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Complete Roman History – 5th Century B.C.
4th Century BC Samnites/Sabelli expand throughout most of the southern Italian mainland. The southern part of the “heel” of the peninsula and a number of Greek cities manage to resist. The Romans also succeed in blocking the Samnites from invading Latium. Herculaneum again comes under Samnite control. Republics replace the petty monarchies in Apulia. Samnites/Sabelli reach the river Fortore and continue their expansion into Apulia. Canusium replaces Arpi as the principal Daunian settlement. Aristoxenus of Tarentum, peripatetic philosopher, flourishes. A writer on music theory and rhythm, he believed that the notes of the musical scale were judged by ear rather than the Pythagorean theory that they were determined by mathematical ratio.
400 95th Olympiad Dionysius I founds Adranon (mod. Adrano [CT]). The town was founded near a temple to the Sikel god (H)adranos. Often identified with the Phoenician deity Adramelech, Hadranos was originally a fire-god linked in some way to Mt. Etna. His name derives from the Sikel word adar=fire. According to ancient tradition, Hadranos was the father of the Palici, twin chthonic deities to whom the Sikels dedicated sanctuary of the Palica. This was the shrine near which Dionysius founded Adranon. Worshippers would come seeking divine judgment to difficult problems and, at least in the earliest days of the shrine, human sacrifices were offered up here. One of the legends attached to the shrine was that it was guarded by 1,000 sacred dogs. If an honest and honorable person approached, the dogs would greet him with friendship. But should a criminal or drunkard come near, he would be attacked and killed. Hicetas, Pythagorean philosopher and astronomer, born in Syracuse Construction begins on the temple of Asklepios at Akragas. It is completed in 390 BC. Lucanians capture Poseidonia. (c) Sabellian-Italics occupy Herculaneum and neighboring towns in Campania. (c) Tauromenion (Tauromenium; mod. Taormina) is founded by the Greeks of the E Coast of Sicily.
399 (Feb 15) Socrates dies in Athens. Condemned for impiety and corruption of youth at Athens, he is forced to commit suicide by drinking hemlock. Among those present at his death was Philolaus, the exiled Pythagorean philosopher from Magna Graecia.
397 Dionysius I and Carthage begin a new war for control of Sicily. Dionysius II the Younger, is born in Syracuse. Refugee Geloans return and rebuild their ruined city (destroyed in 405 BC). The new city is subject to Syracuse. Dionysius I besieges Segesta.
396 96th Olympiad Dionysius I destroys the Carthaginian city of Motya in western Sicily. (alt. date 398 BC). Himilco founds the new Carthaginian city of Lilybaeum on the W coast of Sicily as a replacement for the abandoned city of Motya. It is largely populated by former residents of Motya. Greeks found Tyndaris in Sicily. Myle (mod. Castelmola [ME]), a Sikel city in NE Sicily, is strengthened with new fortifications in fear of an attack by Dionysius I. Carthaginians destroy Messana (Messene; mod. Messina). It is later rebuilt by Dionysius I. Kephaloidion (mod. Cefalů [PA]) allies itself with the Carthaginians. Dionysius I captures Morgantina. Dionysius I captures Henna (mod. Enna). (alt. date 397 BC). Dionysius I captures Rhegium and sells its population into slavery. Carthaginian army besieging Syracuse is stricken with smallpox and is forced to withdraw. Romans defeat and conquer the Etruscan city of Veii after a 10 year war. (c) (July 15) Mt Etna erupts.
395 Dionysius I defeats the Carthaginians and destroy their fleet. Thucydides, Greek historian, dies.
394 Carthaginians temporarily take control of Lipara.
392 97th Olympiad A treaty is agreed on between Dionysius I and the Carthaginians. Dionysius I launches an attack on Rhegion. Syracuse takes control of Akragas and holds it until 352 BC. Sikel town of Myle (mod. Castelmola [ME]) is destroyed by Dionysius I. Atellan comedy from Campania begins to make its appearance in Rome.
390 (c) Syracusans found city of Ancona on the Adriatic coast of modern Marche. The name derives from the Greek word for “elbow”, referring to the shape of its harbor. Plato makes his first visit to Magna Graecia and Sicily. Enroute, he visits Taras/Tarentum, becoming friends with Archytas who introduced him to Pythagoreanism. It is possible that Plato may have secretly been initiated into the Pythagorean society at this time. Continuing on to Syracuse, he meets Dion of Syracuse (brother-in-law of Dionysius I) and with the young Dionysius II. He will remain at Syracuse until 388/7. The Greeks of Thurii are defeated by the Lucanians and appeal for help to Rome. The Romans send a force which saves the city.
