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Military history of ancient Rome

Military history of ancient Rome

Overview
From its origin as a city-state in Italy
History of Italy during Roman times
This is an overview of the history of Italy during Roman times.According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, and was then governed by seven Kings of Rome...

 in the 8th century BC, to its rise as an empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 covering much of Southern Europe
Southern Europe
The term Southern Europe, at its most general definition, is used to mean "all countries in the south of Europe". However, the concept, at different times, has had different meanings, providing additional political, linguistic and cultural context to the definition in addition to the typical...

, Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and fall in the 5th century AD, the political history of Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 was typically closely entwined with its military history
Military history
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships....

. The core of the campaign history of the Roman military is an aggregate of different accounts of the Roman military's land battles, from its initial defence against and subsequent conquest of the city's hilltop neighbours in the Italian peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

, to the ultimate struggle of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 for its existence against invading Huns, Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and Germanic tribes
Germanic Wars
The Germanic Wars is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BCE and 439 CE. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd...

 after the empire's split into East and West
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

.
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Encyclopedia
From its origin as a city-state in Italy
History of Italy during Roman times
This is an overview of the history of Italy during Roman times.According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, and was then governed by seven Kings of Rome...

 in the 8th century BC, to its rise as an empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 covering much of Southern Europe
Southern Europe
The term Southern Europe, at its most general definition, is used to mean "all countries in the south of Europe". However, the concept, at different times, has had different meanings, providing additional political, linguistic and cultural context to the definition in addition to the typical...

, Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and fall in the 5th century AD, the political history of Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 was typically closely entwined with its military history
Military history
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships....

. The core of the campaign history of the Roman military is an aggregate of different accounts of the Roman military's land battles, from its initial defence against and subsequent conquest of the city's hilltop neighbours in the Italian peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

, to the ultimate struggle of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 for its existence against invading Huns, Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and Germanic tribes
Germanic Wars
The Germanic Wars is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BCE and 439 CE. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd...

 after the empire's split into East and West
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

. These accounts were written by various authors throughout and after the history of the Empire. Despite the later Empire's encompassing of lands around the periphery
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, naval battles
Naval warfare
Naval warfare is combat in and on seas, oceans, or any other major bodies of water such as large lakes and wide rivers.-History:Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Land warfare would seem, initially, to be irrelevant and entirely removed from warfare on the open ocean,...

 were typically less significant than land battles to the military history of Rome, due to its largely unchallenged dominance of the sea following fierce naval fighting during the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

.

The Roman army battled first against its tribal neighbours and Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 towns within Italy, and later came to dominate much of the Mediterranean and further afield, including the provinces of Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 and Asia Minor
History of Anatolia
The history of Anatolia encompasses the region known as Anatolia , known by the Latin name of Asia Minor, considered to be the westernmost extent of Western Asia...

 at the Empire's height. As with most ancient civilisations, Rome's military served the triple purposes of securing its borders, exploiting peripheral areas through measures such as imposing tribute
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 on conquered peoples, and maintaining internal order. From the outset, Rome's military typified this pattern, and the majority of Rome's campaigns were characterised by one of two types: the first is the territorial expansionist campaign, normally begun as a counter-offensive, in which each victory brought subjugation of large areas of territory and allowed Rome to grow from a small town to one of the largest empires in the ancient world, including a population of 55 million in the early empire when expansion was halted; the second is the civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

, examples of which plagued Rome right from its foundation to its eventual demise.

Roman armies were not invincible, despite their formidable reputation and host of victories: over the centuries the Romans "produced their share of incompetents" who led Roman armies into catastrophic defeats. Nevertheless, it was generally the fate of even the greatest of Rome's enemies, such as Pyrrhus
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus or Pyrrhos was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house , and later he became king of Epirus and Macedon . He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome...

 and Hannibal, to win the battle but lose the war. The history of Rome's campaigning is, if nothing else, a history of obstinate persistence overcoming appalling losses.

Kingdom (753 BC – 508 BC)


Rome is almost unique in the ancient world in that its history, military and otherwise, is documented often in great detail almost from the city's very foundation
Founding of Rome
The founding of Rome is reported by many legends, which in recent times are beginning to be supplemented by scientific reconstructions.- Development of the city :...

 right through to its eventual demise
Decline of the Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the gradual societal collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Many theories of causality prevail, but most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with foreign invasions and usurpers from within the...

. Although some histories have been lost, such as Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

's account of the Dacian Wars, and others, such as Rome's earliest histories, are at least semi-apocryphal, the extant histories of Rome's military history are extensive.

The very earliest history, from the time of Rome's founding as a small tribal village, through to the downfall of Rome's kings, is the least well preserved. This is because, although the early Romans were literate to some degree, either they lacked the will to record their history at this time or else such histories as they did record were lost.

Although the Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 (59 BC – AD 17) lists a series of seven kings of early Rome in his work Ab Urbe Condita
Ab urbe condita
Ab urbe condita is Latin for "from the founding of the City ", traditionally set in 753 BC. AUC is a year-numbering system used by some ancient Roman historians to identify particular Roman years...

, from its establishment through its earliest years, the degree to which the first four kings (Romulus
Romulus
- People:* Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome* Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor* Valerius Romulus , deified son of the Roman emperor Maxentius* Romulus , son of the Western Roman emperor Anthemius...

, Numa
Numa Pompilius
Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus. What tales are descended to us about him come from Valerius Antias, an author from the early part of the 1st century BC known through limited mentions of later authors , Dionysius of Halicarnassus circa 60BC-...

, Tullus Hostilius
Tullus Hostilius
Tullus Hostilius was the legendary third of the Kings of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius, and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius...

 and Ancus Marcius
Ancus Marcius
Ancus Marcius was the legendary fourth of the Kings of Rome.He was the son of Marcius and Pompilia...

) are apocryphal is certainly open to question. A number of points of view have been proposed over the long run of time. Grant
Michael Grant (author)
Michael Grant was an English classicist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. Having studied and held a number of academic posts in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, he...

 and others argue that prior to the time when the Etruscan kingdom of Rome was established under the traditional fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus
Tarquinius Priscus
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, also called Tarquin the Elder or Tarquin I, was the legendary fifth King of Rome from 616 BC to 579 BC. His wife was Tanaquil.-Early life:According to Livy, Tarquinius Priscus came from the Etruria...

, Rome would have been led by a religious leader of some sort. Very little is known of Rome's military history during this era, and what history has come down to us is of a legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

ary rather than a known factual nature. Traditionally, Romulus fortified one of the first-settled of Rome's seven hills, the Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city...

, after founding the city, and Livy states that shortly after its founding Rome was "equal to any of the surrounding cities in her prowess in war".
"Events before the city was founded or planned, which have been handed down more as pleasing poetic fictions than as reliable records of historical events, I intend neither to affirm nor to refute. To antiquity we grant the indulgence of making the origins of cities more impressive by comingling the human with the divine, and if any people should be permitted to sanctify its inception and reckon the gods as its founders, surely the glory of the Roman people in war is such that, when it boasts Mars in particular as its parent... the nations of the world would as easily acquiesce in this claim as they do in our rule."
Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, on Rome's early history


The first campaigns that were fought by the Romans in this legendary account are the wars with various Latin cities and the Sabines after the Rape of the Sabine Women. According to Livy, the Latin village of Caenina responded to the event first by invading Roman territory, but were routed and their village captured. The Latins of Antemnae
Antemnae
Antemnae , an ancient village of Latium, situated on the west of the Via Salaria, two miles north of Rome, where the Anio falls into the Tiber....

 and those of Crustumerium
Crustumerium
Crustumerium was an ancient town of Latium, on the edge of the Sabine territory, near the headwaters of the Allia, not far from the Tiber....

 were defeated next in a similar fashion. The remaining main body of the Sabines attacked Rome and briefly captured the citadel, but were then convinced to conclude a treaty with the Romans under which the Sabines became Roman citizens.

There was a further war in the 8th century BC
8th century BC
The 8th century BC started the first day of 800 BC and ended the last day of 701 BC.-Overview:The 8th century BC was a period of great changes in civilizations. In Egypt, the 23rd and 24th dynasties led to rule from Nubia in the 25th Dynasty...

 against Fidenae and Veii. In the 7th century BC
7th century BC
The 7th century BC started the first day of 700 BC and ended the last day of 601 BC.The Assyrian Empire continued to dominate the Near East during this century, exercising formidable power over neighbors like Babylon and Egypt. In the last two decades of the century, however, the empire began to...

 there was a war with Alba Longa, a second war with Fidenae and Veii and a second Sabine War. Ancus Marcius led Rome to victory against the Latins and, according to the Fasti Triumphales, over the Veientes
Veii
Veii was, in ancient times, an important Etrurian city NNW of Rome, Italy; its site lies in Isola Farnese, a village of Municipio XX, an administrative subdivision of the comune of Rome in the Province of Rome...

 and Sabines also.

Tarquinius Priscus


Lucius Tarquinius Priscus' first war was waged against the Latins. Tarquinius took the Latin town of Apiolae
Apiolae
Apiolae was a town in ancient Latium, Italy.During the early semi-legendary history of Rome, in the reign of Rome's fifth king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, it is said that the Latins went to war with Rome. Tarquinius took Apiolae by storm, and from there returned to Rome with much booty....

 by storm and took great booty from there back to Rome. According to the Fasti Triumphales, the war occurred prior to 588 BC.

His military ability was tested by an attack from the Sabines. The Sabines received auxiliaries from five Etruscan cities. Tarquinius doubled the numbers of equites to help the war effort. The Sabines were defeated after dangerous street fighting in Rome. In the peace negotiations that followed, Tarquinius received the town of Collatia
Collatia
Collatia was an ancient town of central Italy, c. 15 km northeast of Rome by the Via Collatina.It appears in the legendary history of Rome as captured by Tarquinius Priscus. Virgil speaks of it as a Latin colony of Alba Longa...

 and appointed his nephew Aruns Tarquinius
Egerius
Aruns Egerius Tarquinius was a member of the royal family of early Rome.His father was Aruns, son of Demaratus the Corinthian and a noblewoman Princess from Tarquinii....

, surnamed Egerius, as commander of the garrison which he stationed in that city. Tarquinius returned to Rome and celebrarted a triumph for his victories over the Sabines which, according to the Fasti Triumphales, occurred on 13th September 585 BC.

Subsequently the Latin cities of Corniculum
Corniculum (ancient Latin town)
Corniculum was an ancient town in Latium in central Italy.In Rome's early semi-legendary history, the town was part of the Latin League, which went to war with Rome during the reign of Rome's king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus...

, old Ficulea
Ficulea (ancient Latin town)
Ficulea was an ancient town in Latium in central Italy.In Rome's early semi-legendary history, the town was part of the Latin League, which went to war with Rome during the reign of Rome's king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Ficulea was one of a number of towns captured by Tarquinius....

, Cameria
Cameria (ancient Latin town)
Cameria was an ancient town in Latium in central Italy.In Rome's early semi-legendary history, the town was part of the Latin League, which went to war with Rome during the reign of Rome's king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Cameria was one of a number of towns captured by Tarquinius....

, Crustumerium
Crustumerium
Crustumerium was an ancient town of Latium, on the edge of the Sabine territory, near the headwaters of the Allia, not far from the Tiber....

, Ameriola
Ameriola
Ameriola was an ancient town in Latium in central Italy.According to Livy, the town was part of the Latin League, which went to war with Rome during the reign of Rome's king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Ameriola was one of a number of towns captured by Tarquinius....

, Medullia
Medullia
Medullia was a town in ancient Latium, Italy.In Rome's early semi-legendary history, Medullia was one of a number of cities of the Latins who went to war with ancient Rome in the 7th century BC, during the reign of the Roman King Ancus Marcius. The town was the focus of the main part of the war...

 and Nomentum were subdued and became Roman.

Servius Tullius


Early in his reign, Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of ancient Rome, and the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned 578-535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and later marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's first Etruscan king, who was assassinated in 579 BC...

 warred against Veii and the Etruscans. He is said to have shown valour in the campaign, and to have routed a great army of the enemy. The war helped him to cement his position at Rome. According to the Fasti Triumphales, Servius celebrated three triumphs
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

 over the Etruscans, including on 25 November 571 BC and 25 May 567 BC (the date of the third triumph is not legible on the Fasti).

Tarquinius Superbus


Early in his reign Tarquinius Superbus, Rome's seventh and final king, called a meeting of the Latin
Latin league
The Latin League was a confederation of about 30 villages and tribes in the region of Latium near ancient Rome, organized for mutual defense...

 leaders at which persuaded them to renew their treaty with Rome and become her allies rather than her enemies, and it was agreed that the troops of the Latins would attend at a grove sacred to the goddess Ferentina
Ferentina
Ferentina was the patron goddess of the city Ferentinum, Latium. She was protector of the Latin commonwealth. She was also closely associated with the Roman Empire....

 on an appointed day to form a united military force with the troops of Rome. This was done, and Tarquin formed combined units of Roman and Latin troops.

Tarquin next began a war against the Volsci
Volsci
The Volsci were an ancient Italic people, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. They then inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from...

. He took the wealthy town of Suessa Pometia
Suessa Pometia
Suessa Pometia was an ancient city of Latium, which had ceased to exist in historical times.It bordered on the Pomptinus ager or Pomptinae Paludes, to which it was supposed to have given name. Virgil reckons it among the colonies of Alba, and must therefore have considered it as a Latin city : it...

, with the spoils of which he commenced the erection of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus which his father had vowed. He also celebrated a triumph for his victory.

He was next engaged in a war with Gabii
Gabii
Gabii was an ancient city of Latium, located due east of Rome along the Via Praenestina, which was in early times known as the Via Gabina....

, one of the Latin cities, which had rejected the Latin treaty with Rome. Unable to take the city by force of arms, Tarquin had his son, Sextus Tarquinius
Sextus Tarquinius
Sextus Tarquinius was a Roman prince, the third and youngest son of the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus . He is primarily known for his rape of Lucretia, daughter of Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus, wife of Collatinus....

, infiltrate the city, gain the trust of its people and command of its army. In time he killed or exiled the city's leaders, and handed control of the city over to his father.

Tarquin also agreed a peace with the Aequi
Aequi
thumb|300px|Location of the Aequi in central Italy.The Aequi were an ancient people of northeast Latium and the central Appennines of Italy who appear in the early history of ancient Rome. After a long struggle for independence from Rome they were defeated and substantial Roman colonies were...

, and renewed the treaty of peace between Rome and the Etruscans. According to the Fasti Triumphales, Tarquin also won a victory over the Sabines.

Tarquinius later went to war with the Rutuli
Rutuli
The Rutuli or Rutulians were members of a legendary Italic tribe...

. According to Livy, the Rutuli were, at that time, a very wealthy nation. Tarquinius was desirous of obtaining the booty which would come with victory over the Rutuli. Tarquin unsuccessfully sought to take the Rutulian capital, Ardea, by storm, and subsequently began an extensive siege of the city. The war was interrupted by the revolution which overthrew the Roman monarchy. The Roman army, camped outside Ardea, welcomed Lucius Junius Brutus
Lucius Junius Brutus
Lucius Junius Brutus was the founder of the Roman Republic and traditionally one of the first consuls in 509 BC. He was claimed as an ancestor of the Roman gens Junia, including Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Caesar's assassins.- Background :...

 as their new leader, and expelled the king's sons. It is unclear what was the outcome of the siege, or indeed the war.

Early Italian campaigns (509–396 BC)




The first non-apocryphal Roman wars were wars of both expansion and defence, aimed at protecting Rome itself from neighbouring cities and nations and establishing its territory in the region. Florus writes that at this time

In the semi-legendary period of the early republic, sources record Rome was twice attacked by Etruscan armies. In around 509 BC war with Veii and Tarquinii was said to have been instigated by the recently-overthrown king Tarquinius Superbus. Again in 508 BC Tarquin persuaded the king of Clusium
Clusium
Clusium was an ancient city in Italy, one of several found at the site. The current municipality of Chiusi partly overlaps this Roman walled city. The Roman city remodeled an earlier Etruscan city, Clevsin, found in the territory of a prehistoric culture, possibly also Etruscan or proto-Etruscan...

, Lars Porsenna to wage war on Rome, resulting in a siege of Rome and afterwards a peace treaty.

