Annotated Chronology

of Military Events


1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Copyright. Richard R. Orsinger


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6 Judea is absorbed into the Roman Empire.

33 According to biblical accounts, under Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Jesus of Nazareth is condemned and crucified.

41 Emperor Caligula is murdered. Claudius becomes Roman emperor.

43 Roman army of 20,000 invades Britain. Once their position is secure, Emperor Claudius crosses from Gaul with reinforcements, including elephants, and stages and wins another battle. Claudius returns to Rome a conqueror, is awarded the title Britannicus. The Romans establish a troubled domination of Britain. [More]

61 Excessive Roman depredations drive Britons to revolt under female leader Boudicca, who captures Camulodunum (Colchester) and slaughters all Romans and their collaborators, then fights and vanquishes the infantry of the 9th Legion. When Boudicca marches on Londinium (London), the Roman commander Suetonius abandons the city, whereupon Boudicca takes the city and kills all its inhabitants. Boudicca then marches upon and destroys Verulamium (St. Albans). In the three cities, some 70,000 inhabitants lose their lives. Suetonius, with 10,000 soldiers meets the Britons in battle, and the Romans triumph, killing the British soldiers, their women and children. Boudicca drinks poison and dies.

66 Beginning of Great Revolt of Jews against the Romans.

70 Romans under Titus beseige and capture Jerusalem, ending the Great Revolt. The Temple is burned.

84 Romans win Battle of Mons Graupius, ending British resistance to Roman occupation.

c 100 Roman historian Tacitus writes De origine et situ Germanorum, describing the German culture of the time.

116 Romans capture Parthian capitol of Ctesiphon.

122 Romans begin construction of Hadrian's Wall, in Britain. The wall stretches over 73 miles from coast to coast in Northumberland, England, and is designed to separate barbarians to the north from Roman-controlled Britain. [More]

135 Roman Emperor Hadrian destroys Jerusalem, and rebuilds as new city, called "Aelia Capitolina," and prohibits Jews from living there. [More].

220 Beginning of period of invasions into China by the barbarian Hsiung-he (Huns). Han dynasty of China ends.

225 Ardashir I, first Sasanian Emperor, defeats Artabanus V, last Parthian ruler.

260 Persian King Shapoor I defeats Romans and captures Roman Emperor Valerian.

269 Roman Emperor Claudius II defeats the Goths as Naissus (Nis, Yugoslavia).

306 Constantine proclaimed Emperor at York, England.

312 Constantine I defeats Maxentius at the Mulvian Bridge over the River Tiber, becoming unchallenged ruler of the Western Roman Empire. Here, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Constantine saw a flaming cross in the sky, inscribed "In hoc signo vinces" (In this sign you shall conquer).[More]

313 Constantine I issues the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christianity.

330 Constantine I moves capital of Roman Empire to Byzantium, which he rebuilds as Constantinople.

340 Romans cease building new roads in Britain. [More]

350 Romans cease building new roads in Gaul. [More] The British general Magnentius revolts, and becomes acknowledged emperor throughout most of the western Roman Empire. Emperor Constantius invites Germanic tribes to cross the Rhine River to attack Gaul and the Roman Rhineland. [More]

353 Emperor Constantius defeats Magnentius, but the result of inviting Germanic intervention is that armed bands of Germanic tribesmen maraud through the Western Empire. Since Britain supported Magnentius, Constantius decimates the British ruling class. [More]

367 "A barbarian alliance [brings] Britain to her knees; Nectaridus, Count of the Coastal Defence [the Saxon Shore] [i]s killed, the general Fullofaudes ambushed . . . . the Picts plunde[r] at will, as [do] the warlike Atacotti and the Scotti [Irish]... The Franks, and their Saxon neighbors, rai[d] the Gallic coast, breaking in where they [can]. The Roman border troops, Areani, ally with the barbarians. [More]

372 Huns sweep across Asia, invade the lower Volga valley, and move westward, pushing the Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) and Visigoths (Western Goths) into the Roman Empire.

375 The Huns cross the Volga River, attack the Germanic Visigoths living in Ukraine. Romans permit fleeing Visigoths to enter the Empire at Foederati, but so mistreat them that the Visigoths revolt. 378 Huns defeat Roman army under Emperor Valens at Adrianople, in the far northwestern part of Turkey.

383 Diocese in Britain declares Magnus Maximus as Roman Emperor.

388 Roman Emperor Theodosius defeats Magnus Maximus, using large contingents of Germanic soldiers, whose loyalty did not lie with Rome.

392 Germanic leader of Rome's Rhineland forces revolts; the rebellion is suppressed by Theodosius.

395 Theodosius dies, the last Emperor of the entire Roman Empire.

400 Visigoths attack western half of Roman Empire.

402 Romans, under Flavius Stilicho (a Vandal), repel Visigoth invasion of Italy led by Alaric I, at the Battle of Pollentia. Emperor Honorius moves the capitol of the Empire to Ravenna.

