Roman Empire
3rd Century (201-300 A.D.)

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2007




Completion of the Arch of Septimus Severus in the Roman Forum.


Birth of the Emperor Philip the Arab. Christian writer Tertullian completes his work The Crown.


Secular Games (Ludi saeculares) celebrated throughout the Empire


First consulship of the Roman historian Dio Cassius.


Birth of the Emperor Aemilian on the island Jerba in Africa.


Birth of the Emperor Alexander Severus, in the city of Caesarea.


Emperor Septimus Severus campaigns in Britain against the Caledonians.


Death of Septimius Severus in Britain. Caracalla and Geta, Severus' sons rule as joint emperors. Geta murdered by Caracalla 10 months later making him sole emperor.


The Constitutio Antoniniana, issued by Caracalla, confers citizenship on all free men in the Empire.


Birth of the Emperor Gallienus.


Birth of the Emperor Aurelian, in the province of Lower Moesia.


The Emperor Caracalla issues a new form of silver coinage, the Antoninianus.


New wars against Parthia. The baths of Caracalla are completed in Rome.
Caracalla makes concessions to the Jews, exempting them from taxes for the first time since Julius Caesar.


Death of the Emperor Caracalla (Assassinated by Julius Martialis, an officer of the imperial bodyguard). Macrinus, the Praetorian Prefect under Caracalla, is hailed by the troops as the new emperor. He is the first emperor to be drawn out of the Roman Ordo Equester.


Marcrinus defeated by rebel forces near Antioch and executed. Elagabalus, nephew of Caracalla, is hailed as emperor after the defeat of Macrinus.


Emperor Elagabalus establishes the Syrian sun god of whom he is priest, El Gabal, as a major Roman god.


Elagabalus is murdered while in a latrine by the Praetorian Guard. Severus Alexander is hailed as the new emperor of Rome.


Birth of the Emperor Carus, who was born in the city of Narbo in Gaul.


Birth of the Emperor Gordian III.

230 - 232

The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east.


Birth of the Emperor Probus, in the town of Sirmium.


Alexander Severus begins to campaign against the Alemmani on the Rhine.


Pannonian troops proclaim Maximinus Thrax as emperor.


Death of the Emperor Alexander Severus, who was killed when his troops mutinied near the town of Moguntiacum. Maximinus Thrax is recognized by the senate as emperor. Thrax continues the campaign against the Alemmani successfully.


Death of the historian Dio Cassius.


Gordianus I and Gordianus II assume emperorship of North Africa.

236 - 237

Maximinus Thrax begins to campaign against the revived tribes of the Dacians and Sarmatians.

237 - 238

Persians invade the Roman province of Mesopotamia.


Year of the 6 emperors.

Death of the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, who was killed when his soldiers mutinied. Death of the Emperor Gordian I, who hanged himself. Death of the Emperor Gordian II, who was killed in battle. Death of the Emperor Pupienus Maximus, who was killed when his bodyguard lynched him. Death of the Emperor Balbinus, who was beaten and dragged naked through the streets of Rome before being killed by the Praetorians.


Gordian III sole emperor. Gothic invasion of Lower Moesia is repelled.


Birth of the Emperor Diocletian in the province of Dalmatia. A rebellion under the governor of Africa, Sabinianus, is put down near Carthage.


Gordian III marches against the Persian invasion of the East, and relieves the city of Antioch from siege.


Persian occupation of the province of Syria is defeated by a general named Timesitheus.


Death of the Emperor Gordian III, executed by Phillip the Arab who takes the throne. Phillip negotiates peace with the Persian invaders in order to deal with the troubles on the Rhine/Danube border.


Phillip campaigns against and makes peace with several Germanic tribes. The future emperor G. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus is born in Dalmatia.


Philippus II is proclaimed emperor by the troops who were loyal to his father.


Rome celebrates it's millenium birthday. A rebellion erupts under a Danube commander, Tiberius Claudius Marinus Pacatianus. Gothic tribes takevantage and invade the northern provinces. Decius defeats the invasion of the Goths and resettles Moesia and Pannonia and is proclaimed emperor by his men.


Death of the Emperor Phillip the Arab, who was killed in a battle near Verona against Decius Trajanus. The Goths, under a King Kniva, renew their incursions into the Roman Empire.


Decius defeats Kniva. Birth of the Emperor Constantius Chlorus, who was born in Danubian region. Approximate birth of the Emperor Carinus. Approximate birth of the Emperor Galerius, near the town of Florentiana in Upper Moesia. Birth of the Emperor Licinius, in the province of Upper Moesia. Approximate birth of the Emperor Maximian, at the city of Sirmium.


Herennius claims the throne backed by his army. Pretender to the throne, Julius Valens Licianus, is defeated and executed. Death of the Emperor Decius, who was killed in battle at Abricium against King Kniva of the Carpic Goths. Trebonius Gallus is proclaimed as emperor.