Initially, Rome's immediate neighbours were either Latin
Latins
"Latins" refers to different groups of people and the meaning of the word changes for where and when it is used.The original Latins were an Italian tribe inhabiting central and south-central Italy. Through conquest by their most populous city-state, Rome, the original Latins culturally "Romanized"...

 towns and villages on a tribal system similar to that of Rome, or else tribal Sabines from the Apennine hills beyond. One by one, Rome defeated both the persistent Sabines and the local cities that were either under Etruscan control or else Latin towns that had cast off their Etruscan rulers, as had Rome. Rome defeated the Lavinii
Lavinium
Lavinium was a port city of Latium, to the south of Rome, at a median distance between the Tiber river at Ostia and Anzio. The coastline then, as now, was a long strip of beach. Lavinium was on a hill at the southernmost edge of the Silva Laurentina, a dense laurel forest, and the northernmost...

 and Tusculi
Tusculum
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.-Location:Tusculum is one of the largest Roman cities in Alban Hills. The ruins of Tusculum are located on Tuscolo hill—more specifically on the northern edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano...

 in the Battle of Lake Regillus
Battle of Lake Regillus
The Battle of Lake Regillus was a legendary early Roman victory, won over the Latin League led by the expelled Etruscan former king of Rome. It is usually said to have occurred in 498 BC, but other dates have been proposed, including 499 BC, 496 BC and 493 BC.The battle may be entirely legendary,...

 in 496 BC, the Sabines in an unknown battle in 449 BC, the Aequi
Aequi
thumb|300px|Location of the Aequi in central Italy.The Aequi were an ancient people of northeast Latium and the central Appennines of Italy who appear in the early history of ancient Rome. After a long struggle for independence from Rome they were defeated and substantial Roman colonies were...

 in the Battle of Mons Algidus
Battle of Mons Algidus
The Battle of Mons Algidus was fought in 458 BC between the Roman Republic and the Aequi near Algidus Mons, Latium. The Roman dictator Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus turned a Roman defeat into an important victory.-Background:...

 in 458 BC and the Battle of Corbione
Battle of Corbione
The Battle of Corbione took place in 446 BC. General Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus and legatus Spurius Postumius Albus Regillensis led Roman troops to a victory over the Aequi tribes of north-east Latium and the Volsci tribes of southern Latium...

 in 446 BC, the Volsci
Volsci
The Volsci were an ancient Italic people, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. They then inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from...

 in the Battle of Corbione
Battle of Corbione
The Battle of Corbione took place in 446 BC. General Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus and legatus Spurius Postumius Albus Regillensis led Roman troops to a victory over the Aequi tribes of north-east Latium and the Volsci tribes of southern Latium...

 in 446 BC and the Capture of Antium in 377 BC, the Aurunci
Aurunci
The Aurunci were an Italic population which lived in southern Italy from around the 1st millennium BC. Of Indo-European origin, their language belonged to the Oscan group...

 in the Battle of Aricia, and the Veientes
Veii
Veii was, in ancient times, an important Etrurian city NNW of Rome, Italy; its site lies in Isola Farnese, a village of Municipio XX, an administrative subdivision of the comune of Rome in the Province of Rome...

 in the Battle of the Cremera
Battle of the Cremera
The Battle of the Cremera was fought between the Roman Republic and the Etruscan city of Veii, in 477 BC .Historical records show the defeat of the Roman stronghold on the river Cremera, and the consequent incursions of the Veientes in Roman territory.The preserved account of the battle, written by...

 in 477 BC, the Capture of Fidenae in 435 BC and the Siege of Veii in 396 BC. After defeating the Veientes, the Romans had effectively completed the conquest of their immediate Etruscan neighbours, as well as secured their position against the immediate threat posed by the tribespeople of the Apennine hills.

However, Rome still controlled only a very limited area and the affairs of Rome were minor even to those in Italy: the remains of Veii, for instance, lie entirely within modern Rome's suburbs and Rome's affairs were only just coming to the attention of the Greeks, the dominant cultural force at the time. At this point the bulk of Italy remained in the hands of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, Sabine
Sabine
The Sabines were an Italic tribe that lived in the central Appennines of ancient Italy, also inhabiting Latium north of the Anio before the founding of Rome...

, Samnite
Samnium
Samnium is a Latin exonym for a region of south or south and central Italy in Roman times. The name survives in Italian today, but today's territory comprising it is only a small portion of what it once was. The populations of Samnium were called Samnites by the Romans...

 and other peoples in the central part of Italy, Greek colonies to the south, and, notably, the Celtic people, including the Gauls
Gauls
The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

, to the north. The Celtic civilization at this time was vibrant and growing in strength and territory, and stretched, if incohesively, across much of mainland Europe. It is at the hands of the Gallic Celts that Rome suffered a humiliating defeat that temporarily set back its advance and was to imprint itself upon the Roman consciousness.

Celtic invasion of Italia (390–387 BC)



By 390 BC, several Gallic tribes had begun invading Italy from the north as their culture expanded throughout Europe. Most of this was unknown to the Romans at this time, who still had purely local security concerns, but the Romans were alerted when a particularly warlike tribe, the Senones
Senones
The Senones were an ancient Gaulish tribe.In about 400 BC they crossed the Alps and, having driven out the Umbrians settled on the east coast of Italy from Forlì to Ancona, in the so-called ager Gallicus, and founded the town of Sena Gallica , which became their capital. In 391 BC they invaded...

, invaded the Etruscan province of Siena from the north and attacked the town of Clusium
Clusium
Clusium was an ancient city in Italy, one of several found at the site. The current municipality of Chiusi partly overlaps this Roman walled city. The Roman city remodeled an earlier Etruscan city, Clevsin, found in the territory of a prehistoric culture, possibly also Etruscan or proto-Etruscan...

, not far from Rome's sphere of influence. The Clusians, overwhelmed by the size of the enemy in numbers and ferocity, called on Rome for help. Perhaps unintentionally the Romans found themselves not just in conflict with the Senones, but their primary target. The Romans met them in pitched battle at the Battle of the Allia
Battle of the Allia
The Battle of the Allia was a battle of the first Gallic invasion of Rome. The battle was fought near the Allia river: the defeat of the Roman army opened the route for the Gauls to sack Rome. It was fought in 390/387 BC.-Background:...

 around 390–387 BC. The Gauls, under their chieftain Brennus
Brennus (4th century BC)
Brennus was a chieftain of the Senones, a Gallic tribe originating from the modern areas of France known as Seine-et-Marne, Loiret, and Yonne, but which had expanded to occupy northern Italy....

, defeated the Roman army of around 15,000 troops and proceeded to pursue the fleeing Romans back to Rome itself and partially sacked the town before being either driven off or bought off.

Now that the Romans and Gauls had blooded one another, intermittent warfare was to continue between the two in Italy for more than two centuries, including the Battle of the Allia
Battle of the Allia
The Battle of the Allia was a battle of the first Gallic invasion of Rome. The battle was fought near the Allia river: the defeat of the Roman army opened the route for the Gauls to sack Rome. It was fought in 390/387 BC.-Background:...

, the Battle of Lake Vadimo
Battle of Lake Vadimo (283 BC)
The Battle of Lake Vadimo was fought in 283 BC between Rome and the combined forces of the Etruscans and the Gallic tribe the Boii. The Roman army was led by consul Publius Cornelius Dolabella...

, the Battle of Faesulae
Battle of Faesulae
The Battle of Faesulae was fought in 225 BC between the Roman Republic and a group of Gauls living in Italy. The Gauls defeated the Romans, but later the same year, a decisive battle at Telamon had the opposite outcome....

 in 225 BC, the Battle of Telamon
Battle of Telamon
The Battle of Telamon was fought between the Roman Republic and an alliance of Gauls in 225 BC. The Romans, led by the consuls Gaius Atilius Regulus and Lucius Aemilius Papus, defeated the Gauls, thus extending their influence over northern Italy....

 in 224 BC, the Battle of Clastidium
Battle of Clastidium
The Battle of Clastidium was fought in 222 BC between a Roman Republican army led by the Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus and the Insubres led by Viridomarus. The Romans won the battle, and in the process, Marcellus earned the Spolia opima, one of the highest honors in ancient Rome, by...

 in 222 BC, the Battle of Cremona
Battle of Cremona (200 BC)
The Battle of Cremona was fought in 200 BC between the Roman Republic and Cisalpine Gaul. The Roman force was victorious.During the end of the Second Macedonian War, tribes in Cisalpine Gaul rebelled against the Republic, sacking the city of Placentia...

 in 200 BC, the Battle of Mutina
Battle of Mutina (194 BC)
The Battle of Placentia was fought in 194 BC, near Placentia, between the Roman Republic and the Boii. The Roman army won the battle. The following year, another battle with the Boii would take place in the same region; known as the Battle of Mutina, it would end the Boii threat...

 in 194 BC, the Battle of Arausio
Battle of Arausio
The Battle of Arausio took place on October 6, 105 BC, at a site between the town of Arausio and the Rhône River. Ranged against the migratory tribes of the Cimbri under Boiorix and the Teutoni were two Roman armies, commanded by the proconsul Quintus Servilius Caepio and consul Gnaeus Mallius...

 in 105 BC, and the Battle of Vercellae
Battle of Vercellae
The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, in 101 BC was the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic Cimbri tribe near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul....

 in 101 BC. The Celtic problem would not be resolved for Rome until the final subjugation of all Gaul following the Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major town centre and hill fort of the Mandubii tribe...

 in 52 BC.

Expansion into Italia (343–282 BC)



After recovering surprisingly swiftly from the sack of Rome, the Romans immediately resumed their expansion within Italy. Despite their successes so far, their mastery of the whole of Italy was by no means assured at this point: the Samnites were a people just as martial and as rich as the Romans and with an objective of their own of securing more lands in the fertile Italian plains on which Rome itself lay. The First Samnite War of between 343 BC and 341 BC that followed widespread Samnite incursions into Rome's territory was a relatively short affair: the Romans beat the Samnites in both the Battle of Mount Gaurus
Battle of Mount Gaurus
-Battle of Mount Gaurus:The Battle of Mount Gaurus, 343 B.C., was the first battle of the First Samnite Wars. It was fought between the ancient Romans and the Samnites...

 in 342 BC and the Battle of Suessola in 341 BC but were forced to withdraw from the war before they could pursue the conflict further due to the revolt of several of their Latin allies in the Latin War
Latin War
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...

.

Rome was therefore forced to contend by around 340 BC against both Samnite incursions into their territory and, simultaneously, in a bitter war against their former allies. Rome bested the Latins in the Battle of Vesuvius
Battle of Vesuvius
-The Battle of Vesuvius:The Battle of Vesuvius was fought near Mount Vesuvius in 340 BC. The battle was fought between the Romans and the Latin army...

 and again in the Battle of Trifanum
Battle of Trifanum
The Battle of Trifanum was fought in 339 BC between the Roman Republic and the Latins. The Roman force was led by Manlius Imperiosus, and they were victorious....

, after which the Latin cities were obliged to submit to Roman rule. Perhaps due to Rome's lenient treatment of their defeated foe, the Latins submitted largely amicably to Roman rule for the next 200 years.

The Second Samnite War, from 327 BC to 304 BC, was a much longer and more serious affair for both the Romans and Samnites, running for over twenty years and incorporating twenty-four battles that led to massive casualties on both sides. The fortunes of the two sides fluctuated throughout its course: the Samnites seized Neapolis in the Capture of Neapolis
Capture of Neapolis
-The Spark to the Second Samnite War:The Romans confronted the Samnites in the middle of the Liris river valley, sparking the Second, or Great Samnite War , which lasted twenty years....

 in 327 BC, which the Romans then re-captured before losing at the Battle of the Caudine Forks
Battle of the Caudine Forks
The Battle of Caudine Forks, 321 BC, was a decisive event of the Second Samnite War. Its designation as a battle is a mere historical formality: there was no fighting and there were no casualties. The Romans were trapped in a waterless place by the Samnites before they knew what was happening and...

 and the Battle of Lautulae
Battle of Lautulae
-Battle of Lautulae:The Battle of Lautulae was fought in 315 BC between the Romans and the Samnites within the Second Samnite Wars. The Samnites won this battle .-Preceding the Battle:...

. The Romans then proved victorious at the Battle of Bovianum
Battle of Bovianum
The Battle of Bovianum was fought in 305 BC between the Romans and the Samnites.- Battle :The Romans were led by two consuls, Tiberius Minucius Augurinus and Lucius Postumius Megellus...

 and the tide turned strongly against the Samnites from 314 BC onwards, leading them to sue for peace
Suing for peace
Suing for peace is an act by a warring nation to initiate a peace process in which the peace terms are more favorable than an unconditional surrender...

 with progressively less generous terms. By 304 BC the Romans had effectively annexed the greater degree of the Samnite territory, founding several colonies. This pattern of meeting aggression in force and almost inadvertently gaining territory in strategic counter-attacks was to become a common feature of Roman military history.

Seven years after their defeat, with Roman dominance of the area looking assured, the Samnites rose again and defeated the Romans at the Battle of Camerinum
Battle of Camerinum
The Battle of Camerinum in 298 BC was the first battle of the Third Samnite War. In the battle, the Samnites defeated the Romans, who were commanded by Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus....

 in 298 BC, to open the Third Samnite War. With this success in hand they managed to bring together a coalition of several previous enemies of Rome, all of whom were probably keen to prevent any one faction dominating the entire region. The army that faced the Romans at the Battle of Sentinum
Battle of Sentinum
The Battle of Sentinum was the decisive battle of the Third Samnite War, fought in 295 BC near Sentinum , in which the Romans were able to overcome a formidable coalition of Samnites, Etruscans, Umbrians, and their Gallic allies...

 in 295 BC therefore included Samnites, Gauls, Etruscans and Umbrians. When the Roman army won a convincing victory over these combined forces it must have become clear that little could prevent Roman dominance of Italy. In the Battle of Populonia
Battle of Populonia
The Battle of Populonia was fought in 282 BC between Rome and the Etruscans. The Romans were victorious, and the Etruscan threat to Rome sharply diminished after this battle....

 in 282 BC Rome finished off the last vestiges of Etruscan power in the region.

Pyrrhic War (280–275 BC)




By the beginning of the 3rd century, Rome had established itself in 282 BC as a major power on the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

, but had not yet come into conflict with the dominant military powers in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 at the time: Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 and the Greek kingdoms
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. Rome had all but completely defeated the Samnites, mastered its fellow Latin towns, and greatly reduced Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 power in the region. However, the south of Italy was controlled by the Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 colonies of Magna Grecia who had been allied to the Samnites, and continued Roman expansion brought the two into inevitable conflict.

In the naval Battle of Thurii
Battle of Thurii
The naval Battle of Thurii was fought between Ancient Rome and the Greek colony of TarentumFollowing the battle, Tarentum appealed for aid to Pyrrhus, ruler of Epirus, for military aid...

, Tarentum appealed for military aid to Pyrrhus
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus or Pyrrhos was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house , and later he became king of Epirus and Macedon . He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome...

, ruler of Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

. Motivated by his diplomatic obligations to Tarentum, and a personal desire for military accomplishment, Pyrrhus landed a Greek army of some 25,000 men and a contingent of war elephant
War elephant
A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks. A division of war elephants is known as elephantry....

s on Italian soil in 280 BC, where his forces were joined by some Greek colonists and a portion of the Samnites who revolted against Roman control.

The Roman army had not yet seen elephants in battle, and their inexperience turned the tide in Pyrrhus' favour at the Battle of Heraclea
Battle of Heraclea
The Battle of Heraclea took place in 280 BC between the Romans under the command of Consul Publius Valerius Laevinus and the combined forces of Greeks from Epirus, Tarentum, Thurii, Metapontum, and Heraclea under the command of King Pyrrhus of Epirus....

 in 280 BC, and again at the Battle of Ausculum in 279 BC. Despite these victories, Pyrrhus found his position in Italy untenable. Rome steadfastly refused to negotiate with Pyrrhus as long as his army remained in Italy. Furthermore, Rome entered into a treaty of support with Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, and Pyrrhus found that despite his expectations, none of the other Italic peoples
Ancient Italic peoples
Ancient people of Italy are all those people that lived in Italy before the Roman domination.Not all of these various people are linguistically or ethnically closely related...

 would defect to the Greek and Samnite cause. Facing unacceptably heavy losses
Pyrrhic victory
A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost to the victor that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat.-Origin:...

 with each encounter with the Roman army, and failing to find further allies in Italy, Pyrrhus withdrew from the peninsula and campaigned in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 against Carthage, abandoning his allies to deal with the Romans.

When his Sicilian campaign was also ultimately a failure, and at the request of his Italian allies, Pyrrhus returned to Italy to face Rome once more. In 275 BC, Pyrrhus again met the Roman army at the Battle of Beneventum. This time the Romans had devised methods to deal with the war elephants, including the use of javelins, fire and, one source claims, simply hitting the elephants heavily on the head. While Beneventum was indecisive, Pyrrhus realised that his army had been exhausted and reduced by years of foreign campaigns, and seeing little hope for further gains, he withdrew completely from Italy.

The conflicts with Pyrrhus would have a great effect on Rome, however. Rome had shown that it was capable of pitting its armies successfully against the dominant military powers of the Mediterranean, and further showed that the Greek kingdoms were incapable of defending their colonies in Italy and abroad. Rome quickly moved into southern Italia, subjugating and dividing Magna Grecia. Effectively dominating the Italian peninsula, and with a proven international military reputation, Rome now began to look outwards at expansion from the Italian mainland. Since the Alps formed a natural barrier to the north, and Rome was none too keen to meet the fierce Gauls in battle once more, the city's gaze turned to Sicily and the islands of the Mediterranean, a policy that would bring it into direct conflict with its former ally Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

.

Middle (274 BC – 148 BC)


Rome first began to make war outside the Italian peninsula in the Punic wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 against Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, a former Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colony on the north coast of Africa that had developed into a powerful state. These wars, starting in 264 BC were probably the largest conflicts of the ancient world yet and saw Rome become the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean, with territory in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Iberia
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, and with the end of the Macedonian wars
Macedonian Wars
The Macedonian wars were a series of conflicts fought by Rome in the eastern Mediterranean, the Adriatic, and the Aegean. They resulted in Roman control or influence over the eastern Mediterranean basin, in addition to their hegemony in the western Mediterranean after the Punic wars.-First...

 (which ran concurrently with the Punic wars) Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 as well. After the defeat of the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great Seleucid Greek king who became the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire as a youth of about eighteen in 223 BC. Antiochus was an ambitious ruler who ruled over Greater Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC...

 in the Roman-Syrian War
Roman-Syrian War
The Roman–Syrian War , 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...

 (Treaty of Apamea, 188 BC) in the eastern sea, Rome emerged as the dominant Mediterranean power and the most powerful city in the classical world.