403 Stilicho strips the western Roman frontier of forces, in attempt to contain Visigoth invasion of Italy, saving Italy but causing the Rhine frontier to collapse. Huge numbers of Vandals, Suebi, and Alan tribesmen flood across the Rhine frontier. Britain declares Constantine III as emperor, who ejects the invaders from Gaul. The invaders retreat into Spain, where the Suebi settle. [

405 Stilicho repels barbarian invasion of Italy under Radagaisus in a battle near Fiesole. [More]

406 The Vandals under Guderic invade Gaul. The Franks forbid them to settle, so in 409 A.D. they cross the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain, where they fight with Romans and Visigoths.

___ Honorius attacks Constantine III in Gaul, killing many of Constantine's troops and generals. The peasants rise in revolt, and Roman order in Gaul disintegrates.

410 Alaric I and the Visigoths sack Rome. The Visigoths leave with massive amounts of plunder, taking the Emperor's sister as hostage. Britain asks aid from Honorius, which he states he cannot give. Honorius tells Britain to look to its own defense. Roman control of Britain collapses. Arechaelogical evidence suggests, however, relatively peaceful conditions in Britain, with only minor Anglo-Saxon incursions up to 440 A.D.

425 Britain appears to have delegated defense to a Vortigern (overking).

429 The Vandals, living in Spain, pressed by the Goths, cross into Africa, where they defeat Roman general Boniface. By 435, the Vandals control most of Roman Africa.

432 Huns force Roman Emperor Theodosius to pay tribute.

434 Attila the Hun enters treaty with Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

435 Vandals capture Tripolitania (Western Libya).

440 Myth suggests that Picts, Scotti or Irish attack Britain, prompting the Vortigern to invite Saxon leaders Hengest and Horsa to assist as foederati (barbarian allies), giving them in return the right to settle permanently with their families in various parts of Britain.

439 Vandals capture Carthage. Vandal pirates prey on Medeterranean shipping.

441 Attila invades Balkans, and devastates the city of Naissus.

442 Roman Emperor Valentinian III recognizes Gaiseric as an independent ruler. The Vandals develop a strong army and navy.

445 [Archeological evidence shows] massive settlement of Anglo-Saxons in Britain.

446 Roman-British inhabitants of Britain, attacked by Anglo-Saxons, send plea for help to Roman Emperor Aetius. British are pushed across the English Channel into the land of the Armoricans in northern Gaul, forcing them out of their homeland, and leading to the establishment of what is today called the Brittany province of France.

447 Attila attacks Roman empire.

448 Greek writer Priscus visits Atilla the Hun's headquarters. [More]

450 Rome refuses to pay further tribute to Huns, so Huns invade Italy and Gaul.

451 Attila moves through Gaul, destroying the countryside and the city of Metz. Attila lays seige to Orleans, but the city is saved by the arrival of the Roman general Aetius, accompanied by Theodoric, King of the Goths. Attila retires to the plain of Moirey, where he is defeated at Maurica, the Battle of Chalon. Attila flees but Aetius does not give chase.

452 Attila invades northern Italy, razing the city of Aquileia, and devastating and depopulating the Po River Valley. Pope Leo I meets Atilla and convinces him to leave Italy.

453 Attila dies.

455 Vandals under Gaiseric sack Rome, taking Empress Eudoxia and her two daughters hostage.

458 British leader Aurelianus Ambrosius forces partial Saxon retreat to the east in Britain. [Still more] And more]

476 Heruli, Sciri and Rugli (Germanic) mercenaries of Rome revolt and declare Odoacer (Odovacar) king. Odoacer invades Italy, and defeats the Roman general Orestes at Piacenza. Odoacer captures Ravenna (the western Roman capitol) and deposes Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus, who thus becomes the last Western Roman Emperor until Charlemagne (800 A.D.). Odoacer takes over as ruler of Italy.

477 Vandal King Gaiseric dies, and Vandal power declines.

480 Burgundy area of France invaded by the Burgundii, a tribe from Savoy.

486 Frank King Clovis I (Chlodovech) defeats Roman general Syagrius near Soissons, and executes him. Clovis I defeats and kills Alaric, King of the Visigoths, at Vouille, near Poitiers, France. [More]; [More on Clovis];[More on Clovis].

488 Upon the invitation of Byzantine Emperor Zeno, Theodoric the Great leads an Ostrogothic army into Italy to expel Odoacer.

489 Theodoric wins at Isonzo and Milan.

490 Theodoric wins at the Adda.

493 Theodoric besieges and captures Ravenna. Theodoric enters into treaty with Odoacer to jointly rule Italy. Odoacer, his son and chief officers are invited to a banquet by Theodoric, where they are assassinated, initiating Theodoric's exclusive rule over northern Italy, which continues until his death in 526.

495 According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, "two princes, Cerdic and Cynric his son, came to Britain with five ships, arriving at the place which is called Cerdicesora, and the same day they fought against the Welsh." Legend suggests exploits by British, who fights Anglo-Saxons in Britain. Arthur is known at the time by the name Artorius. Arthur appears to have defeated the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Badon, or Mount Badon. This battle halts Anglo-Saxon advance in Britain for half a century.

507 Franks under Clovis I defeat and slay Visigothic King Alaric II at Vouillé. Visigoths lose most of their possessions in Gaul, including Aquitaine.

