4th century BC:
First Samnite War (343-341 BC)
The First Samnite War was brief. It was marked by Roman victories in the field and by a mutiny on the part of the soldiery, which was suppressed by the sympathetic common sense of the distinguished dictator Marcus Valerius Corvus, who was said to have vanquished a Gallic Goliath in single combat in his youth. The war lasted two years, ending in 341 with Rome triumphant and the Samnites willing to make peace. The war was ended by a hasty peace as the Romans deserted the Campanians, to put down a revolt by their Latin allies. The members of the Latin League had been forced into the Samnite War without their consultation, and they resented their dependence on Rome.
Latin War (340-338 BC)
The Latin War was a conflict between the Roman Republic and its neighbors the Latin peoples of ancient Italy. It ended in the dissolution of the Latin league, and incorporation of its territory into the Roman sphere of influence, with the Latins gaining partial rights and varying levels of citizenship.
Second Samnite War (326-304 BC)
In 327, war broke out again between Samnite hill people and those on Campania's plain. The Samnites established a garrison in Neapolis a city inhabited by Greeks. Again people of the plain sought Rome's assistance, and again Rome went to war against the Samnites. The Romans soon confronted the Samnites in the middle of the Liris river valley, sparking the Second, or Great, Samnite War (326-304 BC), which lasted twenty years and was not a defensive venture for Rome. During the first half of the war Rome suffered serious defeats, but the second half saw Rome's recovery, reorganization, and ultimate victory.
3rd century BC:
Third Samnite War (298-290 BC)
At the turn of the century, the Samnites decided that they had tired of peace, and again tried to thwart Roman domination of Italy. The Third Samnite War was the last desperate attempt of the Samnites to remain independent. They persuaded the Etruscans, Umbrians, and Gauls to join them. The war began again in 298 BC on the plains near Neapolis. When the Romans saw the Etruscans and Gauls in northern Italy joining the Samnites they were alarmed. The Romans had benefited from a lack of coordination among its enemies, but now Rome faced them all at once. Some relief came with a victory over the Samnites in the south, but the crucial battle for Italy took place in 295 at Sentinum in Umbria, in what is now considered Central Italy, where more troops were engaged than any previous battle in Italy. At first the Romans gave way before an attack by Gauls in chariots. Then the Romans rallied and crushed the Samnites and Gauls, the Romans benefiting from their self-discipline, the quality of their military legions, and their military leadership. Nevertheless, the stubborn Samnites fought on until a final defeat in 291 BC made further resistance hopeless, and in the following year peace was made on more favourable terms for the Samnites than Rome would have granted any less dogged foe. The Campanian cities, Italian or Greek, through which Rome had been involved in the Samnite wars, Capua and others, were now allies of Rome, with varying degrees of independence. Roman military colonies were settled in Campania as well as on the eastern outskirts of Samnium. After Rome's great victory at Sentinum, the war slowly wound down, coming to an end in 282. Rome emerged dominating all of the Italian peninsula except for the Greek cities in Italy's extreme south and the Po valley the Po valley still being a land occupied by Gauls.
Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC)
The Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC) was a complex series of battles and shifting political alliances among the Greeks (specifically Epirus, Macedonia, and the city states of Magna Graecia), Romans, the Italian peoples (primarily the Samnites and the Etruscans), and the Carthaginians. The Pyrrhic War initially started as a minor conflict between Rome and the city of Tarentum over a naval treaty violation by one of the Roman consuls. Tarentum had, however, lent aid to the Greek ruler Pyrrhus of Epirus in his conflict with Corcyra, and requested military aid from Epirus. Pyrrhus honored his obligation to Tarentum and joined the complex series of conflicts involving Tarentum, the Romans, Samnites, Etruscans, and Thurii (as well as other cities of Magna Graecia). To further complicate historical analysis of the conflict, Pyrrhus also involved himself in the internal political conflicts of Sicily, as well as the Sicilian struggle against Carthaginian dominance.
First Punic War (264-241 BC)
The First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) was the first of three major wars fought between Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, located in what is today Tunisia, Africa was the dominant Western Mediterranean power at the beginning of the conflicts. Eventually, Rome emerged the victor, imposing strict treaty conditions and heavy financial penalties against Carthage. The series of wars between Rome and Carthage were known to the Romans as the "Punic Wars" because of the Latin name for the Carthaginians: Punici, derived from Phoenici, referring to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.