Punic Wars (264–146 BC)



The First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

 began in 264 BC when settlements on Sicily began to appeal to the two powers between which they lay – Rome and Carthage – in order to solve internal conflicts. The willingness of both Rome and Carthage to become embroiled on the soil of a third party may indicate a willingness to test each other's power without wishing to enter a full war of annihilation; certainly there was considerable disagreement within Rome about whether to prosecute the war at all. The war saw land battles in Sicily early on such as the Battle of Agrigentum
Battle of Agrigentum
The Battle of Agrigentum was the first pitched battle of the First Punic War and the first large-scale military confrontation between Carthaginians and the Republic of Rome...

 but the theatre shifted to naval battles around Sicily and Africa. For the Romans naval warfare was a relatively unexplored concept. Before the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

 in 264 BC there was no Roman navy to speak of as all previous Roman wars had been fought on land in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The new war in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 against Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, a great naval power, forced Rome to quickly build a fleet and train sailors.

Rome took to naval warfare "like a brick to water" and the first few naval battles of the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

 such as the Battle of the Lipari Islands
Battle of the Lipari Islands
The Battle of the Lipari Islands or Lipara was the first encounter between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War...

 were catastrophic disasters for Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, as might fairly be expected from a city that had no real prior experience of naval warfare. However, after training more sailors and inventing a grappling engine known as a Corvus
Corvus (weapon)
The corvus or harpago was a Roman military boarding device used in naval warfare during the First Punic War against Carthage....

, a Roman naval force under C. Duillius was able to roundly defeat a Carthaginian fleet at the Battle of Mylae
Battle of Mylae
The Battle of Mylae took place in 260 BC during the First Punic War and was the first real naval battle between Carthage and the Roman Republic. This battle was key in the Roman victory of Mylae as well as Sicily itself...

. In just 4 years, a state without any real naval experience had managed to better a major regional maritime power in battle. Further naval victories followed at the Battle of Tyndaris
Battle of Tyndaris
The Battle of Tyndaris was a naval battle of the First Punic War, which took place off Tyndaris in 257 BC. Tyndaris was a Sicilian town founded as a Greek colony in 396 BC located on the high ground overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Gulf of Patti. Hiero II, the tyrant of Syracuse, allowed...

 and Battle of Cape Ecnomus
Battle of Cape Ecnomus
The Battle of Cape Ecnomus was a naval battle, fought off Cape Ecnomus , between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic, during the First Punic War...

.

After having won control of the seas, a Roman force landed on the African coast under Regulus
Marcus Atilius Regulus
Marcus Atilius Regulus , a general and consul in the ninth year of the First Punic War...

, who was at first victorious, winning the Battle of Adys
Battle of Adys
The Battle of Adys was fought in 255 BC between Carthage and a Roman army led by Marcus Atilius Regulus. Regulus inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Carthaginians, who then sued for peace...

 and forcing Carthage to sue for peace. However the terms of peace that Rome proposed were so heavy that negotiations failed and, in response, the Carthaginians hired Xanthippus of Carthage, a mercenary from the martial Greek city-state of Sparta, to reorganise and lead their army. Xanthippus managed to cut off the Roman army from its base by re-establishing Carthaginian naval supremacy, then defeated and captured Regulus at the Battle of Tunis
Battle of Tunis
The Battle of Tunis, also known as the Battle of Bagrades, between the Roman Republic and Carthage occurred in the spring of 255 BC during the First Punic War. The battle ended in a decisive Carthaginian victory.-Prelude:...

.

Despite being defeated on African soil, with their newfound naval abilities, the Romans roundly beat the Carthaginians in naval battle again – largely through the tactical innovations of the Roman fleet – at the Battle of the Aegates Islands
Battle of the Aegates Islands
The Battle of the Aegates Islands or Aegusa was the final naval battle fought between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War...

 and leaving Carthage without a fleet or sufficient coin to raise one. For a maritime power the loss of their access to the Mediterranean stung financially and psychologically, and the Carthaginians again sued for peace, during which Rome battled the Ligures tribe in the Ligurian War and the Insubres in the Gallic War.

Continuing distrust led to the renewal of hostilities in the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 when Hannibal Barca
Hannibal Barca
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca Hannibal's date of death is most commonly given as 183 BC, but there is a possibility it could have taken place in 182 BC. was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician. He is generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history...

, a member of the Barcid
Barcid
The Barcid family was a notable family in the ancient city of Carthage; many of its members were fierce enemies of the Roman Republic. "Barcid" is an adjectival form coined by historians ; the actual byname was Barca or Barcas, which means lightning...

 family of Carthaginian nobility, attacked Saguntum, a city with diplomatic ties to Rome. Hannibal then raised an army in Iberia and famously crossed the Italian Alps with elephants to invade Italy. In the first battle on Italian soil at Ticinus in 218 BC Hannibal defeated the Romans under Scipio the Elder
Publius Cornelius Scipio
Publius Cornelius Scipio was a general and statesman of the Roman Republic.A member of the Corneliagens, Scipio served as consul in 218 BC, the first year of the Second Punic War, and sailed with an army from Pisa to Massilia , with the intention of arresting Hannibal's advance on Italy...

 in a small cavalry fight. Hannibal's success continued with victories in the Battle of the Trebia
Battle of the Trebia
The Battle of the Trebia was the first major battle of the Second Punic War, fought between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Roman Republic in December of 218 BC, on or around the winter solstice...

, the Battle of Lake Trasimene
Battle of Lake Trasimene
The Battle of Lake Trasimene was a Roman defeat in the Second Punic War between the Carthaginians under Hannibal and the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius...

, where he ambushed an unsuspecting Roman army, and the Battle of Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

, in what is considered one of the great masterpieces of the tactical art, and for a while "Hannibal seemed invincible", able to beat Roman armies at will.

In the three battles of Nola, Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Marcus Claudius Marcellus , five times elected as consul of the Roman Republic, was an important Roman military leader during the Gallic War of 225 BC and the Second Punic War...

 managed to hold off Hannibal but then Hannibal smashed a succession of Roman consular armies at the First Battle of Capua, the Battle of the Silarus
Battle of the Silarus
The Battle of the Silarus was fought in 212 BC between Hannibal's army and a Roman force led by praetor Marcus Centenius Penula. The Carthaginians were victorious, destroying the entire Roman army...

, the Second Battle of Herdonia, the Battle of Numistro
Battle of Numistro
The Battle of Numistro was fought in 210 BC between Hannibal's army and a Roman army led by consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The battle was inconclusive, since the long battle ended with Hannibal retreating, and Marcellus hunting him until Asculum the following year....

 and the Battle of Asculum. By this time Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal Barca
Hasdrubal Barca
Hasdrubal was Hamilcar Barca's second son and a Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War. He was a younger brother of the much more famous Hannibal.-Youth and Iberian leadership:...

 sought to cross the Alps into Italy and join his brother with a second army. Despite being defeated in Iberia in the Battle of Baecula
Battle of Baecula
The Battle of Baecula was Scipio Africanus’s first major field battle after he had taken command of Roman interests in Iberia during the Second Punic War, in which he routed the Carthaginian army under the command of Hasdrubal Barca.-Prelude:...

, Hasdrubal managed to break through into Italy only to be defeated decisively by Gaius Claudius Nero
Gaius Claudius Nero
Gaius Claudius Nero was a Roman consul who fought in the Battle of the Metaurus . He was member of the gens Claudia. He is not to be confused with the Roman Emperor Nero.In 207 BC, the thirteenth year of the war, he was elected consul with Marcus Livius Salinator, and with his colleague he led the...

 and Marcus Livius Salinator
Marcus Livius Salinator
Marcus Livius Drusus Salinator , the son of Marcus , was a Roman consul who fought in both the First Punic wars and Second Punic wars most notably during the Battle of Zama....

 on the Metaurus River
Battle of the Metaurus
The Battle of the Metaurus was a pivotal battle in the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, fought in 207 BC near the Metauro River in present-day Italy. The battle gets a chapter in the classic The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World by Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy...

.
"Apart from the romance of Scipio's personality and his political importance as the founder of Rome's world-dominion, his military work has a greater value to modern students of war than that of any other great captain of the past.. His genius revealed to him that peace and war are the two wheels on which the world runs."
BH Liddell Hart on Scipio Africanus Major


Unable to defeat Hannibal himself on Italian soil, and with Hannibal savaging the Italian countryside but unwilling or unable to destroy Rome itself, the Romans boldly sent an army to Africa with the intention of threatening the Carthaginian capital. In 203 BC at the Battle of Bagbrades the invading Roman army under Scipio Africanus Major defeated the Carthaginian army of Hasdrubal Gisco
Hasdrubal Gisco
Hasdrubal Gisco or Hasdrubal son of Gisco was a Carthaginian general who fought against Rome in Iberia and North Africa during the Second Punic War. He should not be confused with Hasdrubal Barca, the brother of Hannibal....

 and Syphax
Syphax
Syphax was a king of the ancient Algerian tribe Masaesyli of western Numidia during the last quarter of the 3rd century BC. His story is told in Livy's Ab Urbe Condita .-Biography:...

 and Hannibal was recalled to Africa. At the famous Battle of Zama
Battle of Zama
The Battle of Zama, fought around October 19, 202 BC, marked the final and decisive end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus defeated a Carthaginian force led by the legendary commander Hannibal...

 Scipio decisively defeated – perhaps even "annihilated" – Hannibal's army in North Africa, ending the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

.

Carthage never managed to recover after the Second Punic War and the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

 that followed was in reality a simple punitive mission to raze the city of Carthage to the ground. Carthage was almost defenceless and when besieged offered immediate surrender, conceding to a string of outrageous Roman demands. The Romans refused the surrender, demanding as their further terms of surrender the complete destruction of the city and, seeing little to lose, the Carthaginians prepared to fight. In the Battle of Carthage
Battle of Carthage (c.149 BC)
The Battle of Carthage was the major act of the Third Punic War between the Phoenician city of Carthage in Africa and the Roman Republic...

 the city was stormed after a short siege and completely destroyed, its culture "almost totally extinguished".

Conquest of the Iberian peninsula (219–18 BC)


Rome's conflict with the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 led them into expansion in the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 of modern-day Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. The Punic empire of the Carthaginian Barcid family consisted of territories in Iberia, many of which Rome gained control of during the Punic Wars. Italy remained the main theatre of war for much of the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

, but the Romans also aimed to destroy the Barcid Empire in Iberia and prevent major Punic allies from linking up with forces in Italy.

Over the years Rome had gradually expanded along the southern Iberian coast until in 211 BC it captured the city of Saguntum. Following two major military expeditions to Iberia, the Romans finally crushed Carthaginian control of the peninsula in 206 BC, at the Battle of Ilipa
Battle of Ilipa
The Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC was considered Scipio Africanus’s most brilliant victory in his military career during the Second Punic War. Though it may not seem to be as original as Hannibal’s tactic at Cannae, Scipio’s pre-battle maneuver and his Reverse Cannae formation was still a culmination...

, and the peninsula became a Roman province known as Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. From 206 BC onwards the only opposition to Roman control of the peninsula came from within the native Celtiberian
Celtiberians
The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. The group used the Celtic Celtiberian language.Archaeologically, the Celtiberians participated in the Hallstatt culture in what is now north-central Spain...

 tribes themselves, the disunity of which prevented security from Roman expansion.

Following two small-scale rebellions in 197 BC, in 195–194 BC, war broke out in between the Romans and the Lusitani people in the Lusitanian War
Lusitanian War
The Lusitanian War, called the Purinos Polemos , 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 and were pacified...

, in modern-day Portugal. By 179 BC, the Romans had mostly succeeded in pacifying the region and bringing it under their control.

In around 154 BC, a major revolt was re-ignited in Numantia
Numantia
Numantia is the name of an ancient Celtiberian settlement, whose remains are located 7 km north of the city of Soria, on a hill known as Cerro de la Muela in the municipality of Garray....

, which is known as the First Numantine War, and a long war of resistance was fought between the advancing forces of the Roman Republic and the Lusitani tribes of Hispania. The praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

 Servius Sulpicius Galba
Servius Sulpicius Galba (consul 144 BC)
Servius Sulpicius Galba was a consul of Rome in 144 BC.He served as tribune of the soldiers in the second legion in Macedonia, under Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, to whom he was personally hostile...

 and the proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

 Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
This article is on the Consul of 151 BC. For the descendent see Lucullus, and for others of this name see Licinia .Lucius Licinius Lucullus was a novus homo who became Consul in 151 BC. He was imprisoned by the Tribunes for attempting to enforce a troop levy too harshly...

 arrived in 151 BC and began the process of subduing the local population. Galba betrayed the Lusitani leaders he had invited to peace talks and had them killed in 150 BC, ingloriously ending the first phase of the war.

The Lusitani revolted again in 146 BC under a new leader called Viriathus
Viriathus
Viriathus was the most important leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of Western Hispania , where the Roman province of Lusitania would be established...

, invading Turdetania (southern Iberia) in a guerilla war. The Lusitanians were initially successful, defeating a Roman army at the Battle of Tribola and going on to sack nearby Carpetania, and then besting a second Roman army at the First Battle of Mount Venus in 146 BC, again going on to sack another nearby city. In 144 BC, the general Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus
Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus
Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus was a Roman statesman and consul .Fabius was by adoption a member of the patrician gens Fabia, but by birth he was the eldest son of Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus and Papiria Masonis and the elder brother of Scipio Aemilianus...

 campaigned successfully against the Lusitani, but failed in his attempts to arrest Viriathus.

In 144 BC, Viriathus formed a league against Rome with several Celtiberian tribes and persuaded them to rise against Rome too, in the Second Numantine War. Viriathus' new coalition bested Roman armies at the Second Battle of Mount Venus in 144 BC and again at the failed Siege of Erisone. In 139 BC, Viriathus was finally killed in his sleep by three of his companions who had been promised gifts by Rome. In 136 and 135 BC, more attempts were made to gain complete control of the region of Numantia, but they failed. In 134 BC, the Consul Scipio Aemilianus finally succeeded in suppressing the rebellion following the successful Siege of Numantia
Siege of Numantia
The Celtiberian oppidum of Numantia was attacked more than once by Roman forces, but the Siege of Numantia refers to the culminating and pacifying action of the long-running Numantine War between the forces of the Roman Republic and those of the native population of Hispania Citerior. The...

.

Since the Roman invasion of the Iberian peninsula had begun in the south in the territories around the Mediterranean controlled by the Barcids, the last region of the peninsula to be subdued lay in the far north. The Cantabrian Wars
Cantabrian Wars
The Cantabrian Wars occurred during the Roman conquest of the modern provinces of Cantabria, Asturias and León, against the Asturs and the Cantabri. They were the final stage of the conquest of Hispania.-Antecedents:...

 or Astur-Cantabrian Wars, from 29 BC to 19 BC, occurred during the Roman conquest of these northern provinces of Cantabria
Cantabria
Cantabria is a Spanish historical region and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community , on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.Cantabria...

 and Asturias
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

. Iberia was fully occupied by 25 BC and the last revolt put down by 19 BC

Macedon, the Greek poleis, and Illyria (215–148 BC)



Rome's preoccupation with its war with Carthage provided an opportunity for Philip V
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

 of the kingdom of Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 in northern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, to attempt to extend his power westward. Philip sent ambassadors to Hannibal's camp in Italy, to negotiate an alliance as common enemies of Rome. However, Rome discovered the agreement when Philip's emissaries, along with emissaries from Hannibal, were captured by a Roman fleet. Desiring to prevent Philip from aiding Carthage in Italy and elsewhere, Rome sought out land allies in Greece to fight a proxy war against Macedon on its behalf and found partners in the Aetolian League
Aetolian League
The Aetolian League was a confederation of tribal communities and cities in ancient Greece centered on Aetolia in central Greece. It was established, probably during the early Hellenistic era, in opposition to Macedon and the Achaean League. Two annual meetings were held in Thermika and Panaetolika...

 of Greek city-states, the Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

 to the north of Macedon and the kingdom of Pergamon and the city-state of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, which lay across the Aegean from Macedon.

The First Macedonian War
First Macedonian War
The First Macedonian War was fought by Rome, allied with the Aetolian League and Attalus I of Pergamon, against Philip V of Macedon, contemporaneously with the Second Punic War against Carthage...

 saw the Romans involved directly in only limited land operations and when the Aetolians sued for peace with Philip once more Rome's small expeditionary force, with no more allies in Greece, but having achieved their objective of pre-occupying Philip and preventing him from aiding Hannibal, was ready to make peace. A treaty was drawn up between Rome and Macedon at Phoenice in 205 BC which promised Rome a small indemnity, formally ending the First Macedonian War.

Macedon began to encroach on territory claimed by several other Greek city states in 200 BC and these states pleaded for help from their newfound ally Rome. Rome gave Philip an ultimatum that he must submit Macedonia to being essentially a Roman province. Philip, unsurprisingly, refused and, after initial internal reluctance for further hostilities, Rome declared war against Philip in the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War 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...

. In the Battle of the Aous
Battle of the Aous
The Battle of the Aous was fought in 198 BC between the Roman Republic and The Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, at or near modern Tepelenë in Albania. The Roman forces were led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus and the Macedonian ones were led by Philip V....

 Roman forces under Titus Quinctius Flamininus
Titus Quinctius Flamininus
Titus Quinctius Flamininus was a Roman politician and general instrumental in the Roman conquest of Greece.Member of the gens Quinctia, and brother to Lucius Quinctius Flamininus, he served as a military tribune in the Second Punic war and in 205 BC he was appointed propraetor in Tarentum...

 defeated the Macedonians, and in a second larger battle under the same opposing commanders in 197 BC, in the Battle of Cynoscephalae
Battle of Cynoscephalae
The Battle of Cynoscephalae was an encounter battle fought in Thessaly in 197 BC between the Roman army, led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus, and the Antigonid dynasty of Macedon, led by Philip V.- Prelude :...

