Ancient History & Civilisation

5. CHRONOLOGY

Many of the difficulties of Roman chronology derive from the long-continued absence of a generally accepted era. The main points chosen by the Romans were the foundation of the city, the first consulships, and the sack of Rome by the Gauls. Attempts to establish these dates were made by two methods, either by synchronizing them with Greek Olympiads or Athenian archonships, or by standardizing the list of Roman magistrates. By the former method the foundation of Rome was set in 752 (Cato), 751–750 (Polybius and Diodorus), 748 (Fabius) or 729–728 (Cincius); the first consulship in 508–507 by Polybius and 508 by Dionysius; and the sack of Rome in 387 by Polybius and Dionysius. The list of magistrates, however, was not quite long enough to span these periods, so that various expedients were devised by Roman antiquarians. Five years of anarchy (solitudo magistratuum) were interpolated into the period of the Licinian laws (so Livy and Fasti; Diodorus gives only one); or the same college of magistrates was repeated (those of 391–387 repeated after the Gallic invasion by Diodorus), or four years were interpolated during which dictators and masters of the horse were the chief magistrates (in 333, 324, 309, 301; Fasti). Finally, the foundation of Rome was set in 754–753 by Atticus and Varro; this date was officially accepted and so fixed chronology could be established ab urbe condita. In modern times the Varronian system is generally accepted as a convenient convention and is used in this volume; thus the sack of Rome is placed in 390 rather than more accurately in 387. The year of the foundation is usually set in 753 in order to allow only the 119 years which the Capitoline Fasti establish between the first consulship and the sack of Rome.

Though the dates from the third century can be established with adequate accuracy, the Roman calendar remained confused, because the Roman year of twelve lunar months was too short and constantly got out of gear with the solar year. To counterbalance this the pontiffs used to intercalate an extra month of 22 or 23 days after February every two years. But this was not satisfactory, especially during the Hannibalic War which engrossed all attention, and in fact the Roman calendar had advanced far ahead of the Julian, perhaps by some four months, though some calculations would put it at only one or two; the problem hinges on how many intercalations were in fact made (however, an eclipse which ocurred on 14 March 190 happened according to the Roman calandar on 11 July). In 191 Acilius Glabrio passed a law to regulate intercalations, but this provisional remedy proved inadequate: thus the Roman date of an eclipse which occurred on 21 June 168 was 3 September, although intercalation had been made in 169. It needed the political scandals of the last century BC and the statesmanship of Julius Caesar to set the matter right.6

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

This table is designed to emphasize some of the outstanding events in early Roman history. The Varronian dating (pp. 377ff.) has been followed. Prior to 390 BC many of the dates are merely traditional and some of the facts (e.g. the foundation of colonies) are not above suspicion.

A. THE REGAL PERIOD

Growth of Rome

c. 800(?) bc

Roma Quadrata; settlement on Palatine.

c. 750-670

Septimontium; union of settlers of Palatine, Velia, Fagutal, Cispius, Oppius, and Caelius.

7th cent.

City of the Four Regions; addition of Quirinal, Viminal, and part of Forum.

7th cent. end

Last Forum burials.

6th cent.

‘Servian’ City, including Capitol and Esquiline.

Traditional Dates

753-715

Romulus.

715-673

Numa Pompilius. Established cult of Vesta, etc.

673-642

Tullus Hostilius. Destruction of Alba Longa.

642-616

Ancus Marcius. Extension of Rome’s power to coast.

616-579

L. Tarquinius Priscus. Forum drained.

579-534

Servius Tullius. ’Servian’ organization begun. Treaty with Latins. Temple of Diana on Aventine.

534-510

L. Tarquinius Superbus. Capitoline temple. Treaty with Gabii. Ager Romanus extended to c. 350 sq. miles.

B. FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE REPUBLIC TO THE GALLIC SACK

509

Fall of monarchy; institution of two annual magistrates.

 

    First treaty with Carthage.

 

    War with Porsenna (who captures Rome ?).

504

Migration of Claudii to Rome.

501

First dictator appointed.

496

    Battle of Lake Regillus fought by Rome against Latin League.

495

Cult of Liber, Libera and Ceres on Aventine.

 

    Latin colony at Signia.

494

First secession; plebeians assert their rights (or 471).

 

    Latin colony at Velitrae.

493

    Treaty of Spurius Cassius with the Latins.

492

Corn imported from Cumae.

 

    Latin colony at Norba.

491

    Raid of Coriolanus.

486

Sp. Cassius proposes agrarian law.

 

    Treaty of Rome with Hernici.

 

    Wars with Aequi and Volsci intermittently for fifty years.