389 Dionysius I defeats the Italiote League at the battle of Elleporus. Dionysius was able to now dominate much of Magna Graecia as well as Sicily. Dionysius I destroys the city of Kaulon (Caulonia). The survivors rebuild their city.
388 98th Olympiad (Summer) Plato is ordered to leave Syracuse by Dionysius I. Returning to Athens, he founds his famous Academy whose members will later play important roles in the history of Syracuse (alt. date 387 BC). Dionysius I defeats the Italiot League captures Hipponion (mod. Vibo Valentia) in Bruttium. He deports the entire population of the city to Syracuse where they are forced to remain for the next ten years. This victory creates a Syracusan hegemony over Magna Graecia, making Dionysius I the ruler over most of the Greeks in both Sicily and Italy.
387 Phyton becomes ruler of Rhegium, but the city is soon attacked and destroyed by Dionysius I. The city is soon rebuilt. Having returned to Athens from Syracuse, Plato founds his Academy there. (alt date 347 BC). (July) A large force of Gallic Senones (estimated between 30,000 and 70,000) under Brennus defeat a Roman army of 40,000 under Quintus Sulpicius on the River Allia. The Romans suffer a humiliating defeat and fled back to Rome. They are pursued by the Gauls who enter the city when the city gates are left open. Most the Romans flee to neighboring Veii, leaving a strong garrison on the Capitoline hill. Rome is sacked and occupied by the Gauls, although they are unable to break the Capitoline defenses. Eventually the Gauls, whose ranks were thinned by an epidemic, agreed to withdraw after the payment of a tribute of a thousand pounds of gold. The Romans later revised the story claiming that they eventually attacked and defeated the Gauls, thus recovering their city. The Gallic sack of Rome remained such a sore issue to the Romans that over 3 centuries later Julius Caesar was able to successfully use it as a justification for his invasion of Gaul. Gauls sack Rome. Gauls defeat the Romans at the battle of the river Allia. They then march south and sack Rome itself. (alt dates 390, 387 BC). 386 Dionysius I captures Rhegion.
385 Dionysius I plunders the Etruscan port of Pyrgi. Dionysius I establishes colonies on the Adriatic coast of Italy.
384 99th Olympiad. Aristotle born in Stagira, Macedonia.
383 Gela regains its independence from Syracuse. Heraclea Minoa, in Sicily, is captured by the Carthaginians.
380 100th Olympiad.
379 Dionysius I of Syracuse captures Croton. The city will remain in Syracusan control until 367 BC.
378 The former population of Hipponion in Bruttium is able to return home after a decade-long exile in Syracuse. Their return was facilitated by the Carthaginians. 376 101st Olympiad. 375 (c) Alexis of Thurii, Greek comic playwright, born. A composer of some 245 plays (including one dealing with the emancipation of women), he lived to the age of 106. (c) Archytas of Taras develops the science of mechanics. Aristoxenus of Taras, peripatetic philosopher, born (alt. date: 354 BC). He was a noted writer on music and rhythm. The son of Spintharus, a pupil of Socrates, he received an excellent education in philosophy and music from his father as well as the Pythagoreans Lamprus of Erythrae and Xenophilus. He later became a pupil of Aristotle whom he had unsuccessfully hoped to succeed as head of the Lyceum. He never forgave Aristotle and was said to have defiled his memory, as well as those of Socrates and Plato, claiming that the latter had plagiarized most of his greatest work, The Republic, from Protagoras. He was said to have written four hundred and fifty-three works on philosophy, ethics and music. Aristoxenus believed that the soul was related to the body as harmony to the parts of a musical instrument. He differed from the Pythagoreans in his belief that the notes of the musical scale should be judged by ear rather than by mathematical ratio. His theories remained important to the development of western music until the Byzantine era.
372 102nd Olympiad. Sparta captures the Syracusan relief fleet sent to Corcyra.
368 103rd Olympiad.
