Tag Archives: Roman Events

Roman Britain Timeline

Roman Britain
Roman Britain

55 BC: Julius Caesar led the first Roman military expedition to Britain, checking out its inhabitants, for a conquest in later years.

54 BC:  Julius Caesar’s made a second expedition to Britain.

27 BC:  Augustus becomes the first Roman emperor.

AD 43:  The Roman Emperor Claudius orders four legions to conquer Britain, and in the august capture the capital of the Catuvellauni tribe, Colchester.

AD 44:  The Romans capture the hills forts of Dorset, which included Maiden Castle.

AD 48: The Romans conquered all territory between the Humber Estuary and the Severn Estuary, leaving Cornwall, Devon, Wales and parts of the North West still under British control.

AD 47: The Romans force their allies, the Iceni tribe of East Anglia, to relinquish all of their weapons, they revolted, but it was short lived.

AD 49: The Romans founded a colony (or colonia) at Colchester for retired soldiers. This was to be the first civilian centre of Roman Britain and temporary capital of the territory.

AD 51: The leader of the exiled Catuvellauni tribe; Caratacus, is captured. He had led a protracted guerrilla war against the occupying Roman forces for years, but was eventually brought to battle by the Roman governor Publius Ostorius. Caratacus spent the remainder of his days in retirement in Italy.

AD 60: The Romans attacked the Druid stronghold of Anglesey. The campaign to occupy Wales was however cut short by the Iceni revolt in south east England.

AD 61: After attempting to fully annexe East Anglia, Boudica leads a rebellion of the Iceni against the Romans. After burning down Colchester, London and St Albans, Boudica was eventually defeated at the Battle of Watling Street.

AD 75: The building of Fishbourne palace commence.

AD 80: London has grown in size to the point where it now housed a forum, basilica, governor’s palace and even an amphitheatre.

AD 84: The Romans engaged the Caledonians in battle at Mons Graupius, in Scotland. Although actual location of battle is unknown, it is believed to be in Aberdeenshire.

AD 100: By this time some 8,000 miles of Roman roads had been completed across Britain, allowing troops and goods to travel easily across the country.  The new Roman emperor, Trajan, also orders a complete withdrawal from Scotland and the construction of a new frontier between Newcastle-on-Tyne and Carlisle.

AD 122: To strengthen the border between Roman-occupied Britain and Scotland, Emperor Hadrian orders the construction of a wall. Interestingly, many of the early forts along Hadrian’s Wall face south into Brigantian territory, showing the ongoing threat posed by northern England tribes.

AD 139/40: The Antonine Wall in Scotland is built, dramatically shifting the northern border of Roman occupied Britain. This new wall is built of earth and timber, and is strengthened by a series of forts along its length.

AD 150: Villas start appearing across the British countryside. Compared to their southern counterparts, are of modest design, with only a few containing mosaic floors.

AD 155: St Albans in Hertfordshire, one of the largest towns in Roman Britain, is destroyed by fire.

AD 163: The order is given to abandon Antonine Wall and for Roman troops to withdraw back to Hadrian’s Wall.  It is believed that an uprising by the Brigantes had forced the retreat.

AD 182: The Brigantes, along with other tribes of southern Scotland and northern England, start revolting against the Romans. Fighting continued for many years along Hadrian’s Wall, with towns further south building preventative defences should the rioting spread.

AD 197: After a period of in-fighting within Rome, a series of military commissioners arrive in Britain looking to purge any supporters of the recently ousted usurper, Decimus Clodius. They also look at rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall after over 15 years of clashes with the northern tribes.

AD 209: After years of protracted conflict with the northern tribes, the Romans lead an army to Hadrian’s Wall border to engage the Caledonians. With the Romans aiming to meet the rebels in pitched battle, the Caledonians instead opt for guerrilla warfare. This forces peace treaties to be signed between the two parties.

