. Sultan Murat gave up besieging Constantinople.
1391, Byzantine Emperor John V Paleologus died aged 59. He was succeeded by his 41-year-old son who ruled until 1425 as Emperor Manuel II Paleologus.
1355, Byzantine Emperor John VI Cantacuzene was deposed and retired to a monastery after an 8-year rule during which he imposed heavy taxes to pay for a foreign mercenary army.
15/6/1341, Following the death of Byzantine Emperor Andronicus III, aged 45, this day his 9-year-old son was challenged by his guardian, John Cantacuzene, for the rulership.
11/6/1329, Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Maltepe (Pelekanon)
See also Greece-Turkey, 1326 onwards
6/4/1326. Orkhan, son of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, captured Brusa from the Byzantines and made it his capital. By 1341 Orkhan had reinforced his influence in the Byzantine Empire by marrying twice into it; first to Theodora, daughter of Byzantium’s new joint Emperor John Cantacuzene, whom he had lent 6,000 troops for his coup. Secondly, Orkhan’s new sister in law, Helen, married the other joint Emperor and coup victim, John Paleologus.
27/7/1302, The Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Bapheus, heralding the Turkish conquest of Bithynia.
15/8/1261. Michael VIII Paleologus seized Constantinople, ending the Latin empire and restoring the Byzantine Empire.
13/4/1204, The Crusaders captured Constantinople. In 1198 the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, was to have assembled a fleet to take the Crusaders from Venice to Palestine but there was insufficient money to pay for the ships. So they diverted into Dalmatia and arrived at Constantinople. The Byzantine Prince Alexius Angelus, son of the deposed King Isaac II, persuaded the Crusaders to help reinstate his father. On 7/4/1203 the Crusaders stormed Byzantium and reinstated Isaac II, but the agreed payment of 200,000 marks for this was not paid to the Crusaders; worse, King Isaac II was deposed again. Hence the Crusaders this day re-attacked Byzantium, sacking and looting it.
17/9/1176, Emperor Manuel of Byzantium was defeated by the Muslims, in the Crusades. Without Byzantium the Crusader hold on Palestine was untenable.
8/4/1143, John II, Byzantine Emperor, was killed accidentally.
13/9/1087, John II Komnenos, Byzantine Emperor, was born.
1078, Emperor Michael VII abdicated. He was replaced by a soldier who began a 3-year reign as Nicephorus III Botaniates.
26/8/1071. The armies of the Byzantine leader Emperor Romanus Diogenes and the Turkish leader Mohammed Ibn Da’ud clashed at Manzikert, or Malazagird, north of Lake Van. The Byzantines had entered Armenia with the French and Normans, and some Turks from the Uzes tribe, and the Turkish leader had to abandon a campaign in Syria and hurry north to meet this invasion. The Turkish cavalry routed the enemy. Ibn Da’ud died on 24/11/1072.
1067, Byzantine Emperor Constantine X Dukas died, aged 60. His widow Eudoxia Macrembolitissa married a General, who ruled jointly with her until 1071 as Romanus IV Diogenes.
1059, The Byzantine Emperor Isaac I Comnenus abdicated in favour of a senior financial officer who began an 8-year reign as Constantine X (Dukas). The new Emperor antagonised the army by shifting resources towards the civil service, the church and scholars.
1057, The Comnenus Dynasty, which endured until 1185, began in Byzantium with the reign of Isaac I Comnenus, a military leader proclaimed ruler by the barons of Anatolia.
1056, Byzantine Empress Theodora died, aged 76, ending the Macedonian Dynasty that had begun with the reign of Justinian the Great in 527. Theodora’s successor, Michael VI (Stratioticus) was overthrown in early 1057 by a rebellion of the feudal barons of Anatolia.
1055, Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX died, aged 55, leaving Theodora to rule alone.
1050, The Byzantine Empress Zoe died, aged 70. Her older sister Theodora, who had been co-Empress since 1042, now ruled with Emperor Constantine IX. He spent large sums on public buildings, but this profligacy weakened the economy.
1018, Bulgaria was now part of the Byzantine Empire.
6/10/1014, The Byzantine Emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgarian army, after a 28-year war, under Tsar Samuel, then ordered the defeated 15,000 men to be blinded. Basil arranged for one eye of every hundredth man to be spared so the army could find its way back to the Tsar.
995, The Byzantine Empire conquered Syria, capturing Aleppo and Homs.
10/1/976, Byzantine co-Emperor John I Tzimisces died aged 51 after returning from a second campaign against the Saracens. The other co-Emperor, Basil II, then aged 20, now ruled alone until 1025.
28/10/969. After a prolonged siege, Byzantium captured Antioch from the Arabs.
963, Byzantine Emperor Romanus II, a dissolute ruler, died aged 25, probably poisoned by his wife Romanus. He was succeeded by his infant son, Basil II, who ruled until 1025, with assistance from General Nicephorus Phocas, at that time aged 41.
961, Byzantium recaptured Crete from the Muslims.
913, Byzantine Emperor Alexander II died, and was succeeded by his 8-year-old nephew, son of the late Leo VI, who ruled until 959 as Constantine VII (Porphyrogenitus, ‘born to the purple’).
912, Byzantine Emperor Leo VI died after a 26-year reign. He was succeeded by his brother Alexander II, who ruled for less than a year.
1/7/904. The Arabs sacked Thessalonica, the second greatest city of the Empire after Byzantium itself, before withdrawing.
29/8/886, Byzantine Emperor Basil I died after a 19-year reign. He was succeeded by a son of the late Emperor Michael (by Basil’s widow, Eudocia); he reigned until 912 as Leo VI (The Wise).
867, Basil I became sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.
865, The Vikings sacked Constantinople.
829, Byzantine Emperor Michael II died. He was succeeded by Theophilus, a religious fanatic who ruled until 842.
801, Empress Irene was deposed and replaced by Nicephorus I.
790, A revolt against Empress Irene resulted in her son, Constantine VI, becoming Emperor.
741, Byzantime Emperor Leo III died aged 61 after a 24-year reign, having saved the Empire from Arab invasion (740). He was succeeded by his 22-year-old son, who ruled as Constantine V (Copronymus) until 775.
740, Emperor Leo III defeated the Arabs at Amorium, halting their advance into Asia Minor.
718, The Arab fleet besieging Constantinople was destroyed by Leo III, and the 13-month siege iof the city lifted.
15/8/717, Muslim forces attempted to capture Constantinople, but were defeated However Emperor Theodosius was deposed and succeeded by the 37-year-old Emperor Leo III, who ruled until 741. This was the start of the Isaurian Dynasty, which endured until 802.
716, Emperor Anastasius II was deposed in an army mutiny. He was succeeded by a former tax collector who became Emperor Theodosius; he proved to be an incapable leader and was deposed in 717.
713, Byzantine Emperor Philippicus was deposed after a 2-year reign, after a defeat by the Arabs. He was succeeded by Anastasius II, who strengthened the army and navy., and ruled until 716.
711, Philippicus instituted a rebellion against Justinian; on the death of Justinian, Philippicus declared himself Emperor.
705, Byzantine Emperor Justinian II (Rhinometus) regained the throne that he had lost in 695. He ruled until 711.