367 Death of Dionysius I. He is succeeded as tyrant of Syracuse by his son Dionysius II. Dion sends a request to Plato to return to Syracuse. Carthage and the Etruscans make a pact against Taras/Tarentum. Leges Liciniae Sextiae. Roman Plebeians are allowed to run for the office of Consul for the first time.
366 Plato makes his second visit to Syracuse remaining there until 365 BC. He witnessed the turbulent period of the exile and restoration of his friend Dion. Dion is banished from Syracuse by Dionysius II. Dion flees to Athens where he becomes associated with the Plato’s Athenian Academy. Pestilence in Rome. This plague would rage in for three years and, at its height, claimed as many as 10,000 lives per day. The famous Roman leader Camillus were among the victims (alt date 365 BC). Lucius Sestius becomes the first plebeian to be elected Consul in Rome.
364 104th Olympiad. 361 Plato makes his 3rd visit to Syracuse, remaining until 360 BC. Arriving at the invitation of his friend Dion, Plato is forced to reside outside the palace at the camp of the mercenaries, apparently a hostage of Dionysius II to guarantee the good behavior of Dion. Dion unsuccessfully attempts to convince Plato to support his revolt. Agathocles, future tyrant of Syracuse and king of Sicily, is born at Thermae Himeraeae. 360 105th Olympiad (Summer) Plato is rescued from Syracuse by a ship sent by his friend Archytas, ruler of Tarentum. He returns to Athens, never returning to Syracuse. (c) Eruption/earthquake on Vulcano Island. 358 Rhegium (mod. Reggio di Calabria) forms a Republic which lasts until c300 BC. 357 (Aug 9) A lunar eclipse occurs just before Dion, brother-in-law of Dionysius II, with a fleet of 5 ships and a small army of 800 professional soldiers, sets out from Zacynthus to return to Sicily. He is accompanied by 3 members of Plato’s Academy. Landing at the Carthaginian port of Heraclea Minoa, Dion learns that Dionysius II had left Syracuse for the Italian mainland with a fleet of 80 ships. Dion realizes that this is an ideal time to formant a popular revolt at Syracuse. (Sept) While Dionysius was in Caulonia, Dion seizes power in Syracuse with the aid of members of Plato’s Academy. Dionysius returns and is besieged in the citadel of Ortygia. 356 106th Century Dion drives Dionysius II from Syracuse and seizes power for himself. Dionysius flees to Locri Epizephyrii in Bruttium, where he becomes tyrant. Apollocrates, eldest son of Dionysius II, continues to hold the citadel of Ortygia for his father. When he was finally forced to surrender, he was allowed to live and go into exile from Syracuse. (alternate date-357). Bruttians split away from Lucanian control and form their own league. 354 Dion is overthrown and assassinated by Kallipos (Callippus) the Athenian Academic. Kallipos was one of the members of Plato’s Academy who initially helped Dion win power in Syracuse. Dion’s widow, Arete, a daughter of Dionysius I “the Elder”, and her mother Aristomache, attempt to flee from Syracuse following his assassination. Their ship, bound for the Peloponnesus, is intercepted Hicetas, tyrant of Leontini, who has the two women drowned. Samnites sign a treaty of alliance with Rome, probably as a defensive treaty against a possible Gaulish threat. 353 Kallipos leads several expeditions against Sicilian cities, including Katane, which have revolted against Syracuse. His absence from Syracuse allows Hipparinus, brother of Dionysius II to seize power in the city. 352 107th Olympiad. Kallipos, having been driven from Syracuse during the previous year, attempts to seize control of Messana. After being defeated here he sails to the Italian mainland where he manages to capture Rhegion. His reign here, however, was short. His arrogance and severity towards his followers resulted in his assassination. According to Plutarch, his comrades Leptines and Polyperchon struck him down with the same sword he had used to kill Dion. Pharax takes control of Akragas. The city soon falls to the Carthaginians. Akragas remains nearly deserted until 338 BC. 351 Hipparinus of Syracuse dies. Nysaeos succeeds tyrant in Syracuse (alt. date 350 BC). 350 Town of Mola (mod. Castel Mola [ME]) rebuilt. (c) Alkimos, Greek-Sicilian historian, flourishes. His History of Sicily was the first historical work to mention the story of Romulus and his legendary foundation of Rome. In his 4-book philosophical and mathematical work Ad Aminta, he supported the view that doctrines of Epicarmus had influenced platonic philosophy. Taras establishes a coalition of Greek cities against the threat of the Lucanians. (c) Dicaearchus, philosopher, scientist, and scholar, is born at Messana, Sicily. (c) Practice begins to spread throughout the Greek world of going to temples to seek cures from the gods for various ailments. These sanctuaries are the direct forerunners of what would become hospitals. (c) Possible eruption on Ischia. (c) Eruption on Stromboli. (c) Mt Etna erupts. 