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Late Roman Timeline
250 AD - 300 AD

By Robert Vermaat

Late Roman Timeline 250-550 AD


Emperor* Reigned Consuls Year Events
Decius
Priscus
Licinianus
249-51
250-1
250
Decio et Grato 250 Gaius Messius Quintus Decius (Trajanus Decius) liberates Dacia from the Carpi.
The Franks penetrate Germania and Gaul.
The Alamanni penetrate the Upper Danube area.
The Goths under Cniva invade Moesia and Thrace, besiege Philippolis. Decius surprises them and they are routed. However, the Goths regroup and surprise Decius at Beroia (BeroŽ), destroying their camp and dispersing the troops, forcing a Roman emperor to flee for the first time. The Goths then sack Philippolis.
While Decius was out of Rome in 250 fighting the Goths, Julius Valens Licinianus took the purple in Rome, but he was executed after a few days.
The Roman ruler of the East,
Titus Julius Priscus (governor of Macedonia and brother of the late emperor Philippus Arabs) is proclaimed emperor and is supported by the Goths.
Decius' son
Herennius Etruscus breaks the siege of Nikopolis.
Herennius
Hostilianus
Gallus
Volusianus
251
251
251-3
251-3
Decio et Rustico 251 The Goths are returning home when Decius attacks them again. In the Battle of Abrittus (Hisarlak, near Razgrad) on July 1, the Goths defeat the Romans in a swamp; Decius and his son Herennius are killed in battle. Decius' son Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus (Hostilianus) succeeds to the throne but dies of plague. Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus succeeds him (June) and promises tribute to the Goths. He elevates his son Gaius Vibius Volusianus to the position of co-emperor and probably ends the rule of Priscus in the East around this time.
    Gallo et Volusiano 252 Shapur I conquers Armenia. The Romans are defeated at Barbalissos and the Persians control part of Syria.
Aemilianus
Valerian
Gallienus
Uranius
253
253-60
253-68
253-4
Volusiano et Maximo 253 The Persians take Antioch, plunder it and burn it down. This may be the time when Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Severus Uranius Antoninus is a short-lived usurper in Syria.
The Carpi and Burgundians cross over to Asia Minor and raid Ephesos and Pessinus.
The Marcomanni invade Pannonia.
Marcus Aemillius Aemilianus refuses to pay tribute but defeats the Goths north of the Danube. He is then proclaimed emperor by the grateful troops (July). Aemilianus then enters Italy before Gallus can stop him; Gallus and Volusianus are killed at Forum Flaminii (in August) by their remaining troops, who defect to Aemilianus.
The forces in Raetia then elevate
Publius Licinius Valerianus (Valerian) to the purple. Aemilianus is in turn killed by his troops who defect to Valerian. Valerian makes his son Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus his collegue.
    Valeriano et Gallieno 254 Germanic tribes invade Raetia.
Gallienus defeats the Germans on the Rhine with the aid of troops from the British garrison.
    Valeriano et Gallieno 255 year
    Maximo et Gabrione (Glabrio) 256 The Goths invade Asia Minor, in sea-borne raids they plunder Nikopolis, Nikaia and Prusa in Bithynia.
Fall of Dura Europos to the Sassanids (approx.).
Gallienus campaigns against the Carpi and Goths in Dacia.
Valerian forces the Persians from Syria.
    Valeriano et Gallieno 257 The Franks invade Gaul and reach as far as Spain, where they destroy Terraco (Tarragona).
The Alamanni invade Italy, but are defated by Gallienus near Milan.
The Goths ravage Asia Minor as far as Trabzon.
Valerian forces the Persians out of Cappadocia.
    Tusco et Basso 258 Gallienus probably creates a central reserve from a number of cavalry vexillations which acts as a mobile field army.
    Marcelliano (Aemilianus) et Basso 259 War with Sassanid Persia. Shapur I captures the emperor Valerian, the only Roman emperor ever taken captive alive by non-Romans until Romanos IV Diogenes was taken captive by the Seljuq Turks on the plains of Manzikirt in 1071.
Germanic tribes invade Gaul and reach Spain and Italy. Aquae Mattiacorum (Wiesbaden) captured by the Alamanni. Aventicum (Avenches) is sacked.
Ingenuus
Regalianus
Macrianus
Quietus
Postumus
260
260
260-1
260-1
260-68
Seculare (Saecularis) et Donato
(Postumus and Honoratianus in Gaul)
260 Gallienus becomes sole emperor. Usurpation of Ingenuus in Pannonia, who is defeated by Gallienus, who then campaigns against the Alamanni in Italy, defeating them (midsummer). Surviving troops of Ingenuus rebel again under Regalianus, who fights the invading Sarmatian Roxolani and is probably killed by them.
