Ancient History & Civilisation

Chronology of Rome's Wars


753 Traditional date for foundation of Rome by Romulus.

509 Traditional date for expulsion of Rome’s last King, Tarquinius Superbus.

396 The Romans introduce pay for their army.

390 Rome sacked by Gauls.

280-275 War against King Pyrrhus of Epirus.

264-241 First Punic War.

225 Invading Gallic army defeated at Telamon.

218-201 Second Punic War.

214-205 First Macedonian War.

200-196 Second Macedonian War.

192-189 The Syrian War against the Seleucid King Antiochus III.

172-167 Third Macedonian War.

149-146 Third Punic War.

112-106 War against King Jugurtha of Numidia.

105 Cimbri and Teutones destroy a large Roman army at Arausio.

102 Marius defeats Teutones at Aquae Sextiae.

101 Marius and Catulus defeat Cimbri at Vercellae.

91-88 The Social War, the last great rebellion by Rome’s Italian allies.

88 Sulla marches his legions on Rome.

88-85 First Mithridatic War.

83-82 Civil War won by Sulla.

83-82 Second Mithridatic War.

74-66 Third Mithridatic War.

73-70 Spartacus' rebellion.

58-50 Caesar's Gallic campaigns.

55 Caesar’s first expedition to Britain.

54 Caesar’s second expedition to Britain.

53 Crassus defeated and killed by Parthians under Surenas at Carrhae.

52 Major Gallic rebellion led by Vercingetorix.

49-45 Civil War between Caesar and Pompey.

44 Caesar assassinated by conspiracy led by Brutus and Cassius.

44-31 Repeated civil wars, first between Caesar's supporters and the conspirators, and then between Antony and Octavian.

31 Antony defeated by Octavian in naval battle at Actium. Octavian (soon to be given the name Augustus) becomes effectively the sole ruler of the Roman Principate of Augustus (27 BC-AD14)

16-15 Conquest of the Alpine tribes.

12-7 Conquest of Pannonia and Germany.


6-9 Major revolt in Pannonia.

9 Major revolt in Germany. Varus and Legiones XVII, XVIII and XIX ambushed and massacred in the Teutoburg Wald.

The Julio-Claudians: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero

14-37 Principate of Tiberius.

14-16 War against Arminius.

37-41 Principate of Gaius (Caligula).

41-54 Principate of Claudius.

43 Invasion of Britain.

54- 68 Principate of Nero.

55- 64 War with Parthia over control of Armenia.

60-61 Rebellion of Boudicca in Britain.

66-74 The Jewish Rebellion.

68-69 Civil War - ‘The Year of Four Emperors’. Galba, Otho and Vitellius seize the throne in rapid succession, but war eventually won by Vespasian. The Flavians: Vespasian, Titus and Domitian

70-79 Principate of Vespasian.

70 Jerusalem captured after a long siege.

73-74 Masada besieged.

79-81 Principate of Titus.

81-96 Principate of Domitian.

85-89 War with King Decebalus of Dacia.

96-98 Principate of Nerva.

98-117 Principate of Trajan.

101-02 Trajan's First Dacian War.

Following his conquest of Dacia (modern-day Romania) in ad 106 the Emperor Trajan ordered the construction of a new forum complex in Rome, at the centre of which was Trajan’s Column, decorated with scenes from the wars. Although stylized, the column provides a detailed view of the Roman army of the early 2nd century AD on campaign. In this scene Roman legionaries, wearing the famous segmented armour, cross a pontoon bridge, watched on the left by the spirit or god of the river. At the head of the column are the massed standards.

105-06 Trajan's Second Dacian War.

113-17 Trajan’s Parthian War.

117-38 Principate of Hadrian.

122 Construction of Hadrian’s Wall begun.

131-35 Bar Kochba Revolt in Judaea.

138-61 Principate of Antoninus Pius.

140-43 Construction of Antonine Wall begun.

161- 80 Reign of Marcus Aurelius.

162- 66 War with Parthia conducted and won by Marcus’ co-ruler, Lucius Verus.

167-80 Almost constant warfare against German tribes on the Danube.

180-92 Reign of Commodus.

193-97 Civil War, eventually won by Severus.

197-208 Reign of Septimius Severus

211-17 Caracalla's reign ends with his murder. This is followed by another period of civil war.

222-35 Reign of Severus Alexander.

235-38 Reign of Maximinus ends with his murder.

238-44 Reign of Gordian Ш ends with his murder.

244-49 Reign of Philip the Arab killed by Decius in battle.

249-51 Reign of Decius ends when he is defeated and killed by Goths at Forum Trebonii. Renewal of civil war.

253-60 Reign of Valerian ends when he is captured by the Persians.

260-68 Reign of Gallienus ends with his murder.

268-70 Reign of Claudius II ‘Gothicus’ ends when he dies of disease.

270-75 Reign of Aurelian. He suppressed the revolt of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, but is eventually murdered by his officers.

275- 76 Reign of Tacitus.

276- 82 Reign of Probus ends with his murder.

284-305 Reign of Diocletian and the creation of the Tetrarchic system. The Empire is formally divided into west and east, with a senior Augustus and junior Caesar ruling in each half. Diocletian eventually retired, but the system in its pure form did not endure for long.

306 Constantius, Augustus of the west dies in York. The army proclaim his son Constantine Emperor.

312 Constantine defeats his rival Maxentius at the battle of the Mil vian Bridge outside Rome, and becomes Emperor of the west.

324-37 Reign of Constantine as undisputed ruler of the entire Empire. He gives official recognition to Christianity.

337-60 War with Persia.

357 Julian the Apostate (Caesar in the west) defeats the Alamanni in a pitched battle at Strasbourg.

363 Julian’s Persian expedition.

394 Battle of Frigidus won by Theodosius.

410 Gothic auxiliaries led by Alaric sack Rome.

429 Vandals invade and overrun Africa.

451 Aetius turns back the offensive of Attila's Huns at Chalons (Campus Mauriacus).

469-78 Visigoths overrun Spain.

476 The last Emperor of the west, Romulus Augustus, deposed by Odovacer who creates the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.

502-06 War with Persia.

526-32 War with Persia.

533-54 Emperor Justinian attempts to re-conquer North Africa and Italy.

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