753 BC (trad.) Foundation of Rome by Romulus
753-509 BC Roman monarchy
509-c. 90 BC Republic
c. 90-31 BC Civil wars (Julius Caesar, Pompey,
31 BC-14 AD Reign of Octavian/Augustus
31 BC-192 AD Early imperial period (principate)
Map Link: Territorial Expansion of Rome:
Problems in the Roman Empire
End of imperial expansion: loss of income,
prestige, etc.
Increasing influence of non-Italians in society,
government, the army
Increasing attacks on borders
Increasingly centralised government
Increased militarisation of state
235 Army murders Severus Alexander
(r. 222-235)
235-84 Period of crisis: civil and external wars,
plague, economic crisis, raised taxes
259 Persians defeat Roman army and capture
Valerian (r. 253-60)
Diocletian (r. 284-305)
Constantine (r. 306-37)
Map Link: Map of the Tetrarchy:
Diocletian’s Reforms
Multiple capitals: closer links between local
governments and imperial government,
so swifter responses
Reforms of army: imperial bodyguards, mobile
army and border defence forces. Soldiers
no longer in civil administration
Reforms of coinage, pricing, state building
projects, annona (universal land tax)
Diocletian’s Reforms
Improving loyalty by presenting self as
earthly manifestation of Jupiter.
Persecuting Christians
Diocletian’s Reforms
Diocletian’s Reforms
Retired 305:
306 Constantine (son of Constantius)
acclaimed by troops as emperor
312 Battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine
becomes an augustus (co-emperor)
313 Constantine makes Christianity official
religion of the empire, though others
324 Constantine becomes sole emperor,
establishes new capital at Byzantion
(Constantinople): “Nova Roma
Constantinopolitana” (New Rome, the
City of Constantine)
332 Constantine repels Goths
337 Death of Constantine. Sons fight over
337-61 Reign of Constantius II
353 Constantius II reunites empire
356 Constantius bans public paganism
361-63 Reign of Julian (the Apostate)
Problems of the Late 4th Century
Divergence of Eastern and Western Empires
Foreign involvement:
Settlement of barbarians in east
Valentinian II (r. 375-92), Western Roman
Emperor, plus successor, puppets of
Arbogast the Frank
Brief reunification under Theodosius (r. 379-95)
in 394, but does not last
The End
End 4th c. Accession of young emperors. Power
held by regents, mostly from military or
female relatives of emperors. Barbarians
being bribed to fight each other
476 Last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus
Augustulus (r. 475-76), deposed by Odoacer
the Ostrogoth. End of Roman Empire in
west. Eastern Roman Empire remains,
from now usually called Byzantine Empire
Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 325-392 or 395)
Born in Antioch, Syria. Of Greek descent,
probably noble
Joined army in his twenties. Served until death
of Julian the Apostate, whom admired
Pagan, but not fervently anti-Christian
After retired, travelled, then settled in Rome
after 378
Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 325-392 or 395)
Spent rest of life writing Res Gestae a Fine
Corneli Taciti (or Rerum Gestarum Libri
qui Supersunt), history of Rome continuing
work of Tacitus (c. 55-117) and covering
years 96-378 (ending with Battle of
Uses mix of eyewitness experiences and written
Salvian (Salvianus, c. 400-480)
Born in Trier. Noble descent, raised Christian
Married, but both he and wife entered
monastery at Lerins c. 424
Ordained as priest. Renowned preacher and
teacher of rhetoric
Was priest in Marseilles by 430
Salvian (Salvianus, c. 400-480)
Wrote several works. We have set of 9 letters
and this work:
De Gubernatione Dei
Treatise on God’s guidance of history