695, Byzantine Emperor Justinian II was deposed by army officers, who cut off his nose and exiled him to Kherson (Crimea). Leontius was made Emperor.
665, Byzantine Emperor Constans was assassinated in his bath.
15/8/636. The Byzantine army was crushed by the Moslem Arabs at the Battle of Yarmuk, on the River Yarmuk, east of the Sea of Galilee. The Arabs, who took Damascus in 635, now controlled all of Syria. In 637 the Arabs destroyed the Persian army at the Battle of Qadisiyya. Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs in 638 under Caliph Umar.
578, Emperor Justin died, insane. He was succeeded by his general Tiberius as Tiberius II Constaninius.
1/4/568. King Albion of the Lombards (King since 565, died 573), a Germanic tribe, assembled an army that included his allies, 20,000 Saxons, in order to cross the Alps and form a settlement in Italy. The Lombards may have been invited to attack Italy by the Byzantine General Narses. Milan was occupied by the Lombards on 4/9/569 and Lombard rule established in northern Italy.
14/11/565, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I died after a 38-year reign (born 483); succeeded by his nephew, Justin II (died 578).
559, Belisarius defeated a Hun army near Constantinople.
552, King Totila, Ostrogoth, killed fighting Byzantium (King Narses) at the Battle of Taginae. In 553 Narses again took Rome and Naples for Byzantium.
550, The Ostrogoth King Totila reconquered Rome.
548, Byzantine Empress Theodora (born 508) died.
17/12/546. The Ostrogothic King Totila captured Rome after a years siege. The city had been deserted by all but 500 of its civilian inhabitants. However the Byzantine commander Belisarius re-occupied the deserted city of Rome in 547 and rebuilt its defences.
542, The Plague hit Constantinople, imported by rats from Egypt. Justinian’s soldiers and the traders who fed them carried the Plague around the western Mediterranean, and in 547 it reached Britain. The Plague bacillus probably existed long before this in the Great Lakes area of Africa, and was endemic in the rat population of Ethiopia. However the plague-bearing fleas are only active between 59 F and 68 F so Egypt, hotter than this, created a heat barrier to the disease. This barrier came down when several years of unusually cold weather ensued in Egypt, perhaps caused by a comet tail or a volcanic eruption. Bubonic Plague appeared in Egypt in 541, reaching Comstantinople a year later.
540, The Ostroghtic King Totila took Italy from Byzantium. Meanwhile a Persian army attacked and plundered the Byzantine province of Syria.
539, Belisarius recovered the province of Istria from the Goths.
9/12/536. The Byzantine commander Belisarius, having captured Naples earlier in 536, now took Rome In 534 Belisarius had defeated the Vandals in north Africa.
24/3/536, Procopius, Cassiodirus and other Roman historians recorded that a heavy dust cloud spread across Europe from this day onwards. It was to stay put for 18 months, and in 359 another such cloud stayed in the sky for several months. There were summer frosts and snow showers as temperatures plummeted, and crops failed to ripen because of lack of light and the cold. Widespread food shortages led to the Justinian Plague (541-3), named after the Roman Emperor of the time, which wiped out a third of Europeans. The cause has been linked to a series of huge volcanic eruptions in North America in 535-6, and again in 539 AD.
534, Malta taken by Byzantium (who held it until 870).
533, The Byzantime Emperor Belisarus captured North Africa from the Franks.
13/9/533, At the Battle of Ad Decimum, near Carthage (Tunisia), Byzantine forces defeated the Vandal army under King Gelimer, and his brother Tzazo.
13/1/532, Major riot in Constantinople against Emperor Justinian, caused by heavy taxes and corrupt government.
1/8/527, The Byzantine Emperor Justin I died aged 77. He was succeeded by Justinian I (Flavius Petrus) who began a 38-year reign, strongly influenced by his 19-year-old wife Theodora, until her death in 545.
the Great died
523, The last recorded games in the Coliseum of Rome, a century after they were officially banned.
9/7/518. Death of the Roman Emperor Anastasius I, in Constantinople. Born no later than 430, he became Emperor at the death of Zeno, 491. He reduced taxation but was so prudent financially he gained a reputation for avarice and became unpopular. He fight with Persia, 502 – 505; neither side gaining much by the time peace was made in 506. The Roman Balkan provinces were overrun by Slavs and Bulgars; to protect Constantinople Anastasius built the ‘Anastasian Wall’ in 512. He also had to deal with a rebellion in the European provinces in 514-515, the rebels being assisted by the Huns. He was succeeded by Emperor Justin I (died 527).
476, The German chieftan Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor.
474, Death of Leo I, Eastern Roman Emperor 457 – 474.
467, With Attila gone and the Hun Empire disintegrating, Constantinople now felt it was possible to reconquer North Africa from the Vandals, regaining Rome’s breadbasket. Roman admiral Basiliskos was sent with a fleet of one thousand ships to accomplish this (this emptied the Constantinople Treasury). In Summer 468 Basiliskos approached the North African coast. The breeze should have been westerly at this time of year, but it shifted, trapping the Roman ships against the coast. The Vandals sent burning fireships into the close-packed Roman fleet, which panicked and was heavily defeated.
16/6/455. Rome was sacked and plundered by the Vandals, just 45 years after it was conquered by the Visigoths.
20/6/451. Having mounted an invasion of Gaul, Attila and the Huns were defeated in the Battle of the Cataulanian Fields by a combined force of Romans, Visigoths, and other barbarians, all under the command of Aetius. This joint effort succeeded in preventing any further advance by the Huns into Europe.
7/4/451, Attila's forces invaded Gaul and sacked Metz. The major cities Strasbourg, Worms, Mainz, Trier, Cologne, Reims, Tournai, Cambrai, Amiens and Beauvais were destroyed by the Huns.
28/7/450. Death of Emperor Theodosius II, who fell off his horse, after ruling for 42 years. He left no direct heir.
441, The Huns,moving south from what is now Romania, sacked Constantinople. The Huns then moved west towards Greece. Attila, their leader, burst a blood vessel during a drinking bout and died. Without Attila the loose-knit Hun Empire began to disintegrate.
19/10/439. The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, took Carthage. Gaiseric brought 80,000 people with him across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain in 429, including 15,000 soldiers; he then marched east along the North African coast, looting the cites there. With the loss of its African territories Rome lost the fertile wheat lands on which the Empire depended for its bread. Local Roman administrators remained and Roman law was maintained, to the benefit of the Vandals, who lived in unaccustomed luxury in the Roman villas. The Vandals were Arians and persecuted the Catholic Christians. Gaiseric began to build a fleet of fast ships to dominate the western Mediterranean.
436, No Roman troops were now left in Britain.
429, What is now Morocco (Roman, Mauretania) was overrun by the Vandals, who took it from Roman rule, crossing over from Spain. 15 centuries of maritime piracy from this region began. See also Islam for Morocco in the Islamic era.
425, Large areas of the Western Roman Empire had been settled by Germanic tribes. The Vandals in southern Spain. Huns in Pannonia. Ostrogoths in Dalmatia. The Visigoths and Suevi in Portugal and northern Spain.
