Roman Empire

753BC Rome founded with monarchical government. Approx. 616 conquered by Etruscans, who imposed Etruscan monarchs until . . .

510BC Tarquinius Superbus, the last king and last Etruscan ruler driven out and the Republic formed, ruled by a Senate.

264BC the Republic had conquered the rest of Italy.

264-133BC grew from peninsular power to world power, conquering Carthage (North Africa), Spain, Macedonia (inc. Greece) and Pergamum (Asia Minor).

83BC to regain power the consul Sulla (83-79) restored his power by bringing 40,000 troops from Asia Minor. Thereafter, the Republic was always at the mercy of the general with the most troops.

49BC Julius Caesar's troops take Rome after the Senate tried to remove him as consul.

44BC Senators assassinate Julius Caesar and Cicero attempts to refound Republic.

44BC Mark Anthony, Lepidus and Octavian form a triumvirate that kills all political opponents, inc. Cicero. Lepidus later thrown out for seeking to capture Sicily for himself.

31BC Battle of Actium, Octavian defeats Anthony (and Cleopatra).

29BC Anthony and Cleopatra take own and Octavian becomes undisputed emperor.

27BC Octavian becomes Augustus Caesar and the Empire proper is born. The Senate was left in control of just Rome, Italy and some nearby and non-troublesome provinces.

27BC-14AD Augustus Caesar

c.4BC Jesus of Nazareth born in Palestine.

14-37 Tiberius succeeds his stepfather as Emperor

c.33 Jesus crucified.

37-41 Caligula

41-54 Claudius, conquered Britain (i.e., England and bits of Wales)

54-68 Nero

64 1st imperial persecution, very brief, but bloody. Peter a possible victim.

67 Paul possibly martyred on outskirts of Rome due to mob violence.

68-69 Galba, Otho, and Vitellius each had brief reigns.

69-79 Vespasian

70AD Jerusalem sacked, but most Christians had already fled.

79-81 Titus

81-96 Domitian

persecuted Christians under general persecution of Jews.

97-98 Nerva, first of five Flavians who selected and legally adopted their successor.

98-117 Trajan, under whose rule the Empire reached its greatest extent.

111 Trajan tells Pliny not to actively persecute Christians.

117-138 Hadrian gave up some Eastern provinces to consolidate empire (and built a wall across Britain).

132-135 Christians singled out for punishment during Last Jewsh Revolt

138-161 Antonius Pius

144 Marcion excommunicated for editing scriptures to suit his theology

159 Polycarp martyred

161-180 Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher, but often blamed for later decline of Empire as incursions on imperial borders became more numerous at this point.

163 Justin Martyr martyred

179 King Abgar of Edessa converts to Christianity

180-192 Commodus,murdered in 192 and brought Flavian dynasty to an end

192-93 neither Publius Helvius Pertinax nor Didus Severus Julianus lasted long as emperors

193-211 Septimus Severus

202 Jewish and Christian evangelism prohibited

211-217 Caracalla

212 all freemen of Empire declared citizens.

218-222 Heliogabalus

222-235 Alexander Severus

235-268 twelve emperors in quick succession, most leaving the job via a violent death.

242 Mani founds Manichaeanism

249-51 Decius launched first empire-wide persecution.

251-253 Gallus let anti-Christian measures lapse.

253-260 Valerian directly targets Christianity, especially the clergy.

254 Origen dies from injuries inflicted during Decian persecution

260 Gallienus (260-268) issues Edict of Toleration for Christians.

268-70 Claudius II drove back the Goths

270-275 Aurelius defeated Goths, Germans and reclaimed Asia Minor and Egypt from Queen Zenobia of Palmyra.

270 Anthony first desert hermit

275-284 six emperors in nine years.

277 Mani martyred

280 King Tidrates of Armenia converts to Christianity

284-305 Diocletian began Later Roman Empire by seeking to return to the orderly succession of the Flavian era. He appointed Maximian co-Augustus and under each of them a Caesar; Galerius under Diocletian and Constantius under Maximian. The empire was divided geographically. Diocletian (Thrace, Egypt, and Asia), Maximian (Italy and Africa), Constantius (Gaul, Spain, and Britain) and Galerius (the Danubian provinces).

297 Persecution of the Manichaeans

303 The Great Persecution begun by Diocletian.

305 Diocletian and Maximian abdicate, promoting two Caesars to Augustus. Licinius made Caesar in the East and Maxentius in the West. Galerius holds the real power in the empire.