Syria, Egypt and Palestine break away (before September 17) from the Empire under the usurpers
Tiberius Fulvius Iunius Macrianus (minor) and Tiberius Inius Fulvius Quietus.
Shapur destroys Caesarea Mazaca in Asia Minor, but is defeated by the praefectus praetorio Ballista. Gallienus develops a cavalry army as central reserve and mobile field army.
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus, probably the commander of the Rhine garrison, rebels and lays siege to Colonia (Cologne). The provinces of Gaul, Germania and Raetia become the Imperium Galliarum (Gallic Empire) breaking away from the rest of the Roman Empire.
The Juthungi are defeated by Roman troops in Raetia, who manage to free thousands of Italian captives (April 24/25).
    Gallieno et Gentiano (Volusianus)
(Postumus in Gaul, Macrianus and Quietus in the East)
261 Macrianus maior and his son Macrianus minor march to Europe but are defated in Thrace by Gallienus' general Aureolus, after which their troops kill both of them.
Quietus flees to Edessa (Homs) but is killed there by the inhabitants. Odenathus then executes Ballista.
Britain and Spain join Postumus' rebellion.
Mussius   Gallieno et Victorino (Faustianus)
(Postumus in Gaul)
262 Septimus Odenathus of Palmyra is recognized as dux and imperator by Gallienus and campaigns against the Sassanids, relieving Edessa, recovering Nisibis (Nusaybin), and besieging the Persian capital Ctesiphon on two occasions.
In Egypt,
Lucius Mussius Aemilianus, supporter of the Macrianii, proclaims himself emperor. He is executed by Gallienus' general Aurelius Theodotus (before March 30, 262).
    Albino et Maximo (Dexter) 263 The Franks gain control of the Scaldis (Scheldt) area. The area of the Limes east of the Rhine and noth of the Danube (agri decumates) is gradually evacuated by Rome and gradually taken over by the Alamanni.
    Gallieno et Saturnino 264 year
    Valeriano et Lucillo 265 Gallienus twice fails to defeat Postumus, though he recaptures Raetia and besieges Postumus in Gaul, but retreats after being wounded by an arrow.
    Gallenio et Sabinillo 266 year
    Paterno et Archesilao 267 Death of Odenathus, reign of his widow Zenobia (267-72). A series of conquests enlarged the Palmyran Empire with large parts of Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine and eventually Egypt.
The Goths sack Athens, the Heruli sack Byzantium. they retreat through Boiotia. They are defeated by Gallienus on the river Nestos in Macedonia.
Aureolus
Claudius II
268
268-70
Paterno et Marino (Marinianus)
(Postumus in Gaul)
268 Gallienus defeats the Goths (April). Gallienus, aided by Claudius and Aurelian, again defeats the Goths in September, but after the victory his cavalry commander Manius Acilius Aureolus rebels and declares for Postumus. However, the latter does not support him. Gallienus besieges Aureolus at Milan, but in a plot he is lured away from the city and is murdered, together with his brother Valerian and his son Marianus. Claudius succeeds him as Marcus Aurelius Claudius (Claudius II, Claudius Gothicus), even though he is of barbarian birth. Claudius defeats and kills Aureolus. In November, Claudius defeats the Alamanni at the battle of Lake Benacus (Lake Garda) in northern Italy.
Laelianus
Marius
Victorinus
269
269
269-71
Claudio et Paterno 269 The Goths attack several cities on the Black Sea coast, before entering the Aegean and besieging Thessalonica. The Heruli capture Athens. While Aurelian blocks a Gothic force along the Danube, Claudius defeats the Goths at Naissus (Niš).
Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus rebels against Postumus and takes Mogontiacum (Mainz), but is defeated. After refusing them to sack the city, Postumus is murdered by his troops, who elevate Marcus Aurelius Marius to the throne. After two days Marcus Piavvonius Victorinus is proclaimed at Augusta Treverorum (Trier) and kills Marius. The Spanish provinces do not recognise him and return their allegiance to Claudius.
From around this year, he Romans gradually pull back from the Lower Rhine.
