Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, from Romulus to Byzantium

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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)


Finem Imperii Romani. Nobilis esses , ex Hispania in Sinis. Iam magnificum templum sunt in ruinas. Sic transit gloria omnibus culturis.

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.

6/9/1422. Sultan Murat gave up besieging Constantinople.

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.

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.

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.

28/10/969. After a prolonged siege, Byzantium captured Antioch from the Arabs.

1/7/904. The Arabs sacked Thessalonica, the second greatest city of the Empire after Byzantium itself, before withdrawing.

15/8/717, Muslim forces attempted to capture Constantinople, but were defeated

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.

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 (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 Roma 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.

540, The Ostroghtic King Totila took Italy from Byzantium.

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.

30/8/526, Theodoric the Great died

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).

508, Theodora, wife of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, was born (died 548).

474, Death of Leo I, Eastern Roman Emperor 457 – 474.

16/6/455. Rome was sacked and plundered by the Vandals, just 45 years after it was conquered by the Visigoths.

20/9/451, The Huns under Attila were defeated by the Romans at the Battle of Chalons.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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).

23/8/408, Flavius Stilicho, soldier, was assassinated.

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.

401, The Visigoths invaded Italy.

17/1/395. Emperor Theodosius I died and was succeeded by his two sons. The Empire was once again divided; Arcadius, aged 18, controlled the east whilst Honorius, aged 10, had the west. The border between the east and west crossed the Libyan Desert and the Balkans.

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 in return for military service. See 375,376.

9/8/378. The Romans were defeated by the Visigoths at the Battle of Adrionople, Emperor Valens was killed. Turkey. 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.

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, 376. 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 mass 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.

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.

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.

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 kills his brother Constantine II at He was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. On 9/9/337 Constantine’s 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 2854, 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.

285, The Roman Empire was partitioned into East and West.

273, Aurelian defeated the Kingdom of Palmyra.

271, Aurelian defeated the Marcomanni tribe, who in 270 had advanced from Bohemia across the Danube, and rebuilt the walls of Rome.

258, The Alemanni and Suevi invaded northern Italy, but were defeated by the Romans at Milan.

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.

230, The Romans built a fort at Ghadames, western Libya.

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. 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.

27/6/221. The 19 year old Emperor Elagabalus was assassinated by a member of the Praetorian Guard. Alexander Severus became emperor.

8/4/217, Roman Emperor Caracalla was assassinated after a bloody reign.

4/2/211. The Emperor Septimus Severus died at York whilst fighting the Caledonian tribes.

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.

7/3/161. Emperor Antoninus died at Lorium and was replaced by Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

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).

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 are 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 Daunbe region for the second time (previously, 101-2 AD), to conquer the Dacian territories.

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.

23/6/79, Death of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.

24/1/76. Birth of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. See 8/8/117.

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

22/12/69, Aulus Vitellius, former Emperor of Rome, was dragged from his hiding place and assassinated.

1/7/69 Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor of Rome by the Roman Army.

15/4/69, The Roman Emperor Otto committed suicide.

15/1/69, The Roma  Emperor Galba was assassinated.

2/1/69, Aulus Vitellius became Emperor of Rome.

9/6/68. Nero committed suicide, having been deserted by the Praetorian Guard and lost favour with the Senate.

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.

43 AD, Roman invasion of Britain. The British, under Caractacus, defeated at the Medway.

25/1/41,  After a night of negotiation, Claudius was accepted as Emperor by the Senate

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.

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. He was born in Rome on 23/9/63 BC. He was succeeded by Tiberius.

31/8/12, Birth of Emperor Caligula.

18/11/9, Birth of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.

9 BCE, Three entire Roman legions under General Quintinius Varus were wiped out by the Germanic tribes under Arminius in the Teutoberg Forest. The Rhine was settled on by the Romans as the boundary of their empire. See 26/5/17 AD.

1/8/10 BCE. Roman Emperor Claudius I was born in Lyons.

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.

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.

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.

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.

See also Great Britain

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.

63 BCE, The Romans under Pompey conquered Palestine and Syria.

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.

71 BCE, Revolt in Rome by slaves and gladiators. Suppressed by Pompey and Crassus.

72 BCE, The Suevi, a Germanic tribe, crossed the Rhone and  invaded Gaul led by KingAriovistus.

15/10/70 BCE, Virgil, Roman poet, was born.

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.

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’.

105 BCE, Rome defeated Jugurtha, King of Numidia (northern Algeria)

3/1/106 BCE, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, was born.

129 BCE, Scipio the Younger, who destroyed Carthage, died (born 185 BCE).

133 BCE, Asia Minor (now Turkey) came under Roman control.

147 BCE, Rome sacked the city of Corinth. Greece came under Roman control.

168 BCE Rome conquered Egypt.

22/6/168 BCE, The Romans defeated the Macedonians, under Perseus, at Pydna.

170 BCE, The first paved streets appeared in Rome.

179 BCE, The first stone bridge in Rome was completed.

182 BCE, Hannibal, born 246 BCE, died, see 2/8/216 BCE.

183 BCE, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, Roman General and politician (born 233 BCE) died.

209, 206 BCE. The Romans under Scipio the Elder heavily defeated the Carthaginians at Baecula, now Bailen, in southern Spain.

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.

However 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 about 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.

222 BCE, Rome conquered northern Italy, including the city of Mediolanum (now Milan).

225 BCE, Rome defeated the Gauls near Telamon, Etruria.

228 BCE, Carthage founded the city of Carthago Nova, now known as Cartagena.

238 BCE, Carthage began the conquest of Spain. 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.

256 BCE, The Roman navy defeated Carthage at Ecnomus.

264 BCE, Appius Claudius Pulcher defeated Hiero of Syracuse at Messana.

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 and began the Appian Way.

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.

377 BCE, The city walls of Rome were rebuilt.

387 BCE, Following the attack by the Gauls, 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.

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.

439 BCE, The Plebeian Revolt in Rome. 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.

534 BCE, Death of Servius Tullus, penultimate King of Rome (578 – 534 BCE). He established a clsss system based on property.

Ca. 600BCE 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.

21/4/753 BCE. Traditional date for the founding of Rome by the two twins, Romulus and Remus.

813 BCE, Carthage (Tunisia) was founded, as a trading centre with Tyre (Lebanon).


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