349 Syracusan ships continue to raid along the coast of the Italian mainland. 348 108th Olympiad Treaty between Rome and Carthage. According to Diodorus Siculus this was the earliest accord between the two powers, making the 509 BC treaty suspect. Death of Plato at Athens (alt date 347 BC). 347 Archytas of Tarentum drowns when his ship sinks off the coast of Apulia. 346 Leaving his wife and daughters with a garrison at Locri, Dionysius II returns to Syracuse where he is restored to power as tyrant. After Dionysius left Locri, its citizens, having endured his great cruelties for a decade, revolt and drive out the garrison. Left without protection, Dionysius’s family members are taken captive, tortured and executed. (alt. date-347). Apollocrates, eldest son of Dionysius II, returns to Syracuse. Romans capture Sora in Campania on the river Liris. The city of Rome suffers from flooding of the river Tiber. 345 Timaeus, historian, born at Tauromenium (mod. Taormina), Sicily. (alt. date: 350 BC). Mamercus becomes tyrant of Katana (mod. Catania). 344 109th Olympiad Envoys from Syracuse arrive in Corinth seeking help in ending the continuing self-destructive conflicts between the Greek states in Sicily and the increasing threat from the Carthaginians. The Corinthians decide to send Timoleon with a handful of soldiers to Sicily. Timoleon sails west and reaches the Italian mainland. He stops at Metapontum before proceeding to Sicily. He successfully reaches Tauromenium and marches against Hicetas. (alt date: 345 BC). According to ancient writers (Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch), as Timoleon’s sailed by night towards Sicily, an “extraordinary prodigy” appeared in the sky; “A burning torch appeared in the heavens for an entire night, and went before the fleet to Sicily.” Interpreted as a sign of divine favor for the enterprise, modern scholars believe that it was a comet which appeared in the western sky. Timoleon defeats Hicetas (Iketas) at Adranum, who retreats back to Syracuse. 343 Dionysius surrenders Ortygia to Timoleon and is allowed to retire to Corinth in safety. There he spends his remaining years as a schoolmaster. Hicetas asks Carthage for help against Timoleon. The Carthaginians send an army of 60,000 men. This alliance fails to defeat Timoleon and the Carthaginians withdraw. Hicetas retreats back into Leontini. There he is besieged by Timoleon and forced to surrender. Timoleon ends the tyranny and begins to reform and restore lost freedoms to Syracuse. He increases the depleted population by bringing in 10,000 new colonists from Corinth and other Greek cities. The government is reformed along democratic lines. The old citadel on Ortygia, the symbol of the old tyrants, is razed and replaced by a court of justice. The chief magistry of the city is given to the amphipolos, an annually chosen priest of Olympian Zeus. (alt. date: 345 BC). The increasing threat of the Bruttian League forces the people of Taras/Tarentum to appeal for help to their mother-city Sparta. Samnites attack the Sidicini, an Oscan-speaking people living in northern Campania between the Rivers Liris and Volturnus. Romans break their treaty with the Samnites initiating the First Samnite War. Threatened by attack from the Samnites, Capua appeals for help from Rome. The Romans expel the Samnites from northern Campania and place a garrison in Capua. Battle of Saticula. Romans under Consul A. Cornelius Cossus Arvina defeat a Samnite army. Romans under Consul M. Valerius Corvus defeat the Samnites at Mt. Gaurus and Suessula. (alt. date: 342 BC). 342 Roman offensive against the Samnites delayed due to an army mutiny. In response to Taras’s appeal for help against the Bruttians, the Spartan king Archidamus III arrives in southern Italy with an army. A member of the Eurypontid royal line, his career as a soldier stretched back 30 years before this with varying degrees of success and failure. He had risen to the Spartan throne in 360/359 BC. Leptinus, the nephew of Dionysius the Elder and the assassin of Kallipos, is exiled from Syracuse. He spent his last years at Corinth. 