27/2/425. Emperor Theodosius II founded, in effect, the University of Constantinople. He gathered a group of professors and gave them a monopoly over higher education in the city.
23/10/424, Emperor Theodosius II nominated his cousin Valentinian, aged 5, the imperial title nobilissimus Caesar ("most noble") of the Western Roman Empire.
416, The Goths continued westwards, entering what is now Catalonia, Spain,
8/5/413, Honorius signed an edict providing tax relief for the Italian provinces Tuscia, Campania, Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Lucania, and Calabria, who were plundered by the Visigoths.
410, The last Roman legions left Britain, to protect Italy from Germanic invasions.
23/8/410. The Visigoths under Alaric I sacked Rome after a third siege. Slaves opened the Salarian Gate and Goths looted the city for three days. It was the first time since 390 BC that Rome had fallen to an enemy. This marked the decline of the Roman Empire. The Goths then continued westwards through what is now southern France.
13/10/409, The Vandals, led by King Gunderic, crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula. They received land from the Romans, in southern Spain. The Alans occupied lands in Lusitania and the Suebi controlled parts of Gallaecia (modern Portugal).
408, The Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius, whose eunuch general Eutropius had been unable to prevent barbarian invasions, died aged 31 after a 13-year reign. He was succeeded by his 7-year-old son who ruled until 450 as Emperor Theodosius II, but under the domination of his sister Pulcheria.
23/8/408, Flavius Stilicho, soldier, was assassinated, on the orders of Emperor Honorius, as Rome was under siege from the Visigoths.
31/12/406. The Rhine, for long the frontier of the Roman Empire, froze over in an exceptionally cold winter. A wave of tribes, the Vandals, Sueves, and Alans, moved across and into Gaul.
23/8/406, Radagaisus, King of the Goths, was executed by the Romans. He had attempted an invasion of Italy but was defeated by Stilicho.
405, The Coliseum in Rome was closed by Emperor Honorius in an austerity move, as amusements were curbed. Gladiatorial contests ceased.
6/4/402, Stilicho led the Romans to victory over the Visigoths at the Battle of Pollentia.
401, The Visigoths invaded Italy, moving north and west from Adrianople through what is now Serbia.
400,The Huns, continuing their westward migration, reached the Danube River in what is now western Romania and eastern Serbia.
397, Stilichio drove out the Visigoths udner Alaric from Greece after a 2-year campaign.
395, The Huns continued moving west and south, and entered eastern Asia Minor and the north east Mediterranean area.
17/1/395. Emperor Theodosius I died and was succeeded by his two sons. The Empire was once again divided; Arcadius, aged 17, husband of Eudoxia (the daughter of Frankish leader Bauto), controlled the east from Constantinople. Meanwhile Honorius, aged 10, ruled the west from Milan (under the regentship of his Vandal master of troops, Stilichio). The border between the east and west crossed the Libyan Desert and the Balkans. Stilichio’s daughter, Maria, married Honorius in 398.
6/9/394, Eugenius was killed in battle against the barbarian legions of Emperor Theodosius. The Frankish general, Arbogast, escaped into the mountains but committed suicide two days later.
393, Emperor Theodosius outlawed the Olympic Games, which has been held for 1,000 years.
28/7/388, Theodosius I, Byzantine Emperor, defeated the Roman Emperor Maximus near Aquileia.
383, Roman legions began to leave Britain, forever; see 410.
15/8/383. The Byzantine Emperor Theodosius signed an agreement with the Visigoths giving them land and political autonomy within the Empire, as foederati (non-Roman citizen allies of Rome) under King Alaric I in return for military service. They were alooewed to settle south of the Danube. See 375.
19/1/379, The Roman Emperor Theodosius assumed power at Sirmius.
9/8/378. The Romans were defeated by the Visigoths at the Battle of Adrianople, Emperor Valens was killed. In 376 the Visigoths had been allowed to move into Roman territory to escape pressure from the Huns. In 377 the Visigoths revolted against Rome and the Roman Emperor Valens determined to subdue them. He attacked on 9/8/378 when the main body of the Goth’s cavalry was away foraging, but suddenly the Goth’s cavalry re-appeared on the battlefield. Two thirds of Valerian’s army was killed. That battle ushered in the supremacy, in the Roman army, of the cavalry over the legions.
376, The Goths moved southwards down the west coast of the Black Sea towards Asia Minor, Adrianople, and Greece.
17/11/375, Emperor Valentian I concluded an enduring peace with the Alamanni in Germany, then marched into Illyrium to repel an invasion of the Quadi and the Sarmatians on the Danube frontier. While negotiating with the Quadi, Valentinian, age 54, became so enraged that he died in a fit of apoplexy at Brigetio (Hungary). Extreme cruelty marked his 11-year reign but he founded schools and provided physicians to serve the poor of Constantinople.
375,. The Huns began to move westwards from Lake Baikal and the steppes of central Asia, conquering the Goths who in turn were driven westwards and massed on the Danubian borders of the Roman Empire as refugees. Ostrogoths, Visigoths and Alans are all Germanic tribes, warlike themselves, who were nevertheless driven west by the Huns. The Visigoths sought and were granted permission by the Romans to cross south-west over the lower Danube. See 15/8/383.
370, Theodosius expelled the Picts and Scots from Roman Britain.
367, The Great Conspiracy; the Saxons, Irish and Attacotti joined with a revolt in the garrisons along Hadrian’s Wall to seek independence from Rome. This Conspiracy was defeated by Theodosius in 370.
26/2/364. Valentinian became Roman Emperor, succeeding Jovian who surrendered the gains of Diocletian to the Persians. On 28/3/364 Valentinian appointed his brother Valens as governor of the eastern Empire. For the first time the division of empire was accompanied by a true division of resources and army between East and West.
26/6/363. Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor, was killed fighting the Persians. The Emperor Julian was determined to reinstate the old Roman gods and eliminate Christianity. A cousin of Constantius II, he declared himself a pagan in November 361 when Constantius II died, leaving him as sole emperor. On 17/6/362 Julian forbade Christians from teaching grammar or rhetoric. He was succeeded by the captain of his bodyguard, Flavius Jovianus, who ruled for 7 months as the Emperor Jovian.
25/8/357. Julian, who was made Caesar by his cousin Constantius II on 6/11/355, defeated the Alemmani at Strasbourg and drove them back across the Rhine.
19/2/356. Constantius II, ruler of all of Rome (see 22/5/337), ordered all pagan temples in the Roman Empire to be closed.
352, The Alemanni and the Franks defeated the Roman Army, and took control of 40 towns along the River Rhine.
11/1/347, The Roman Emperor, Theodosius the Great, was born.
340, The Roman Empire again split into East and West, with Constans as Emperor of the West and Constantiius II as Emperor of the East.
22/5/337. Constantine, born 27/2/274, died after a baptism on his death bed at his villa near Ancyra in Nicomedia. His sons, Constantine II and Constans, shared the west, whilst Constantius II. took control of the eastern Empire. In March 340, Constans killed his brother Constantine II. He was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. On 9/9/337 Constantine’s at three Aquileia in northern Italy and became sole ruler of the west. However Constans was himself murdered by the military commander Magnentius in 350, and in turn Magnentius was defeated in Gaul by Constantius II, ruler of the eastern Empire, at Mursa in 351.Once again Magnentius was defeated by Constantius II in Gaul in 353, following which Magnentius committed suicide and Constantius II was ruler of both east and west.
