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Fall of Rome Short Timeline

Some of the main events leading to the end of the Western Roman Empire

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Europe in the time of Odoacer 476-493 A.D.

Europe in the time of Odoacer 476-493 A.D.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection The Public Schools Historical Atlas by Charles Colbeck. 1905.

Fall of Rome Events Short Timeline | Rome Era-by-Era Timeline

The date at which you start or end a Fall of Rome timeline is subject to debate and interpretation [see Fall of Rome - Why Did Rome Fall?]. This Fall of Rome timeline uses standard events and marks the end with Gibbon's conventionally accepted date for the fall of Rome in A.D. 476. Although one could start the decline with the reign of Marcus Aurelius' successor, his son, Commodus, the period of imperial crisis is a compelling choice and easy to understand as a starting point. So this timeline begins just before the east-west splitting of the Roman Empire, a time described as chaotic, and ends when the last Roman emperor was deposed, but allowed to live out his life in retirement. Also see: Timeline of the Emperors of the Fall.

 

A.D. 235-284 Crisis of the Third Century (Age of Chaos) Military leaders usurped power, rulers died of unnatural causes, revolts, plagues, fires, Christian persecutions.
285-305 Tetrarchy Diocletian and the Tetrarchy: Diocletian splits the Roman Empire in 2, and adds junior emperors, so there are 4 caesars. When Diocletian and Maximian abdicate, there is civil war.
306-337 Acceptance of Christianity (Milvian Bridge) Constantine: In 312, Constantine defeats his co-emperor at the Milvian Bridge, and becomes sole ruler in the West. Later Constantine defeats the Eastern ruler and becomes sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Constantine establishes Christianity and creates a capital for the Roman Empire in the East, in Constantinople.
360-363 Fall of Official Paganism Julian the Apostate attempts to reverse the religious trend to Christianity. He fails and dies in the East fighting the Parthians.
August 9, 378 Battle of Adrianople Eastern Roman Emperor Valens is defeated by the Visigoths. [See Visigoths Timeline.]
379-395 East - West Split Theodosius reunites the Empire, but it doesn't last beyond his reign. At his death, the empire is divided by his sons, Arcadius, in the East, and Honorius, in the West.
401-410 Sack of Rome Visigoths make incursions into Italy and in the end, under Alaric, sack Rome. This is one date given for the Fall of Rome. [See Stilicho, Alaric and the Visigoths.]
429-435 Vandals Sack North Africa Vandals, under Gaiseric, attack northern Africa, cutting off Roman grain supply. [See Procopius on Gaiseric and the Vandals.]
440-454 Huns Attack Huns threaten Rome, are paid off, and then attack.
455 Vandals Sack Rome.  
476 Fall of the Emperor of Rome Last western emperor, Romulus Augustulus, is deposed by the barbarian general Odoacer who then rules Italy.

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