Trebonius Gallus is proclaimed as emperor.


Death of Trebonius Gallus. Aemilianus is proclaimed as emperor lasting only about 4 months. The general Valerian is proclaimed as emperor.


Persian War flares up again, Antioch lost to Persia


Marcomani attack and invade the province of Pannonia. The Goths, under King Kniva, rampage, loot and sack the length of Thrace.


The Franks, a Germanic tribe fomerly made up of the the Cherusci and Chatti, invade Gaul. The Goths launch an attack on Asia Minor.


More Persian invasions.


A Germanic tribe, the Juthungi (Jutes), cross the Upper Danube and enter Italy.


Jutes defeated by western co-emperor Gallienus. Emperor Valerian is taken captive by the Persian King Shapur I. Gallienu sole emperor.

261 - 274

Gallic Empire established in Gaul by Postumus (261-268) and Tetricus (270-274)


Plague throughout the empire.


Nomadic tribe known as the Heruli invade Greece.


Another Goth invasion eventually defeated by Gallienus at Naissus.


Murderof the Emperor Gallienus. Claudius II Gothicus as emperor. Battle of Lake Benacus... Emperor Claudius II Gothicus defeated pretender M. Acilius Aureolus


Battle of Mediolanum, in which Emperor Claudius II Gothicus defeated a force of the Germanic Alemanni.


The new queen of Palmyra, Zenobia, revolts against Rome and attacks Roman territory.


Gothic invaders beaten by Claudius Gothicus again at Naissus.


Birth of the Emperor Maximinus II Daia. The Romans abandon the province of Dacia. The army of Zenobia invades Egypt and enters the city of Alexandria. Death of the Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, who died of the plague. Succeeded by Aurelian.


Emperor Aurelian defeats the Gothic Chieftain Cannabas. Battle of Placentia, in which a combined Germanic invasion of the Alemanni, Marcomanni, and Juthungi defeat a Roman army under the command of the Emperor Aurelian.


More revolts: Septimus in Dalmatia, Domitianus in southern Gaul and Urbanus. Battle of Immae, Aurelian defeats Zenobia of Palmyra.


Aurelian campaigns along the Rhine river against the Carpi.


Emperor Aurelian drives into Gaul and defeats the breakaway Gallic empire, re-annexing it. Aurelian defeats the Franks, Jutes and the Batavians.


Birth of the future Christian emperor Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantius (Constantine the Great) in the city of Naissus in Upper Moesia.


Death of the Emperor Aurelian, who was stabbed to death by a Praetorian named Mucapor. Replaced by 75 year old Cornelius Tacitus.


Death of Tacitus, replaced by Florian who is murdered. Ascension of Probus.


Emperor Probus begins to campaign in Gaul, clearing the Goths and Germanic tribes from the province.


Probus campaigns against Germanic incursion in Raetia and Vandals in Illyricum.


Birth of the Emperor Maxentius.


Death of the Emperor Probus, who was murdered near Sirmium by his own troops. Carus is proclaimed as ruler in Rome.


Carus defeats the Quadi and Sarmatians. Invasion of Persia by the Emperor Carus.


Death of Carus. Carinus succeeds as the emperor in the West, and Numerian as the emperor in the East.


The leader of the Praetorian Guard, named Diocles, assumes the name Diocletian and the title of emperor in the East after the death of Numerian. The ascension of Diocletion ends the period of the soldier emperors and begins a short time of recovery.


Emperor Diocletian introduces the Edict of Maximum Prices, which fixes wages for people and the price of goods.


Death of the Emperor Carinus, who was assassinated by his officers during the battle of Margus Valley in Moesia against Diocletian.


Maximian defeats the Bagaudae, a group of rebels and discontented peasants, in Gaul. Made co-emperor in the west. Emperor Maximian campaigns along the Rhine River, fighting against the Alemmani and Burgundians.


Emperor Diocletian pushes the Saracens out of Syria.


Diocletion finished the defeat of the Saracens.


Diocletion creates the Tetrarchy (rule of 4) with himself as senior Augustus, Maximian as junior. Galerius is senior Caesar and Constantius Chlorus is junior Caesar .


Revolt of Alectus and Carausius in Britain. Defeated by Constantius Chlorus.


Emperor Diocletian splits the provinces up in order to lessen the risk from provincial governors. The new provinces are called Dioceses and there are six in the East (Orient, Pontus, Asia, Thrace, Moesia, and Pannonia), and six in the West (Britain, Gaul, Vienne, Italy, Spain, and Africa).


Diocletian publishes an edict proscribing a religious order known as the Manichaeans.


Galerius takes the Persian royal family hostage, and is therefore able to negotiate for very favorable terms of surrender.


Constantius Chlorus repels the incursions of the Alemmani. Diocletian lays siege to Alexandria against a revolt led by Domitius Domitianus and Achilleus. Maximian recaptures the lost portions of Africa and subdues the Moors. Galerius reconquers the province of Mesopotamia.