484

    Latins recover Tusculum from Aequi and Volsci.

483-474

    War with Veii.

479

    Battle of the Cremera.

474

    Etruscans defeated off Cumae by Hiero.

471

Lex Publilia Voleronis. Concilium Plebis and tribunes officially recognized.

462

Agitation of Terentilius Harsa.

459?

Tribunes raised to ten.

458?

    Minucius defeated by Aequi at Mt Algidus.

 

    Aequi defeated by Cincinnatus.

456

Lex Icilia de Aventino publicando.

451-450

The decemvirates. Publication of the XII Tables.

449

Secession of the plebs. Valerio-Horatian Laws. Rights of tribunes legally defined.

447

Quaestors elected by the people. Comitia Tributa Populi perhaps instituted.

445

Lex Canuleia. Military tribunes with consular power replace consulship.

444

    Treaty with Ardea.

443

  Censorship established.

442

    Latin colony at Ardea?

439

Minucius deals with corn supply of Rome.

433

Temple of Apollo founded.

431

    Decisive defeat of Aequi on the Algidus.

428-425

    Rome wins Fidenae from Veil.

421

Quaestorships raised to four: opened to plebs.

418

    Roman garrison (colony ?) at Labici.

409

Three quaestors plebeians.

406

    Anxur reduced.

404

    Velitrae receives garrison.

399

Lectisternium decreed.

396

Military pay introduced.

 

    Fall of Veii. Peace with Volsci.

393

    Latin colony at Circeii.

390?

    Latin colony at Sutrium.

390

    Battle of Allia. Gauls sack Rome. (387 acc. to Polybius.)

C. THE CONQUEST OF ITALY

388

    Aequi defeated at Bola.

387

    Creation of four rustic tribes on ager Veiens (making total of 25).

386-385

    Latins, Volsci and Hernici defeated.

385

    Latin colony at Satricum.

383?

    Latin colony at Nepete.

382

    Latin colony at Setia.

381

    Tusculum pacified.

378

‘Servian’ Wall begun.

377

    Latins defeated after their capture of Satricum.

 

Licinius and Sextius start their agitation.

367

Laws of Licinius and Sextius passed. Consulship restored. Creation of curule aedileship.

366

First plebeian consul. Creation of praetorship. Curule aedileship to alternate annually between patricians and plebs.

361

    Romans capture Ferentinum.

359

    Tarquinii revolts.

358

    Hernici readmitted to alliance. Renewal of treaty with Latins. Two
new tribes created on land from Antium (total 27).

357

Government tax on manumission. Rate of interest fixed.

 

    Falerii revolts. Gallic raid on Latium.

356

First plebeian dictator.

354

    Alliance of Rome and Samnites.

353

    Caere defeated: 100 years’ truce: receives half-citizenship (or later).

352

Quinqueviri mensarii established.

351

First plebeian censor.

 

    Tarquinii and Falerii reduced: forty years’ truce.

348

    Renewal of Rome’s treaty with Carthage.

346

    Gallic raid checked (or 349). Defeat of Antium and Satricum.

343

    Falerii receives permanent alliance.

 

    Latin attack on Paeligni.

343-341

    First Samnite War (very doubtful).

342

Military mutiny and secession. Leges Cenuciae.

340-338

    Latin revolt.

339

Leges Publiliae.

338

    Latin League dissolved. Lanuvium, Aricia, Nomentum, Pedum and Tusculum receive full citizenship. Fundi, Formiae, Cumae, Capua, etc., receive half-citizenship. Roman colony at Antium and Ostia (?).

 

Land confiscated from Velitrae.

337

First plebeian praetor.

336

    Teanum granted alliance.

334

    Latin colony at Cales.

332

    Acerrae receives half-citizenship. Two new tribes created in Latium (total 29).

 

    Rome’s treaty with Tarentum (or 303).

332-331

    Rome makes thirty years’ truce with Senones.

c. 330

    Roman alliance with Fabrateria and Frusino.

329

    Privernum captured and receives half-citizenship.

 

    Roman colony at Tarracina (Anxur).

328

    Latin colony at Fregellae.

326

First use of prorogatio imperii. Lex Poetilia concerning debt (313).

 

    Roman alliance with Neapolis, Nuceria and the Apulians.

 

    Rome captures Rufrium and Allifae.

326-304

    Second Samnite War.

321

    Roman defeat at Caudine Forks. Peace. Rome surrenders Fregellae.

318

    Two tribes (Falernia and Oufentina) created in northern Campania (total 31).

 

    Alliance with Teanum (Apuli) and Canusium.