341 Romans under Consul L. Aemilius Mamercus Privernas launch a major offensive against the Samnites. (alt. date: 342 BC). Samnites agree to a new treaty with Rome ending the First Samnite War. Their war with the Romans concluded, the Samnites begin to threaten Greek Taras/Tarentum. 340 110th Olympiad. Hicetas of Leontini makes a new attempt to seize power, making a new alliance with Carthage against Timoleon. The Carthaginians send a new army of 70,000 which lands at Lilybaeum. (Apr 24) Timoleon, with an army of only c12,000 Greeks (some sources say only 5,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry), defeats the 70,000-strong Carthaginian army, commanded by Asdrubal and Hamilcar, at the river Crimissus (Krimisos). The Greeks attribute this victory largely to Timoleon’s personal courage and abilities as a general. He attacked the Carthaginians while they were engaged in crossing the river. Their forces being split by the river, the Carthaginians were unable to form a proper battle line as the Greek cavalry launched an initial attack. As Timoleon led his infantry forward, a violent storm rose up blowing stinging rain and hail into the faces of the Carthaginian army. Carthaginian defenses collapsed and their Sacred Band, an elite troop of well-armed citizen soldiers, was wiped out. Timoleon also captured the Carthaginian camp. (or 341, 339 BC). Greek mercenaries comprised part of both armies in this battle. Perhaps as many as 4,000 of the warriors under Timoleon were hired from Greek cities other than Syracuse About a thousand of these soldiers deserted from Timoleon’s army before the battle, not trusting his abilities to defeat the Carthaginians. Battle of Suessa Aurunca. Now engaged in the Latin War, the Romans defeat an allied force of Latins and Campanians. Following this victory, the Romans manage to break the alliance by offering the Campanians a favorable peace treaty. The latter agree to the terms and withdraw their forces. 339 Battle of Vesuvius. Romans under Publius Decius Mus engage in battle with the Latins, Volsci, and Campanians on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in Campania. The Romans are victorious but grant the defeated allies favorable terms, thus ending the Latin War. (alt. date 340 BC). Timoleon refounds Kamarina. Timoleon plants a Greek colony of 10,000 at the Sikel town of Agyrion (Agirium; mod. Agira [EN]). 338 Carthage sends mercenaries to support Hicetas but he is defeated by Timoleon at Leontini. Hicetas is captured and executed. Timoleon forces the Carthaginians to sign a treaty very favorable to the Greeks. Carthaginian power in Sicily is limited to the area west of the river Halycus (Platani). Timoleon restores Akragas. Timoleon restores Gela with new colonists. Timoleon voluntarily retires to private life but remains the most influential man in all of Greek Sicily. Battle of Chaeronea. Archidamus III, King of Sparta, is killed in battle against the Bruttians near the walls of Manduria. Rome is victorious in the Latin War. The Latin League is dissolved and the Latins are incorporated into the Roman State as full citizens. Some sources, however, say they were given the status of civitas sine suffragio. As a result of their victory over the Latins, the Romans are free to occupy northern Campania. The cities of Formiae, Capua, and Kyme/Cumae receive “Latin Rights”, a form of partial citizenship (civitas sine suffragio). These rights include conubium (the right to legal marriage with Roman citizens), commercium (the right to trade with Roman citizens under Roman law), and ius migrationis (the right to obtain full Roman citizenship by taking up residence in the ager Romanus [territory under direct Roman jurisdiction]). Those cities with this status reciprocated them with the Romans. 337 Timoleon is stricken with blindness but still attempts to play an important role in the assembly at Syracuse. (Dec 15) Timoleon dies. He receives a fine public funeral and tomb at Syracuse. Aurunca, a city of the Aurunci, is destroyed by the Sindicini. The survivors flee south where they found a new city in northern Campania, Suessa Aurunca (CE), about 7 km from the old site of Aurunca. 336 111th Olympiad War breaks out between the Romans and the Ausones. (alt. date: 334 BC). The Romans capture Teanum Sidicinum (mod. Teano), capital of the Aurunci, in northern Campania. The town becomes a Roman ally. Philip II is assassinated. He is succeeded as king of Macedonia and Greece by his son Alexander III “the Great”. Using the army created and trained by his father, Alexander will set out on his famous conquest of the Persian Empire and beyond in 334 BC. 335 Romans capture Cales (mod. Calvi) in Campania. They establish a Latin colony of 2,500 citizens there. (alt date 334 BC). Aristotle founds the Lyceum at Athens, dedicated to the study of science. Hicetas of Syracuse, Pythagorean philosopher and astronomer, dies. 334 War between the Romans and Ausones ends in the defeat of the latter. The Romans occupy Cales and found a Latin colony there. 