11/5/330. The Emperor Constantine made Byzantium the new capital of the Roman Empire, and renamed it Constantinople.
25/7/325. Major celebrations were held at Nicomedia, Asia Minor, to mark the twentieth year of Constantine as Emperor. Also celebrated was Constantine’s victory over his former ally Licinius, ruler of the eastern half of the Roman Emperor. The rift came when Licinius broke a promise to Constantine to tolerate the Christian religion. Constantine defeated Licinius in 324 and captured Byzantium. The Council of Nicea closed this day.
3/7/323, The Battle of Adrianople. Constantine I, Western Roman Emperor, defeated Licinius, the eastern Emperor.
3/12/321. Sunday was made a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire. Under the Edict of Milan, 3/2/313, Christianity was now tolerated in the Empire. Persecution of Christians had begun under Diocletian in 303 and peaked under his successors Galerius and Maximian. Constantine, born in Naissus in what is now Yugoslavia, was son of a Christian mother, Helena. When Constantine (born 274) became Emperor in 306 he followed the cult of Sol Invictis, the Unconquered Sun. However in 312, whilst fighting Maxentius the son of Maximian, he saw a cross of light superimposed on the sun. From then on Constantine identified the sun with the God of the Christians. He ordered his men to fight Maxentius with Christian symbols painted on their shields, and they won a famous victory at the Milvian Bridge just outside Rome, on 28/10/312. Constantine became ruler of the western Roman Empire.
28/10/312, Battle of Milvian Bridge. Maxentius had been declared Emperor in Rome, with the backing of the Senate. However Constantine was marching down from Gaul to claim title as Emperor. Constantine’s army was smaller, and relied on cavalry, performing best on open ground. Maxentius had dismantled the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber to halt Constantine’s advance; Maxentius’ troops had to ford the Tiber to attack Constantine, this move put them in the open, favouring Constantine’s cavalry. Maxentius fought in the name of Mars, the Roman God of War; Constantine saw a flaming cross in the sky and fought in the name of Christianity. Constantine’s cavalry charged, disrupting Maxentius’ ranks; Maxentius was killed and his head paraded through Rome the next day on a spear.
1/5/305. Diocletian, Emperor since 284, became the first Roman Emperor to abdicate. He retired to a palace on the Adriatic. There was now a division of responsibility, one emperor for the east and one for the west of the Empire. Diocletian died in 313.
24/2/303, Emperor Diocletian ordered a massive persecution of the Christians.
297, Rome took the Kingdom of Armenia from Persia, also capturing the Persian Harem.
285, The Roman Empire was partitioned into East and West.
29/8/284, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Numerius was assassinated. He was succeeded by General Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Jovius, a 39-year-old Illyrian. He began a 21-year despotic rule of the Eastern Roman Empire whilst Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius was to rule the West.
274, The Romans under Aurelian defeated a breakaway ‘Kingdom of the Gauls’ comprising modern-day France, Spain and Britain.
273, Aurelian defeated the Kingdom of Palmyra.
271, Aurelian defeated the Marcomanni tribe, who in 270 had advanced from Bohemia across the Danube. He also started to rebuid the walls of Rome this year (completed in 276). They were maintained until the unification of Italy in 1861, but were subsequently neglected.
259, Persia defeated another Roman army. They captured the Emperor Valerian and held him in a cage for a year, before killing him.
256, The Franks crossed the Rhine, as the Alemanni reached Milan. Cities in the Roman Empire began to build walls for their own defence as the frontiers of the Roman Empire crumbled.
253,The Goths invaded Asia Minor and reached the gates of Thessalonica.
251, The Goths defeated the Romans at the Battle of Abrittus. Joint Emperors Decius and Herennius Etruscus were killed.
250, The Goths invaded Moesia (present-day Serbia and Bulgaria).
27/2/250, Emperor Constantine was born.
249, Decius, proclaimed Emperor by the Army, deposed and killed the incumbent Emperor Philip the Arab at Verona.
248, The Roman Emperor Philippus hosted a great festival with games to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Rome in 753 BCE.
244, The Sassanid Persians defeated a Roman army, killing the Emperor who was leading it.
243, Gordian III defeated a Persian army under Shapur I at the Battle of Resaena.
242, Roman Emperor Gordian III ceded control of the Cimmerian cities in the Bosphorus region to the Ostrogoths.
238, North Africa rebelled against Roman rule, starting half a century of conflict.
20/3/235, Maximinius Thrax, aged 62, was proclaimed emperor. He had a Gothic father and an Alan mother. Maximinus a Thracian, was the first foreigner to hold the Roman throne.
18/3/235. The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander, was killed in a battle against German invaders in Gaul. Born on 1/10/208 at Arca Caesarea, Phoenicia, Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. In the early 230s he fought against the Persians, returning to Rome in triumph in 233,having secured the province of Mesopotamia. He improved the Empire economically; luxury and extravagance at the Roman Court were reduced, the standard of the coinage was raised, taxes were lightened, the lot of the soldiers was improved, and literature, science, and art were encouraged,. He instituted loan offices to lend money to the people at a reasonable rate of interest.
230, Ardashir I of Persia invaded the Roman province of Mesopotamia, but was repulsed.
230, The Romans built a fort at Ghadames, western Libya.
27/6/221. The 19 year old Emperor Elagabalus was assassinated by a member of the Praetorian Guard. Alexander Severus became Emperor.
8/6/218, Emperor Macrinus was assassinated near Antioch after he tried to reduce the pay of the Roman soldiers. He was succeeded by Variua Avitus Bassianus, a 14-year-old from Syria, a grandnephew by marriage of the late Septimus Severus. He claimed to be a son of Caracalla, and named himself Heliogabalus, or Elagabalus, from the name of the Syrian Sun King.
8/4/217, Roman Emperor Caracalla was assassinated after a bloody reign. He was succeeded by M Opellius Severus Macrinus, a 53-year-old from \Mauretania, as Emperor Macrinus.
4/2/211. The Emperor Septimus Severus died at York whilst fighting the Caledonian tribes.
202, Rome banned female gladiators.
28/3/193, The Roman Emperor Pertinax was assassinated.
190, The Column of Marcus Aurelius, Rome, was erected.
4/4/188, The Roman emperor Caracalla (211-17) was born at Lyons in Gaul.
180, The Roman attempt to subdue Scotland failed; Rome withdrew south of the Hadrians Wall.
17/3/180. Marcus Aurelius (Emperor from 161) died of the plague. He was succeeded by his son Commodus. However Commodus fell prey to insanity due to excessive power. He attempted to rename Rome as Colonia Aurelia Nova Commodiana; also renaming the fleet, wheat, the legions, and the months of the year. On 31/12/192 Commodus, who saw himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, planned to sacrifice the new consuls on 1/1/193; the consul had an athlete called Narcissus strangle Commodus in his bath. His death ended the Antonine Dynasty.