 

    Roman prefects sent to Capua and Cumae.

316

    Samnite War renewed.

315

    Luceria captured. Samnite victory at Lautulae. Revolt of Capua and Aurunci to Samnites.

314

    Roman victory atTarracina. Capua and Aurunci reduced. Latin colony at Luceria.

313 (or 312)

    Fregellae and Sora recaptured. Nola and Calatia made allies. Latin colonies at Suessa Aurunca, Pontia, Saticula, Interamna.

312

Censorship of Appius Claudius.

 

    Romans capture Peltuinum and Allifae. Via Appia started. Aqua Appia.

311

Duoviri navales appointed.

310

    Naval landing at Pompeii fails. Roman advance into Etruria.

 

Roman treaties with Cortona, Perusia, Arretium.

308

    Alliance with Tarquinii renewed for forty years.

 

    Alliance with Camerinum and Ocriculum.

307

    Revolt of the Hernici.

306

    Anagnia stormed; receives half-citizenship.

 

    ‘Philinus’ treaty with Carthage.

304

Repeal of reform of Appius Claudius. Flavius publishes the ‘legis actiones’.

 

    Aequi defeated. Samnite War ended. Alliance with Marsi, Paeligni, Marrucini, Frentani.

303

    Latin colony at Alba Fucens (or 300) and Sora.

 

    Half-citizenship to Arpinum and Trebula.

 

Temple of Salus dedicated.

302

    Latin colony at Carsioli (or 298). Alliance with Vestini.

300

Lex Valeria de provocatione. Lex Ogulnia, opening priestly colleges to plebeians.

299

    Two new tribes, Aniensis and Terentina (total 33).

 

    Latin colony at Narnia (Nequinum). Alliance with Picentes.

 

    Gallic raid in Roman territory.

298-290

    Third Samnite War.

298

    Rome captures Taurasia, Cisauna, Bovianum Vetus, and Aufidena.

296

    Samnite raid in ager Falernus. Roman colonies at Minturnae and Sinuessa.

295

    Roman victory over Samnites, Gauls and Umbrians at Sentinum.

294

    Forty years’ treaty with Volsinii, Perusia, Arretium.

 

    Samnite victory near Luceria.

293(?)

Lex Maenia. Cult of Aesculapius imported.

 

    Roman victory over Samnites at Aquilonia.

292

    Falerii reduced; truce.

291

    Venusia stormed: Latin colony there.

290

    Peace with Samnites. Sabines granted half-citizenship.

 

    Latin colony at Hadria and Roman (?) colony at Castrum Novum Piceni.

289

Mint and triumviri monetales established.

287

Lex Hortensia.

284

    Senones defeat Metellus at Arretium. Revolt of Vulci, Volsinii, and some Samnites and Lucanians. Senones driven out of ager Gallicus. Roman colony at Sena.

283

    Boii defeated at Lake Vadimo.

282

    Boii defeated near Populonia, Roman garrisons sent to Thurii, Rhegium and Locri. Roman fleet attacked by Tarentines.

281

    Roman embassy at Tarentum.

280

    Alliance with Vulci, Volsinii, Rusellae, Vetulonia, Populonia, Volaterrae, and Tarquinii.

280-275

War with Pyrrhus.

280

    Pyrrhus lands in Italy, and defeats Romans at Heraclea.

 

    (Winter) Negotiations with Pyrrhus.

279

    Battle of Asculum.

278

    Peace negotiations fail. Rome’s treaty with Carthage.

 

    Pyrrhus leaves Italy.

276

    Pyrrhus returns to Italy.

275

Pyrrhus defeated near Malventum; returns to Greece.

273

    Latin colonies at Paestum and Cosa. Caere mulcted of some territory. Roman friendship with Egypt.

272

Livius Andronicus brought to Rome. Anio Vetus aqueduct.

 

    Alliance with Velia, Heraclea, Thurii, Metapontum.

 

    Surrender of Tarentum.

270

    Capture of Rhegium.

269

First silver coinage minted at Rome. Revolt of Picentes.

268

    Picentes reduced: half-citizenship. Sabines receive full citizenship.

 

Latin colonies at Beneventum and Ariminum.

 

    Capture of Sarsina.

267

    War with Sallentini. Capture of Brundisium.

266

    Apulia and Messapia reduced to alliance.

264

First gladiatorial show at Rome.

 

    Latin colony at Firmum. Capture of Volsinii.

263

    Latin colony at Aesernia.

D. THE FIRST AND SECOND PUNIC WARS

264-241

    First Punic War.

264

    Roman alliance with Mamertines. Roman army lands in Sicily.

