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A Brief Chronology of Roman History
compiled by John Porter, University of Saskatchewan

Notice: This material is the copyrighted property of the author and should not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Major Periods of Roman History

c. 1000: Beginning of Iron Age

753: Legendary Founding of Rome

753-509: The Regal Period

509-27: The Roman Republic

509-275: Expansion of Roman power throughout Italy; the struggle of the orders
264-146 Expansion of Roman power throughout the Mediterranean; the Punic Wars
133-27: The traumatic final years of the Roman Republic; the Civil Wars

27 B.C.-A.D. 68: The Julio-Claudian Emperors

Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14)
Tiberius (14-37)
Caligula (37-41)
Claudius (41-54)
Nero (54-68)

68-69: Civil Wars

Galba, Otho, Vitellius

69-96: The Flavian Emperors

Vespasian (69-79)
Titus (79-81)
Domitian (81-96)

96-180: The Antonine Emperors

Nerva (96-98)
Trajan (98-117)
Hadrian (117-138)
Antoninus Pius (138-161)
Marcus Aurelius (161-180)

180-476: The Late Empire

180-192: Commodus
193-211: Septimius Severus
211-217: Caracalla
218-222: Elagabalus
222-235: Severus Alexander
235-284: Age of the Soldier Emperors
284-305: Diocletian
306-337: Constantine The Great
361-363: Julian the Apostate

476: Fall of Western Empire


Some Principal Dates in the History of the Republic and of the Augustan Age

Events of particular note are marked by an asterisk (*).

[For a fuller chronological table, with genealogical charts, see: Cary and Scullard, A History of Rome (third edition) pp. 559-74.]

The Early Republic (509-133)

509 *Expulsion of Tarquinius Superbus by Brutus; Republic founded

494 First secession of the Plebs

471 Lex Publilia Voleronis: Concilium of the Plebs and tribunes recognized

451/450 Law of the Twelve Tables

449 Second secession of the Plebs; Valerian-Horatian laws define rights of tribunes and establish number at 10

447 Quaestors elected by Plebs; Comitia Tributa established?

444-367 Consuls replaced by military tribunes (sporadic)

443 Censorship established

421 Quaestorships increased to four, opened to plebeians

396 Military pay introduced

387 (390?) Celts sack Rome

367 Licinian-Sextian laws limit amount of public land to be held by any private individual

366 First plebeian consul; praetorship created

351 First plebeian censor

339 Lex Publilia cancels patricians' right to veto acts of the Comitia Tributa

337 First plebeian praetor

326 (313?) Lex Poetilia: individuals no longer sold into slavery for debt

312 Via Appia and Aqua Appia started

300 Opening of priestly colleges to plebeians

287 *Lex Hortensia gives plebiscita of the Concilium of the Plebs the force of law (conclusion of the struggle of the orders)

280-275 War against Pyrrhus

272 *Livius Andronicus comes to Rome

264-241 *First Punic War

264 First gladiatorial show at Rome

242 Office of praetor peregrinus established (in addition to that of praetor urbanus)

220 Construction of Via Flaminia

218-201 *Second Punic War

218 Lex Claudia: senators prohibited from owning ships with sea-going capacity

216 *Battle of Cannae

215 Lex Oppia (sumptuary law)

214-205 First Macedonian War

204 Ennius brought to Rome

200-197 Second Macedonian War

199-184 Leges Porciae: series of laws granting Roman citizens the right of appeal in capital cases, abolishing scourging of citizens and summary execution in the field

186 Senatus consultum against Bacchic rites

184 Censorship of Cato; Basilica Porcia; death of Plautus

184/3 Death of Scipio

181 Lex Orchia (sumptuary law)

179 Basilica Aemilia

173 Two Epicurean philosophers expelled

171 Temporary court de repetundis

170 Basilica Sempronia

171-168 War against King Perseus of Macedon (Third Macedonian War)

169 Lex Voconia (limits land that can be devised to female heirs)

168 Battle of Pydna (conclusion of Third Macedonian War)

167 Tributum discontinued

166-59 Production of Terence's comedies

161 Lex Fannia (sumptuary law); expulsion of Greek philosophers

159 Law passed against bribery

153 Consuls enter office on Kalends of January

149-146 *Third Punic War

149 Lex Calpurnia: permanent court de repetundis; publication of Cato's Origines

139 Lex Gabinia: ballot for elections

137 Lex Cassia: ballot in law-courts


The Late Republic (133-27 B.C.)