167, The smallpox / measles epidemic reached Rome.
7/3/161. Emperor Antoninus died at Lorium and was replaced by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius inherited a stableEmpire but soon had to deal with a Parthian invasion of Syria, and then the crowded Roman troop camps in Syria provided the perfect place for an epidemic (probably smallpox or measles) to break out.
21/4/147. Emperor Antoninus celebrated the 900th anniversary of Rome’ s foundation.
143. The Antonine Wall was built in Britain, north of Hadrian’s wall. However in 165 the Romans retreated back south to Hadrian’s wall.
140, The Roman theatre at Verulamium (St Albans) was built.
See also Great Britain
10/7/138. Hadrian, who became Emperor of Rome on 8/8/117, died at his villa on the Bay of Naples. See 8/8/117.
127, Hadrian’s Wall, Britain, was completed (work began in 122). This fixed the boundary between the Roman Empire and Caldedonia as a line from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth.
26/4/121, Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, was born.
8/8/117. The Emperor Trajan died, and was succeeded by Hadrian. See 24/1/76, and 10/7/138. Hadrian abandoned the expansionist policy of Trajan and earlier emperors and sought to stabilise the frontiers of Rome. To achieve defensible frontiers the provinces of Assyria and Mesopotamia were abandoned, although there was as yet no thought of giving up Britain. Instead, Hadrian built a wall from the Solway Firth to the Tyne to keep out the Picts. Work on building this wall began in 122, and was completed in 130.
105, Trajan invaded the Danube region for the second time (previously, 101-2 AD), to conquer the Dacian territories. He founded the Roman colonial city of Ulpia Trajana.
98, In Britain, the city of Colonia Nervia Glevensis (Gloucester) was founded (named after Emperor Nerva).
25/1/98, Nerva, Emperor of Rome, died. He was succeeded by his son Trajan, with whom he had ruled jointly for the last three months of his life.
18/9/96, Nerva (35 – 98) became Emperor of Rome. He purchased large areas of agricultural land in Italy and gave these to the poor. He also reformed the tax system and streamlined the Roman bureaucracy. On this day Emperor Domitian was murdered, by assassins in the pay of his wife, Domitilla. See 25/1/98
23/8/93, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Roman general renowned for his conquests, died in Rome. In 83 AD he had won a decisive victory against Caledonian tribes at the Battle of Mons Graupius, probably the Killiecrankie Pass. Had he been able to follow up this victory Rome might have conquered the whole of Britain up to the northern end of Scotland. However to Rome, Caledonia (Scotland) and the raids from its unsubdued tribes was a minor issue; the main problem then was the Germanic threat from east of the Rhine and north of the Danube. Agricola was recalled to Rome with Caledonia unconquered.
81, Arch of Titus erected in Rome, to commemorate the Roman victory in Jerusalem.
13/9/81, Roman Emperor Titus died, aged 40, after a 2-year reign. He was succeded by his 29-year old brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus, who ruled until 96 as Emperor Domitian.
80, The Coliseum, Rome, was opened; 3 months of celebrations marked its inauguration. It was begun in 75 under the orders of Vespasian.
24/8/79. Vesuvius erupted, destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing 2,000 people.
23/6/79, Death of the Roman Emperor Vespasian died, aged 69, after a 10-year reign. He was succeeded by his 38-year-old son, Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus Titus. He ruled as Emperor Titus until 81.
76, Rome conquered Wales.
24/1/76. Birth of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. See 8/8/117.
15/4/73, To escape enslavement the male Jewish defenders of Masada, about to be overwhelmed by the Romans, killed the women and children and then committed suicide.
72, Construction work began on the Coliseum, Rome.
8/9/70. Jerusalem was stormed by the Romans after a two year siege. This ended a revolt by the Jews that began in 66. Only in Masada did the Jews still hold out for a while. See Judaism
20/12/69, Aulus Vitellius, former Emperor of Rome, was dragged from his hiding place and assassinated. Vespasian now ruled unchallenged, and held post until 79.
1/7/69 Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor of Rome by the prefect of Egypt; this was supported by the Legate of Syria and the Danubian legions. Vitellus gathered forces to oppose Vespasian’s supporters. Vitellus was defeated by Vespasian in the Second Battle of Bedriacum, late October 69.
19/4/69, Aulus Vitellus sent two legions to the Po Valley where they defeated supporters of Otto in the Battle of Bedriacum, near Cremona. The Roman Emperor Otto then committed suicide. Vitellus now faced a challenge from Titus Flavianus Sabinus Vespasianus, 59, Legate of Judea.
15/1/69, The Roma Emperor Galba was assassinated by Marcus Salvius Otho, 36, a friend of the late Nero. Eight legions on the Rhine had denied their allegiance to Galba and claimed legate Aulus Vitellus, 54, as Emperor instead. The Senate recognised Otho as Emperor.
114, Rome took Mesopotamia from the Parthians; however this land was too far from Rome to control, and was given up 3 years later. Rome tried 4 more times to occupy Mesopotamia and its fertile land, each time to fail to hold it.
77, Agricola, Roman Governor,extended Roman influence north to the mouth of the Clyde. He sent a Roman naval squadron to explore the north of Scotland; they reached as far as the Orkney and Shetland Isles.
68-69, The Helviticans (Swiss) rebelled, and were crushed by Roman general Caecina.
9/6/68. Nero committed suicide, having been deserted by the Praetorian Guard and lost favour with the Senate. His death ended the Julio-Claudian line of Emperors that had ruled Rome for 128 years; he was succeeded by Galba, who ruled for less than 6 months before facing challenges to his leadership.
66, Nero sent two Roman soldiers to explore the River Nile by boat. They got as far south as the Sudd, a huge swamp the size of England before turning back.
18/7/64. The great fire of Rome took place during the reign of Nero (born 15/12/37, became emperor 13/10/54). He played the lyre and was 50 miles away at his villa in Antium when he heard the news. The fire destroyed 10 of the 14 districts of Rome and burned for 6 days. Nero was blamed for starting the fire, and to divert blame he said the Christians had started it, putting them to death in cruel ways.
13/10/54, Roman emperor Claudius I died, aged 64, possibly after being poisoned by Agrippina, his wife and niece, and was succeeded by Nero, Agrippina’s son by another marriage.
15/9/53, Marcus Ulpius Traianus, the Emperor Trajan, was born near Seville, Spain. He was the first Roman Emperor to be born in the provinces.
24/10/51, Domitian, Emperor of Rome, was born.
50, The Acqua Claudia, an aqueduct from Campagna to Rome, was built.
48, The Romans invaded Wales, completing their conquest of the country by 80.
43, Roman invasion of Britain. The British, under Caractacus,were defeated at the Medway.
40, Rome conquered Mauretania, the region of Morocco and NWAlgeria.
25/1/41, After a night of negotiation, Claudius was accepted as Emperor by the Senate. He ruled until 54.
24/1/41, Caligula, known for his eccentricity and cruel despotism, was assassinated, aged 28, by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards.
18/3/37, The Roman Senate annulled Tiberius's will and proclaimed Caligula Roman Emperor.