263

    Hiero becomes Roman ally.

262

    Capture of Agrigentum.

260

    Naval victory off Mylae.

259

    Roman occupation of Corsica.

258

    Naval victory off Sulci.

257

    Naval victory off Tyndaris.

256

    Naval victory off Ecnomus. Regulus lands in Africa.

255

    Defeat of Regulus’ army. Naval victory off Cape Hermaeum.

 

    Roman fleet wrecked off Pachynus.

254

    Romans capture Panormus.

253

    Roman fleet wrecked off Palinurus.

250

    Victory at Panormus. Siege of Lilybaeum.

249

    Claudius’ naval defeat at Drepana. Roman transport fleet wrecked.

247

    Hamilcar Barca starts Carthaginian offensive in Sicily.

244

    Latin colony at Brundisium.

243

Roman fleet built from voluntary loans.

242

Institution of praetor peregrinus.

241

    Naval victory off Aegates Insulae. Peace. Roman occupation of Sicily. Falerii reduced. Latin colony at Spoletium. Two tribes created in Picenum (total 35).

241?

Reform of the Comitia Centuriata.

238-225

    Occupation and reduction of Corsica and Sardinia.

238-230

    Intermittent campaigns against the Ligurians.

236

First play of Naevius.

 

    Gallic raids in the North.

c. 235

The quadrigatus introduced.

235-234

Temple of Janus closed.

232

    Distribution of ager Callicus carried by Flaminius.

231

    Roman embassy to Hamilcar in Spain.

229-228

    First Illyrian War. Roman protectorate established on the Illyrian coast.

228

    Roman envoys in Greece.

227

Praetorships raised to four. Sicily and Sardinia under praetors.

226

    Roman embassy to Hasdrubal in Spain; Ebro treaty.

225

    Invading Gauls defeated at Telamon.

223

    Flaminius defeats Insubres.

222

    Battle of Clastidium; Insubres surrender.

221-220

North-eastern frontier secured to Julian Alps.

c. 221

    Saguntines appeal to Rome.

220

    Construction of Via Flaminia.

219

    Second Illyrian War; Demetrius defeated.

 

    (aut.) Hannibal storms Saguntum.

218?

Lex Claudia.

 

    Latin colonies at Placentia and Cremona.

 

    Roman ultimatum to Carthage. War declared (spring).

218-201

    Second Punic War.

218

    Hannibal in northern Italy. Battles of Ticinus and Trebia.

217

    Roman naval victory off the Ebro. Battle of Lake Trasimene.

216

    Battle of Cannae. Revolts in central Italy, and of Capua.

215

Tributum doubled.

 

    Hannibal in South Italy. Hasdrubal defeated at Dertosa.

 

    Alliance of Carthage with Philip and Syracuse.

214

    Roman successes in Spain.

214-205

    First Macedonian War.

213

    Hannibal occupies Tarentum. Roman siege of Syracuse.

212

    Siege of Capua.

 

Ludi Apollinares introduced.

212-211

The denarius introduced.

211

    Hannibal’s march on Rome. Fall of Capua and Syracuse. Roman alliance with Aetolia.

 

    The Scipios defeated in Spain.

210

    Twelve Latin colonies refuse contingents. Fall of Agrigentum.

 

Scipio Africanus lands in Spain.

209

    Recapture of Tarentum. Capture of New Carthage.

208

    Death of Marcellus. Battle of Baecula.

207

    Hasdrubal defeated at Metaurus.

206

    Battle of Ilipa. Final reduction of Spain. Aetolians make peace with Philip.

205

    Scipio in Sicily. Peace of Phoenice (or 204).

204

Ennius brought to Rome. Cult stone of Mother Goddess brought from Asia Minor.

 

    Scipio lands in Africa.

203

    Syphax defeated. Battle of the Great Plains. Armistice broken.

 

Defeat of Mago. Hannibal recalled in winter.

202

First prose history of Rome by Fabius Pictor.

 

    Scipio’s victory at Zama (aut.).

201

    Peace. Masinissa king of Greater Numidia. Carthage becomes a client state. Appeal of Attalus and Rhodes.

E. EXTENSION OF EMPIRE

200-196

    Second Macedonian War.

200

    War declared on Philip. Insubres sack Placentia.

199

Lex Porcia, limiting Imperium of governors. Death of Naevius.

198

    Flamininus’ victory at the Aoiis. Achaeans join Rome.

197

Praetorships raised to six. Spain organized as two provinces.

 

    Cethegus defeats Insubres. Battle of Cynoscephalae.

 

    Peace between Philip and Rome (winter). Revolt of Turdetani in Spain.

