Timelines for Ancient Roman History

adapted from the tables given by Sir John Edwin Sandys
in A Companion to Latin Studies, Third Edition
Cambridge at the University Press, 1921

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Caesar's first consulship, with Bibulus for colleague. Caesar's Lex agraria (dividing the alter Campanus, and establishing Capua as a colonia). Law remitting a portion of their payment to the publicani. Another to confirm the acta of Pompeius. A Lex Vatinia bestows the province of Gallia Cisalpina on Caesar, with Illyricum, for five years, and the Senate adds Gallia Narbonensis. Lex Iulia repetundarum. Latin colony at Nouum Comum. Clodius transferred to the plebs, and elected to the tribunate. Cicero's speech pro Flacco. Bibulus proclaims that by watching the sky he has rendered the legislation of this whole year invalid.


Revolutionary legislation of Clodius concerning restrictions on legislation, the freedom of the collegia, the corn-dole, and the nota censoria. A law of his sends M. Cato to Cyprus to annex it, another gives Macedonia as province to one of the consuls, Piso, and Syria to the other, Gabinius, with enormous grants from the treasury. By legislation, Clodius drives Cicero into exile. Caesar defeats the Heluetii and Ariouistus.


Subjection of the Belgae by Caesar. Ptolemy, king of Egypt, expelled from his kingdom, seeks Roman aid. Return of Cicero (4 Sept.). Pompeius receives the cura annonae with extensive powers for five years. Catullus on the staff of Memmius, governor of Bithynia.


Conference between Pompeius, Caesar, and Crassus at Luca Cicero's speeches pro Sestio and in Fatinium, pro Caelio, de prouinciis consularibus, pro Balbo.


Second consulship of Pompeius and Crassus after an interregnum. Lex Trebonia bestowing the provinces of Spain on Pompeius, and Syria on Crassus, with great grants from the treasury. Caesar's tenure of his provinces extended for a second period of five years. Caesar's crossing of the Rhine and first expedition to Britain. Gabinius, governor of Syria, for a great bribe, restores Ptolemy. Lex Pompeia iudiciaria. Lex Licinia de sodaliciis. Cicero's speech in Pisonem. Death of Lucretius. Theatre of Pompeius, with shrines of Venus Victrix, Honos and Virtus, Felicitas. Completion of Cicero's dialogue de Oratore (Nov.).


Second expedition of Caesar to Britain. Rising of the Neruii and other Gaulish tribes. Crassus plunders the temple at Jerusalem. Pompeius remains near Rome, sending legati to govern his provinces for him. Cicero defends Gabinius and Scaurus (both repetundarum) and Planeius (ambitus), and begins the De re publics. Death of Iulia, Caesar's daughter, wife of Pompeius. Death of Catullus.


An interregnum of more than six months. Caesar's second crossing of the Rhine. Crushing defeat of the Roman, army by the Parthians at Carrhae (9 June), and death of Crassus.


The year opens with an interregnum. On Jan. 18 Milo kills Clodius on the Appian way (pugna Bouillana). 'Disorders' caused by the funeral of Clodius. Near the end of Febr. Pompeius is elected consul for the third time, and is for some months without a colleague. Special laws passed concerning violence and bribery, under which Milo and many others are condemned. Law prolonging Pompeius' tenure of his provinces for another five years. Lex Pompeia giving Caesar the right to stand for the consulship without appearing in Rome. Then Pompeius, in a general law about magistracies, omits to mention Caesar's privilege. The great movement of Vercingetorix in Gaul. Capture of Alesia. Cicero's speech pro Milone; he begins his dialogue de Legibus.


Attempts to deprive Caesar of his command. Cicero governor of Cilicia. Completion of the conquest of Gaul. Poseidonios comes to Rome.


Struggle between the factions of Caesar and Pompeius. Curio as tribune defends Caesar, who parts with two legions (one previously lent to him by Pompeius) to be sent as reinforcements to the East. These legions retained by Pompeius. Death of Hortensius the orator. Destruction of a temple of Isis within the walls by order of the Senate.

Timeline Index





7 Jan. A resolution proposed to the Senate for depriving Caesar of his command is vetoed by two tribunes, Q. Cassius and M. Antonius. These, threatened with violence, take refuge with Caesar. The Senatus consultum ultimum is passed, authorising Pompeius and others to deal with Caesar, who crosses the Rubicon, and pursues Pompeius to Brundisium, but fails to bar his departure for Greece (17 Mar.). Caesar crushes Pompeius' partisans at Ilerda in Spain (2 Aug.) and then captures Massilia. Returning to Rome he holds his first dictatorship for eleven days only, during which he is elected consul. Caesar's officers Curio in Africa and Dolabella in the Adriatic defeated. The ciuitas bestowed on the Transpadanes. Lex Rubria.


Caesar crosses into Greece. Pompeius besets Caesar at Dyrrhachium. Caesar breaks through and wins the great battle of Pharsalia in Thessaly (9 Aug.). Flight of Pompeius to Egypt, where he is killed. Caesar enters on his second dictatorship at Alexandria. The tribunicia potestas bestowed on him. Agitation set on foot by Caelius and Milo in Italy.


