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The Fall of Rome (150CE-475CE)

Timeline

Important Terms, People, and Events

Rome from Tranquility to Crisis: Marcus Aurelius to Diocletian (161-285 CE)

161-180 CE: Rule of Marcus Aurelius

162-165: War Against Parthia Roman victories at Dura Europa, Ctesiphon.

165-180s: Plague in Roman Lands

167-175: First Marcomanni War Marcus Aurelius defeats Marcomanni and Quadi by 174.

175: Avidius Cassius Insurrection

178-180: Second Marcomanni War Marcus Aurelius advances to Bohemia and Carpathian mountains. Dies.

180-192: Commodius' rule His reign is characterized by numerous insurrections; he is finally murdered in 192 by the Praetorian Guard.

193: Year of internal revolts Many rival claimants vie for control of the Empire. Pertinax's murder. Septimius Severus finally wins out.

193-235: Era of Severi Emperors

193-211: Rule of Septimius Severus Campaigns against Parthians and Barbarian raids. Shows profound disregard for the Senate.

222-235: Rule of Severus Alexander Wars against Parthia and Marcomanni. Emperor is slain, end of the Severi Dynasty.

235-285: Era of Soldier-Emperors Wars against Persians, Barbarian raids, continuous civil war.

225-230s: Sassanids rise in Persia Pose a new, expansive Persian threat to Rome in East.

285-306: Rule of Diocletian Empire split into West and East. Diocletian's trusted ally Maximian installed as Eastern Emperor. Empire restructured into a military, bureaucratic state. Economic reforms, rule by Tetrarchate. Secluded emperor.

303-311: Diocletian Persecutions of Christians

306: Diocletian and Maximian's abdication. Civil war.

312: Battle of Milvian Bridge Constantine of Britain defeats Maxentius in N. Italy, becoming sole ruler in West. Constantine favors Christianity.

313: Edict of Milan Constantine and Licinius, the Eastern ruler, agree to end Diocletian persecutions of Christianity. Christianity is legalized.

324-337: Constantine as Sole Ruler Constantine defeats Licinius, becomes sole ruler, continues Diocletian's reforms, patronizes Christianity.

325: Council of Nicaea Meeting of a church council, presided over by Emperor, to determine Orthodox faith. Arianism loses out.

330: Constantinople dedicated

3361-363: Rule of Julian the Apostate As Emperor, tries to disestablish Christianity. Pro-pagan. Dies in East while fighting Parthians.

375-378: Rule of Valens in East, Gratian in West (to 383) Ostrogothic Black Sea kingdom destroyed by Huns. Huns push all tribes before them to the Danube and Rhine borders of the Roman Empire.

378: Battle of Adrianopole Valens defeated, killed by Visigoths he had allowed to cross the border but had not supplied. Defeate occurred so quickly, Gratian did not have time to arrive and offer support.

379-95: Reign of Theodosius Renews agreements with Visigoths, they are settled as foederati below the Danube.

380: Arianism prohibited in East

384: Peace with Sassanids

391: Christianity recognized as state religion Paganism proscribed, Judaism oppressed.

395: Death of Theodosius Empire partitioned between Theodosius' sons. Arcadius in East, Honorius in West. Imperial unity between East and West ends; the East, called Byzantium, begins autonomous course.

396: Visigothic departure Following Theodosius' death, Alaric takes Visigoths out of Balkans, going west.

401-403: Visigoth incursions into Italy Attack on northern Italy. Beaten back by Stilicho at Pollenza (402).

406: Large-scale Barbarian invasion along Rhine Rhadagaesius leads great Barbarian army dominated by Vandals, and including Alans, Suevis, and Burgundians, across the frozen Rhine at Mainz. The Barbarians attack cities and agricultural areas in Gaul, forcing the indigenous population into the hills.

408: Visigoths return to Italy Alaric, seeing Stilicho occupied, returns to Italy, wanting food and status within the Roman military hierarchy. Honorius flees to Ravenna.

410: First Sack of Rome Given desperate material circumstances and no concessions from Imperial authorities, Alaric permits small sack of Rome.

410-12: Visigoths in S. Italy Visigoths attempt to get passage to N. Africa; their ships are destroyed, and Alaric dies. Athaulf becomes king, but remains unable to work out an agreement with Honorius.

416-419: Wallia as Visigothic King He takes the tribe out of Italy, and fights for Honorius against a rival claimant to the throne; in return, the Visigoths are settled as foederati with hospitalitas in N. West Gaul and seep into N. East Spain, setting up their own kingdom. Stilicho murdered.

420s-440s: Barbarian settlements Widespread use of foederati- hospalitas to settle Visigoths, Burgundians, Suevi, Lombards, etc. in Roman lands. These tribes begin establishing autonomous kingdoms.

429-35: Vandal passage to N. Africa Under Gaiseric, Vandals move through Spain, cross to N. Africa, occupy Carthage, cut off grain supplies to Rome, and begin pirate raiding.

440s: Aetius as western Master of Soldiers

440-450: Hun threat to Eastern Empire Under Kings Rugilla and Attila, the Huns raid north of Constantinople and demand increasing tributes. Eastern Emperor Marcian refuses higher tribute payments in 450.

450-54: Huns in West Going west to 'protect' Honoria, Atilla and Huns plunder Gaul. Aetius successfully enlists Barbarian support against them.

451: Battle of Catalaunian Plains With a mixed Barbarian-Roman army, Aetius defeats the Huns.

453-4: Atilla dies Died without successfully introducing political order. Barbarian rising under Gepids scatters Huns.

455: Second Sack of Rome Vandals from N. Africa sail up Tiber and sack Rome. Extended sack.

455-476: Barbarian Roman generals and puppet emperors. Generals of Barbarian birth, such as Ricimer, Orestes, set up puppets like Marjorian, as Emperor and concentrate only on Italy and South Gaul. Expansion of Barbarian kingdoms.

476: Deposition of last Western Emperor. Barbarian general Odovacar deposes Orestes' son Romulus Augustulus, and sends word to the Eastern Emperor Zeno that there is no need for a new Western emperor: Odovacar rules as Zeno's 'agent'.

388-393: Theodoric the Ostrogoth unseats Odovacar Zeno the Eastern Emperor sends Ostrogoths west to end their pressure on Constantinople. Theodoric's 'mission' is to unseat Odovacar. He does so, and establishes the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy. The Western Roman Empire ceases to exist.

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