, Flamininus again beat the Macedonians decisively. Macedonia was forced to sign the Treaty of Tempea
Treaty of Tempea
The Treaty of Tempe ended the Second Macedonian War between the Roman Republic and Philip V of Macedon. Rome won the decisive Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC, and by the Treaty of Tempe, 196 BC, they forced Philip to give up Macedonia's possessions in Greece and Asia, and pay a war indemnity of...

, in which it lost all claim to territory in Greece and Asia, and had to pay a war indemnity to Rome.

Between the second and third Macedonian wars Rome faced further conflict in the region due to a tapestry of shifting rivalries, alliances and leagues all seeking to gain greater influence. After the Macedonians had been defeated in the Second Macedonian War in 197 BC, the Greek city-state of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 stepped into the partial power vacuum in Greece. Fearing the Spartans would take increasing control of the region, the Romans drew on help from allies to prosecute the Roman-Spartan War, defeating a Spartan army at the Battle of Gythium
Battle of Gythium
The Battle of Gythium was fought in 195 BC between Sparta and the coalition of Rome, Rhodes, the Achaean League and Pergamum. As the port of Gythium was an important Spartan base the allies decided to capture it before they advanced inland to Sparta. The Romans and the Achaeans were joined outside...

 in 195 BC. They also fought their former allies the Aetolian League in the Aetolian War
Aetolian War
The Aetolian War was fought between the Romans and their Achaean 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...

, against the Istrians in the Istrian War, against the Illyrians in the Illyrian War, and against Achaia in the Achaean War
Achaean War
The Achaean War was an uprising by the Greek Achaean League, A alliance of Achaean and other Peloponnesian states in ancient Greece, against the Roman Republic around 146 BC, just after the Fourth Macedonian War. Rome defeated the League swiftly, and as a lesson, they destroyed the ancient city of...

.

Rome now turned its attentions to Antiochus III
Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great Seleucid Greek king who became the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire as a youth of about eighteen in 223 BC. Antiochus was an ambitious ruler who ruled over Greater Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC...

 of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 to the east. After campaigns as far abroad as Bactria, India, Persia and Judea, Antiochus moved to Asia Minor and Thrace to secure several coastal towns, a move that brought him into conflict with Roman interests. A Roman force under Manius Acilius Glabrio
Manius Acilius Glabrio (consul 191 BC)
Manius Acilius Glabrio was a consul of the Roman Republic in 191 BC. He came from an illustrious plebeian family whose members held magistracies throughout the Republic and into the Imperial era....

 defeated Antiochus at the Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae (191 BC)
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in 191 BC between a Roman army led by consul Manius Acilius Glabrio and a Seleucid force led by King Antiochus III the Great. The Romans were victorious, and as a result, Antiochus was forced to flee Greece. It was described by Appian and by Livy at...

 and forced him to evacuate Greece: the Romans then pursued the Seleucids beyond Greece, beating them again in naval battles at the Battle of the Eurymedon
Battle of the Eurymedon (190 BC)
The Battle of the Eurymedon was fought in 190 BC between a Seleucid fleet and the navy of the city state of Rhodes, who were allied with the Roman Republic. The Seleucids were led by the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal, who had gone into exile in the events following the Battle of Zama...

 and Battle of Myonessus
Battle of Myonessus
The naval Battle of Myonessus was fought in 190 BC during the war of Rome against Antiochus III the Great for the domination over Greece, between a Seleucid Empire fleet and a Roman plus Rhodian fleet. The Romans were victorious.The account of Appian:...

, and finally in a decisive engagement of the Battle of Magnesia
Battle of Magnesia
The Battle of Magnesia was fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum, on the plains of Lydia , between the Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and his brother, the famed general Scipio Africanus, with their ally Eumenes II of Pergamum against the army of Antiochus III the Great of the...

.

In 179 BC Philip died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus of Macedon
Perseus of Macedon
Perseus was the last king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great...

, took his throne and showed a renewed interest in Greece. He also allied himself with the warlike Bastarnae
Bastarnae
The Bastarnae or Basternae were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian mountains and the Dnieper river...

, and both this and his actions in Greece possibly violated the treaty signed with the Romans by his father or, if not, certainly was not "behaving as [Rome considered] a subordinate ally should". Rome declared war on Macedonia again, starting the Third Macedonian War
Third Macedonian War
The Third Macedonian War was a war fought between Rome and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC King Philip V of Macedon died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne. Perseus married Laodike, daughter of King Seleucus IV Keraunos of Asia, and increased the size of his army...

. Perseus initially had greater military success against the Romans than his father, winning the Battle of Callicinus
Battle of Callicinus
The Battle of Callinicus was fought in 171 BC between Macedon and Rome to the city "​​Kalliniko", near Larissa. The Macedonians were led by their king, Perseus of Macedon, while the Roman force was led by Consul Publius Licinius Crassus. The Macedonians were victorious...

 against a Roman consular army. However, as with all such ventures in this period, Rome responded by simply sending another army. The second consular army duly defeated the Macedonians at the Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 in 168 BC and the Macedonians, lacking the reserve of the Romans and with King Perseus captured, duly capitulated, ending the Third Macedonian War
Third Macedonian War
The Third Macedonian War was a war fought between Rome and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC King Philip V of Macedon died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne. Perseus married Laodike, daughter of King Seleucus IV Keraunos of Asia, and increased the size of his army...

.

The Fourth Macedonian War, fought from 150 BC to 148 BC, was the final war between Rome and Macedon and began when Andriscus
Andriscus
Andriscus, and often called the "pseudo-Philip", was the last King of Macedon , and ruler of Adramyttium in Aeolis ....

 usurped the Macedonian throne. The Romans raise a consular army under Quintus Caecilius Metellus
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus was a Praetor in 148 BC, Consul in 143 BC, Proconsul of Hispania Citerior in 142 BC and Censor in 131 BC. He was the oldest son of Quintus Caecilius Metellus and grandson of Lucius Caecilius Metellus.A brilliant general, he fought in the Third Macedonian War...

, who swiftly defeated Andriscus at the Second battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna (148 BC)
The Battle of Pydna was fought in 148 BC between Rome and the forces of the Macedonian leader Andriscus. The Roman force was led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus, and was the winner of this engagement. The result of the battle played an important role in deciding the outcome of the Fourth Macedonian...

.

Under Lucius Mummius
Lucius Mummius Achaicus
Lucius Mummius , was a Roman statesman and general, also known as Leucius Mommius. He later received the agnomen Achaicus after conquering Greece.-Praetor:...

, Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

 was destroyed following a siege in 146 BC, leading to the surrender and thus conquest of the Achaean League
Achaean League
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese, which existed between 280 BC and 146 BC...

 (see Battle of Corinth
Battle of Corinth (146 BC)
The Battle of Corinth was a battle fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League in 146 BC, that resulted in the complete and total destruction of the state of Corinth which was previously so famous for its fabulous wealth...

).

Jugurthine War (112–105 BC)



Rome had, in the earlier Punic Wars, gained large tracts of territory in Africa, which they had consolidated in the following centuries, and much of which had been granted to the kingdom of Numidia, a kingdom on the north African coast approximating to modern Algeria, in return for its past military assistance. The Jugurthine War of 111–104 BC was fought between Rome and Jugurtha
Jugurtha
Jugurtha or Jugurthen was a King of Numidia, , born in Cirta .-Background:Until the reign of Jugurtha's grandfather Masinissa, the people of Numidia were semi-nomadic and indistinguishable from the other Libyans in North Africa...

 of Numidia
Numidia
Numidia was an ancient Berber kingdom in part of present-day Eastern Algeria and Western Tunisia in North Africa. It is known today as the Chawi-land, the land of the Chawi people , the direct descendants of the historical Numidians or the Massyles The kingdom began as a sovereign state and later...

 and constituted the final Roman pacification of Northern Africa, after which Rome largely ceased expansion on the continent after reaching natural barriers of desert and mountain. Following Jugurtha's usurpation of the Numidian throne, a loyal ally of Rome since the Punic Wars, Rome felt compelled to intervene. Jugurtha impudently bribed the Romans into accepting his usurpation and was granted half the kingdom. Following further aggression and further bribery attempts, the Romans sent an army to tackle him. The Romans were defeated at the Battle of Suthul
Battle of Suthul
The Battle of Suthul was an episode of the Jugurthine War. The battle was fought in 110 BC between the Roman force led by the praetor Aulus Postumus Albinus and the army of Numidia, led by King Jugurtha. In 110 BC, the consul Spurius Postumus Albinus invaded Numidia, but left soon after to prepare...

 but fared better at the Battle of the Muthul
Battle of the Muthul
The Battle of the Muthul was an episode of the Jugurthine War. This battle was fought in 108 BC between the Numidians led by King Jugurtha, and a Roman force under Caecilius Metellus. The Romans were victorious, and four years later Jugurtha was dead, executed by the Romans following his capture...

 and finally defeated Jugurtha at the Battle of Thala
Battle of Thala
The Battle of Thala was part of the Jugurthine War of 111-104 BC between Rome and Jugurtha of Numidia, a kingdom on the north African coast approximating to modern Algeria. The Romans defeated Jugurtha at the Battle of Thala....

, the Battle of Mulucha, and the Battle of Cirta (104 BC). Jugurtha was finally captured not in battle but by treachery, ending the war.

Resurgence of the Celtic threat (121 BC)


By 121 BC, memories of Rome itself being sacked by Celtic tribes from Gaul were still prominent despite their historical distance, having been made into a legendary account that was taught to each generation of Roman youth. However, Rome was, unknown at the time, to face a resurgent Celtic threat within the next year. In 121 BC, Rome came into contact with the Celtic tribes of the Allobroges
Allobroges
The Allobroges were a Celtic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and the Lake of Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais. Their cities were in the areas of modern-day Annecy, Chambéry and Grenoble, the modern of Isère, and modern Switzerland...

 and the Arverni
Arverni
The Arverni were a Gallic tribe living in what is now the Auvergne region of France during the last centuries BC. One of the most powerful tribes in ancient Gaul, they opposed the Romans on several occasions...

, both of which they defeated with apparent ease in the First Battle of Avignon near the Rhone river and the Second Battle of Avignon, the same year.

New Germanic threat (113–101 BC)


The Cimbrian War
Cimbrian War
The Cimbrian War was fought between the Roman Republic and the Proto-Germanic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons , who migrated from northern Europe into Roman controlled territory, and clashed with Rome and her allies...

 (113–101 BC) was a far more serious affair than the earlier clashes of 121 BC. The Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 tribes of the Cimbri
Cimbri
The Cimbri were a tribe from Northern Europe, who, together with the Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. The Cimbri were probably Germanic, though some believe them to be of Celtic origin...

 and the Teutons
Teutons
The Teutons or Teutones were mentioned as a Germanic tribe by Greek and Roman authors, notably Strabo and Marcus Velleius Paterculus and normally in close connection with the Cimbri, whose ethnicity is contested between Gauls and Germani...

 or Teutones migrated from northern Europe into Rome's northern territories, and clashed with Rome and her allies. The Cimbrian War was the first time since the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 that Italia
Italia (Roman province)
Italia was the name of the Italian peninsula of the Roman Empire.-Under the Republic and Augustan organization:During the Republic and the first centuries of the empire, Italia was not a province, but rather the territory of the city of Rome, thus having a special status: for example, military...

 and Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 itself had been seriously threatened, and caused great fear in Rome for some time. The Battle of Noreia
Battle of Noreia
The Battle of Noreia in 112 BC, was the opening action of the Cimbrian War fought between the Roman Republic and the migrating Proto-Germanic tribes, the Cimbri and the Teutons . It ended in defeat, and near disaster, for the Romans.- Prelude :...

 in 112 BC, was the opening action of the Cimbrian War fought between the Roman Republic and the migrating Proto-Germanic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons. It ended in defeat, and near disaster, for the Romans. In 105 BC the Romans suffered one of their worst defeats ever at the Battle of Arausio
Battle of Arausio
The Battle of Arausio took place on October 6, 105 BC, at a site between the town of Arausio and the Rhône River. Ranged against the migratory tribes of the Cimbri under Boiorix and the Teutoni were two Roman armies, commanded by the proconsul Quintus Servilius Caepio and consul Gnaeus Mallius...

. It was the costliest defeat Rome had suffered since the Battle of Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

. After the Cimbri inadvertently granted the Romans a reprieve by diverting to plunder Iberia, Rome was given the opportunity to carefully prepare for and successfully meet the Cimbri and Teutons in battle in the Battle of Aquae Sextiae
Battle of Aquae Sextiae
The Battle of Aquae Sextiae took place in 102 BC. After a string of Roman defeats , the Romans under Gaius Marius finally defeated the Teutones and Ambrones.-The battle:...

 (102 BC) and the Battle of Vercellae
Battle of Vercellae
The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, in 101 BC was the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic Cimbri tribe near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul....

  (101 BC) where both tribes were virtually annihilated, ending the threat.

Internal unrest (135–71 BC)


The extensive campaigning abroad by Roman generals, and the rewarding of soldiers with plunder on these campaigns, led to a general trend of soldiers becoming increasingly loyal to their generals rather than to the state, and to a willingness to follow their generals in battle against the state. Rome was also plagued by several slave uprisings during this period, in part because in the past century vast tracts of land had been given over to slave farming in which the slaves greatly outnumbered their Roman masters. In the last century BC at least twelve civil wars and rebellions occurred. This pattern did not break until Octavian (later Caesar Augustus) ended it by becoming a successful challenger to the Senate's authority, and was made princeps
Princeps
Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person."...

 (emperor).

Between 135 BC and 71 BC there were three Servile Wars
Roman Servile Wars
The Servile Wars were a series of three slave revolts in the late Roman Republic. See:...

 involving slave uprisings against the Roman state, the third
Third Servile War
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 Roman Servile Wars...

 uprising the most serious, - estimates of the numbers involved include 120,000 and 150,000 revolting slaves. Additionally, in 91 BC the Social War broke out between Rome and its former allies in Italy, collectively known as the Socii, over dissent among the allies that they shared the risk of Rome's military campaigns, but not its rewards. Despite defeats such as the Battle of Fucine Lake
Battle of Fucine Lake
The Battle of Fucine Lake was fought in 89 BC between a Roman army and a rebel force during the Social War. Lucius Porcius Cato was the leader of the Roman army at this battle. The consul Porcius Cato was defeated and killed while storming a Marsic camp in winter or early spring.There is an...

, Roman troops defeated the Italian militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

s in decisive engagements, notably the Battle of Asculum
Battle of Asculum (89 BC)
* Bulleted list itemThe Battle of Asculum was fought in 89 BC during the Social War between Rome and its former Italian allies. The Romans were led by C. Pompeius Strabo, and were victorious over the rebels. The future Consul Publius Ventidius was said to have been captured as a youth at this...

. Although they lost militarily, the Socii achieved their objectives with the legal proclamations of the Lex Julia
Lex Julia
Lex Julia are ancient Roman laws, introduced by any member of the Julian family....

 and Lex Plautia Papiria
Lex Plautia Papiria
The Lex Plautia Papiria was a Roman plebiscite enacted amidst the Social War in 89 BCE. Sponsored by the Tribunes of the Plebs, M. Plautius Silvanus and C. Papirius Carbo, the law expanded civitas, or citizenship...

, which granted citizenship to more than 500,000 Italians.

The internal unrest reached its most serious, however, in the two civil wars or marches upon Rome of the consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 at the beginning of 82 BC. In the Battle of the Colline Gate
Battle of the Colline Gate
The battle of the Colline Gate, fought in November of 82 BC, was the final battle by which Sulla secured control of Rome following the civil war against his rivals. The Samnites led by Pontius Telesinus attacked Sulla's army at the Colline Gate on the northeastern wall, and fought all night before...

 at the very door of the city of Rome, a Roman army under Sulla bested an army of the Roman senate, along with some Samnite allies. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his grievances against those in power of the state, his actions marked a watershed of the willingness of Roman troops to wage war against one another that was to pave the way for the wars of the triumvirate
Triumvirate
A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals, each a triumvir . The arrangement can be formal or informal, and though the three are usually equal on paper, in reality this is rarely the case...

, the overthrowing of the Senate as the de facto head of the Roman state, and the eventual endemic usurpation of the later Empire
Roman usurper
Usurpers are individuals or groups of individuals who obtain and maintain the power or rights of another by force and without legal authority. Usurpation was endemic during roman imperial era, especially from the crisis of the third century onwards, when political instability became the rule.The...

.

Conflicts with Mithridates (89–63 BC)


Mithridates the Great was the ruler of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, a large kingdom in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, from 120 to 63 BC. He is remembered as one of Rome's most formidable and successful enemies who engaged three of the most prominent generals of the late Roman Republic: Sulla, Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

, and Pompey the Great. In a pattern familiar from the Punic Wars, the Romans came into conflict with him after the two states' spheres of influence began to overlap. Mithridates antagonised Rome by seeking to expand his kingdom, and Rome for her part seemed equally keen for war and the spoils and prestige that it might bring. After conquering western Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 (modern Turkey) in 88 BC, Roman sources claim that Mithridates ordered the killing of the majority of the 80,000 Romans living there. In the subsequent First Mithridatic War
First Mithridatic War
The First Mithridatic War was a war challenging Rome's expanding Empire and rule over the Greek world. In this conflict, the Kingdom of Pontus and many Greek cities rebelling against Rome were led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia...

, the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 forced Mithridates out of Greece proper after the Battle of Chaeronea
Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC)
For the earlier battle, see Battle of Chaeronea The Battle of Chaeronea was the victory of the Roman forces of Lucius Cornelius Sulla over King Mithridates VI of Pontus near Chaeronea, in Boeotia, in 86 BC during the First Mithridatic War. This battle is described in three ancient texts, although...

 and later Battle of Orchomenus
Battle of Orchomenus
The Battle of Orchomenus was fought in 85 BC between Rome and the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus. The Roman army was led by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, while Mithridates' army was led by Archelaus. The Roman force was victorious, and Archelaus later defected to Rome...

 but then had to return to Italy to answer the internal threat posed by his rival Marius; consequently, Mithridates VI was defeated but not beaten. A peace was made between Rome and Pontus, but this proved only a temporary lull.