AD 211: Britain is divided into two separate provinces; the south was to be called “Britannia Superior” (superior being in reference to the fact that it was closer to Rome), with the north being named “Britannia Inferior”. London was the new capital of the south, with York the capital of the north.

AD 250:  New threats to Roman Britannia emerge as the Picts from Scotland, as well as the Angles, Saxon and Jutes from Germany and Scandinavia, start threatening Roman lands.

AD 255: With the increasing threat from seaborne Germanic tribes, London’s city wall is completed with the final stretch along the north bank of the Thames.

AD 259: Britain, Gaul and Spain split from the Roman Empire, leading to the creation of the ‘Gallic Empire’.

AD 274: The Gallic Empire is re-absorbed into the main Roman Empire.

AD 287: Carausius, admiral of the Roman Channel fleet declares himself Emperor of Britain and Northern Gaul and starts minting his own coins.

AD 293: Carausius is assassinated by Allectus, his treasurer who quickly starts work on his palace in London to solidify his claim to authority. He also starts building the ‘Saxon Shore Forts’ along the coasts of Britain, both to strengthen defences against the Germanic tribes to the east but also to prevent Rome from sending a fleet to recover Britain for the empire.

AD 296: The Roman Empire recaptures Britannia and Allectus is killed in battle near Silchester. Britain is then split up into four provinces; (1) Northern England up to Hadrian’s Wall, (2) South of England), (3) Midlands and East Anglia (4) Wales.

AD 314: Christianity becomes legal within the Roman Empire.

AD 343: Probably in response to a military emergency, Emperor Constans makes a visit to Britain.

AD 367: Barbarians from Scotland, Ireland and Germany co-ordinate their attacks and launch raids on Roman Britain. Many towns are plundered throughout the province, and Britain falls into a state of anarchy.

AD 369: A large force from Rome, led by military commander Theodosius, arrives in Britain and drives back the Barbarians.

AD 396: Large scale Barbarian attacks on Britain start up again. Large naval engagements are ordered against the invaders, with reinforcements arriving from other areas of the empire.

AD 399: Peace is fully restored throughout Roman Britannia.

AD 401: A large number of troops are withdrawn from Britain to assist with the war against Alaric I, who is attempting to sack Rome.

AD 406: For the past five years, Roman Britannia has suffered frequent breaches of its borders by Barbarian forces. With the Roman Empire focused on the more serious threats at home, reinforcements have stopped and Britain is left to its own devices.

AD 407: The remaining Roman garrisons in Britain proclaim one of their generals, Constantine III, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Constantine quickly pulls together a force and crosses the English Channel to invade Gaul, leaving Britain with only a skeleton force to defend itself.

AD 409: After throwing off their allegiance to Constantine III in 408, the local British populace expel the final remnants of Roman authority in 409.

AD 410 – With increased incursions from the Saxons, Scots, Picts and Angles, Britain turns to the Roman emperor Honorius for help. He informs them to look within themselves to defend their own lands, as he refuses to send help, and so ended the period of Roman occupation of Britain.

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Julius Caesar: Pirates Hostage

Julius Caesar Framed
Julius Caesar

In the year 75 BC, Julius Caesar was taken prisoner by Cilician pirates, and held for thirty-eight days in Dodecanese islit of Pharmacusa, south-west of Anatolia.

When Caesar heard, they were asking only twenty talents, he was shocked, proclaiming he was worth at least fifty talents.  The ransom demand was increased.

With the ransom paid, Caesar was released, and he vowed to his captors, he would return and slay them, taking back the ransom money.

Julius Caesar wanted revenge; he was going to dish out his own style of justice.  Ceasar acquired four galley styled ships and 500 legionnaires to hunt down these Cilician pirates.  350 pirates were captured and Roman Praetor Junius feared repercussions, at a time when relationships between Romans and pirates were fragile.  Caesar sensed Junius would fine them, and then let them go.

Caesar wanted justice… he secretly seized thirty Cilician pirates, slit their throats and crucified them.  The bonus being he recovered the ransom money.

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