First Illyrian War (229-228 BC)
Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern with the trade routes running across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War, when many tribes of Illyria became united under one queen, Teuta. The death of a Roman envoy named Coruncanius on the orders of Teuta and the attack on trading vessels owned by Italian merchants under Rome's protection, prompted the Roman senate to dispatch a Roman army under the command of the consuls Lucius Postumius Albinus (consul 234 and 229 BC) and Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus. Rome expelled Illyrian garrisons at the Greek cities Epidamnus, Apollonia, Corcyra, Pharos and others and established a protectorate over these Greek towns. The Romans also set up Demetrius of Pharos as a power in Illyria to counter-balance the power of Teuta.
Second Illyrian War (220-219 BC)
The Second Illyrian War lasted from 220 BC to 219 BC.
In 219 BC the Roman Republic was at war with the Celts of Cisalpine Gaul, and the Second Punic War with Carthage was beginning. These distractions gave Demetrius the time he needed to build a new Illyrian war fleet. Leading this fleet of 90 ships, Demetrius sailed south of Lissus, violating his earlier treaty and starting the war. Demetrius' fleet first attacked Pylos where he captured 50 ships after several attempts. From Pylos the fleet sailed to the Cyclades, quelling resistance they found on the way. Demetrius foolishly sent a fleet across the Adriatic, and, with the Illyrian forces divided, the Greek city of Dimale was captured by the Roman fleet under Lucius Aemilius Paulus. From Dimale the navy went towards Pharos. The forces of Rome routed the Illyrians and Demetrius fled to Macedon where he became a trusted councilor at the court of Philip V of Macedon, and remained until his death at Messene in 214 BC.
Second Punic War (218-202 BC)
The Second Punic War (referred to as "The War Against Hannibal" by the Romans) lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. It was the second of three major wars between Carthage and the Roman Republic. They are called the "Punic Wars" because Rome's name for Carthaginians was Punici (older Poenici, due to their Phoenician ancestry. In modern historiography "Punic" is used to make a distinction between Phoenicians and the people of Carthaginian origin.)
First Macedonian War (215-205 BC; Roman intervention in 211)
The First Macedonian War (214 BC - 205 BC) was fought by Rome, allied (after 211 BC) with the Aetolian League and Attalus I of Pergamon, against Philip V of Macedon, contemporaneously with the Second Punic War against Carthage. There were no decisive engagements, and the war ended in a stalemate.
2nd century BC:
Second Macedonian War (200-196 BC)
The Second Macedonian War (200-197 BC) was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece. Although the Romans declared the "freedom of the Greeks", the war marked a significant stage in increasing Roman intervention in the affairs of the eastern Mediterranean which would eventually lead to their conquest of the entire region.
Roman-Spartan War (195 BC)
The War against Nabis or Laconian War of 195 BC was fought between the Greek city-state of Sparta and a coalition comprised of Rome, the Achean League, Pergamum, Rhodes, and Macedon.
Roman-Syrian War (192 BC - 188 BC)
The Roman-Syrian War (192 BC - 188 BC), also known as War of Antiochos or Syrian War, was a military conflict between two coalitions led by the Roman Republic and the Seleucid Empire under Antiochus the Great. The fighting took place in Greece, the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor. The war was the consequence of a "cold war" between both powers, which had started already in 196 BC. In this period Romans and Seleucids had tried to settle spheres of influence by making alliances with the Greek minor powers. The fighting ended with a clear victory of the Romans. In the Treaty of Apamea the Seleucids were forced to give up Asia Minor, which fell to roman allies. As a main result of the war the Roman Empire gained the hegemony over Greece and became the only remaining major power around the Mediterranean Sea.
Aetolian War (191-189 BC)
The Aetolian War (191 BC-189 BC) was fought between the Romans and their Achean and Macedonian allies and the Aetolian League and their allies, the kingdom of Athamania. The Aetolians had invited Antiochus the Great to Greece, who after his defeat by the Romans had returned to Asia. This left the Aetolians and the Athamanians without any allies. With Antiochus out of Europe the Romans and their allies attacked the Aetolians. After a year of fighting the Aetolians were defeated and forced to pay 1,000 talents of silver to the Romans.
First Celtiberian War (181-179 BC)
The First Celtiberian (or Spanish) War was the first of a series of three wars known as the Celtiberian Wars. It was fought between the advancing legions of the Roman Republic and the Celtiberian tribes of Hispania Citerior from 181 to 179 BC.