16/3/37, Emperor Tiberius died, aged 78. He was succeeded by Gaius Caesar, 25, youngest son of Germanicus Caesar, nephew of Tiberius, called Caligula after his habit of wearing soldier’s boots, or caligulae. He was a cruel ruler.
28/4/32, The Roman Emperor Otto was born.
15/12/37, Roman Emperor Nero was born.
18/10/31, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, plotter against Emperor Tiberius, was executed in Rome.
26/5/17. The Romans won a major victory over Arminius, avenging their defeat of 9 BCE in the Teutoberg Forest.
2/1/17, The historian and poet Livy died in Rome.
24/9/15, The Roman Emperor Aulus Vitellius was born.
19/8/14. Death of the Roman Emperor Augustus, after a 41-year reign. He was born in Rome on 23/9/63 BC. He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius Caludius Nero, aged 55. Tiberius ruled until 37 AD.
31/8/12, Birth of Emperor Caligula.
18/11/9, Birth of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.
9, Three entire Roman legions under General Quintinius Varus were wiped out by the Germanic tribes under Arminius in the Teutoberg Forest. The Rhine was then settled on by the Romans as the boundary of their empire. The Romans had hoped to push as far east as the Elbe; eliminating a salient into their territory created by the Rhine-Danube boundary. However see 26/5/17 AD.
1/8/10 BCE. Roman Emperor Claudius I was born in Lyons.
15 BCE, The upper Danube region was conquered by the Romans.
21/9/19 BCE. The Roman poet Virgil, born 15/10/70 BC, died, after falling ill with sunstroke whilst on a journey to Greece. His tomb in Naples became a shrine.
1/8/19 BCE, Claudius I, Roman Emperor who invaded Britain in 43 AD, was born.
25 BCE, Julius Caesar began a conquest of what is now Switzerland, founding the Province of Rhaetia.
30 BCE, Rome replaced its army of conscript soldiers with career soldiers.
1/8/30 BCE, Octavian Caesar captured Alexandria. This marked the official annexation of Ancient Egypt to the Roman Republic.
2/9/31 BCE. Octavian and his general, Agrippa, defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra’s fleet off Actium. Anthony followed Cleopatra to Egypt, to which she had escaped with 60 ships. There, pursued by his enemies and deserted by his troops, Anthony, aged 52, committed suicide in the mistaken belief that Cleopatra had already done likewise.
This battle traditionally marks the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire.
34 BCE, Dalmatia became a Roman Province.
16/11/42 BCE. Tiberius, the second Emperor of Rome, whose rule was marked by cruelty and debauchery, was born in Rome. He was the son of the High Priest Tiberius Claudius Nero, and of Livia Drusilla, her husband’s cousin.
23/10/42 BCE. Marcus Brutus, whose army was crushed by Anthony and Octavian at the Second Battle of Philippi, committed suicide in Rome by falling on his own sword.
7/12/43 BCE. Cicero (Marcus Tullus), the great Roman orator, (born 106 BCE) was killed by a soldier, Herennius, as he attempted to flee by ship to Macedonia. He had fallen into disfavour for writing The Philippics, a series of attacks on Mark Anthony. In 44 BC he had been in a powerful position, when Julius Caesar was assassinated, but Cicero has then opposed Caesar’s successor, Octavian.
10/10/43 BCE, The city of Lyons was founded by Lucius Plancus.
20/3/43 BCE, The poet Ovid was born.
15/3/44 BCE. Julius Caesar murdered. He was born on 12/7/100 BC, but not by Caesarean section as often claimed, although his surname does derive from the Latin ‘to cut’. He made major conquests in his lifetime, and put down civil wars in Asia and Spain; he was honoured like a god. But he was slain by his close associates when he began claiming in name power he held in fact, and planning grand projects such as the invasion of Parthia.
15/2/44 BCE, Julius Caesar was appointed dictator for life.
1/1/44 BCE, Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar.
46 BCE, North Africa was made a Roman Province. Vercingetorix, King of the Gauls, was executed in Rome.
8/4/46 BCE, Julius Caesar defeated Scipio’s Republican army at Thrapsus in Africa.
23/6/47 BCE, Queen Cleopatra gave birth to Caesarion, who was probably the son of Julius Caesar.
9/8/48 BCE. Caesar, having landed at northern Epirus in June, defeated Pompey’s troops and those of his father in law Metellus Scipio at Pharsalus. Pompey fled to Egypt. However on landing in Egypt on 28/9/48 BC, Pompey was murdered on the orders of Ptolemy XII. Caesar’s forces continued to hunt down Pompey’s forces under his sons, finally defeating them in Spain on 15/3/45 BC.
2/8/49 BCE. Caesar, having left Marcus Antonius in charge of Italy and marched to Spain, defeated Pompey’s generals Afranius and Petreius at Lerida north of the Ebro River.
10/1/49 BCE. Caesar crossed the Rubicon, a small river marking the boundary between Gaul and Italy, as he marched on Rome to fight his former ally Pompey. Pompey, fearing Caesar’s large army, fled Italy for Greece along with most of the Senate.
7/1/49. BCE. The Senate said it would declare Caesar a public enemy if he did not disband his army.
3/10/52 BCE, Battle of Alesia: Caesar defeated the Gauls led by Vercingetorix (who surrendered on October 3), breaking the back of the Gallic insurrection. The final pacification of Gaul was completed the following year.
9/52 BCE. Rome defeated an army in Gaul under Vercingetorix.
54 BCE, Cassivellaunus, a major Belgic king in Britain, agreed to pay tribute to Rome.
26/8/55 BCE. Julius Caesar landed in Britain. He was attempting to deter the Britons from giving military aid to the Gauls.
56 BCE, The Conference of Luca (now Lucca); Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey met to patch up their differences and work together. However Crassus and Pompey had become wary of Caesar, as his power grew after his victories in Gaul. The three arranged that Pompey and Crassus would hold the Consulship in 55 BCE, whilst Caesar continued his successful campaign in Gaul; afterwards, Crassus would become Governor of Syria, from where he would campaign against tha Parthians. However Crassus was killed in a major Roman defeat by the Parthians in 53 BCE, and relations deteriorated between Caesar and Pompey, to the point of civil war, see 49 BCE.
See also Great Britain
57 BCE, Julius Caesar subdued the Belgae.
58 BCE, Julius Caesar began a conquest of Gaul. At the Battle of Bibractae, Helvitican tribes migrating into Gaul were defeated by the Romans under Julius Caesar.
60 BCE, The Romans founded colonies in Switzerland.
29/9/61 BCE, September 29 – Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars.
62 BCE, City of Florence was founded.
5/1/62 BCE, The forces of the conspirator Catiline were defeated by the loyal Roman armies of Antonius Hybrida led by Gaius Antonius in the Battle of Pistoria.
23/9/63 BCE. Birth of the first Roman Emperor, Gaius Octavius Caesar, adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar.
8/12/65 BCE. Horace, Roman poet, was born in Venusian Apulia.
68 BCE. Crete was captured by the Romans.
15/10/70 BCE, Virgil, Roman poet, was born.
