HIS101 logo Roman History Timeline
by Jim Jones, West Chester University of Pennsylvania (c.2013)
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This list begins with the founding of the village of Rome around 753 BCE and continues to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE. It is particularly detailed for the period from 58 BCE to 31 BCE (Julius Caesar to Caesar Augustus) and for 376 CE to 480 CE (the "fall" of the Western Roman Empire).

1200 BCE Etruscans reached northern Italy
800-500 BCE Greeks established colonies throughout southern Italy
800 BCE Phoenicians established Carthage on the north coast of Africa
about 753 BCE village of Rome founded
600 BCE Rome was a province of Etruria
509 BCE Romans revolted against the Etruscan kings and created the system of government by the Senate and the Assembly
494 BCE first disputes between patricians (wealthy landowners who controlled the Senate) and plebeians (ordinary citizens)
450 BCE "Law of the 12 Tables" provides written Roman law
390 BCE Gaulic invasion sacked Rome
282-272 BCE War with Pyrrhus
265 BCE Rome completed the occupation of the Italian peninsula
264-241 BCE First war with Carthage (First Punic War)
238 BCE Conquest of Sardinia
229-228 BCE First Illyrian War (Balkans)
219 BCE Second Illyrian War
218-201 BCE Second Punic War (Hannibal crossed the Alps)
215-205 BCE First Macedonian War
200-197 BCE Second Macedonian War
200-191 BCE Gaul invasion of northern Italy
192-189 BCE Syrian War
171-168 Third Macedonian War
149-148 BCE Fourth (and final) Macedonian War
149-146 BCE Third Punic War and final defeat of Carthage
135-132 BCE First Servile War (slave revolt)
133 BCE Tiberius, the first senator to advocate land reform, was assassinated in 133 BCE by land-owners.
91-88 BCE The "Social War" (revolt by Roman allies in Italy)
88-84 BCE First Mithridatic War (Black Sea region)
88 BCE Sulla became the first Roman general to seize power
88-82 BCE Civil war in Rome
83-81 BCE Second Mithridatic War
79 BCE Sulla returned power to the Senate
74-64 BCE Third Mithridatic War
64 BCE Pompey captured Jerusalem
58 BCE Julius Caesar appointed governor of Gaul
58-51 BCE Julius Caesar's army conquered Gaul
58-49 BCE To forestall another military revolt, the Senate yielded power to the First Triumvirate composed of Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar
54 BCE Invasion of Britain
49-48 BCE Julius Caesar and Cleopatra (descendant of Ptolemy in Egypt) conceived a child
46-44 BCE Cleopatra lived at Julius Caesar's estate in Rome
45 BCE Julius Caesar defeated Pompey and became the first dictator of Rome
44 BCE Julius Caesar assassinated on orders of the Senate
44-31 BCE The Second Triumvirate of Marc Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus) ruled Rome. Note that Octavian was the nephew of Julius Caesar, and brother-in-law of Marc Antony
42-30 BCE Cleopatra and Marc Antony had a relationship that lasted until their deaths
31 BCE Caesar Octavian defeated the combined forces of Cleopatra and Marc Antony in the naval battle of Actium (near Greece)
30 BCE First Roman governor of Egypt
31 BCE-14 CE Octavian became Caesar Augustus, the first emperor
14-37 CE Tiberius, stepson of Caesar Augustus, became emperor
about 33 CE Crucifixion of Jesus; origin of Christianity
61 CE Druid revolts in Britain
64 CE Fire destroyed much of Rome during Nero's rule
66-70 CE Jewish revolts in Judea (Palestine)
69 CE General Vespasian expelled Nero, the last of Caesar Augustus' descendants, and started a new imperial family
70 CE Expulsion of Jews from Palestine
77-84 CE Conquest of Britain
79 CE Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius preserved the city of Pompeii
83 CE Roman army crossed the Rhine River to attack the Germans
96-180 CE The period of the "Five Good Emperors" (Pax Romana)
90 CE First Christian bishop of Rome
113-117 CE Parthian War (Persia)
120 CE Some Roman businessmen were Christian
132-135 CE Jewish rebellion sparked when Romans placed a colony and temple in Jerusalem
180 CE Commodius succeeded his father Marcus Aurelius and imperial power began to decline
193 CE Following civil war, another general, Septimius Severus, became emperor
211-285 CE Numerous emperors killed by revolts and assassinations
259-270 CE German invasions force Romans to yield territory
285 CE Emperor Diocletian divided the empire and moved his capital to Byzantium (in Anatolia, later Constantinople)
305 CE Constantine became the first Christian emperor
315 CE Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman world
324-337 CE Constantine reunited the empire
325 CE Council of Niceae solidifies Christian doctrine
330 CE Constantine inaugurated the new capital of Constantinople
337-351 CE Constantine's three sons fought to control the empire until Constantius won.
361-363 CE The Romans failed to defeat the Persians, and in the process, the Eastern Emperor Julianus was killed
363-367 CE Roman generals selected the Eastern Emperors
376 CE At the battle of Adrianople in the Balkans, the Visigoths defeated the Romans
379-395 CE During the reign of Emperor Theodosius, barbarians were permitted to settle on Roman territory in the Balkans
382 CE Roman emperors gave up the title of "Pontus Maximus" (leader of the Church) to the Bishops of Rome
383-387 CE British legionnaires supported Magnus Maximus, a rival to Emperor Theodosius's choice for the Western Emperor (Valentinian II), but Theodosius' forces captured and killed him.
394 CE Frankish leaders killed the Western Emperor Valentinian II, and were in turn defeated by Theodosius' forces at the Battle of Frigid River, reuniting the Roman Empire again
395 CE After his death, heirs to Theodosius divided the Roman Empire for the last time
395-423 CE Honorius became the Western Emperor, but was strongly influenced by the Vandal general Stilicho, his son-in-law and commander-of-the-troops
396-402 CE Stilicho defeated several attacks by the Visigoths led by Alaric
406 CE Several barbarian groups included the Vandals, Alans, Suevi and Burgundians overran Gaul
407 CE Roman forces withdrew from Britain, led by Constantine, the troops' choice for emperor
408-450 CE A new Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, took office at age 7.
408 CE Honorius ordered the assassination of Stilicho
409 CE Alaric's Visigoths invaded northern Italy and set up their own government for the region in defiance of Honorius and the Eastern Emperor
410 CE The Visigoths, led by Alaric, sacked Rome
423 CE After Honorius' death, Johannes usurped the position of Western Emperor
425 CE Forces sent by Theodosius II from the east killed Johannes the usurper and installed Valentinian III as the Western Emperor
429-431 CE The Vandals established an independent kingdom in Roman Africa
435 CE The Eastern Roman Emperor recognized the independence of the Vandal kingdom in Africa
439 CE The Vandals conquered the city of Carthage
450 CE Marcian, a general and brother-in-law of Theodosius II, became the new Eastern Emperor
450 CE Attila led the Huns, another barbarian group, into Gaul
455 CE The Vandals, led by Gaiseric, sacked Rome
476 CE For the first time, a barbarian, Romulus Augustus, was named Western Emperor by barbarian generals
493 CE Italy incorporated into the barbarian Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
527-565 CE Justinian (Eastern Roman Emperor) reconquered Italy
632 CE Foundation of Islam by Mohammed in Mecca
1453 CE Constantinople conquered by Ottoman Muslims


NOTE: Events in the Byzantine Empire are covered later in the course

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