Third Macedonian War (171-168 BC)
The Third Macedonian War (171 BC - 168 BC) was a war fought between Rome and King Perseus of Macedon. The Romans began to worry that Perseus would destroy Roman political control in Greece and restore former Macedonian sovereignty over Greek states. King Eumenes II of Pergamon, who hated Macedonia, accused Perseus of trying to violate laws of other states and conditions of peace between Macedonia and Rome. The Romans were afraid for the balance of power in Greece and declared a new war with Macedonia.
Lusitanian War (155-139 BC)
The Lusitanian War, called the Purinos Polemos (meaning Fiery War), was a war of resistance fought between the advancing legions of the Roman Republic and the Lusitani tribes of Hispania Ulterior from 155 to 139 BC. The Lusitani revolted on two separate occasions (155 and again 146 BC) and were pacified. In 154, a long war in Hispania Citerior known as the Numantine War was begun by the Celtiberians. It lasted until 133.
First Numantine War/Second Celtiberian War (154-151 BC)
The Numantine War (from Bellum Numantinum in Appian's Roman History) was the last conflict of the Celtiberian Wars fought by the Romans to subdue those people along the Ebro. It was a twenty year long conflict between the Celtiberian tribes of Hispania Citerior and the Roman government. It began in 154 BC as a revolt of the Celtiberians of Numantia on the Douro. The first phase of the war ended in 151, but, in 143, war flared up again with a new insurrection in Numantia. BR>
Fourth Macedonian War (150-148 BC)
The Fourth Macedonian War (150 BC - 148 BC) was the final war between Rome and Macedon. It came about as a result of the pretender Andriscus's usurpation of the Macedonian throne, pretending to be the son of Perseus, the last King of Macedon, deposed by the Romans after the Third Macedonian War in 168 BC. Andriscus, after some early successes, was eventually defeated by the Roman general Caecilius Metellus at the Battle of Pydna in 148 BC. Two years later Macedonia became a Roman province.
Third Punic War (149-146 BC)
The Third Punic War (149 BC to 146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Republic of Rome. The Punic Wars were named because of the Roman name for Carthaginians: Punici, or Poenici. The war was a much smaller engagement than the two previous punic wars and primarily consisted of a single action, the Battle of Carthage, but resulted in the complete destruction of the city of Carthage, the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome, and the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population. The Third Punic War ended Carthage's independent existence.
First Servile War (135-132 BC)
The First Servile War of 135-132 BC was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Romans on the island of Sicily, in Enna. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming to be a prophet, and a Cilician "Cleon", his military general. After some minor battles won by the slaves, a larger Roman army arrived in Sicily and defeated the rebels.
Cimbrian War (113-101 BC)
The Cimbrian War (113-101 BC) was fought between the Roman Republic and the Proto-Germanic tribes of the Cimbri and the Proto-Germanic Teutons (Teutones), who migrated from northern Europe into Roman controlled territory, and clashed with Rome and her allies. The Cimbrian War was the first time since the Second Punic War that Italia and Rome itself had been seriously threatened. The timing of the war had a great effect on the internal politics of Rome, and the organization of its military. The war contributed greatly to the political career of Gaius Marius whose consulships and political conflicts challenged many of the Roman republic's political institutions and customs of the time. The Cimbrian threat, along with the Jugurthine War, inspired the Marian reforms of the Roman legions, which would have a significant effect on the history of the later Republic. Rome eventually won the protracted and bloody war which inflicted heavier losses on the Roman armies than they had suffered since the Second Punic War with the victories at Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae resulting in the almost complete annihilation of the two Proto-Germanic tribes.
Jugurthine War (112-105 BC)
The Jugurthine War takes its name from Jugurtha, nephew and later adopted son of Micipsa, King of Numidia.
Second Servile War (104-103 BC) The Second Servile War was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Roman Republic on the island of Sicily. The war lasted from 104 BC until 100 BC.