332 112th Olympiad Acerrae (mod. Acerra), in Campania, becomes the first city to receive the status of Civitas sine suffragio (Roman citizenship without the right to vote). Rome signs a treaty with the city of Taras/Tarentum. Taras makes another appeal for foreign help as the threat posed by the Italic Bruttians and Lucanians increases. This time they ask for help from Alexander I of Epirus (aka Alexander of Molossus). The maternal uncle and namesake of Alexander the Great, Alexander sought an opportunity to create his own empire. Intervention in Italy could provide him with just the opportunity that he was seeking. His initial successes against the Italics gave confidence to the Tarentines but soon they became aware that Alexander was fighting more for his own self-interest than for theirs. Despite the loss of Tarentine sponsorship, Alexander had no intention of withdrawing his forces. Recognizing that the only power on the peninsula that might oppose him was Rome, he sent ambassadors to conclude a treaty of alliance. The city of Metapontum forms an alliance with Alexander I of Epirus against the Lucanians and Bruttians. Alexander I of Epirus defeats a Samnite-Lucanian army near Paestum. Pestilence strikes Rome. 331 (c) Alexander I of Epirus takes Sipontum (mod. Siponto) from the Samnites 330 The dreams of Alexander I for his own Italian Empire end when he is killed in battle against the Lucanians and Bruttians at Pandosia, on the river Acheron. Although it was unclear exactly how he perished, a rumor suggested that he was struck down from behind by a Bruttian or Lucanian traitor. (alt. date: 331 BC). (c) A Lucanian sanctuary inspired by Greek models is constructed around this time near modern-day Armento [PZ]. Archestratus, Sicilian-Greek poet and gastronomist, dies. A native of either Gela or Syracuse, he was the author (in c350 BC) of the now mostly lost Gastronomy (Hedupatheia = Good Cheer or Pleasant Living), a humorous poem about food and cooking. It is considered one of the earliest known cookbooks. Ennius used this work as a source for his Hedyphagetica. Aristotle considered his descriptions of animals that he used Archestratus as a source for his own History of Animals. He also influenced the works of Apicius and he is also mentioned by Athenaeus. 328 113th Olympiad A Latin colony established is at Fregellae in southern Latium. The colony is situated on the river Liris, in territory claimed by the Samnites. Because of the anti-Roman actions of the population of Palaeopolis in Campania, the Roman consul Publilius Philo lays siege to the city, while neighboring Neapolis (Naples) voluntarily agrees to a treaty. Samnites from Nola rush to the defense of Palaeopolis and strengthen the city enough to hold off the Roman assaults for several months. The city finally fell due to the treachery of pro-Roman sympathizers within the walls. Upon its fall, Palaeopolis disappears from history while Neapolis, now an allied city (foederata civitas) of Rome thrives (alt. date 327 BC). The island of Capri off the coast of Campania comes under Roman control. Volscians are expelled from the Liris river valley by the Romans. 327 Argos Hippion (mod. Arpi [FG]) in Apulia allies itself with Rome. (alt. date: 326 BC) The Romans make alliances with Nuceria (Nocera) and the Apulians. Second Samnite War begins. 326 Treaty is concluded between Rome and Neapolis. The Circus Maximus is built at Rome. The remains of Alexander I of Epirus are interred at Metapontum. 325 (c) During the last quarter of the 4th century BC, the Greeks at Metapontum convert their Ekklesiasterion into a theater. Romans successfully campaign against the Marsi, Peligni, and Vestini. In the course of this campaign the Roman army reaches the coast of the Adriatic for the first time. 324 114th Olympiad Croton, aided by Syracuse, defeats the Bruttii. 