72 BCE, The Suevi, a Germanic tribe, crossed the Rhone and invaded Gaul led by KingAriovistus.
73 BCE, Rome’s Third Servile War began as slaves revolted under the leadership of the Thracian slave and gladiator, Spartcacus. He seized the Mount Vesuvius region and gathered other slaves to his cause. He was defeated by Roman armies in 72 BCE.
74 BCE, Bithynia became a Roman province.
78 BCE, Sulla died.
83 BCE, Rome conquered Pontus.
13/1/86 BCE, Gaius Marius, Roman soldier and politician, died.
88 BCE, Upsrising against Roman rule in Athens.
90 – 89 BCE, Civil war in Rome; Sulla defeated Marius.
99 BCE, Rome’s Second Servile War ended as Consul Aquilius finally put down stubborn resistance by the slaves.
12/7/100 BCE. Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was born, but not by Caesarean section, though his name does derive from the Latin ‘to cut’.
102 BCE, At the Battle of Aix en Provence, Rome under Consul Gaius Marius defeated the Teutones and Sciri tribes.
103 BCE, Romes Second Servile War began as slaves revolted under the leadership of Tryphon and Athenion. Human slaves provided the power for much of Rome’s agriculture;they could follow verbal orders, despite being less powerful and less docile than horses. The utility of horses was limited by the lack of metal horseshoes or proper harnesses.
105 BCE, Rome defeated Jugurtha, King of Numidia (northern Algeria)l and brought him to Rome in chains. He was executed in 104 BCE. Meanwhile, two Roman armies were defeated at Arausio, on the Rhone, by the Cimbri, Celtic or Germanic tribes who had migrated westwards from the Alpine region.
106 BCE, Gaius Marius was elected Consul, and sent to north Africa to fight Jugurtha.
3/1/106 BCE, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, was born.
111 BCE,War broke out between Rome and Jugurtha, King of Numidia (northern Algeria).
123 BCE, As the cost of living soared in Rome, Gaius Gracchus began seeling subsidised grain, for bread, from the State granaries.
129 BCE, Scipio the Younger, who destroyed Carthage, died (born 185 BCE).
132 BCE, The First Servile War, the revolt of slaves in Sicily, ended as the Romans captured and executed the rebel leader, Eunus.
133 BCE, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, aged 30, was elected Roman Tribune on a promise of social reform. He tried to limit individual landholdings in an effort to break up the large latifundia but largely failed.
135 BCE, Rome’s First Servile War began as slaves on the large Sicilian estates revolted under the Syrian, Eunus, who styled himself King Antiochus. Roman armies were sent to put down the rebellion.
146 BCE, The Romans destroyed Carthage, ending the Third Punic War.
147 BCE, Rome sacked the city of Corinth. Greece came under Roman control.
149 BCE, Following the Fourth Macedonian War, Macedonia became a Roman province.
149 BCE, The Romans invaded North Africa and laid siege to Carthage, The Carthaginians offered to surrender but refused to give up the city.
150 BCE, Rome again faced a threat from a resurgent Carthage, as the Carthaginians attacked Numidia against Rome’s wishes. Masinna, the 88 year old king of Numidia, was now Rome’s ally. Roman Censor Marcus Porcius Cato famously urged “Delenda est Carthago” (Carthage must be destroyed).
1/1/153 BCE, 1st January became the start of the civil year in Rome, rather than the traditional 15 March; a revolt in Spain had forced the earlier accession of the Roman Consuls.
168 BCE Rome conquered Egypt.
22/6/168 BCE, The Romans defeated the Macedonians, who were led by Perseus, at Pydna.
170 BCE, The first paved streets appeared in Rome. They were passable in all weather and easier to keep clean, but traffic noise was increased.
171 BCE, The Macedonians under Perseus attacked Rome, starting the Third Macedonian War.
179 BCE, The first stone bridge in Rome was completed, the Pons Aemilius over the Tiber.
183 BCE, Hannibal, born 246 BCE, poisoned himself at the court of King Prusia of Bithynia, who was about to hand him over to the Romans.
183 BCE, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, Roman General and politician (born 233 BCE) died.
190 BCE, The Battle of Magnesia; Roman victory by Cornelius Scipio over Antiochus III of Syria. The Syrians surrendered their territory to Rome as far as the Taurus Mountains and agreed to pay 15,000 talents over 12 years, also to surrender Hannibal to Rome (however he escaped).
191 BCE, Cisalpine Gaul became a Roman province.
197 BCE, At the Battle of Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, the Romans under T Quinctius Flaminius defeated the Macedonians under Philip V. The Romans forced Philip V to surrender Greece to Rome, reduce his army to 5,00 men and his navy to five ships, promise not to make war without Rome’s permission, and to pay Rome 1,000 talents over ten years.
201 BCE, Under surrender terms, Carthage handed over all her territories, including the Iberian peninsula, to Rome. Carthage also agreed to pay Rome 200 talents a year for 50 years, and not to make war without Rome’s permission. All but ten of Carthage’s warships were destroyed.
19/10.202 BCE, Battle of Zama, Tunisia, end of the Second Punic War. The Romans under Scipio defeated a combined force of Carthaginians and Numidians under Hannibal, Carthage capitulated.
204 BCE, The Romans under Cornelius Scipio laid siege to Carthage. The Carthaginians burnt alive 100 sons of noblemen in an effort to appease their god, Molech, and raise the siege.
207 BCE, The Battle of Metaurus, Umbria, ended Carthaginian hopes of success in Italy.
207 BCE. The Romans under Scipio the Elder heavily defeated the Carthaginians at Baecula, now Bailen, in southern Spain. The Roman conquest of southern Spain gave them control of the area’s silver mines, which vastly increased the wealth available to pay soldiers and make further conquests across Europe.
213 BCE, The Romans constructed a large port at Adria, which operated until the 12th century. Situated in the Po delta, it gave its name to the Adriatic Sea; however by 1900 it was 14 miles inland from the sea.
2/8/216 BCE. Hannibal defeated the Romans at the Battle of Cannae. The Phoenicians originated in modern day Lebanon but grew rich on trade and expanded throughout the western Mediterranean. Their original city was Sidon in Lebanon, which was a wealthy trading entrepot by 1500 BC. From Sidon came the colony of Tyre, 20 miles further south; Tyre came to eclipse Sidon. From Tyre trading colonies were sent out across the Mediterranean, trading as far as ‘Tarshish’, perhaps southern Spain or even Cornwall; Tarshish had many valuable metal mines. Carthage was the foremost Phoenician colony of Tyre. Carthage, in Tunisia, was founded around 814 BC. By 480 BC, when the Carthaginian Himilco landed in tin-rich Cornwall, Carthage was a major power. Other Carthaginians sailed around west Africa perhaps as far as Cameroon. There was conflict with Greece and in 535 BC the Carthaginians, helped by their Etruscan allies, drove the Greeks out of Corsica and Sardinia. A dispute for control of Sicily continued. Meanwhile Rome was rising in power. In 246 BC Rome started the First Punic War in an effort to gain Sicily and in 241 BC Rome gained Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia. The Carthaginians moved into Spain and set up Cartagena or New Carthage. Carthage again grew rich and there was further conflict with Rome in 218 BC. Hannibal set off from Cartegana in Spain and marched through Spain Gaul and Italy with nearly 40 elephants, defeating the Romans at Cannae in 216 BC. Hannibal’s army wiped out a Roman force nearly twice its size, killing 70,000 Romans whilst losing only 6,000 of its own men. The Roman forces were less manoeuvrable than the Carthaginian forces. Hannibal, however, lacked the catapults and battering rams necessary to take Rome itself, so contented himself with laying waste to the surrounding countryside, greatly increasing food prices in Rome.