1st century BC:
Roman-Persian Wars (92 BC-627)
The Roman-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Greco-Roman world and two successive dynasties of the Persian Empire that began as a war between the late Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire in 92 BC before being carried over to the Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire of Persia. The long running competition finally ended as a conflict between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire in 627 AD, followed soon after by Arab invasions into Byzantine and Sassanid territories from 632 onwards. The conflict lasted for over seven centuries. The Persian Empire was projected through the Parthian and later, Sassanid dynasties. For the Greco-Roman world, the conflict encompassed the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. Neither side was ever able to dominate the other. Towns, fortifications, and provinces were sacked, captured, destroyed, and changed sides frequently. Neither side had enough strength and logistics to maintain strategic offensives with grand and decisive results, and neither was weak enough to be defeated or subdued. All of the energy expended over the seven centuries amounted to nothing for either side as the Muslim Arabs conquered the war-exhausted Persian Empire and the Near Eastern and North African territories of the Roman Empire soon after the end of the Roman-Persian conflict.
Social War (91-88 BC)
The Social War ("Social" from socii, meaning "allies"; also called the Italian War or the Marsic War), was a war waged from 91 - 88 BC between the Roman Republic and several of the other cities in Italy, which prior to the war had been Roman allies for centuries.
First Mithridatic War (90-85 BC)
The First Mithridatic War was the first of three military conflicts fought in Greece and Asia Minor between Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic.
First Marian-Sullan Civil War (88-87 BC)
Sulla's first civil war was one of a series of civil wars in ancient Rome, between Gaius Marius and Sulla, between 88 and 87 BC.
Second Mithridatic War (83-82 BC)
The Second Mithridatic War (83-82 BC) was one of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and general Lucius Licinius Murena.
Second Marian-Sullan Civil War (82-81 BC)
Sulla's second civil war was one of a series of civil wars of ancient Rome. It was fought between Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Gaius Marius the younger in 82 BC.
Third Mithridatic War (75-65 BC)
The Third Mithridatic War (75-65 BC) was one of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic. The Romans won the war, and Mithridates committed suicide, ending the menace of Pontus and conquering the Armenian kingdom.
Third Servile War (73-71 BC)
The Third Servile War, also called the Gladiator War and The War of Spartacus by Plutarch, was the last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions against the Roman Republic, known collectively as the Servile Wars. The Third Servile War was the only one to directly threaten the Roman heartland of Italia and was doubly alarming to the Roman people due to the repeated successes of the rapidly growing band of rebel slaves against the Roman army between 73 and 71 BC. The rebellion was finally crushed through the concentrated military effort of a single commander, Marcus Licinius Crassus, although the rebellion continued to have indirect effects on Roman politics for years to come.
Gallic Wars (59-51 BC)
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes, lasting from 58 BC to 51 BC. The Romans would also raid Britannia and Germania, but these expeditions never developed into full-scale invasions. The Gallic Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul. The wars paved the way for Caesar's subsequent becoming the sole ruler of the Roman Republic.
Caesar's civil war (49-45 BC)
The Roman civil war of 49 BC, sometimes called Caesar's Civil War, is one of the last conflicts within the Roman Republic. It was a series of political and military confrontations between Julius Caesar, his political supporters, and his legions, against the traditionalist conservative faction in the Roman Senate, sometimes known as the Optimates, or boni, backed by legions loyal to Pompey. After a long political and military struggle, between 49 and 45 BC, which would take in battles in Italia, Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Hispania, Caesar finally defeated the last of the traditional faction of the Roman senate at the Battle of Munda and became dictator. Caesar's civil war and its resulting changes in Roman government all but swept away the political traditions of the Roman Republic, a blow which eventually led to the Roman Empire.
Post-Caesarian civil war (44 BC)
The Battle of Mutina was fought on April 21, 43 BC between the forces of Marc Antony and the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to one of Caesar's assassins, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.
Liberators' civil war (44-42 BC)
The Liberators' civil war was started by the Second Triumvirate to avenge Julius Caesar's murder. The war was fought between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (the Second Triumvirate members) against the forces of Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC.
Sicilian revolt (44-36 BC)
The Sicilian revolt was a revolution against the Second Triumvirate which occurred between 44 BC and 36 BC. The revolt was led by Sextus Pompeius, and ended in a Triumvirate victory.