133 *Tiberius Gracchus tribune of the plebs; Attalus III bequeaths Pergamum to the Roman people

131 Lex Papiria: ballot for legislation

129 Death of Scipio Aemilianus

123-122 *Gaius Gracchus tribune of the plebs

121 Gaius Gracchus killed; his followers executed by Opimius

112-105 Jugurthine War

107, 104-100 Marius consul

104 Reorganization of Roman army by Marius

103-100 Marius in Gaul; Saturninus tribune of the plebs

100 Death of Saturninus; birth of Julius Caesar

91-89 *Social War [War between Rome and its Italian "allies"]

88 *Sulla's first march on Rome

87-84 Rule of Cinna

86 Death of Marius

84 Cinna killed

83-81 *Civil war between the adherents of Marius and Sulla; proscriptions

82-79 *Dictatorship of Sulla; his constitutional reforms

78 Death of Sulla

73-71 *Slave rebellion of Spartacus

70 *First consulship of Pompey and Crassus; birth of Vergil

67-62 Pompey in the East, vs. pirates and Mithridates

65 Birth of Horace

63 Cicero consul; conspiracy of Catiline; Julius Caesar elected Pontifex Maximus; death of Mithridates; birth of Octavius

62 Clodius profanes rites of the Bona Dea; Pompey returns from East and disbands army

60 *"First Triumvirate" (Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar)

59 *Consulship of Caesar and Bibulus

58-50 *Caesar in Gaul

56 Conference at Luca

56-A.D. 12 Basilica Julia

55 Second consulship of Pompey and Crassus; Pompey dedicates first permanent theater in Rome; Caesar's first invasion of Britain

54 Death of Julia; Caesar's second invasion of Britain

53 *Battle of Carrhae (Death of Crassus)

51 Cleopatra becomes joint ruler of Egypt with her brother

49-48 *Civil war between Caesar and Pompey

48 *Battle of Pharsalus

48-44 *Dictatorship of Caesar

44 *Assassination of Caesar (15 March)

43-33 *Second Triumvirate (Antony, Lepidus, Octavian)

43 *Octavian consul (first); Proscriptions; murder of Cicero

42 Julius Caesar deified; battle of Philippi; Octavian vows temple to Mars the Avenger

41 Antony first meets Cleopatra

40 Antony marries Octavia

38 Octavian marries Livia

37 Antony marries Cleopatra

36 Lepidus ceases to be a triumvir

36-35 Octavian vs. Sextus Pompeius

33 Octavian consul (second)

32 Antony divorces Octavia; Octavian publishes the terms of Antony's will in Rome

31-23 Octavian/Augustus consul (3rd - 11th)

31 *Battle of Actium

30 Suicide of Antony and Cleopatra; Octavian given tribunician power

29 Octavian returns to Rome for 3-fold triumph; closing of gates of Janus; dedication of temple to the Divine Julius; Arch of Augustus in forum

29-19 *Composition of Vergil's Aeneid

28 Temple of Apollo dedicated on Palatine; restoration of other temples; Mausoleum of Augustus begun

27 *Legislation of the Augustan Principate


The Augustan Age (27 B.C.-A.D. 14)

27 House of Augustus on Palatine; Pantheon and Baths of Agrippa

26 Livy begins his Histories

25 Marriage of Julia and Marcellus

23 Augustus' legal position revised: resigns consulship, granted tribunician powers for life; death of Marcellus; Horace publishes Odes 1-3

21 Agrippa marries Julia

19 Death of Vergil

18 *Julian Laws on marriage and morality

17 Secular Games; adoption of Gaius and Lucius Caesar

13-9 Ara Pacis

13 Death of Lepidus

12 Augustus becomes Pontifex Maximus; death of Agrippa

11 Tiberius divorces Agrippina and marries Julia

9 Death of Drusus

8 Death of Horace and Maecenas

7 Rome divided into 14 regions

6 Tiberius withdraws to Rhodes

5 Augustus consul (12th)

2 Augustus consul (13th), given title of Pater Patriae; dedication of Forum of Augustus and of temple of Mars the Avenger; exile of Julia


2 Tiberius returns from Rhodes; death of Lucius Caesar

4 Death of Gaius Caesar; Augustus adopts Tiberius, who adopts Germanicus

8 Exile of Ovid

9 Lex Papia Poppaea: modification of Julian Laws of 18 B.C.

14 *Death of Augustus

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