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Roman Empire Timeline

  • Period: 27 BCE to 14

    Reign of Augustus

    Following the destruction of the Roman Republic, Augustus became the first emperor of the Roman Empire. His famous last words at his death: "I found Rome a city of clay but left it a city of marble."
  • 19 BCE

    Augustus is given Supreme Powers

    Augustus is given Supreme Powers, or Imperium Maius, over the entire Roman empire.
  • 19 BCE

    Publication of the Aeneid

    Augustus publishes the Aeneid after the death of Vergil, who originally did not want the epic to be published.
  • 13 BCE

    Augustus Completes the Theatre of Marcellus

    The theater was dedicated in the name of Marcus Claudius Macrellus, the nephew of Augustus.
  • Period: 6 BCE to 4 BCE

    Birth of Jesus

    The birthdate of Jesus Christ is disputed, but it is thought to have been in the years 6-4 BC, most commonly dated on December 25th.
  • Period: 14 to 37

    Reign of Tiberius

    Tiberius rose to power after the death of Augustus. He never returned from his venture intending to reach South Italy.
  • Period: 14 to 68

    Julio-Claudian Dynasty

    This included the first four emperors after Augustus: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius I, and Nero. However, this was not a direct bloodline from Caesar or Augustus.
  • 23

    Death of Tiberius's son Drusus

    Tiberius's son Drusus dies. This is a great blow to Tiberius and he continues to delegate his imperial duties.
  • 27

    Tiberius Leaves Rome

    Tiberius leaves Rome for South Italy and never returns. At this point, he was only emperor by title.
  • 30

    Crucifixion of Jesus

    Jesus is crucified at the hands of Roman soldiers.
  • Period: 37 to 41

    Reign of Caligula

    Caligula, which means "Little Boot", was murdered by Cassius Chaerea at the Palatine Games because he was becoming too tyrannical.
  • 38

    Caligula Executes Naevius Sutorius Macro

    This man was instrumental in supporting Caligula's rise to power.
  • 40

    Caligula Plunders Gaul

    This event served as a precursor to the invasion of Britain.
  • Period: 41 to 54

    Reign of Claudius I

    The unexpected murder of Caligula handed the power over to Claudius I. In the end, he was said to have been poisoned by Agrippina, his niece and wife, on October 13, 54.
  • 44

    Judea Made a Province by Claudius I

  • 47

    The Secular Games

    During the reign of Claudius I, the Secular Games celebrated Rome's 800th birthday.
  • Period: 54 to 68

    Reign of Nero

    Nero fled Rome in 68 due to both revolts and his upcoming execution by the Senate. It is possible that he ended up committing suicide.
  • Period: 60 to 61

    Nero Controls the British Revolt

    Nero represses a large revolt in Britain, led by Queen Boadicea
  • 62

    Nero Executes Octavia

    Nero executed his wife Octavia after exiling her because he didn't like her. Her head was then given to his second wife Poppaea as a trophy.
  • 64

    Great Fire of Rome

    The fire tarted out in merchant tents and the wind spread it for six days and seven nights. Nero was blamed at first, but he blamed the Christians and punished them. After this, Rome became great: it was rebuilt out of marble with better, wider VIAS to stop fire from catching again
  • 68

    Galba Declares Himself as Emperor

    After hearing of Nero's plan to execute him, Galba was very scared. After Nero's suicide, however, he declared himself emperor and marched on Rome.
  • 69

    Reign of Otho

    Otho organized the conspiracy with the Praetorian Guard to kill Galba. He then reigned only from January to April of 69 before he killed himself.
  • 69

    Otho Commits Suicide

  • 69

    Otho Sends Navy to Stop Vitellius

    After hearing about Vitellius's desire for the empire, Otho sent his navy to stop him; however, Otho was defeated.
  • 69

    Assassination of Galba

    After meeting Praetorian rebels, Galba was killed in the Senate. The rebels were led by Otho (Galba's old supporter and the next emperor).
  • 69

    Vitellius is Defeated by Vespasian

    Vespasian defeats Vitellius at the second battle of Bedracium in October of 69.
  • 69

    Vitellius is Murdered

    After Vespasian defeated Vitellius (October) and marched on Rome (December), Vitellius was brutally murdered by Vespasian's army.
  • Period: 69 to 69

    The Year of the Four Emperors

    The Year of the Four Emperors had just that: four emperors. This era included Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.
  • Period: 69 to 79