The Second Mithridatic War
Second Mithridatic War
The Second Mithridatic War was one of three wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena....

 began when Rome tried to annex Bithynia as a province. In the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

, first Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
This article is on the Consul of 151 BC. For the descendent see Lucullus, and for others of this name see Licinia .Lucius Licinius Lucullus was a novus homo who became Consul in 151 BC. He was imprisoned by the Tribunes for attempting to enforce a troop levy too harshly...

 and then Pompey the Great were sent against Mithridates. Mithridates was finally defeated by Pompey in the night-time Battle of the Lycus
Battle of the Lycus
The Battle of the Lycus was fought in 66 BC between the Roman Republic army of Pompey and the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus. The Romans easily won the battle with few losses. Mithridates later committed suicide, finally ending the Third Mithridatic War....

.

Campaign against the Cilician pirates (67 BC)



The Mediterranean had at this time fallen into the hands of pirates, largely from Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

. Rome had destroyed many of the states that had previously policed the Mediterranean with fleets, but had failed to step into the gap created. The pirates had seized the opportunity of a relative power vacuum and had not only strangled shipping lanes but had plundered many cities on the coasts of Greece and Asia, and had even made descents upon Italy itself. After the Roman admiral Marcus Antonius Creticus
Marcus Antonius Creticus
Marcus Antonius Creticus was a Roman politician, member of the Antonius family. Creticus was son of Marcus Antonius Orator and by his marriage to Julia Antonia he had three sons: Triumvir Marcus Antonius, Gaius Antonius and Lucius Antonius.He was elected praetor in 74 BC and received an...

 (father of the triumvir Marcus Antonius) failed to clear the pirates to the satisfaction of the Roman authorities, Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 was nominated his successor as commander of a special naval task force to campaign against the pirates. It supposedly took Pompey just forty days to clear the western portion of the sea of pirates, and restore communication between Iberia, Africa, and Italy. Plutarch describes how Pompey first swept their craft from the Mediterranean in a series of small actions and through promise of honouring the surrender of cities and craft. He then followed the main body of the pirates to their strongholds on the coast of Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, and destroyed them there in the naval Battle of Korakesion
Battle of Korakesion
The Battle of Korakesion, also known as the Battle of Coracesium, was a naval battle fought in 67 BC between the pirates of Cilicia and Pompey of ancient Rome. Plutarch describes it as the key battle of Pompey's clearing of the Mediterranean of pirates after several smaller battles...

.

Caesar's early campaigns (59–50 BC)




During a term as praetor in Iberia, Pompey's contemporary Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 of the Roman Julii clan defeated the Calaici and Lusitani in battle. Following a consular term, he was then appointed to a five year term as Proconsular Governor of Transalpine Gaul (current southern France) and Illyria (the coast of Dalmatia). Not content with an idle governorship, Caesar strove to find reason to invade Gaul, which would give him the dramatic military success he sought. To this end he stirred up popular nightmares of the first sack of Rome by the Gauls and the more recent spectre of the Cimbri and Teutones. When the Helvetii
Helvetii
The Helvetii were a Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC...

 and Tigurini
Tigurini
The Tigurini were a pagus of the Celtic Helvetii. They crossed the Rhine together with the Helvetii to invade Gaul in 109 BCE...

 tribes began to migrate on a route that would take them near (not into) the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, Caesar had the barely sufficient excuse he needed for his Gallic Wars
Gallic Wars
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. They lasted from 58 BC to 51 BC. 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...

, fought between 58 BC and 49 BC. After slaughtering the Helvetii tribe, Caesar prosecuted a "long, bitter and costly" campaign against other tribes across the breadth of Gaul, many of whom had fought alongside Rome against their common enemy the Helvetii
Helvetii
The Helvetii were a Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC...

, and annexed their territory to that of Rome. Plutarch claims that the campaign cost a million Gallic lives. Although "fierce and able" the Gauls were handicapped by internal disunity and fell in a series of battles over the course of a decade.

Caesar defeated the Helvetii
Helvetii
The Helvetii were a Celtic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC...

 in 58 BC at the Battle of the Arar and Battle of Bibracte
Battle of Bibracte
The Battle of Bibracte was fought between the Helvetii and six Roman legions, under the command of Gaius Julius Caesar. It was the second major battle of the Gallic Wars....

, the Belgic confederacy known as the Belgae at the Battle of the Axona
Battle of the Axona
The Battle of the Axona was fought in 57 BC, between the Roman army of Gaius Julius Caesar and the Belgae. The Belgae, led by King Galba of Suessiones, attacked, only to be repelled by Caesar. Fearing an ambush, the Romans delayed their pursuit...

, the Nervii in 57 BC at the Battle of the Sabis
Battle of the Sabis
The Battle of the Sabis, also known as the Battle of the Sambre or the Battle against the Nervians , was fought in 57 BC in the area known today as Wallonia, between the legions of the Roman Republic and an association of Belgic tribes, principally the Nervii...

, the Aquitani, Treviri, Tencteri, Aedui and Eburones in unknown battles, and the Veneti in 56 BC. In 55 and 54 BC he made two expeditions to Britain
Roman conquest of Britain
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Britannia. Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and...

. In 52 BC, following the Siege of Avaricum and a string of inconclusive battles, Caesar defeated a union of Gauls led by Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix was the chieftain of the Arverni tribe, who united the Gauls in an ultimately unsuccessful revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars....

 at the Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major town centre and hill fort of the Mandubii tribe...

, completing the Roman conquest of Transalpine Gaul. By 50 BC, the entirety of Gaul lay in Roman hands. Caesar recorded his own accounts of these campaigns in Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
Commentarii de Bello Gallico is Julius Caesar's firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, written as a third-person narrative. In it Caesar describes the battles and intrigues that took place in the nine years he spent fighting local armies in Gaul that opposed Roman domination.The "Gaul" that Caesar...

 ("Commentaries on the Gallic War").

Gaul never regained its Celtic identity, never attempted another nationalist rebellion, and remained loyal to Rome until the fall of the Western Empire in 476. However, although Gaul itself was to thereafter remain loyal, cracks were appearing in the political unity of Rome's governing figures – partly over concerns over the loyalty of Caesar's Gallic troops to his person rather than the state – that were soon to drive Rome into a lengthy series of civil wars.

Triumvirates, Caesarian ascension, and revolt (53–30 BC)


By 59 BC an unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate
First Triumvirate
The First Triumvirate was the political alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Unlike the Second Triumvirate, the First Triumvirate had no official status whatsoever; its overwhelming power in the Roman Republic was strictly unofficial influence, and...

 was formed between Gaius Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus to share power and influence. It was always an uncomfortable alliance given that Crassus and Pompey intensely disliked one another. In 53 BC, Crassus launched a Roman invasion of the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

. After initial successes, he marched his army deep into the desert; but here his army was cut off deep in enemy territory, surrounded and slaughtered at the Battle of Carrhae
Battle of Carrhae
The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...

 in "the greatest Roman defeat since Hannibal" in which Crassus himself perished. The death of Crassus removed some of the balance in the Triumvirate and, consequently, Caesar and Pompey began to move apart. While Caesar was fighting against Vercingetorix in Gaul, Pompey proceeded with a legislative agenda for Rome that revealed that he was at best ambivalent towards Caesar and perhaps now covertly allied with Caesar's political enemies. In 51 BC, some Roman senators demanded that Caesar would not be permitted to stand for Consul unless he turned over control of his armies to the state, and the same demands were made of Pompey by other factions. Relinquishing his army would leave Caesar defenceless before his enemies. Caesar chose Civil War over laying down his command and facing trial. The triumvirate was shattered and conflict was inevitable.

Pompey initially assured Rome and the senate that he could defeat Caesar in battle should he march on Rome. However, by the spring of 49 BC, when Caesar crossed the Rubicon river with his invading forces and swept down the Italian peninsula towards Rome, Pompey ordered the abandonment of Rome. Caesar's army was still under-strength, with certain units remaining in Gaul, but on the other hand Pompey himself only had a small force at his command, and that with uncertain loyalty having served under Caesar. Tom Holland attributes Pompey's willingness to abandon Rome to waves of panicking refugees stirring ancestral fears of invasions from the north. Pompey's forces retreated south towards Brundisium, and then fled to Greece. Caesar first directed his attention to the Pompeian stronghold of Iberia but following campaigning by Caesar in the Siege of Massilia
Siege of Massilia
The Siege and naval Battle of Massilia was an episode of Caesar's civil war, fought in 49 BC.Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus had become proconsul of Gaul and was sent to gain control of Massilia in order to oppose Caesar...

 and Battle of Ilerda
Battle of Ilerda
The Battle of Ilerda took place in June 49 BC between the forces of Julius Caesar and the Spanish army of Pompey the Great, led by his legates Lucius Afranius and Marcus Petreius...

 decided to tackle Pompey himself in Greece. Pompey initially defeated Caesar at the Battle of Dyrrachium
Battle of Dyrrhachium (48 BC)
The Battle of Dyrrachium on 10 July 48 BC, was a battle of Caesar's Civil War in the area of the city of Dyrrachium . It was fought between Julius Caesar and the army led by Gnaeus Pompey with the backing of the majority of the Roman Senate. The battle was indecisive but is regarded as a victory...

 in 48 BC but failing to follow up on the victory, Pompey was decisively defeated in the Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus
The Battle of Pharsalus was a decisive battle of Caesar's Civil War. On 9 August 48 BC at Pharsalus in central Greece, Gaius Julius Caesar and his allies formed up opposite the army of the republic under the command of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus...

 in 48 BC despite outnumbering Caesar's forces two to one. Pompey fled again, this time to Egypt, where he was murdered in an attempt to ingratiate the country with Caesar and avoid a war with Rome.

Pompey's death did not see the end of the civil wars since initially Caesar's enemies were manyfold and Pompey's supporters continued to fight on after his death. In 46 BC Caesar lost perhaps as much as a third of his army when his former commander Titus Labienus
Titus Labienus
Titus Atius Labienus was a professional Roman soldier in the late Roman Republic. He served as Tribune of the Plebs in 63 BC, and is remembered as one of Julius Caesar's lieutenants, mentioned frequently in the accounts of his military campaigns...

, who had defected to the Pompeians several years earlier, defeated him at the Battle of Ruspina
Battle of Ruspina
The Battle of Ruspina was fought on January 4, 46 BC in the Roman Republic, between the Republican forces of the Optimates and forces loyal to Julius Caesar...

. However, after this low point Caesar came back to defeat the Pompeian army of Metellus Scipio in the Battle of Thapsus
Battle of Thapsus
The Battle of Thapsus took place on April 6, 46 BC near Thapsus . The Republican forces of the Optimates, led by Quintus Caecillius Metellus Scipio, clashed with the veteran forces loyal to Julius Caesar.-Prelude:...

, after which the Pompeians retreated yet again to Iberia. Caesar defeated the combined forces of Titus Labienus and Gnaeus Pompey the Younger at the Battle of Munda
Battle of Munda
The Battle of Munda took place on March 17, 45 BC in the plains of Munda, modern southern Spain. This was the last battle of Julius Caesar's civil war against the republican armies of the Optimate leaders...

 in Iberia. Labienus was killed in the battle and the Younger Pompey captured and executed.
"The Parthians began to shoot from all sides. They did not pick any particular target since the Romans were so close together that they could hardly miss...If they kept their ranks they were wounded. If they tried to charge the enemy, the enemy did not suffer more and they did not suffer less, because the Parthians could shoot even as they fled...When Publius urged them to charge the enemy's mail-clad horsemen, they showed him that their hands were riveted to their shields and their feet nailed through and through to the ground, so that they were helpless either for flight or for self-defence."
Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 on the Battle of Carrhae
Battle of Carrhae
The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...



Despite his military success, or probably because of it, fear spread of Caesar, now the primary figure of the Roman state, becoming an autocratic ruler and ending the Roman Republic. This fear drove a group of senators naming themselves The Liberators to assassinate him in 44 BC. Further civil war followed between those loyal to Caesar and those who supported the actions of the Liberators. Caesar's supporter Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 condemned Caesar's assassins and war broke out between the two factions. Antony was denounced as a public enemy, and Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 was entrusted with the command of the war against him. In the Battle of Forum Gallorum
Battle of Forum Gallorum
The Battle of Forum Gallorum was fought near a village in northern Italy , on April 14, 43 BC, between the forces of Mark Antony and the legions of the Roman Republic under the overall command of consul Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus, aided by Aulus Hirtius and the untested Octavian...

 Antony, besieging Caesar's assassin Decimus Brutus in Mutina, defeated the forces of the consul Pansa, who was killed, but Antony was then immediately defeated by the army of the other consul, Hirtius. At the Battle of Mutina
Battle of Mutina
The Battle of Mutina was fought on April 21, 43 BC between the forces of Mark Antony and the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.-Prelude:...

 Antony was again defeated in battle by Hirtius, who was killed. Although Antony failed to capture Mutina, Decimus Brutus was murdered shortly thereafter.

Octavian betrayed his party, and came to terms with Caesarians Antony and Lepidus
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir)
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus , was a Roman patrician who rose to become a member of the Second Triumvirate and Pontifex Maximus. His father, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, had been involved in a rebellion against the Roman Republic.Lepidus was among Julius Caesar's greatest supporters...

 and on 26 November 43 BC the Second Triumvirate
Second Triumvirate
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians give to the official political alliance of Octavius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony, formed on 26 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which marked the end of the Roman Republic...

 was formed, this time in an official capacity. In 42 BC Triumvirs Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 and Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 fought the indecisive Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

 with Caesar's assassins Marcus Brutus and Cassius
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

. Although Brutus defeated Octavian, Antony defeated Cassius, who committed suicide. Brutus also committed suicide shortly afterwards.

However, civil war flared again when the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Lepidus and Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 failed just as the first had almost as soon as its opponents had been removed. The ambitious Octavian built a power base and then launched a campaign against Mark Antony. Together with Lucius Antonius, Mark Antony's wife Fulvia
Fulvia
Fulvia Flacca Bambula , commonly referred to as simply Fulvia, was an aristocratic Roman woman who lived during the Late Roman Republic. Through her marriage to three of the most promising Roman men of her generation, Publius Clodius Pulcher, Gaius Scribonius Curio and Mark Antony, she gained...

 raised an army in Italy to fight for Antony's rights against Octavian but she was defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Perugia
Battle of Perugia
The Battle of Perugia was fought in the winter of 41 BC and 40 BC between Octavian and Lucius Antonius, the brother of Mark Antony, who was aided by Antony's wife, Fulvia. Octavian's forces were victorious, obtaining the surrender of Perugia. Fulvia was exiled, and died of illness while in exile...

. Her death led to partial reconciliation between Octavian and Antony who went on to crush the army of Sextus Pompeius
Sextus Pompeius
Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius, in English Sextus Pompey , was a Roman general from the late Republic . He was the last focus of opposition to the Second Triumvirate...

, the last focus of opposition to the second triumvirate, in the naval Battle of Naulochus
Battle of Naulochus
The naval Battle of Naulochus was fought on 3 September 36 BC between the fleets of Sextus Pompeius and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, off Naulochus, Sicily...

.

As before, once opposition to the triumvirate was crushed, it started to tear at itself. The triumvirate expired on the last day of 33 BC and was not renewed in law and in 31 BC, war began again. At the Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

, Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 decisively defeated Antony and Cleopatra
Cleopatra VII of Egypt
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great's death during the Hellenistic period...

 in a naval battle near Greece, using fire to destroy the enemy fleet.

Octavian went on to become Emperor under the name Augustus and, in the absence of political assassins or usurpers, was able to greatly expand the borders of the Empire.

Imperial expansion (40 BC – 117)



Under emperors secure from interior enemies, such as Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 and Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

, the military achieved great territorial gains in both the East and the West. In the West, following humiliating defeats at the hands of the Sugambri, Tencteri and Usipetes tribes in 16 BC, Roman armies pushed north and east out of Gaul to subdue much of Germania. The Pannonian revolt in AD 6 forced the Romans to cancel their plan to cement their conquest of Germania by invading Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 for the moment. Despite the loss of a large army almost to the man in Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman politician and general under Emperor Augustus, mainly remembered for having lost three Roman legions and his own life when attacked by Germanic leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.-Life:His paternal grandfather was senator Sextus Quinctilius...

' famous defeat at the hands of the Germanic leader Arminius
Arminius
Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

 in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius of the Cherusci ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the...

 in AD 9, Rome recovered and continued its expansion up to and beyond the borders of the known world. Roman armies under Germanicus
Germanicus
Germanicus Julius Caesar , commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Rome, Italia, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle...

 pursued several more campaigns against the Germanic tribes of the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

, Hermunduri
Hermunduri
The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe, attested by the Roman historian Tacitus, who occupied the area around what is now Thuringia, Saxony, and Northern Bavaria, from the first to the third century...

, Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

, Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

, Bructeri
Bructeri
The Bructeri were a Germanic tribe located in northwestern Germany , between the Lippe and Ems rivers south of the Teutoburg Forest, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia around 100 BC through 350 AD....

, and Marsi
Marsi
Marsi is the Latin exonym for a people of ancient Italy, whose chief centre was Marruvium, on the eastern shore of Lake Fucinus, drained for agricultural land in the late 19th century. The area in which they lived is now called Marsica. During the Roman Republic the people of the region spoke a...