519 According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles: "In this year Cerdic and Cynric obtained the kingdom of the West Saxons, and the same year they fought against the Britons at a place now called Cerdices-ford. And from that day on the princes of the West Saxons have reigned."

532 Cerdic, first king of West Saxons, accedes to the throne of Wessex.

533 Byzantine Emperor Justinian I sends army under Belisarius, to attack the Vandals. Belisarius takes Carthage and captures the Vandal king. This brings the Vandal culture to an end.

534 Burgundy conquered by Franks.

536 Byzantine General Belisarius recaptures Naples and Rome from the Ostrogoths.

542 Ostrogoths under Totila (Baduila) defeats Byzantine army at Faenza and Mugello.

543 Ostrogoths under Totila capture Naples.

546 Ostrogoths under Totila capture Rome.

547 Byzantines under Belisarius recapture Rome from the Ostrogoths.

550 Rome falls agains to the Ostrogoths.

552 Emperor Justinian I sends large army under Narses to confront Totila, and Totila is killed in battle near Taginae, in the Apennines west of Ancona. This ended the Ostrogoths as a culture.

559 Belisarius drives the Bulgarians from Constantinople.

589 Han family reunifies China, founding the Sui dynasty (which lasts only two reigns).

614 Persians conquer Jerusalem, massacre inhabitants, burn temples.

615 Arab Islamic army defeats Yazdigird III, last king of the Sasanians. Parthian capital, Ctesiphon, falls.

618 T'ang dynasty of China established.

622 Muhammad flees (the Hegira) from Mecca to Medina to avoid an attempt on his life.

629 Byzantines capture Jerusalem from the Persians.

630 Muhammad marches on Mecca, which surrenders without a fight.

06 08 632 Muhammad dies.

633 Penda (King of Mercia) and Cadwallon (Christian Romano-British King of North Wales, or Gwynedd), ally and then defeat Saxon King Edwin of Northumbria, and display Edwin's head on the ramparts of the captured city of York.

634 Northumbrian King Edwin's successor Oswald destroys Cadwallon and his British forces, in the last pitched battle between Britons and Saxons. [More]

635 Cynegils, King of Wessex, converts to Christianity.

08 20 636 Byzantine Emperor Heraclius with a large army meets the Muslim army at the Battle of Yarmuk, in Syria. Heraclius is decisively defeated, and Syria falls to the Muslims. [Description of battle by al-Baladhuri] Muslim armies begin an inexorable expansion to the north and west, eventually crossing into Spain (711) and invading France (732).

638 Muslim Caliph Umar I enters Jerusalem.

642 King __ of Mercia kills Northumbrian King Oswald at Battle of Maserfield.

651 Text of the Koran (Quran) formalized under Caliph Uthman.

668 Tenth caliph, Abd al-Malik, begins building Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

711 Berber leader Tarik ibn Ziyad receives invitation from heirs of Visigothic King Witica to help them unseat usurper Roderick, so Tarik crosses from Africa and defeats Roderick at the Battle of Guadalete, near Medina Sedonia. [More]. Instead of restoring the house of Witica, Tarik brings over reinforcements and occupies the entire Iberian peninsula, ending the Visigoth kingdom, and establishing Moorish control of Spain that lasts until 1492.

717 Siege of Constantinople by Arabs.

718 Aquitaine invaded by Arab forces.

732 Frankish ruler Charles Martel ("The Hammer" and grandfather of Charlemagne) defeats advancing Arab armies under Abd-er-rahman, between Poitiers and Tours, in Gaul. [Depiction of battle]

739 Pope Gregory III sends letter appealing to the Frankish ruler Charles Martel for help against the Lombards in Italy.

743 Martel's sons, Pepin (the Short) and Carloman select Childeric III as nominal king of the Franks.

750 City of Sijilmasa founded as a gathering place for Berber tribes. [More]

751 After Carloman retires to religious life ( in 751), Pepin forces Childeric III into a monastery and takes the Frank throne as Pepin III. [More] Lombards capture Ravenna from the Byzantines.

754 In return for recognition of his regency by Pope Stephen II, Pepin III protects Rome from Lombard attack and gives Ravenna and other cities to the temporal control of the Pope, thus instituting the Papal States.

755 Barbarian general of the T'ang army leads a revolt that, although quickly crushed, permanently damages the effectiveness of the central Chinese government.

774 Charlemagne confirms his father's (Pepin III) ceding of Ravenna and other cities to the Pope.

778 Charlemagne, King of the Francs, invades Spain.

781 Charlemagne subdues Aquitaine and places his son Louis on the throne.

789 Anglo-Saxon sheriff killed by Vikings who land in Wessex.

793 Danish Vikings attack the great monastic settlement of Lindisfarne (Holy Island), steal the gold, jewels and sacred emblems, take many monks off to slavery and slaughter the rest, revealing the vulnerability of the many monastic colonies located off of Britain's coast. [More]

794 Vikings sack the monastery of Jarrow, home of the historian Bede.

795 Vikings sack Iona.

12 15 800 Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. [Map of Europe in 800 A.D.]

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Last updated May 9, 1999.