Fulvia's civil war (41-40 BC)
Fulvia's civil war (also called the Perusine War) was a civil war which lasted from 41 to 40 BC. It was fought by Fulvia and Lucius Antonius to support Mark Antony against his political enemy (and the future Emperor Augustus), Octavian. Fulvia, who was married to Mark Antony at the time of the civil war, felt strongly that her husband should be the sole ruler or Rome instead of sharing power with the Second Triumvirate, especially Octavian. Fulvia and Antony's younger brother, Lucius Antonius, raised eight legions in Italy. The army held Rome for a brief time, but was then forced to retreat to the city of Perusia. During the winter of 41 - 40 BC, Octavian's army held the city under siege, finally causing it to surrender due to starvation. The lives of Fulvia and Lucius Antonius were both spared, but Antonius was sent to govern a Spanish province. Fulvia was exiled to Sicyon. Fulvia died in 40 BC, and with her death came a peace between Antony and Octavian. The peace would be short lived, however, as a civil war began a few years later.
Final war of the Roman Republic (32-30 BC) The Final War of the Roman Republic, also know as Antony's civil war or the War between Antony and Octavian, was last and probably most important of the Roman civil wars of the republic, fought between Cleopatra (assisted by Mark Antony) and Octavian. After the Roman Senate declared war on the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, Antony, her lover and ally, betrayed Rome and joined the war on Cleopatra’s side. After the decisive victory for Octavian at the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra and Antony withdrew to Alexandria, where Octavian besieged the city until both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Following the end of the war, Octavian brought peace to the Roman state that had been plagued by a century of civil wars. Octavian became the most powerful man in the Roman world and the Senate bestowed upon him the name of Augustus in 27 BC. Octavian, now Augustus, would be the first Roman Emperor and would transform the oligarchic/democratic Republic into the autocratic Roman Empire. The last Republican Civil War would mark the beginning of the Pax Romana, the longest period of peace and stability that Europe has seen to date.
Roman conquest of Britain (43)
By AD 43, the time of the main Roman invasion of Britain, Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since Julius Caesar's expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, and Roman economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south.
First Jewish-Roman War (66-73)
The first Jewish-Roman War (years 66-73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115-117 CE, the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt, 132-135 CE). It began in the year 66, stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. It ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod's Temple (in the year 70) and Jewish strongholds.
First Dacian War (101-102)
The First Dacian War took place from 101 A.D. to 102 A.D. The kingdom of Dacia, under king Decebalus, had become a threat to Roman supremacy and had defeated several of Rome's armies during Domitian's reign (81-96). The emperor Trajan was set on ridding this threat to Rome's power and in 101 set out determined to defeat Dacia. After a year of heavy fighting, king Decebalus came to terms and surrendered. When he broke these terms in 105, the Second Dacian War began.
Second Dacian War (105-106)
The Second Dacian War was fought in 105 to 106 because the Dacian king Decebalus had broken his peace terms with the Roman emperor Trajan from the First Dacian War. Now Trajan set out to Dacia with total conquest in his sights. At the end of the war the Romans had gained the province of Dacia, but it would not be held forever. In 272 AD the Romans would lose the province of Dacia to the invading Gothic tribes.
Kitos War (115-117)
The Kitos War is the name given to the second of the Jewish-Roman wars. The name comes from the Mauretanian Roman general Lusius Quietus.
Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135)
Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire was a second major rebellion by the Jews of Iudaea and the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars.
Marcomannic War (166-180)
In the 2nd century AD, the Marcomanni entered into a confederation with other peoples including the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians, against the Roman Empire. This was probably driven by movements of larger tribes, like the Goths. According to the historian Eutropius, the forces of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius battled against the Marcomannic confederation for three years at the fortress of Carnuntum in Pannonia. Eutropius compared the war, and Marcus Aurelius' success against the Marcomanni and their allies, to the Punic Wars. The comparison was apt in that this war marked a turning point and had significant Roman defeats; it caused the death of two Praetorian Guard commanders. The war began in 166, when the Marcomanni overwhelmed the defences between Vindobona and Carnuntum, penetrated along the border between the provinces of Pannonia and Noricum, laid waste to Flavia Solva, and could be stopped only shortly before reaching Aquileia on the Adriatic sea. The war lasted until Marcus Aurelius' death in 180. It would prove to be only a limited success for Rome; the Danube river remained as the frontier of the Empire for its duration.
Gothic War (376-382):
The Gothic War is the name given to a series of Gothic battles and plunderings of the eastern Roman Empire in the Balkans between about 376/377 and 382. The war, and in particular the Battle of Adrianople was a major turning point in the history of the Roman Empire, the first barbarian invasion in a series of events over the next century that would see the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.
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