The bellum Alexandrinum ends on 27 Mar. and on 2 Aug. Caesar defeats Pharnaces, son of Mithridates, at Zela (ueni, uidi, uici). Caesar at Rome in Sept. 46 Caesar at Lilybaeum in Jan., then crosses to Africa, and crushes the Pompeians at Thapsus. Death of M. Cato at Utica. Great fourfold triumph of Caesar. This year has fifteen months, owing to Caesar's reform of the Calendar. He travels to Spain. Cicero's speeches pro Marcello and pro Ligario; his Brutus and the Orator and the Paradoxa. Temple of Venus Genetrix consecrated in Caesar's forum. Reduction of recipients of corn. Restoration of Italian portoria. Series of Leges Iuliae, including Lex Iulia municipalis.


Final defeat of the Pompeians at Munda (17 Mar.). Caesar returns to Rome in Oct. Death of Cicero's daughter Tullia. The Hortensius, Academia, and De Finibus produced.


Caesar assassinated (15 Mar). Amnesty declared, on Cicero's motion in the Senate (17 Mar.). Validation of Caesar's acta. Antonius passes a law abolishing the office of dictator for ever. Recognition of Caesar's heir C. Octauius, by the Senate. Antonius besieges Decimus Brutus at Mutina. Cicero's earlier Philippic orations (i-iv). Production of the Tusculan Disputations, the De Natura Deorum, the Cato Maior, the Laelius, the De Officiis, the De Diuinatione, the De Fato, and the De Gloria.


Cicero's later Philippic orations. Laws and acts of Antonius annulled. Octavian, receiving praetorian imperium, is given a command against Antonius, along with the two consuls, Hirtius and Pansa. Death of the two consuls at Mutina (Apr.). Antonius driven into Gallia Transalpina, Brutus meanwhile occupies Macedonia, and Cassius Syria. Octavian demands further recognition at the sword's point, and on 19 Aug. is made consul with Q. Pedius. Lex Pedia establishing a court to try Caesar's murderers. Antonius crosses the Alps with a large force. Decimus Brutus killed by his own soldiers. Agreement between Antonius, Lepidus and Octavian to form the Triumvirate, with absolute power, nominally conferred by law, for five years. Proscriptions follow. Birth of Ovid. Death of the great lawyer Ser. Sulpicius Rufus.

Timeline Index





The two battles at Philippi and the deaths of Brutus and Cassius (Sept. Oct.), Antonius goes to the East, Octavian to Italy. Gallia Cisalpina incorporated with Italy. Birth of the future emperor Tiberius.


Bellum Perusinum: Sextus Pompeius and Dolabella range the sea with fleets. Antonius goes to Alexandria with Cleopatra.


C. Asinius Pollio consul. L. Cornelius Balbus consul suffectus (not having passed through the lower offices); the first man of non-Roman birth to obtain the consulate. Surrender of Perusia (Mar.). Trouble with Sextus Pompeius. Expedition of Antonius to Brundisium. Treaty of Brundisium concluded, dividing the Roman world between Octavian and Antonius, with little regard to Lepidus and some concessions to Sextus Pompeius. Antonius marries Octavian's sister Octauia. Herod, a fugitive at Rome, declared king of Iudaea by the Senate. The last Lex tribunicia passed in this year.


Fresh trouble with Sex. Pompeius. Treaty of Misenum between Octavian, Antonius, and Pompeius. Agreement to continue the Triumviral authority. Successes of Octavian's officer Agrippa in Gaul and on the Rhine.


The conditions of the Treaty of Misenum not having been carried out, Sext. Pompeius makes war. Two fleets of Octavian destroyed. He marries Liuia. The legate of Antonius, Ventidius Bassus, defeats the Parthians. Sixty-seven praetors in this year, holding office for brief periods.


Differences between Octavian and Antonius adjusted by the Treaty of Tarentum. Probable formal extension of the Triumviral imperium for another five years (denied by Mommsen). Octavian sends two legions to Antonius, while Antonius sends a fleet to Octavian, to be used against Pompeius. Portus Iulius constructed by Agrippa. C. Sosius, legate of Antonius, captures Jerusalem after a siege and establishes Herod as king.


Failure of a fresh expedition against Pompeius. Then Agrippa, aided by Lepidus, who crossed into Sicily from Africa, crushes Pompeius. Octavian strips Lepidus of his power and annexes his province of Africa. Failure of Antonius' expedition against Parthia. Potestas tribunicia of Octavian.


Last effort of Sext. Pompeius in Asia, where he is killed. Military mutiny in Italy.


Conquest of the Dalmatians and the Salassi by Octavian's commanders. Death of the historian Sallust.


New Dalmatian war. Refusal of Antonius to meet Octauia, who desired to arrange differences between him and her brother.


Divorce of Octauia by Antonius, who is attacked in the Senate by Octavian. Antonius deprived of his imperium and war proclaimed, nominally against Cleopatra. Octavian now probably rested his authority on his special war commission. Death of T. Pomponius Atticus.