196

    Final defeat of Insubres by Marcellus. Flamininus’ proclamation at

 

Corinth. Appeal of Smyrna to Senate.

195

Repeal of Lex Oppia. Lex Porcia, forbidding scourging of citizens.

 

    Hannibal exiled. Masinissa starts his raids on Punic territory. Cato in Spain. War against Nabis.

194

    Roman colonies at Volturnum, Liternum, Puteoli, Salernum, Pyrgi, Sipontum, Tempsa, Croton, Buxentum.

 

    Lusitani defeated; war drags on intermittently.

 

    Evacuation of Greece.

193

    Latin colony at Copia.

192-189

    War with Antiochus.

192

    Latin colony at Vibo. The Apuani checked. War declared on Antiochus, who lands in Greece (Oct.).

191

Lex Acilia, concerning the calendar.

 

    Boii defeated by Scipio Nasica. Antiochus defeated at Thermopylae. War in Aetolia. Antiochus’ fleet defeated off Corycus.

190

    Placentia and Cremona resettled. The Scipios in Greece.

 

    Antiochus’ fleet defeated at Side and Myonnesus.

189

Libertini enrolled in rustic tribes.

 

    Latin colony at Bononia. Campanians enrolled as citizens. Fall of Ambracia. Peace with Aetolia.

 

    Defeat of Antiochus at Magnesia. Manlius raids Galatia.

188

    Full citizenship granted to Arpinum, Formiae, Fundi.

 

    Treaty of Apamea. Settlement of Asia.

187

Government liquidates war debt. Attacks on Scipios.

 

Non-citizens expelled from Rome.

 

    Via Aemilia and Via Flaminia.

186

Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus.

 

    Ligurians defeat Philippus.

184

Cato censor. Death ofPlautus. Exile of Scipio Africanus.

 

    Roman colonies at Potentia, Pisaurum. Philip sends Demetrius to Rome.

183

Lex Furia Testamentaria. Death of Scipio Africanus.

 

    Roman colonies at Parma, Mutina, Saturnia.

181

Lex Baebia. Lex Orchia (sumptuary).

 

    Latin colony at Aquileia. Roman colony at Graviscae.

 

    Ingauni defeated. End of Achaeo-Spartan quarrel.

 

    Revolt in Corsica and Sardinia.

181-179

    First Celtiberian War.

180

Lex Villia Annalis.

 

    Latin colony at Luca. Apuani defeated. Foundation of Graccuris in Spain.

179

    Accession of Perseus.

178

    Expedition against Istri.

177

Latins expelled from Rome.

 

    Roman colony at Luna. Annexation of Istria.

177-176

    Sardinia reduced.

173

Latins expelled from Rome. Two Epicurean philosophers expelled.

 

    Envoys sent to arbitrate between Masinissa and Carthage.

172

Two plebeian consuls.

172-167

    Third Macedonian War.

171

Temporary court de repetundis.

 

    Latin colony at Carteia in Spain.

169

Lex Voconia. Freedmen confined to one urban tribe.

 

Quarrel between Senate and Equites.

168

    Defeat of Perseus at Pydna. Romans capture Scodra.

 

    Antiochus checked. Delos declared a free port. Foundation of Corduba in Spain (or 151).

167

Tributum discontinued. Perseus’ library brought to Rome. Epirus plundered. Macedon divided into four, Illyria into three protectorates. 1,000 Achaeans deported to Italy.

166-159

Production of Terence’s comedies.

163

    Final reduction of Corsica.

161

Lex Fannia (sumptuary). Expulsion of Greek philosophers.

 

    Treaty with Jews.

159

Law against bribery.

157-155

    Roman campaigns in Dalmatia and Pannonia.

155

Carneades in Rome.

154

    Oxybian Ligurians defeated.

154-138

    Lusitanian War.

153-151

    Second Celtiberian War.

151

    Carthage declares war on Masinissa.

150

    Return of Achaean exiles to Greece.

c. 150

Lex Aelia Fufia. Lex Aebutia, establishing a formulary system of legal procedure.

149-146

    Third Punic War.

149

Permanent court de repetundis (Lex Calpurnia).

 

Publication of Cato’s Origines.

 

Siege of Carthage begun. Rising of Andriscus in Macedon.

148

Via Postumia.

147

Viriathus successful.

 

Macedonia becomes a province.

146

Destruction of Carthage. Africa becomes a province. War between

 

Rome and Achaeans. Sack of Corinth.

143-133

Third Celtiberian, or Numantine War.

139

Death of Viriathus.

133

Fall of Numantia.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!