    Reign of Vespasian

    Vespasian's rule began in the Year of the Four Emperors and extended into the beginning of the Flavian Dynasty.
  • Period: 69 to 96

    Flavian Dynasty

    The Flavian Dynasty included the reign of Vespasian followed by the reigns of both his sons, Titus and Domitian.
  • Period: 71 to 75

    Temple/Forum of Peace Built by Vespasian

    This temple was explicitly built for and dedicated to Vespasian.
  • 72

    Colosseum Began by Vespasian

    Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum started construction under Vespasian, who placed the public theater on the site of the tyrannical Nero's private lake in order to symbolically replace it.
  • 79

    Mt. Vesuvius Erupts!

    Mt. Vesuvius, located near Pompeii, erupts and destroys Pompei, Stabiae, and Herculaneum. EEEEK! Pliny the Younger recorded this disaster in letters.
  • Period: 79 to 74

    Reign of Titus

    Titus's death was supposedly hastened by his brother Domitian, who later became the next emperor.
  • 80

    Colosseum Completed by Titus

    The ceremony upon the completion of the Colosseum included over 100 days of games.
  • Period: 81 to 96

    Reign of Domitian

    Domitian was very cruel and seriously hated by the aristocracy. His reign from 93-96 was considered a "period of terror hitherto unsurpassed". He was then murdered on September 18, 96.
  • Period: 81 to 85

    Arch of Titus Created

    This commemorated Titus's victory in the Jewish war in which he captured Jerusalem.
  • 89

    Revolt of Antonius Saturninus is Put Down by Domitian

    Governor of the Upper German Army, Saturninus, led a revolt that was put down by Domitian and the Lower German Army.
  • 96

    Domitian Murdered

    Domitian's murder was planned by two Praetorian guards, his wife, Nerva (the next emperor), and various palace guards.
  • Period: 96 to 180

    The Five Good Emperors

    This era of considerable tranquility contained the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. The end of this era marked the start of civil war in the empire.
  • Period: 96 to 98

    Reign of Nerva

    Nerva became emperor after Domitian's assassination, and his reign marks the first succession of rulers in the era of the Five Good Emperors.
  • Period: 98 to 117

    Reign of Trajan

    Trajan rose to power seeking to expand the empire, as well as its focus on social welfare. He almost died in an earthquake in Antioch in 115, but ultimately died later in poor health.
  • Period: 106 to 113

    Trajan's Column Constructed

    This commemorates the Dacian Wars that Trajan revived. He carried out two campaigns that resulted in the capturing of the Dacian capital city Sarmizegethusa.
  • 113

    King's Highway Constructed by Trajan

    Also called "Via Nova Traiana", this highway connected Bostra with the Red Sea.
  • Period: 117 to 138

    Reign of Hadrian

    Hadrian rose to power after the death of Trajan. Hadrian's adoption as the successor of Trajan holds heavy suspicion regarding a conspiracy carried out by Plotina (Trajan's wife). Hadrian later died a slow and painful death at the seaside resort of Baiae.
  • 122

    Hadrian's Wall Constructed

    Hadrian's Wall, spanning 73 miles, was completed in 122. It was a defensive fortification in Britain.
  • Period: 122 to 125

    Hadrian Journeys Across the Empire

    Hadrian toured the empire for three years in the middle of his reign. He later did the same thing from 128 to 132.
  • Period: 138 to 161

    Reign of Antonius Pius

    His reign was primarily marked by the peace and prosperity of the era of the Five Good Emperors; however, upon his death, both tribal invasions and civil conflict developed.
  • 140

    Antonius Pius founds the Puellae Faustinianae

    Antonius Pius established a charitable institution for the daughters of the poor in honor of his recently deceased wife, Faustina
  • 142

    Antonine Wall Constructed

    Antonius Pius constructed a 36-mile wall spanning the Roman frontier.
  • Period: 161 to 180

    Reign of Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius's adoptive brother, Lucius Verus, was made co-emperor with him. In 177, he then made his son, Commodus, co-emperor.
  • Period: 161 to 180

    "The Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius

    These were a series of personal writings that recorded Marcus Aurelius's ideas about Stoicism.
  • Period: 167 to 180

    Marcomannic Wars

    The Macromanni, along with several allies, attempted to invade Roman territory in 167. Although they were expelled by Marcus Aurelius, the war continued on until Marcus Aurelius's death in 180.