Battle of Actium (2 Sept.). Octavian winters in Asia.

Timeline Index





Fourth consulship of Octavian. He is called to Italy in the spring by the insubordination of the soldiers, and the general unrest: He divides lands among his veterans; then goes by way of Greece to Egypt, arriving in the summer. Death of Antonius (1 Aug.) and Cleopatra. Annexation of Egypt and occupation of all the dominions of Antonius. Recognition of Herod, with increased territory. Horace's Second Book of Satires. Octavian winters at Samos.


Fifth consulship of Octavian. Triple triumph for victories in Dalmatia, at Actium and in Egypt (13, 14, 15 Aug.). Great largess to soldiers and people. Dedication of important public buildings, especially the templum diui Iuli. Lex Saenia, allowing Octavian to add to the number of patrician families. A Roman force crosses the Balkans for the first time. Colonisation of Carthage completed. Temples permitted of Roma with diuus Iulius at Ephesus and of Roma with. Octavian at Pergamum and Nicomedia (but only for provincials). Horace's Epodes published. Virgil's Georgics completed.


Sixth consulship of Octavian. With his colleague Agrippa be carries out a census of Roman citizens and removes about 200 members from the Senate. Dedication of temple of Apollo on the Palatine and celebration of ludi in honour of Actium. Control of aerarium given to ex-praetors chosen annually by the Senate (praefecti aerarii Saturni). Octavian annuls exceptional measures taken since the creation of the Triumvirate.


Seventh consulship of Octavian. He resigns his extraordinary powers (Jan.) and 'transfers the commonwealth to the Roman people' (Monumentum Ancyranum). The provinces are divided between him and the Senate, and a law confirms him in his control for ten years, with the power to make war and peace. Many further honours decreed to him, including the name Augustus. The laurel chaplet and corona ciuica (henceforth imperial emblems) placed on the door of his palace. He visits Gaul (late in the year) and organises the provinces of Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis and Belgica. Elections by comitia restored, the emperor receiving the right of commendatio whereby he fills a certain proportion of the places. Poem of Tibullus in honour of Messalla's triumph.

Timeline Index





Eighth consulship of Augustus (entered on in Spain). Suicide of Cu. Cornelius Gallus, charged with treason. Tiridates, exiled king of Parthia, visits Augustus in Spain, bringing with him the young son of his successful rival Phraates. Death of the polymath M. Terentius Varro (or 27).


Ninth consulship of Augustus. New office of Praefectus Vrbi conferred on Messalla; his resignation after a few days; the office long remains in abeyance. Successful attacks on the Cantabri and Astures in Spain, the Salassi (sub-Alpine tribe) and on some German tribes. Expedition of Aelius Gallus to Arabia. Augusta Emerita (Merida) founded; also Augusta Praetoria (Aosta). Marriage of Iulia and the young Marcellus. Agrippa completes the Pantheon. Numidia joined with Africa. Iuba king of Mauretania.


Tenth consulship of Augustus, who reaches Rome near the end of the year. He surrenders the young Parthian prince to Phraates. The first three books of Horace's Odes.


Eleventh consulship of Augustus, which he resigns during a critical illness. The potestas tribunicia conferred on him for life in a new form; also (ac cording to some authorities) the proconsulare imperium. Great commission in the East given to Agrippa; but he retires to Mitylene, for two years. Death of Marcellus (late summer). The praefecti aerarii replaced by two of the praetors.


Famine and pestilence cause the people to clamour for Augustus to accept a dictatorship and censorship for life. He declines an offer of a life consulship, but accepts a special cura annonae. Censors appointed, the last, excepting Claudius, and the Flavian emperors, who held the office. Ludi publici transferred to praetors, with a subvention from the treasury. Conspiracy of Caepio and Murena. Fresh revolts in Spain. Cyprus and the Prouincia Narbonensis transferred to the Senate. Augustus leaves for the East.


Augustus, elected consul, declines; electoral riots ensue. Agrippa is compelled to divorce the emperor's niece, and to marry Iulia. He is placed in charge of affairs at Rome. Augustus in Greece and at Samos.


Visit of Augustus to Asia Minor, where he makes many changes in the status of cities, peoples and princes. Tiberius commands an expedition to Armenia. Phraates surrenders the Roman standards. Birth of Gaius, son of Agrippa and Iulia. The first book of Horace's Epistles.


Augustus reaches Rome (12 Oct.). Ludi Augustales instituted to celebrate annually the day of his return. Dedication of a temple of Roma with Augustus at Pergamum. The Cantabri exterminated by Agrippa. Death of Virgil at Brundisium, on his way back from Greece, in company of Augustus (21 Sept.). Death of Tibullus.


Imperium proconsulare; given in 27, renewed for five years (so Dio; but more probably ten). The potestas tribunicia given to Agrippa for five years. Lex Iulia de adulteriis passed, but a Lex de maritandis ordinibus rejected by the comitia. Senate reduced to 600 members. Herod visits Rome.


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