. Overcoming several mutinies in the armies along the Rhine, Germanicus defeated the Germanic tribes of Arminius in a series of battles culminating in the Battle of the Weser River
Battle of the Weser River
The Battle of the Weser River, sometimes known as a first Battle of Minden, was fought in 16 AD between Roman legions commanded by Emperor Tiberius' heir and adopted son Germanicus, and an alliance of Germanic tribes commanded by Arminius...

.

After preliminary low-scale invasions of Britain
Caesar's invasions of Britain
In his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice, in 55 and 54 BC. The first invasion, made late in summer, was either intended as a full invasion or a reconnaissance-in-force expedition...

, the Romans invaded Britain in force
Roman conquest of Britain
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Britannia. Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and...

 in 43 AD, forcing their way inland through several battles against British tribes, including the Battle of the Medway
Battle of the Medway
The Battle of the Medway took place in 43 AD on the River Medway in the lands of the Iron Age tribe of the Cantiaci, now the English county of Kent...

, the Battle of the Thames, the Battle of Caer Caradoc
Battle of Caer Caradoc
The Battle of Caer Caradoc was the final battle in Caratacus's resistance to Roman rule. Fought in 50, the Romans defeated the Britons and thus secured the southern areas of the province of Britannia....

 and the Battle of Mona. Following a general uprising in which the Britons sacked Colchester, St Albans and London, the Romans suppressed the rebellion in the Battle of Watling Street
Battle of Watling Street
The Battle of Watling Street took place in Roman-occupied Britain in AD 60 or 61 between an alliance of indigenous British peoples led by Boudica and a Roman army led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. Although outnumbered, the Romans decisively defeated the allied tribes, inflicting heavy losses on them...

 and went on to push as far north as central Scotland in the Battle of Mons Graupius
Battle of Mons Graupius
According to Tacitus, the Battle of Mons Graupius took place in AD 83 or, less probably, 84. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor and Tacitus' father-in-law, had sent his fleet ahead to panic the Caledonians, and, with light infantry reinforced with British auxiliaries, reached the site,...

. Tribes in modern-day Scotland and Northern England repeatedly rebelled against Roman rule and two military bases were established in Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 to protect against rebellion and incursions from the north, from which Roman troops built and manned Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

.

On the continent, the extension of the Empire's borders beyond the Rhine hung in the balance for some time, with the emperor Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 apparently poised to invade Germania in AD 39, and Cnaeus Domitius Corbulo crossing the Rhine in AD 47 and marching into the territory of the Frisii
Frisii
The Frisii were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Zuiderzee and the River Ems. In the Germanic pre-Migration Period the Frisii and the related Chauci, Saxons, and Angles inhabited the Continental European coast from the Zuyder Zee to south Jutland...

 and Chauci
Chauci
The Chauci were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ranging as far inland as the upper Weser. Along the coast they lived on artificial hills called terpen, built high enough to remain dry during the highest tide...

 before his successor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 ordered the suspension of further attacks across the Rhine, setting what was to become the permanent limit of the Empire's expansion in this direction.
"Never was there slaughter more cruel than took place there in the marshes and woods, never were more intolerable insults inflicted by barbarians, especially those directed against the legal pleaders. They put out the eyes of some of them and cut off the hands of others; they sewed up the mouth of one of them after first cutting out his tongue, which one of the barbarians held in his hand, exclaiming At last, you viper, you have ceased to hiss!."
Florus
Florus
Florus, Roman historian, lived in the time of Trajan and Hadrian.He compiled, chiefly from Livy, a brief sketch of the history of Rome from the foundation of the city to the closing of the temple of Janus by Augustus . The work, which is called Epitome de T...

 on the loss of Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman politician and general under Emperor Augustus, mainly remembered for having lost three Roman legions and his own life when attacked by Germanic leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.-Life:His paternal grandfather was senator Sextus Quinctilius...

' force


Further east, Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 turned his attention to Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

, an area north of Macedon and Greece and east of the Danube that had been on the Roman agenda since before the days of Caesar when they had beaten a Roman army at the Battle of Histria. In AD 85, the Dacians had swarmed over the Danube and pillaged Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 and initially defeated an army the Emperor Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 sent against them, but the Romans were victorious in the Battle of Tapae in AD 88 and a truce was drawn up.

Emperor Trajan recommenced hostilities against Dacia and, following an uncertain number of battles, defeated the Dacian general Decebalus
Decebalus
Decebalus or "The Brave" was a king of Dacia and is famous for fighting three wars and negotiating two interregnums of peace without being eliminated against the Roman Empire under two emperors...

 in the Second Battle of Tapae in 101. With Trajan's troops pressing towards the Dacian capital Sarmizegethusa, Decebalus once more sought terms. Decebalus rebuilt his power over the following years and attacked Roman garrisons again in 105. In response Trajan again marched into Dacia, besieging the Dacian capital in the Siege of Sarmizethusa, and razing it to the ground. With Dacia quelled, Trajan subsequently invaded the Parthian empire to the east, his conquests taking the Roman Empire to its greatest extent. Rome's borders in the east were indirectly governed through a system of client states for some time, leading to less direct campaigning than in the west in this period.

The Armenian Kingdom between the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 became a focus of contention between Rome and the Parthian Empire, and control of the region was repeatedly gained and lost. The Parthians forced Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 into submission from AD 37 but in AD 47 the Romans retook control of the kingdom and offered it client kingdom
Client state
Client state is one of several terms used to describe the economic, political and/or military subordination of one state to a more powerful state in international affairs...

 status. Under Nero, the Romans fought a campaign between AD 55 and 63
Roman-Parthian War of 58–63
The Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 was fought between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire over control of Armenia, a vital buffer state between the two realms...

 against the Parthian Empire, which had again invaded Armenia. After gaining Armenia once more in AD 60 and subsequently losing it again in AD 62, the Romans sent Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo was a Roman general and a brother-in-law of the emperor Caligula.-Descent:Corbulo was born in Italy into a senatorial family...

 in AD 63 into the territories of Vologases I of Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

. Corbulo succeeded in returning Armenia to Roman client status, where it remained for the next century.

Year of the Four Emperors (69)


In 69 AD, Marcus Salvius Otho had the Emperor Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

 murdered and claimed the throne for himself. However, Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

, governor of the province of Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in today's Luxembourg, southern Netherlands, parts of Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia left of the Rhine....

, had also claimed the throne and marched on Rome with his troops. Following an inconclusive battle near Antipolis, Vitellius' troops attacked the city of Placentia in the Assault of Placentia, but were repulsed by the Othonian garrison.

Otho left Rome on March 14, and marched north towards Placentia to meet his challenger. In the Battle of Locus Castrorum
Battle of Locus Castrorum
The Battle of Locus Castrorum took place during the Year of the Four Emperors between the armies of the rival Roman emperors Otho and Vitellius. Locus Castorum was a village that existed in the 1st century Roman Empire roughly 15 kilometers from Cremona...

 the Othonians had the better of the fighting, and Vitellius' troops retreated to Cremona. The two armies met again on the Via Postunia, in the First Battle of Bedriacum, after which the Othonian troops fled back to their camp in Bedriacum, and the next day surrendered to the Vitellian forces. Otho decided to commit suicide rather than fight on.

Meanwhile, the forces stationed in the Middle East provinces of Judaea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

 and Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

 had acclaimed Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 as emperor and the Danubian armies of the provinces of Raetia
Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

 and Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 also acclaimed Vespasian as emperor. Vespasian's and Vitellius' armies met in the Second Battle of Bedriacum, after which the Vitellian troops were driven back into their camp outside Cremona, which was taken. Vespasian's troops then attacked Cremona itself, which surrendered.

Under pretence of siding with Vespasian, Civilis
Gaius Julius Civilis
Gaius Julius Civilis was the leader of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69. By his nomen, it can be told that he was made a Roman citizen by either Augustus or Caligula....

 of Batavia
Batavians
The Batavi were an ancient Germanic tribe, originally part of the Chatti, reported by Tacitus to have lived around the Rhine delta, in the area that is currently the Netherlands, "an uninhabited district on the extremity of the coast of Gaul, and also of a neighbouring island, surrounded by the...

 had taken up arms and induced the inhabitants of his native country to rebel. The rebelling Batavians were immediately joined by several neighbouring German tribes including the Frisii
Frisii
The Frisii were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Zuiderzee and the River Ems. In the Germanic pre-Migration Period the Frisii and the related Chauci, Saxons, and Angles inhabited the Continental European coast from the Zuyder Zee to south Jutland...

. These forces drove out the Roman garrisons near the Rhine and defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Castra Vetera, after which many Roman troops along the Rhine and in Gaul defected to the Batavian cause. However, disputes soon broke out amongst the different tribes, rendering co-operation impossible; Vespasian, having successfully ended the civil war, called upon Civilis to lay down his arms, and on his refusal his legions met him in force, defeating him in the Battle of Augusta Treverorum.

Jewish revolts (66–135)


The first Jewish-Roman War, sometimes called The Great Revolt, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province against the Roman Empire. Judea was already a troubled region with bitter violence among several competing Jewish sects and a long history of rebellion The Jews' anger turned on Rome following robberies from their temples and Roman insensitivity – Tacitus says disgust and repulsion – towards their religion. The Jews began to prepare for armed revolt. Earlier successes including the repulse of the First Siege of Jerusalem and the Battle of Beth-Horon
Battle of Beth Horon (66)
The Battle of Beth Horon was a battle fought in 66 AD between the Roman army and Jewish rebel forces in the First Jewish-Roman War. The Battle of Beth Horon was the worst defeat the Romans suffered at the hands of rebels.-Background:...

 only attracted greater attention from Rome and Emperor Nero appointed general Vespasian to crush the rebellion. Vespasian led his forces in a methodical clearance of the areas in revolt. By the year 68, Jewish resistance in the North had been crushed. A few towns and cities held out for a few years before falling to the Romans, leading to the Siege of Masada
Siege of Masada
The siege of Masada was among the final accords of the First Jewish-Roman War. The long siege by the troops of the Roman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels and resident Jewish families of the Masada fortress...

 in 73 AD and the Second Siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

.

In 115, revolt broke out again in the province, leading to the second Jewish-Roman war known as the Kitos War
Kitos War
The Kitos War , translation: Rebellion of the exile) is the name given to the second of the Jewish–Roman wars. Major revolts by diasporic Jews in Cyrene , Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Aegyptus spiraled out of control resulting in a widespread slaughter of Roman citizens and others by the Jewish rebels...

, and again in 132 in what is known as Bar Kokhba's revolt
Bar Kokhba's revolt
The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE; or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel...

. Both were brutally crushed.

Struggle with Parthia (114–217)



By the 2nd century AD the territories of Persia were controlled by the Arsacid dynasty and known as the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

. Due in large part to their employment of powerful heavy cavalry
Cataphract
A cataphract was a form of armored heavy cavalry utilised in ancient warfare by a number of peoples in Western Eurasia and the Eurasian Steppe....

 and mobile horse archers, Parthia was the most formidable enemy of the Roman Empire in the east. As early as 53 BC, the Roman general Crassus had invaded Parthia, but he was killed and his army was defeated at the Battle of Carrhae
Battle of Carrhae
The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...

. In the years following Carrhae, the Romans were divided in civil war and hence unable to campaign against Parthia. Trajan also campaigned against the Parthians from 114-117 and briefly captured their capital Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

, putting the puppet ruler Parthamaspates
Parthamaspates of Parthia
Parthamaspates, Roman client king of Parthia and later of Osroene, was the son of the Parthian emperor Osroes I.After spending much of his life in Roman exile, he accompanied the Roman Emperor Trajan on the latter's campaign to conquer Parthia...

 on the throne. However, rebellions in Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 and the Jewish revolts in Judea made it difficult to maintain the captured province and the territories were abandoned.

A revitalised Parthian Empire renewed its assault in 161, defeating two Roman armies and invading Armenia and Syria. Emperor Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus , was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, from 161 until his death.-Early life and career:Lucius Verus was the first born son to Avidia Plautia and Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, the first adopted son and heir of Roman Emperor Hadrian . He was born and raised in Rome...

 and general Gaius Avidius Cassius were sent in 162 to counter the resurgent Parthia. In this war, the Parthian city of Seleucia on the Tigris was destroyed and the palace at the capital Ctesiphon was burned to the ground by Avidius Cassius
Avidius Cassius
Gaius Avidius Cassius was a Roman general and usurper who briefly ruled Egypt and Syria in 175.-Origins:He was the son of Gaius Avidius Heliodorus, a noted orator who was Prefect of Egypt from 137 to 142 under Hadrian, and wife Junia Cassia Alexandra...

 in 164. The Parthians made peace but were forced to cede western Mesopotamia to the Romans.

In 197, Emperor Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 waged a brief and successful war against the Parthian Empire in retaliation for the support given to rival for the imperial throne Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

. The Parthian capital Ctesiphon was sacked by the Roman army, and the northern half of Mesopotamia was restored to Rome.

Emperor Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

, the son of Severus, marched on Parthia in 217 from Edessa to begin a war against them, but he was assassinated while on the march. In 224, the Parthian Empire was crushed not by the Romans but by the rebellious Persian vassal king Ardashir I
Ardashir I
Ardashir I was the founder of the Sassanid Empire, was ruler of Istakhr , subsequently Fars Province , and finally "King of Kings of Sassanid Empire " with the overthrow of the Parthian Empire...

, who revolted, leading to the establishment of Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 of Persia, which replaced Parthia as Rome's major rival in the East.

Throughout the Parthian wars, tribal groups along the Rhine and Danube took advantage of Rome's preoccupation with the eastern frontier (and the plague that the Romans suffered from after bringing it back form the east) and launched a series of raids and incursions into Rome's territories, including the Marcomannic Wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

.

Migration period (163–378)



After Varus' defeat in Germania in the 1st century, Rome had adopted a largely defensive strategy along the border with Germania, constructing a line of defences known as limes
Limes
A limes was a border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome. It marked the boundaries of the Roman Empire.The Latin noun limes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any...

 along the Rhine. Although the exact historicity is unclear, since the Romans often assigned one name to several distinct tribal groups, or conversely applied several names to a single group at different times, some mix of Germanic peoples, Celts, and tribes of mixed Celto-Germanic ethnicity were settled in the lands of Germania from the 1st century onwards. The Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

, Bructeri
Bructeri
The Bructeri were a Germanic tribe located in northwestern Germany , between the Lippe and Ems rivers south of the Teutoburg Forest, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia around 100 BC through 350 AD....

, Tencteri, Usipi
Usipi
The Usipi were a Germanic tribe whose territory lay on the right bank of the Rhine , probably between the valleys of the Lahn and Sieg...

, Marsi
Marsi
Marsi is the Latin exonym for a people of ancient Italy, whose chief centre was Marruvium, on the eastern shore of Lake Fucinus, drained for agricultural land in the late 19th century. The area in which they lived is now called Marsica. During the Roman Republic the people of the region spoke a...

, and Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

 of Varus' time had by the 3rd century either evolved into or been displaced by a confederacy or alliance of Germanic tribes collectively known as the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

, first mentioned by Cassius Dio describing the campaign of Caracalla in 213.

In around 166 AD, several Germanic tribes pushed across the Danube, striking as far as Italy itself in the Siege of Aquileia in 166 AD, and the heartland of Greece in the Sack of Eleusis.

Although the essential problem of large tribal groups on the frontier remained much the same as the situation Rome faced in earlier centuries, the 3rd century saw a marked increase in the overall threat, although there is disagreement over whether external pressure increased, or Rome's ability to meet it declined. The Carpi
Carpians
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

 and Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 whom Rome had held at bay were replaced by the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 and likewise the Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

 and Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

 that Rome had defeated were replaced by the greater confederation of the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

.

The assembled warbands of the Alamanni frequently crossed the limes, attacking Germania Superior such that they were almost continually engaged in conflicts with the Roman Empire, whilst Goths attacked across the Danube in battles such as the Battle of Beroa and Battle of Philippopolis in 250 and the Battle of Abrittus
Battle of Abrittus
The Battle of Abritus, also known as the Battle of Forum Terebronii, occurred in the Roman province of Moesia Inferior probably in July, 251, between the Roman Empire and a federation of Scythian tribesmen under the Goth king Cniva. The Romans were soundly defeated, and Roman emperors Decius and...

 in 251, and both Goths and Heruli
Heruli
The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe who are famous for their naval exploits. Migrating from Northern Europe to the Black Sea in the third century They were part of the...

 ravaged the Aegean and, later, Greece, Thrace and Macedonia. However, their first major assault deep into Roman territory came in 268. In that year the Romans were forced to denude much of their German frontier of troops in response to a massive invasion by another new Germanic tribal confederacy, the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, from the east. The pressure of tribal groups pushing into the Empire was the end result of a chain of migrations with its roots far to the east: Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 from the Russian steppe attacked the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, who in turn attacked the Dacians
Dacians
The Dacians were an Indo-European people, very close or part of the Thracians. Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia...

, Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 and Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 at or inside Rome's borders. The Goths first appeared in history as a distinct people in this invasion of 268 when they swarmed over the Balkan peninsula and over-ran the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Illyricum and even threatened Italia itself.

The Alamanni seized the opportunity to launch a major invasion of Gaul and northern Italy. However, the Visigoths were defeated in battle that summer near the modern Italian-Slovenian border and then routed in the Battle of Naissus
Battle of Naissus
The Battle of Naissus was the defeat of a Gothic coalition by the Roman Empire under Emperor Gallienus near Naissus...

 that September by Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

, Claudius
Claudius II
Claudius II , commonly known as Claudius Gothicus, was Roman Emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alamanni and scored a crushing victory against the Goths at the Battle of Naissus. He died after succumbing to a smallpox plague that ravaged the provinces of...

 and Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

, who then turned and defeated the Alemanni at the Battle of Lake Benacus
Battle of Lake Benacus
The Battle of Lake Benacus was one of the decisive battles that marked the beginning of the Roman Empire's emergence from the Crisis of the Third Century...