Quintilius
Aurelian
270
270-5
Antiociano et Orfito 270 Death of Claudius of plague in January. The Senate proclaims Claudius' brother Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintilius emperor, but after a short reign (a few days to a month) he is probably killed by the troops, whose favorite is Lucius Domitianus Aurelianus (Aurelian). Aurelian expells the Sarmatians, Iuthungi and Vandals from Italy (Fall).
Tetricus I 271-4 Valeriano (Aurelian) et Basso 271 In January, Aurelian campaigns against the Alamanni. His army is defeated near Placentia, but he then defeats them in the battle of Fano near Ticinum, before routing them near Pavia.
Aurelian initiates the contruction of the walls of Rome, Athens, Milete, Nikaia, Verona, Salona, Pisaurum and Fanum.
Aurelian evacuates Dacia, withdrawing the troops back to the Danube.
Victorinus is murdered at Colonia (Cologne) and
Claudius Pius Esuvius Tetricus is proclaimed in Burdigala (Bordeaux) in the spring.
    Quieto et Veldomiano
(Tetricus in Gaul)
272 Aurelian defeats the Palmyrene army near Antioch and Emesa (Homs), and after a siege conquers the city of Palmyra, capturing queen Zenobia and ending the Palmyrene Empire. Aurelian spares her life.
Death of
Shapur I, king of Persia. He is succeeded by his son Hormizd I.
    Tacito et Placidiano
(Tetricus in Gaul)
273 Aurelian defeats the Carpi on the Danube.
Palmyra is sacked after a final rebellion.
Tetricus I elevates his son Tetricus to caesar.
Death of
Hormizd I, king of Persia. He is succeeded by his brother Bahram I.
Faustinus 274 Aureliano et Capitulino
(Tetricus in Gaul)
274 Returning from the East, Aurelian invades Gaul and defeats the Tetricii at the battle of apud catalaunos (Ch‚lons-sur-Marne). While both Tetricii surrender to him, their betrayed troops fight on but are defeated at great cost. Aurelian puts both father and son Tetricus on display in Rome, but they are spared and pardoned. A last usurper against the Tetricii, Faustinus, is quickly defeated, ending the Gallic Empire.
Aurelian establishes Sol Invictus as state religion of the Empire.
Tacitus 275-6 Aureliano et Marcello (Marcellinus) 275 Aurelian is murdered by his praetorian guard in September. For weeks after Aurelian's death, there is no emperor, and Aurelian's widow the augusta Ulpia Severina rules in her own right. Marcus Claudius Tacitus is then elected by the senate to succeed Aurelian (winter).
The Franks invade Germania Inferior.
Florianus
Probus
276
276-82
Tacitus and Aemilianus 276 Tacitus first moves against the barbarians (former allies of Aurelian) who started rampaging in the East. He then defeats the Alans near the Palus Maeotis, defeats the Goths in Cilicia, but is assassinated at Tyana in Cappadocia (June). He is succeeded for 88 days by his half-brother Marcus Annius Florianus. He fights the Heruli but then the eastern provinces elevate Marcus Aurelius Probus to the throne. Probus avoided pitched battle, but mutinous troops kill Florianus near Tarsus. Probus is now sole emperor (August).
Death of
Bahram I, king of Persia. He is succeeded by his son Bahram II.
    Probo et Paulino 277 Probus defeats the Goths while on his way West. Probus defeats the Franks, Longiones and Alamanni in Gaul and pushes them back across the Rhine. Probus defeats the Burgundians and Vandals and expells them from Raetia.
    Probo et Lupo 278 Probus defeats Sarmatians in Illyria and Goths in Thrace (278). Probus ends a rebellion of the Isaurians, takes Cremna in Pisidia.
    Probo et Paterno 279 Campaigns against the Blemmyans in Upper Egypt.
Bonosus
Proculus
280 Messala et Grato 280 Siege of Apameia (Afamia).
The people of Lugdunum support the usurpation of
Proculus, but he is betrayed by the Franks, handed over to Probus and executed. After a defeat, the commander of the Rhine fleet Bonosus proclaims himself emperor in Cologne. He is defeated and commits suicide.
Probus settles Bastarnae in Thrace.
Saturninus   Probo et Tiberiano 281 Usurpation and death of Julius Saturninus in Syria, probably to satisfy his troops, who however murder him before Probus can react.
Carus 282-3 Probo et Victurino 282 While preparing for war with Persia, Marcus Numerius Carus is proclaimed emperor. Probus' troops defect to Carus, the remainder murder him in Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica). Carus defeats the Sarmatians in Pannonia.