306 Constantius declares son Constantine his successor, in York.

311 Great persecution ends with Edict of Toleration, just before Galerius' death.

319 moderate persecution by Licinius

312 Constantine takes Rome and becomes Emperor of the West. He was probably a Christian by this point.

313 Edict of Milan (if it existed) declares all religions (inc. Christianity) legal.

314 Constantine calls Council of Arles to settle Donatist schism.

318 Arius condemned for heresy at Alexandria

324 Constantine defeats Licinius, becoming sole emperor.

325 Constantine calls the Council of Nicaea to settle the Arian controversy.

328 Athanasius consecrated Bishop of Alexandria

330 renames Byzantium as Constantinople and makes it the imperial capital.

337 Constantine dies.

337-353 various civil wars between Constantine's sons.

353-361 Constantius II, the son that survived. He was an Arian.

361-363 Julian the Apostate, repelled Constantius' anti-pagan laws and removed Christianity's legal privileges, but there was no persecution.

363-364 Jovian, another Arian, restored Christianity's legal privileges.

364-392 empire splits in two.

380 Christian becomes state religion

381 Council of Constantinople reaffirms anti-Arian Council of Nicaea

386 conversion of Augustine

391 pagan worship prohibited (largely unenforceable in the West)

392-395 Theodosius (Eastern Emperor 378-392) last sole emperor, on his death the empire divided between his sons.

395-408 Arcadius Eastern Emperor

395-423 Honorius Western Emperor, ceded Gaul and Spain

396 Augustine consecrated Bishop of Hippo.

410 Alaric sacks Rome

423-455 Valentius III [W], ceded North Africa (440)

432 Patrick comes as Bishop to Ireland

440-61 Bishop Leo I of Rome gradually asserrts control over Western Church

451 Council of Chalcedon helped enshrine papal power through Leo's successful intervention, as Roman political power collapsed in the West.

455 Genseric captures Rome

455-472 nine Western Emperors, who were little more than clients of Ricimer (the Suebe).

475 last Western Roman Emperor, Augustulus Romulus, is replaced when Odacer is declared King of Italy, ending the Western Roman Empire.

527-65 Justinian the emperor who built the Hagia Sophia church and created the Justinian Code of law.

610-41 Emperor Heriacles, who sponsored Christian mission to Croatia and Serbia

717-18 Arab fleet surrounded Constantinople, but is repelled with Bulgarian assistance; Arabs capture most Byzantine Asian and Africa territories, including the patriarchies of Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria) and Jerusalem.

726 iconoclasm begins when Emperor Leo III (d.741) openly opposes icons; annual Arab incursions into Asia Minor begin

730 icon veneration banned and icons ordered to be destroyed

741-75 Emperor Constantine V pursued iconoclasm with more greater passion than his father

754 Pope Stephen II makes alliance with Frankish King Pippin

754 Constantine V calls a council (the headless synod)that doctrinally condemns veneration of icons, leading iconodules were excommunicated, included John of Damascus

762 anti-Byzantine Teletz gains power in Bulgaria

762-75 "Decade of Blood" provides many "new martyrs" from among the iconodules

775-80 Emperor Leo IV, who was an iconoclast, while his wife Irene was an iconodule, so a policy of toleration prevailed

780 Irene becomes regent for her son, Constantine VI, whom she later usurps

786 an iconodule council in Constantinople is broken up by soldiers who resented rejection of Constantine V's policy

787 (7th Ecumenical) 2nd Council of Nicaea restores veneration of icons and condemns iconoclasm, annulling headless synod

800 Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the pope

811 Byzantine army massacred by Bulgars and Emperor Nicephorus

813 Byzantines defeated again by Bulgars and Emperor Michael I loses power to . . .

813-20 Emperor Leo V restores iconoclastic policy

815 Council of St Sophia annuls 7th Ecumenical Council and orders the destruction of icons; monks processed through the capital holding icons; persecution resumed

820-29 Emperor Michael II stopped persecution, but banned further discussion of icons

829-42 Emperor Theophilus resumed persecution, esp. Against monastics. He was a devotee of Islamic (i.e., non-iconic art)

842 Empress Theodora acting as regent for her son, Emperor Michael III, restores iconodules to power

843 Synod of Orthodoxy in Constantinople condemns iconoclasm

1st Sunday in Lent 843 declaration in favour of icon veneration. This is now observed on 1st Sunday in Lent as The Victory of Orthodoxy.

862 Michael III sends Cyril and Methodius as missionaries to Moravia, at the invitation its king, Rastislav. They produce first written Slavonic language and use it for Scriptures and liturgy to the annoyance of the Frankish Empire

867 Cyril and Methodius gain support of Roman patriarch (i.e., pope), but Cyril dies soon after

885 Methodius dies and Slavonic Church is driven out of Moravia, into Bulgaria, from where Slavonic-language Orthodoxy spreads to Serbia and Russia

1453 Constantine XI killed in the unsuccessful defence of Constantinople against the Ottoman Turks. The Roman Empire ends, approx. 1,500 years after its birth.


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