. Claudius' successor Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 defeated the Goths twice more in the Battle of Fanum Fortunae and the Battle of Ticinum. The Goths remained a major threat to the Empire but directed their attacks away from Italy itself for several years after their defeat. By 284 AD, Gothic troops were serving on behalf of the Roman military as federated troops.

The Alamanni on the other hand resumed their drive towards Italy almost immediately. They defeated Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 at the Battle of Placentia
Battle of Placentia
The Battle of Placentia was fought in January 271 between a Roman army led by Emperor Aurelian and the Alamanni , near modern Piacenza....

 in 271 but were beaten back for a short time after they lost the battles of Fano
Battle of Fano
The Battle of Fano - also known as the Battle of Fanum Fortunae - was fought in January 271 between the Roman Empire and the Alamanni. The Romans were led by Emperor Aurelian, and they were victorious....

 and Pavia
Battle of Pavia (271)
The Battle of Pavia was fought in 271 near Pavia , and resulted in the Roman Emperor Aurelian destroying the retreating Alamanni army.-The battle:...

 later that year. They were beaten again in 298 at the battles of Lingones
Battle of Lingones
The Battle of Lingones was fought in 298 between the Roman Empire and the Alamanni. The Roman force was led by Constantius Chlorus, and was victorious....

 and Vindonissa
Battle of Vindonissa
The Battle of Vindonissa was fought in 298 between the Roman Empire army, led by Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and the Alemanni. The Romans won the battle, fought in Vindonissa, strengthening Rome's defenses along the Rhine....

 but fifty years later they were resurgent again, making incursions in 356 at the Battle of Reims
Battle of Reims (356)
The Battle of Reims was fought in 356 between the Roman army led by Emperor Julian the Apostate and the Alemanni. The Alemanni were victorious....

, in 357 at the Battle of Strasbourg
Battle of Strasbourg
The Battle of Strasbourg, also known as the Battle of Argentoratum, was fought in 357 between the Late Roman army under the Caesar Julian and the Alamanni tribal confederation led by the joint paramount king Chnodomar...

, in 367 at the Battle of Solicinium
Battle of Solicinium
The Battle of Solicinium was fought in 367 between a Roman Empire army and the Alamanni. The Roman force was led by Emperor Valentinian I, and they managed to repel the Alamanni, but suffered heavy losses during the battle....

 and in 378 at Battle of Argentovaria
Battle of Argentovaria
The Battle of Argentovaria was fought in May 378 between the Roman Empire and the invading army of the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at Argentovaria . With this defeat, the Lentienses disappear from history....

. In the same year the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 inflicted a crushing defeat on the Eastern Empire at the Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

, in which the Eastern Emperor Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 was massacred along with tens of thousands of Roman troops.

At the same time, Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 raided through the North Sea and the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 pressed across the Rhine, Iuthungi against the Danube, Iazyges
Iazyges
The Iazyges were an ancient nomadic tribe. Known also as Jaxamatae, Ixibatai, Iazygite, Jászok, Ászi, they were a branch of the Sarmatian people who, c. 200 BC, swept westward from central Asia onto the steppes of what is now Ukraine...

, Carpi
Carpians
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

 and Taifali harassed Dacia, and Gepids joined the Goths and Heruli in attacks round the Black Sea. At around the same time, lesser-known tribes such as the Bavares, Baquates and Quinquegentanei raided Africa.

At the start of the 5th century AD, the pressure on Rome's western borders was growing intense. However, it was not only the western borders that were under threat: Rome was also under threat both internally and on its eastern borders.

Usurpers (193–394)



A military that was often willing to support its commander over its emperor meant that commanders could establish sole control of the army they were responsible for and usurp the imperial throne. The so-called Crisis of the Third Century
Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression...

 describes the turmoil of murder, usurpation and in-fighting that is traditionally seen as developing with the murder of the Emperor Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century — nearly fifty...

 in 235. However, Cassius Dio marks the wider imperial decline as beginning in 180 AD with ascension of Commodus
Commodus
Commodus , was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. His name changed throughout his reign; see changes of name for earlier and later forms. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded...

 to the throne, a judgement with which Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 concurred, and Matyszak
Philip Matyszak
Philip Matyszak is a British non-fiction author, primarily of historical works relating to ancient Rome .-Personal biography:Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St John's College, Oxford...

 states that "the rot... had become established long before" even that.

Though the crisis of the 3rd century was not the absolute beginning of Rome's decline, nevertheless it did mark a severe strain on the empire as Romans waged war on one another as they had not done since the final days of the Republic. Within the space of a single century, twenty-seven military officers claimed themselves emperors and reigned over parts of the empire for months or days, all but two meeting with a violent end. The time was characterised by a Roman army that was as likely to be attacking itself as an outside invader, reaching a low point around 258 AD. Ironically, while it was these usurpations that led to the breakup of the Empire during the crisis, it was the strength of several frontier generals that helped reunify the empire through force of arms.

The situation was complex, often with 3 or more usurpers in existence at once. Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 and Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

, both rebel generals promoted as emperors by the troops they commanded, clashed for the first time in 193 AD at the Battle of Cyzicus
Battle of Cyzicus (193)
The Battle of Cyzicus was fought in 193 between the forces of Septimus Severus and his rival for the empire, Pescennius Niger.The battle took place in the context of the Year of the Five Emperors, a tumultuous period in the Roman Empire when Emperor Pertinax was assassinated by the Praetorian Guards...

, in which Niger was defeated. However, it took two further defeats at the Battle of Nicaea
Battle of Nicaea
The Battle of Nicaea was fought in 193 between the forces of Septimus Severus and his eastern rival, Pescennius Niger. It took place at Nicaea in Asia Minor...

 later that year and the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus (194)
The Battle of Issus was the third major battle, following the Battle of Nicaea, in 194 between the forces of Emperor Septimus Severus and his rival, Pescennius Niger, part of the Year of the Five Emperors. Pescennius Niger was the Roman governor of Syria who had been acclaimed Emperor by his...

 the following year, for Niger to be definitively defeated. Almost as soon as Niger's hopes of the imperial crown had been laid to rest, Severus was forced to deal with another rival for the throne in the person of Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus was a Roman usurper proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania upon the murder of Pertinax in 193.-Life:...

, who had originally been allied to Severus. Albinus was proclaimed emperor by his troops in Britain and, crossing over to Gaul, defeated Severus' general Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus
Virius Lupus was a Roman soldier and politician of the late second and early 3rd century.His parents were Lucius Virius, born c. 140, and wife Antonia, also born c. 140 and daughter of Marcus Antonius Zeno. His paternal grandparents were Quintus Virius, born c. 110, and wife Larcia, born c...

 in battle, before being in turn defeated and killed himself in the Battle of Lugdunum
Battle of Lugdunum
The Battle of Lugdunum, also called the Battle of Lyon, was fought on 19 February 197 at Lugdunum , between the armies of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and of the Roman usurper Clodius Albinus...

 by Severus himself.

After this turmoil, Severus faced no more internal threats for the rest of his reign, and the reign of his successor Caracalla
Caracalla
Caracalla , was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. The eldest son of Septimius Severus, he ruled jointly with his younger brother Geta until he murdered the latter in 211...

 passed uninterrupted for a while until he was murdered by Macrinus
Macrinus
Macrinus , was Roman Emperor from 217 to 218. Macrinus was of "Moorish" descent and the first emperor to become so without membership in the senatorial class.-Background and career:...

, who proclaimed himself emperor in his place. Despite Macrinus having his position ratified by the Roman senate, the troops of Varius Avitus
Elagabalus
Elagabalus , also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan Dynasty, he was Syrian on his mother's side, the son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. Early in his youth he served as a priest of the god El-Gabal at his hometown, Emesa...

 declared him to be emperor instead, and the two met in battle at the Battle of Antioch
Battle of Antioch (218)
The Battle of Antioch took place between two Roman armies of the Roman Emperor Macrinus and his contender Elagabalus, whose troops were commanded by general Gannys. Elagabalus won and was crowned emperor.- History :...

 in 218 AD, in which Macrinus was defeated. However, Avitus himself – taking the imperial name Elagabalus – was murdered shortly afterwards and Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century — nearly fifty...

 was proclaimed emperor by both the Praetorian Guard and the senate who, after a short reign, was murdered in turn. His murderers were working on behalf of the army who were unhappy with their lot under his rule and who raised in his place Maximinus Thrax
Maximinus Thrax
Maximinus Thrax , also known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History. Maximinus was the first emperor never to set foot in Rome...

. However, just as he had been raised by the army, Maximinus was also brought down by them and despite winning the Battle of Carthage
Battle of Carthage (238)
The Battle of Carthage was fought in 238 between a Roman army loyal to Emperor Maximinus Thrax and the forces of Emperors Gordian I and Gordian II....

 against the senate's newly-proclaimed Gordian II
Gordian II
Gordian II , was Roman Emperor for one month with his father Gordian I in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Seeking to overthrow the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, he died in battle outside of Carthage.-Early career:...

, he was murdered when it appeared to his forces as though he would not be able to best the next senatorial candidate for the throne, Gordian III
Gordian III
Gordian III , was Roman Emperor from 238 to 244. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known on his early life before his acclamation...

.

Gordian III's fate is not certain, although he may have been murdered by his own successor, Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab , also known as Philip or Philippus Arabs, was Roman Emperor from 244 to 249. He came from Syria, and rose to become a major figure in the Roman Empire. He achieved power after the death of Gordian III, quickly negotiating peace with the Sassanid Empire...

, who ruled for only a few years before the army again raised a general to proclaimed emperor, this time Decius
Decius
Trajan Decius , was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until they were both killed in the Battle of Abrittus.-Early life and rise to power:...

, who defeated Philip in the Battle of Verona
Battle of Verona
The Battle of Verona was fought in June of 403 by Alaric's Visigoths, and a Roman force led by Stilicho. Alaric was defeated and subsequently withdrew from Italy....

 to seize the throne. Several succeeding generals avoided battling usurpers for the throne chiefly by virtue of being murdered by their own troops before battle could commence, which at least relieved the empire momentarily of manpower losses to internal strife. The lone exception to this rule was Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

, emperor from 260 AD to 268 AD, who saw a remarkable array of usurpers
Gallienus usurpers
The Gallienus usurpers were the usurpers who claimed imperial power during the reign of Gallienus...

, most of whom he defeated in pitched battle. The army was therefore mostly spared further infighting until around 273 AD, when Aurelian defeated the Gallic usurper Tetricus
Tetricus I
Gaius Pius Esuvius Tetricus was Emperor of the Gallic Empire from 271 to 274, following the murder of Victorinus. Tetricus, who ruled with his son, Tetricus II, was the last of the Gallic emperors following his surrender to the Roman emperor Aurelian.-Reign:Tetricus was a senator born to a noble...

 in the Battle of Chalons
Battle of Chalons (273)
The Battle of Châlons was fought in 274 between Roman Emperor Aurelian and Emperor Tetricus I of the Gallic Empire. Fought in what is now Châlons-en-Champagne, France, it was the battle that marked the end of the independent Gallic Empire, and its unification back to the Roman Empire, after...

. The next decade saw a barely credible number of usurpers, sometimes 3 at the same time, all vying for the imperial throne. Most of the battles are not recorded, primarily due to the turmoil of the time, until Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, a usurper himself, defeated Carinus
Carinus
Carinus , was Roman Emperor 282 to 285. The elder son of emperor Carus, he was appointed Caesar and co-emperor of the western portion of the empire upon his father's accession...

 at the Battle of the Margus
Battle of the Margus
The Battle of the Margus was fought in July 285 between the armies of Roman Emperors Diocletian and Carinus in the valley of the Margus River in Moesia ....

 to become emperor.

Some small measure of stability again returned at this point, with the empire split into a Tetrarchy of two greater and two lesser emperors, a system that staved off civil wars for a short time until 312 AD. In that year, relations between the tetrarchy collapsed for good and Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, Licinius
Licinius
Licinius I , was Roman Emperor from 308 to 324. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I...

, Maxentius
Maxentius
Maxentius was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian, and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius.-Birth and early life:Maxentius' exact date of birth is unknown; it was probably around 278...

 and Maximinus
Maximinus
Maximinus II , also known as Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, was Roman Emperor from 308 to 313. He was born of Dacian peasant stock to the half sister of the emperor Galerius near their family lands around Felix Romuliana; a rural area then in the Danubian region of Moesia, now Eastern Serbia.He...

 jostled for control of the empire. In the Battle of Turin
Battle of Turin (312)
The Battle of Turin was fought in 312 between Roman emperor Constantine and the troops of his rival augustus, Maxentius. Constantine won the battle, giving an impressive display of the tactical skill which was to characterise his whole military career...

 Constantine defeated Maxentius, and in the Battle of Tzirallum
Battle of Tzirallum
The Battle of Tzirallum was one of the Civil Wars of the Tetrarchy fought in 313 near Heraclea between the Roman armies of emperors Licinius and Maximinus.-Background:...

 Licinius
Licinius
Licinius I , was Roman Emperor from 308 to 324. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I...

 defeated Maximinus
Maximinus
Maximinus II , also known as Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, was Roman Emperor from 308 to 313. He was born of Dacian peasant stock to the half sister of the emperor Galerius near their family lands around Felix Romuliana; a rural area then in the Danubian region of Moesia, now Eastern Serbia.He...

. From 314 AD onwards, Constantine defeated Licinius in the Battle of Cibalae
Battle of Cibalae
The Battle of Cibalae was fought on October 8, 314 , between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The site of the battle was approximately 350 kilometers within the territory of Licinius...

, then the Battle of Mardia
Battle of Mardia
The Battle of Mardia, also known as Battle of Campus Mardiensis or Battle of Campus Ardiensis, was fought, probably at modern Harmanli in Thrace, in late 316/early 317 between the forces of Roman Emperors Constantine I and Licinius....

, and then again at the Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople (324)
The Battle of Adrianople was fought on July 3, 324 during a Roman civil war, the second to be waged between the two emperors Constantine I and Licinius; Licinius suffered a heavy defeat.-Background:...

, the Battle of the Hellespont
Battle of the Hellespont
The Battle of the Hellespont, consisting of two separate naval clashes, was fought in 324 between a Constantinian fleet, led by the eldest son of Constantine I, Crispus; and a larger fleet under Licinius' admiral, Abantus...

 and the Battle of Chrysopolis
Battle of Chrysopolis
The Battle of Chrysopolis was fought on 18 September 324 at Chrysopolis , near Chalcedon , between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The battle was the final encounter between the two emperors. After his navy's defeat in the Battle of the Hellespont, Licinius withdrew his forces...

.

Constantine then turned to Maxentius, beating him in the Battle of Verona
Battle of Verona (312)
The Battle of Verona was fought in 312 between the forces of the Roman emperors Constantine I and Maxentius. Maxentius' forces were defeated, and Ruricius Pompeianus, the most senior Maxentian commander, was killed in the fighting.-Background:...

 and the Battle of Milvian Bridge
Battle of Milvian Bridge
The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. It takes its name from the Milvian Bridge, an important route over the Tiber. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the...

 in the same year. Constantine's son Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

 inherited his father's rule and later defeated the usurper Magnentius
Magnentius
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a usurper of the Roman Empire .-Early life and career:...

 in first the Battle of Mursa Major
Battle of Mursa Major
The Battle of Mursa Major was fought in 351 between the Eastern Roman army led by Constantius II and the western forces supporting the usurper Magnentius.The action took place along the valley of the Drava River, a Danube tributary in present day Croatia....

 and then the Battle of Mons Seleucus
Battle of Mons Seleucus
The Battle of Mons Seleucus was fought in 353 between the forces of the legitimate Roman emperor Constantius II of the line of Constantine I the Great and the forces of the usurper Magnentius. Constantius' forces were victorious, and Magnentius later committed suicide.It took place in today's...

.

Successive emperors Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 and Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 also defeated usurpers in, respectively, the Battle of Thyatira
Battle of Thyatira
The Battle of Thyatira was fought in 366 at Thyatira, Phrygia , between the army of the Roman Emperor Valens and the army of the usurper Procopius, led by his general Gomoarius....

, and the battles of the Save
Battle of the Save
The Battle of the Save was fought in 388 between the forces of Roman usurper Magnus Maximus and the Eastern Roman Empire . Emperor Theodosius I defeated Magnus Maximus's army in battle. Later Maximus was captured and executed at Aquileia.-References:...

 and the Frigidus
Battle of the Frigidus
The Battle of the Frigidus, also called the Battle of the Frigid River, was fought between September 5–6 394, between the army of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I and the army of Western Roman ruler Eugenius....

.

Struggle with the Sassanid Empire (230–363)



After overthrowing the Parthian confederacy, the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 that arose from its remains pursued a more aggressive expansionist policy than their predecessors and continued to make war against Rome. In 230 AD, the first Sassanid emperor attacked Roman territory first in Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and then in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 but Roman losses were largely restored by Severus
Alexander Severus
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century — nearly fifty...

 within a few years. In 243, Emperor Gordian III
Gordian III
Gordian III , was Roman Emperor from 238 to 244. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known on his early life before his acclamation...

's army retook the Roman cities of Hatra, Nisibis and Carrhae from the Sassanids after defeating the Sassanids at the Battle of Resaena
Battle of Resaena
The Battle of Resaena or Resaina, near Ceylanpinar, Turkey, was fought in 243 between the forces of the Roman Empire, led by Praetorian Prefect Timesitheus, and a Sassanid Empire army, led by King Shapur I. The Romans were victorious....

 but what happened next is unclear: Persian sources claim that Gordian was defeated and killed in the Battle of Misikhe but Roman sources mention this battle only as an insignificant setback and suggest that Gordian died elsewhere.