Carinus
Numerian
283-5
283-4
Caro et Carino 283 Carus defeats the Sarmatians and the Quadi on the Danube. He then invades Persia by way of Armenia, marches down the Tigris, defeats the armies of Bahram II, takes the Persian capital Ctesiphon and marches even further. However, he suddenly dies (of illness or struck by lightning?) in his camp near Ctesiphon, December. His sons Marcus Aurelius Carinus (West) and Marcus Aurelius Numerianus (East) succeed him.
Carinus defeats the Quadi and other Germans in Germania Superior and Raetia.
Diocletian 284-305 Caro et Numeriano 284 Carinus campaigns in Britain.
While retreating from the East, Numerian also dies from illness in November. The troops proclaim the commander of the bodyguard Valerius Diocles (or as he became known;
Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus), as new emperor on November 20.
Sabinus Iulianus revolts in Pannonia.
    Diocletiano et Aristobolo 285 Carinus returns from his campaign in Britain to defeat the forces of Iulianus near Verona.
Carinus then confronts Diocletian but is murdered during the battle of the Margus River (Morawa) in July.
Diocletian is now sole Empeor. He campaigns against Quadi and Marcomanni.
Maximian


Carausius
286-305
307-8
309
286-93
Maximo et Aquilino 286 First mention of Bagaudae in Gaul. Their rebellion is crushed by the Caesars Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius (Maximian) and Carausius.
Carausius campaigns against Saxon and Frankish pirates.
Revolt of
Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius after accusations of treason, who raises himself to the rank of Augustus and gains control of Britain and parts of Gaul (286-293).
Diocletian elevates Maximianus Herculius as co-emperor on April 1: this division is the start of the Tetrarchy ('Rule of Four'), or the 'Dominate' Period.
    Diocletiano et Maximiano 287 Diocletian campaigns against Burgundi, Alamanni, Chaiboni, Heruli and Franks. Foedus with the Frankish king Gennobaud.
    Maximiano et Ianuario 288 Diocletian concludes a peace-treaty with Bahram II of Persia. He then campaigns east of the Rhine and north of the Danube.
    Basso et Quintiano 289 A campaign of Maximian against Carausius fails. Diocletian fights the Sarmatians.
    Diocletiano et Maximiano 290 year
    Tiberiano et Dione 291 year
    Annibaliano et Asclepiodoto 292 Diocletian gives the West to Maximian. He campaigns against the Sarmatians.
First rebellion of Achilleus in Egypt (292-5).
Allectus 293-6 Diocletiano et Maximiano 293 Diocletian and Maximian choose Galerius and Constantius as Caesar; each receive a quarter of the Empire.
Constantius retakes Bononia (Boulogne) by building a mole across the harbour, and then regains northern Gaul by subjugating the Chamavians and Frisians.
Carausius is killed by his rationalis summae rei
Allectus.
Death of
Bahram II, king of Persia, after another defeat by the Armenian king Tiridates III. He is succeeded by his son Bahram III, who dies after just 4 months without any children. He is succeeded by Narseh (Narses).
    Constantio et Maximo 294 Constantius fights the Alamanni, Galerius fights the Sarmatian Iazyges.
    Tusco et Anulio 295 Galerius is defeated near Ctesiphon by the Sassanid Persians, and Mesopotamia is lost.
    Diocletiano et Constantio 296 Constantius attacks Allectus. His praefectus praetorio Asclepiodotus lands near Southampton, and marches to London. Allectus attacks him near Calleva (Silchester) and is defeated. Constantius takes London and thus ends the rebellion.
Second rebellion of Achilleus in Egypt (296-7).
    Maximiano et Maximiano 297 Diocletian ends the rebellion in Egypt.
Galerius defeats the Carpi, Bastarni and Goths on the Lower Danube.
Galerius is then beaten by the Sassanid Persians between Carrhae and Callinicum.
Maximian fights Moors in Spain and African tribes around Carthage.
    Fausto et Gallo 298 Constantius campaigns against the Alamanni, defeating the Lingones.
Galerius defeats the Sassanids and regains Mesopotamia. Peace-treaty of Nisibis (Nusaybin) between Diocletian and
Narseh. In exchange for the capital Ctesiphon, Rome also regains the Persian provinces of Armenia.
Christians are expelled from the Roman army.
In a winter campaign, Constantius beats the Alamanni at Langres and Vindonissa (Windisch). Galerius defeats the Marcomanni and Sarmatians.
    Diocletiano et Maximiano 299 Galerius defeats the Carpi and Sarmatians.
    Constantio et Maximiano 300 year

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