Timeline for the Roman Kingdom and Republic
1500’s B.C. - Indo-European tribes enter Italian peninsula.
By 1000 B.C. – Greeks begin arriving in Southern Italy.
753 B.C. – Traditional date for the founding of Rome (by Latin tribes, though
Etruscans apparently take over quickly)
750-500 B.C. – Greeks establish colonies in Sicily and Southern Italy (Cumae,
Tarentum, Brindisi, etc)
By 650 B.C. – The Etruscans are the dominant culture in central Italy. They are
present from the Arno River in the North down to Capua in the South.
600’s B.C. – Etruscans adopt alphabet from the Greeks, with whom they have
Ca. 575 B.C.—The Etruscans lay down the Via Sacra in Rome. Later, they also
build the Cloaca Maxima.
509 B.C. – Traditional date for the downfall of the Monarchy and the
establishment of the Republic, due to the Rape of Lucretia.
Ca. 500 B.C. – Traditional story of Horatius Cocles defending Rome from the
499 B.C. – The other Latin tribes form an alliance against Rome.
496 B.C. – Rome beats the other Latin tribes at Lake Regillus, and forms the Latin
League with them.
494 B.C.—The plebeians go on strike and leave the city of Rome. In response,
Rome gives two tribunes (tribunes of the plebs) to protect their interests.
480 B.C. – The Etruscan influence begins to lessen
471 B.C. – The tribunes of the plebs create the Council of the Plebs, which can
promulgate its decisions in plebiscita, which are only binding on the plebs.
450 B.C. – With the help of the decemviri, the Twelve Tables of Law are published
445 B.C. – The Canuleian Law is passed, granting intermarriage between
patricians and plebeians.
406 B.C. – The Romans begin besieging the main Etruscan town of Veii.
406 B.C. – The Celts pillage the Etruscan town of Melpum.
396 B.C. – Veii surrenders. Rome annexes its land and gives it to poor plebeians.
390 B.C. – The Celts pillage Rome itself. When they’ve had enough, they demand
1000 pounds of gold (in their weights) and then leave.
400 B.C. – The Etruscans are once again limited to Etruria (betweent the Arno and
367 B.C. -- The Licinian-Sextian laws are passed, allowing one consul to be a
343 B.C. – Rome begins a conflict with the Samnites, whose domain is Campania
(the region just South of Latium that includes Naples).
342 B.C. – A law is passed allowing both consuls to be plebeians, and requiring
that one must be.
340 B.C. – The other tribes of the Latin League revolt against Rome.
338 B.C. – Rome crushes the Latin tribes, and absorbs them into Roman culture,
making them Roman citizens.
336 B.C. – The office of praetor (urbanus) is created in the Roman Republic.
290 B.C. – Rome conquers the Samnites. Campania is theirs. This puts them in
frequent contact with the Greeks.
287 B.C. – The Hortensian Law is passed, which makes the plebiscita binding on
281 B.C. – The Greeks send Pyrrhus of Epirus to fight the Romans. He comes over
to Italy with 20,000 men and 20-30 elephants.
280 B.C. – General Pyrrhus beats the Romans at Heraclea.
279 B.C. – General Pyrrhus beats the Romans at Ausculum. He says, “One more
victory like that, and I’ll be utterly ruined” (this is where we get the phrase
“pyrrhic victory”, which means a victory obtained at great cost).
267 B.C. – Rome defeats the Greeks. Magna Graecia is theirs.
264 B.C. – Rome vanquishes the Etruscans in the North. The entire Italian
peninsula from the Rubicon River to the Southern coast is theirs. This puts
them into frequent contact with Carthage’s Empire.
264 B.C. – The beginning of the First Punic War (264-241 B.C.).
242 B.C. – The battle of Drepana: Rome sinks 50 Carthaginian ships and captures
242 B.C. – One praetor (the praetor peregrinus) is added to the Roman magistracy
(i.e., now there are two praetors).
241 B.C. – Carthage surrenders to Rome. The treaty grants Sicily to Rome. End of
the First Punic War.