Certainly, the Sassanids had not been cowed by the previous battles with Rome and in 253 the Sassanids under Shapur I
Shapur I
Shapur I or also known as Shapur I the Great was the second Sassanid King of the Second Persian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 - 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent prior to his father's death in 242 .-Early years:Shapur was the son of Ardashir I...

 penetrated deeply into Roman territory several times, defeating a Roman force at the Battle of Barbalissos
Battle of Barbalissos
The Battle of Barbalissos was fought between the Sassanid Persians and Romans at Barbalissos. Shapur I used Roman incursions into Armenia as pretext and resumed hostilities with the Romans. The Romans and Sassanids clashed at Barbalissos...

 and conquering and plundering Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

ia in 252 following the Siege of Antiochia
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

. The Romans recovered Antioch by 253 AD, and Emperor Valerian gathered an army and marched eastward to the Sassanid borders. In 260 at the Battle of Edessa
Battle of Edessa
The Battle of Edessa took place between the armies of the Roman Empire under the command of Emperor Valerian and Sassanid forces under Shahanshah Shapur I in 259...

 the Sassanids defeated the Roman army and captured the Roman Emperor Valerian
Valerian (emperor)
Valerian , also known as Valerian the Elder, was Roman Emperor from 253 to 260. He was taken captive by Persian king Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, becoming the only Roman Emperor who was captured as a prisoner of war, resulting in wide-ranging instability across the Empire.-Origins and rise...

.

By the late 3rd century Roman fortunes on the eastern frontier improved dramatically. During a period of civil upheaval in Persia, emperor Carus
Carus
Carus , was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success. During his campaign against the Sassanid Empire he sacked their capital Ctesiphon, but died shortly thereafter...

 led a successful campaign into Persia essentially uncontested, sacking Ctesiphon in 283. During the reign of the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

, emperors Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 and Galerius
Galerius
Galerius , was Roman Emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300...

 brought a decisive conclusion to the war, sacking Ctesiphon in 299 and expanding the Roman eastern frontier dramatically with the Treaty of Nisibis. The treaty brought lasting peace between Rome and the Sassanids for almost four decades until the end of Constantine the Great's reign. In 337, Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

 broke the peace and began a twenty-six year conflict, attempting with little success to conquer Roman fortresses in the region. After early Sassanid successes including the Battle of Amida in 359 AD and the Siege of Pirisabora
Siege of Pirisabora
The Siege of Pirisabora was part of the war between ancient Rome and the Sassanid Empire. It was an early Sassanid success in which they defeated the Romans at Pirisabora in 363 AD....

 in 363 AD, Emperor Julian
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

  met Shapur in 363 in the Battle of Ctesiphon
Battle of Ctesiphon (363)
The Battle of Ctesiphon took place on May 29, 363 between the armies of Roman Emperor Julian and the Sassanid King Shapur II outside the walls of the Persian capital Ctesiphon...

 outside the walls of the Persian capital. The Romans were victorious but were unable to take the city, and were forced to retreat due to their vulnerable position in the middle of hostile territory. Julian was killed in the Battle of Samarra
Battle of Samarra
The Battle of Samarra took place 26 June 363, after the invasion of Sassanid Persia by the Roman Emperor Julian. A major skirmish, the fighting was indecisive but Julian was killed in the battle...

 during the retreat, possibly by one of his own men.

There were several future wars, although all brief and small-scale, since both the Romans and the Sassanids were forced to deal with threats from other directions during the 5th century. A war against Bahram V
Bahram V
Bahram V was the fourteenth Sassanid King of Persia . Also called Bahram Gur or Bahramgur , he was a son of Yazdegerd I , after whose sudden death he gained the crown against the opposition of the grandees by the help of Mundhir, the Arab dynast of al-Hirah.- Reign and war with Rome :Bahram V...

 in 420 over the persecution of the Christians in Persia led to a brief war that was soon concluded by treaty and in 441 a war with Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II was the fifteenth Sassanid King of Persia. He was the son of Bahram V and reigned from 438 to 457....

 was again swiftly concluded by treaty after both parties battled threats elsewhere.

Collapse of the Western Empire (402–476)



Many theories have been advanced in explanation of the decline of the Roman Empire
Decline of the Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the gradual societal collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Many theories of causality prevail, but most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with foreign invasions and usurpers from within the...

, and many dates given for its fall, from the onset of its decline in the 3rd century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Militarily, however, the Empire finally fell after first being overrun by various non-Roman peoples and then having its heart in Italy seized by Germanic troops in a revolt. The historicity and exact dates are uncertain, and some historians do not consider that the Empire fell at this point.

The Empire became gradually less Romanised and increasingly Germanic in nature: although the Empire buckled under Visigothic assault, the overthrow of the last Emperor Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus , was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476...

 was carried out by federated Germanic troops from within the Roman army rather than by foreign troops. In this sense had Odoacer not renounced the title of Emperor and named himself "King of Italy" instead, the Empire might have continued in name. Its identity, however, was no longer Roman – it was increasingly populated and governed by Germanic peoples long before 476. The Roman people were by the 5th century "bereft of their military ethos" and the Roman army itself a mere supplement to federated troops of Goths, Huns, Franks and others fighting on their behalf.

Rome's last gasp began when the Visigoths revolted around 395 AD. Led by Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

, they attempted to seize Constantinople, but were rebuffed and instead plundered much of Thrace in northern Greece. In 402 AD they besieged Mediolanum, the capital of Roman Emperor Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

, defended by Roman Gothic troops. The arrival of the Roman Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

 and his army forced Alaric to relieve the siege and move towards Hasta (modern Asti) in western Italy, where Stilicho attacked it at the Battle of Pollentia
Battle of Pollentia
The Battle of Pollentia was fought on 6 April 402 between the Romans and the Visigoths.-Background:Theodosius I, the last emperor of both eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire, died in 395, leaving his sons Arcadius and Honorius emperors of the East and West, respectively...

, capturing Alaric's camp. Stilicho offered to return the prisoners in exchange for the Visigoths returning to Illyricum but upon arriving at Verona, Alaric halted his retreat. Stilicho again attacked at the Battle of Verona
Battle of Verona
The Battle of Verona was fought in June of 403 by Alaric's Visigoths, and a Roman force led by Stilicho. Alaric was defeated and subsequently withdrew from Italy....

 and again defeated Alaric, forcing him to withdraw from Italy.

In 405 AD, the Ostrogoths invaded Italy itself, but were defeated. However, in 406 AD an unprecedented number of tribes took advantage of the freezing of the Rhine to cross en masse: Vandals, Suevi, Alans and Burgundians swept across the river and met little resistance in the Sack of Moguntiacum and the Sack of Treviri, completely over-running Gaul. Despite this grave danger, or perhaps because of it, the Roman army continued to be wracked by usurpation, in one of which Stilicho, Rome's foremost defender of the period, was put to death.

It is in this climate that, despite his earlier setback, Alaric returned again in 410 and managed to sack Rome
Sack of Rome (410)
The Sack of Rome occurred on August 24, 410. The city was attacked by the Visigoths, led by Alaric I. At that time, Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, replaced in this position initially by Mediolanum and then later Ravenna. Nevertheless, the city of Rome retained a...

. The Roman capital had by this time moved to the Italian city of Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, but some historians view 410 as an alternative date for the true fall of the Roman Empire. Without possession of Rome or many of its former provinces, and increasingly Germanic in nature, the Roman Empire after 410 had little in common with the earlier Empire. By 410 AD, Britain had been mostly denuded of Roman troops, and by 425 AD was no longer part of the Empire, and much of western Europe was beset "by all kinds of calamities and disasters", coming under barbarian kingdoms ruled by Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, Suebians, Visigoths and Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

.
"The fighting became hand-to-hand, fierce, savage, confused and without the slightest respite.... Blood from the bodies of the slain turned a small brook which flowed through the plain into a torrent. Those made desperately thirsty by their injuries drank water so augmented with blood that in their misery it seemed as though they were forced to drink the very blood which had poured from their wounds"
Jordanes
Jordanes
Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

 on the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains


The remainder of Rome's territory, if not its nature, was defended for several decades following 410 largely by Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

, who managed to play off each of Rome's barbarian invaders against one another. In 436 he led a Hunnic army against the Visigoths at the Battle of Arles, and again in 436 at the Battle of Narbonne. In 451 he led a combined army, including his former enemy the Visigoths, against the Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, beating them so soundly that although they later sacked Concordia, Altinum
Altinum
260px|thumb|Remains of the Roman [[decumanus]].Altinum is the name of an ancient coastal town of the Veneti 15 km SE of the modern Treviso, northern Italy, on the edge of the lagoons...

, Mediolanum
Mediolanum
Mediolanum, the ancient Milan, was an important Celtic and then Roman centre of northern Italy. This article charts the history of the city from its settlement by the Insubres around 600 BC, through its conquest by the Romans and its development into a key centre of Western Christianity and capital...

, Ticinum
Ticinum
Ticinum was an ancient city of Gallia Transpadana, founded on the banks of the river of the same name a little way above its confluence with the Padus ....

, and Patavium, they never again directly threatened Rome. Despite being the only clear champion of the Empire at this point Aëtius was slain by the Emperor Valentinian III
Valentinian III
-Family:Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna, the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne....

's own hand, leading Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

 to observe, "I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know that you have acted like a man who has cut off his right hand with his left".

Carthage, the second largest city in the empire, was lost along with much of North Africa in 439 AD to the Vandals, and the fate of Rome seemed sealed. By 476, what remained of the Empire was completely in the hands of federated Germanic troops and when they revolted led by Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

 and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus , was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476...

 there was nobody to stop them. Odoacer happened to hold the part of the Empire around Italy and Rome but other parts of the Empire were ruled by Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Alans and others. The Empire in the West had fallen, and its remnant in Italy was no longer Roman in nature. The Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the Goths continued to fight over Rome and the surrounding area for many years, though by this point Rome's importance was negligible. Following years of grinding war the city was by 540 AD near-abandoned and desolate with much of its environment turned into an unhealthy marsh, an inglorious end for a city that once ruled much of the known world.

At this point in time, the Eastern Roman Empire stands alone, and events in Roman military history fall under the category of Byzantine military history.

Primary sources



(print: Penguin Books
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

, 1976, (tr. Jane Mitchell), ISBN 0-14-044187-5) (print: Penguin Books
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

, 1987, ISBN 0-14-044448-3) (print: Book 1 as The Rise of Rome, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

, 1998, ISBN 0-19-282296-9) (print: Jacques Amyot
Jacques Amyot
Jacques Amyot , French Renaissance writer and translator, was born of poor parents, at Melun.He found his way to the University of Paris, where he supported himself by serving some of the richer students. He was nineteen when he became M.A. at Paris, and later he graduated doctor of civil law at...

 and Thomas North
Thomas North
Sir Thomas North was an English translator of Plutarch, second son of the 1st Baron North.-Life:He is supposed to have been a student of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was entered at Lincoln's Inn in 1557. In 1574 he accompanied his brother, Lord North, on a visit to the French court. He served as...

 (tr.), Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Southern Illinois University Press
Southern Illinois University Press
Southern Illinois University Press, founded in 1956, is a university press located in Carbondale, Illinois.The press publishes approximately 50 titles annually, among its more than 1,200 titles currently in print....

, 1963, ISBN 0-404-51870-2 )
  • Polybius
    Polybius
    Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

    : The Rise of the Roman Empire at LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius is a website specializing in ancient Rome, currently hosted on a server at the University of Chicago. It went online on August 26, 1997; in January 2008 it had "2786 pages, 690 photos, 675 drawings & engravings, 118 plans, 66 maps." The site is the...

     (print: Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , 1927. (Translation by W. R. Paton), unknown ISBN (print: John Carew Rolfe
    John Carew Rolfe
    John Carew Rolfe, Ph.D. was an American classical scholar, the son of William J. Rolfe.He graduated from Harvard University in 1881 and from Cornell University in 1885....

     (tr.), Sallust, Loeb Classical Library
    Loeb Classical Library
    The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

    , 1940, ISBN 0-674-99128-1 ) (print: Penguin Books
    Penguin Books
    Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

    , 1975, ISBN 0-14-044150-6)


Secondary and tertiary sources


  • John Bagnall Bury: History of the Later Roman Empire at LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius
    LacusCurtius is a website specializing in ancient Rome, currently hosted on a server at the University of Chicago. It went online on August 26, 1997; in January 2008 it had "2786 pages, 690 photos, 675 drawings & engravings, 118 plans, 66 maps." The site is the...

    , 1889
  • Cantor, Norman
    Norman Cantor
    Norman Frank Cantor was a historian who specialized in the medieval period. Known for his accessible writing and engaging narrative style, Cantor's books were among the most widely-read treatments of medieval history in English...

    . Antiquity, Perennial Press, 2004, ISBN 0-06-093098-5
  • Chaliand, Gérard
    Gérard Chaliand
    Gérard Chaliand is a French-Armenian expert in armed-conflict studies and in international and strategic relations, especially asymmetric conflicts . He is one of the most prolific international theoricians on these subjects...

    . (ed.), The Art of War in World History, University of California Press
    University of California Press
    University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

    , 1994, ISBN 0-520-07964-7
  • Churchill, Winston
    Winston Churchill
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

    . A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Cassell, 1998, ISBN 0-304-34912-7
  • Clunn, Tony
    Tony Clunn
    John Anthony Spencer "Tony" Clunn MBE, , is a retired major in the British Army, and an amateur archaeologist who discovered the main site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest at Kalkriese Hill.-Army career:...

    . In Quest of the Lost Legions, Arminius Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0-9544190-0-6
  • Ferrill, Arther. The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation, Thames and Hudson, 1988, ISBN 0-500-27495-9
  • Fraser, James. The Roman Conquest Of Scotland: The Battle Of Mons Graupius AD 84, Tempus Publishing, 2005, ISBN 0-7524-3325-3 (print: Penguin Books
    Penguin Books
    Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

    , 1985, ISBN 0-14-043189-6)
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian. The Complete Roman Army, Thames and Hudson, 2003, ISBN 0-500-05124-0
  • Hanson, Victor Davis
    Victor Davis Hanson
    Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, political essayist and former classics professor, notable as a scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a commentator on modern warfare and contemporary politics for National Review and other media outlets...

    . Carnage and Culture, Hanson Press, 2002, ISBN 0-385-72038-6
  • Harkness, Albert
    Albert Harkness
    Albert Harkness was an American classical scholar and educator, born at Mendon, Massachusetts He graduated at Brown University in 1842, was senior master of the Providence High School from 1846 to 1853, pursued studies in Germany at the universities of Berlin, Bonn, and Göttingen, and was the...

    . The Military System Of The Romans, University Press of the Pacific, 2004, ISBN 1-4102-1153-3
  • Heather, Tom
    Peter Heather
    Peter Heather is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He has held appointments at University College London and Yale University and was Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Worcester College, Oxford until...

    . The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History, Macmillan Publishers
    Macmillan Publishers
    Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.-History:...

    , 2005, ISBN 0-330-49136-9
  • Holland, Tom
    Tom Holland (author)
    -Biography:Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury, England. His younger brother is the historian and novelist James Holland...

    . Rubicon, Little Brown, 2003, ISBN 0-316-86130-8
  • Arnold Hugh Martin Jones
    Arnold Hugh Martin Jones
    Arnold Hugh Martin Jones — known as A.H.M. Jones — was a prominent 20th century British historian of classical antiquity, particularly of the later Roman Empire.-Biography:...

    , The Later Roman Empire, Johns Hopkins University Press
    Johns Hopkins University Press
    The Johns Hopkins University Press is the publishing division of the Johns Hopkins University. It was founded in 1878 and holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously running university press in the United States. The Press publishes books, journals, and electronic databases...

    , 1964, ISBN 0-8018-3285-3
  • Robin Lane Fox
    Robin Lane Fox
    Robin Lane Fox is an English historian, currently a Fellow of New College, Oxford and University of Oxford Reader in Ancient History.-Life:Lane Fox was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford....

    , The Classical World, Penguin Books
    Penguin Books
    Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

    , 2005, ISBN 0-14-102141-1
  • B. H. Liddell Hart, Scipio Africanus, Da Capo Press, 1994, ISBN 0-306-80583-9
  • Philip Matyszak
    Philip Matyszak
    Philip Matyszak is a British non-fiction author, primarily of historical works relating to ancient Rome .-Personal biography:Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St John's College, Oxford...

    , The Enemies of Rome, Thames and Hudson, 2004, ISBN 0-500-25124-X
  • Rodgers, Nigel. The Roman Army: Legions, Wars and Campaigns: A Military History of the World's First Superpower From the Rise of the Republic and the Might of the Empire to the Fall of the West , Southwater, 2005, ISBN 1-84476-210-6
  • Henry William Frederick Saggs, Civilization Before Greece and Rome, Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    , 1989, ISBN 0-300-05031-3
  • Antonio Santosuosso
    Antonio Santosuosso
    Antonio Santosuosso is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.-Assessment of the Battle of Tours:...

    , Storming the Heavens: Soldiers, Emperors and Civilians in the Roman Empire, Westview Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8133-3523-X
  • Michael Wood, In Search of the First Civilizations, BBC Books
    BBC Books
    BBC Books is an imprint majority owned and managed by Random House. The minority shareholder is BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation...

    , 1992, ISBN 0-563-52266-6
  • George Patrick Welch
    George Patrick Welch
    George Patrick Welch was a historian and author, whose works include Britannia: The Roman Conquest and Occupation of Britain.He was born in 1900 in Boston, Massachusetts, and was educated at Harvard from which he graduated in 1923. For fifteen years thereafter he was active in investment banking,...

    , Britannia: The Roman Conquest & Occupation of Britain, Hale, 1963, ISBN 0-158-79256-5