Rome continued to harass Hannibal for the next 13 years, and when Rome invaded Carthage it was abandoned by its allies; Rome occupied Spain and Sicily. Hannibal was defeated by Rome in 202 BC at Zama, south west of Carthage, and Hannibal himself fled to King Antiocus III of Syria in 195 BCE, Hannibal committed suicide in 183 BC, to avoid extradition to Rome.
Carthage again prospered under peace and once again became a threat to Rome. In 150 BC Rome found an excuse to attack Carthage and besieged it for three years, capturing it in 146 BC. The city was totally destroyed, and of its population of 500,000, only 30,000 survived, to be sold into slavery. However the city was rebuilt in 123 BCE and a century later Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there. In 439 AD the city was razed by the Vandals as Roman power waned. The Byzantine conquest revived Carthage but in 698 the city fell to the Arabs, who demolished it and used the stone to build Tunis. Some of Carthage’s granite and marble was exported to build cathedrals in Pisa, Genoa, and perhaps even Canterbury.
24/6/217 BCE, Carthaginian forces, allied with Gauls, under Hannibal defeated the Romans at Lake Trasimene, 10 miles north west of Perusia. Some 16,000 Romans, including their commander Flaminius were killed, the lake turned red with their blood.
218 BCE, The Second Punic War began as the Carthaginians attacked Rome’s allies on the Iberian Peninsula. Hannibal besieged and then conquered the town of Sagunto, then crossed the Alps, defeating the Romans first at the Ticino River and then a second time at the Trebbia River.
220 BCE, The Flaminian Way was completed between Rome and Rimini.
221 BCE, Hasdrubal was assassinated. Control of the Carthaginian army now passed to Hannibal, 26 year old son of the late Hamilcar Barca.
222 BCE, Rome conquered northern Italy, including the city of Mediolanum (now Milan).
225 BCE, Rome defeated the Gauls near Telamon, Etruria, Italy..
228 BCE, Hamilcar Barca killed in battle. Command of the Carthaginian army in the Iberian Peninsula passed to his son-in-law, Hasdrubal.
228 BCE, Carthage founded the city of Carthago Nova, now known as Cartagena.
238 BCE, Carthage began the conquest of Spain. under Hamilcar Barca, aged 33. Sardinia and Corsica conquered by Rome.
241 BCE, End of the First Punic War; Hamilcar made peace with Rome. Carthage was forced to cede all of Sicily to Rome.
246 BCE, Hamilcar Barca took control of Carthaginian forces fighting Rome in Sicily.
254 BCE, Rome took Panormus, in Sicily, from the Carthaginians.
256 BCE, The Roman navy defeated Carthage at Ecnomus.
260 BCE, Rome defeated Carthage at the naval Battle of Mylae, off the north coast of Sicily. The Roman commander, Gaius Duilius Nepos, used quinquiremes, based on the design of a Carthaginian ship found stranded on the Italian coast; he also pioneered the use of grappling irons and boarding bridges which enabled him to defeat the larger and more manoeuvrable Carthaginian fleet.
264 BCE, Appius Claudius Pulcher defeated Hiero of Syracuse at Messana. Rome’s First Punic War with Carthage began; it lasted until 241 BCE.
266 BCE, Rome conquered Calabria.
272 BCE, Rome subjected Tarentum; gained control of central and southern Italy.
279 BCE, Pyrrhus defeated Rome at Asaculum. However he failed to follow up this victory and was defeated by Rome at Beneventum, and left Italy in 275 BCE,
280 BCE, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, sent forces to aid Tarentum in its fight against Rome (282 – 272 BCE). Pyrrus defeated Rome at Heraclea.
283 BCE, Rome captured Corsica.
287 BCE, Full equality between the Patricians and Plebeians in Rome.
289 BCE, Rome defeated by the Senones (from Gaul) at Arretium.
293 BCE, Rome defeated the Samnites at Aguilonia.
295 BCE, Rome subjected the Etruscans.
300 BCE, Plebeians admitted to the priesthood.
310 BCE, Rome conquered the Etruscan town of Perusia (now Perugia).
312 BCE, Appius Claudius Caecus constructed the Appian aqueduct. He also began constructing the Appian Way, which ran from Rome to Capua.
320 BCE, Rome defeated the Samnites at Luceria.
321 BCE, Rome defeated the Samnites at the Caudine Forks.
348 BCE, Rome and Carthage signed a trade agreement.
366 BCE, First Plebeian Council elected in Rome.
377 BCE, The city walls of Rome were rebuilt.
387 BCE, Following the attack by the Gauls under Brennus, Rome was rebuilt.
18/7/390 BCE. The Romans suffered a major defeat by the Gauls on the banks of the River Allia, a small tributary of the Tiber, about 11 miles north of Rome. The Gauls then withdrew.
393 BCE, Rome conquered Veii, an imoortant Etruscan city just west of Rome.
409 BCE, The Catharginians and Greeks began fighting for possession of Sicily. They agreed to divide the island between them,
396 BCE, Rome captured the Etruscan city of Veii, after a 10-year siege.
406 BCE, Rome started paying its troops a wage (instead of them relying on plunder). The Roman State also instituted taxation at this time.
413 BCE, The Athenians attempted to invade Sicily, but their fleet was destroyed.
439 BCE, The Plebeian Revolt in Rome; Plebeians won the right to marry Patricians. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was appointed dictator.
Ca. 450 BCE. Rome defeated the Sabines, who had coveted Rome’s access to the sea and its salt works.
450 BCE, Rome conquered the Greek trading city of Tarentum, Italy.
493 BCE, Rome and the Latins formed an alliance, to fight the Etruscans.
496 BCE, Rome defeated the Latins at the Battle of Lake Regillus.
509 BCE, Rome overthrew its last (Etruscan-lineage) King, Tarquinius, and became a Republic.
534 BCE, Death of Servius Tullus, penultimate King of Rome (578 – 534 BCE). He established a clsss system based on property.
Ca. 600 BCE Rome rose to prominence as it was settled by Etruscans. The Tiber was easily forded at Rome, allowing access to the rich volcanic soils of Latium to the south.
616 BCE, Tarquin I, Etruscan King of Rome, acceded.
658 BCE, Byzantium (later, Constantinople) was founded by Greek colonists from Megara.
713 BCE, King Numa Pompilius of Rome reformed the calendar, adding the months of January and February
21/4/753 BCE. Traditional date for the founding of Rome by the two twins, Romulus and Remus.
814 BCE, Carthage (Tunisia) was founded, as a trading centre with Tyre (Lebanon).
900 BCE, The first towns in Italy were founded by the Etruscans, migrants from Lydia (now western Turkey)