238 B.C. – Rome takes advantage of ambiguous understandings and starts to take
Corsica and Sardinia. According to legend, this so angers Hamilcar Barca,
that he makes his nine-year old son, Hannibal, swear hatred for Rome.
237 B.C. – Hamilcar Barca (with Hannibal) goes to Spain and starts to build a land
227 B.C. – The number of praetors is increased to 4.
221 B.C. – After the death of his father (in battle) and the murder of his uncle-in-
law, Hannibal becomes the general of the Carthaginian forces in Rome. He
sacks the city of Saguntum, which, though it belongs to Carthage, is very
friendly with Rome.
218 B.C. – Fabius Buteo demands that Carthage calls back Hannibal and turns him
over for justice to the Romans. Carthage refuses. Fabius declares war in
the name of Rome. Beginning of the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.).
218 B.C. – Hannibal musters an army of 46,000 men and 37 elephants and
marches north of Spain. He crosses the Rhone River, then he crosses the
Alps in 15 days. He immediately has numerous victories over the Romans.
217 B.C. – The Battle of Lake Trasimene. Hannibal traps the Romans in a mist and
crushes them before they even knew what was happening.
217 B.C. – The Romans appoint Quintus Fabius Maximus (Cunctator, “the
delayer”) as dictator. He employs a tactic of little stabs at Hannibal, but
avoids open conflict. Rome soon gets tired of this, and goes back to two
consuls, who decide to engage Hannibal in open war. They muster an
army of 86,000, the largest Rome has yet created.
216 B.C. – The Battle of Cannae. Hannibal lets the Romans attack his weak center,
then quickly surrounds them and closes them in tightly, and utterly defeats
them. 40,000-50,000 Romans dies, and 10,000 are sold into slavery. As a
result, the impresses Italian allies, especially Capua, come over to
Hannibal’s side. But Hannibal still refuses to attack Rome itself.
209 B.C. – Publius Cornelius Scipio (Africanus) captures New Carthage in Spain.
207 B.C. – The Carthaginians send Hannibal relief by means of an army led by
Hasdrubal (Hannibal’s brother). But the Romans intercept his forces, cut
off Hasdrubal’s head, and throw it into Hannibal’s camp.
206 B.C. – Publius Cornelius Scipio captures all of Spain.
204 B.C. – After stopping in Sicily, Publius Cornelius Scipio moves on to North
Africa. Hannibal is forced to leave Italy to fight him.
202 B.C. – The Battle of Zama. Publius Cornelius Scipio easily defeats Hannibal’s
201 B.C. – Carthage surrenders. The treaty grants Spain to Rome. End of the
Second Punic War.
197 B.C. – The Romans expand to cover most of Spain.
197 B.C. – The number of praetors is increased to 6.
196 B.C. – Rome intervenes to free Greece from Macedonian harassment.
192 B.C. – The Seleucids attack Greece. The Romans come into help. They defeat
Seleucid forces at Thermopylae, chase them into Asia, and then
vanquishes them at the Battle of Magnesia and Sipylus (in Asia Minor).
This battle kicked the Seleucids out of Asia Minor (Hannibal was helping
the Seleucids in this war).
183 B.C. – Hannibal, after fleeing to Bithynia, commits suicide.
149 B.C. – Taking advantage of a technical breach of treaty (since Carthage had
attacked a Roman ally), Rome heeds the words of Marcus Cato (“Carthago
delenda est!”) and declares war on Carthage. Beginning of the Third
Punic War (149-146 B.C.).
148 B.C. – Macedonia pesters Greece. Rome conquers Macedonia.
146 B.C. – There is an uprising in Greece. Publius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (the
brother of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus) destroys the city of Corinth.
Greece now belongs to Rome.
146 B.C. – Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (Africanus), the grandson of the
other Scipio) utterly destroys Carthage. End of the Third Punic War.
133 B.C. – The King of Pergamum leaves his Kingdom to Rome in his will. The
whole Mediterranean world is Rome’s.