323 Vibinum (mod. Bovino [FG]) in Apulia founded by the Daunii. (June 13) Death of Alexander the Great at age of 32. Upon his death his empire immediately fragments. Alexander’s death marks the beginning of the Hellenistic period. It has been suggested that Alexander had begun looking towards the west for new potential conquests. Had he conquered Carthage and/or the Greek states of Magna Graecia and Sicily, it would simply a matter of time before he would have faced the Romans. The outcome of a war between Alexander and the Romans, each with their own successful but different tactical skills remains a matter of debate to the present-day. (c) Rhinton, dramatist, is born at Syracuse. The inventor of the hilarotragoedia, a burlesque of tragic subjects, he authored 38 plays during his career. 322 Romans occupy Ischia. Romans reject an offer of peace from the Samnites. Earthquake strikes the Campi Flegrei in Campania. Agathocles returns to Syracuse from southern Italy. 321 A Roman army of 20,000 under the command of the Consuls Spurius Postumius Albinus and Titus Veturius is trapped and defeated by the Samnites commanded by Gaius Pontius, at the battle of the Caudine Forks, ending the first phase of the Second Samnite War. Postumius is forced to agree to a humiliating treaty, giving up Fregellae and Cales to the Samnites. As part of the conditions for securing their safe release the entire Roman army is forced to disarm and pass beneath a yoke as a sign of submission. This “yolk” is a type of arch formed by three spears. Furthermore, 600 Roman knights are to be given to the Samnites as hostages, and the Romans must agree to withdraw from Samnite territory. The two nations should thereafter one another’s territories and laws. 320 115th Olympiad The Romans elect new consuls while the Roman senate debates the Caudine treaty. It is agreement is rejected and the senate orders that Postumius and others responsible for the treaty be handed over to the Samnites. The Samnite leader Gavius Pontius, however, refuses to accept them. Hostilities continue between the two powers as the Samnites capture Fregellae, but a Roman army under Q. Publilius does defeat the Samnites in battle. Samnites capture Lucera. Samnites conclude a peace treaty with Taras/Tarentum. Acestorides expels Agathocles from Syracuse. Aristaeus of Kroton, mathematician, flourishes. Also known as Aristaeus the Elder, he succeeded Eudoxus of Cnidus as the head of his school in Cyrene, and worked closely with Euclid and Apollonius on a treatise entitled “Analysis of Locus”, a now-lost method of geometry for advanced students. Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. After this eruption, Mt Vesuvius went into a long dormant period. Although the area remained seismically active, causing occasional earthquakes, the lack of eruptions caused the populace to forget that the mountain was actually a volcano. The slopes of the mountain, having rich volcanic soil, were cultivated and the towns and cities below such as Pompeii and Herculaneum grew both in size and prosperity. The volcano was to remain dormant for the next four centuries until the famous eruption of AD 79. 319 Romans retake Lucera. The city receives the status of a colonia togata. The Senate dispatches 2,500 Roman colonists to settle at Lucera. Acestorides leaves Syracuse. Sostratus becomes leader of Syracuse. Agathocles captures Leontini with an army from Morgantina. Agathocles, aided by the Carthaginian Hamilcar, returns to Syracuse. He is appointed strategos (general and guardian of the peace) or praetor. 318 Romans under Junius Bubulcus capture Aceruntia/Acherutia (Lat. Acherontia) (mod. Acerenza [PZ]). They build a temple there dedicated to Hercules Acheruntine. Romans defeat the Apuli. The Romans appoint the praefecti Capuam Cumas for the first time. These new officials are assigned the task of governing Roman-held northern Campania, their creation places severe limitations on the powers of the local officials (meddices) of Capua. Two new local voting tribes, the Oufentina and Falerna, are created for the Roman citizens living there. Pyrrhus, future ruler of Epirus, is born. 317 Agathocles goes into exile at Morgantina. He gathers an army of supporters, supposedly for a campaign against Erbita, but soon returns to Syracuse and seizes power there as a tyrant. A peace treaty is concluded between Kroton and the Bruttians. A group exiles from Kroton unsuccessfully attempt to storm the city. 316 116th Olympiad. Agathocles announces his intention to revise the Syracusan constitution. He orders the general citizens to meet in assembly in the theater, while the senate gathers at the Gymnasium. Once both groups are seated, Agathocles sets his army of 5,000 African mercenaries upon them. The senators are all cut down, as all the leaders of the common assembly. Altogether, some 600 Syracusan leaders are killed or banished. Agathocles now assumes complete control over Syracuse, becoming a tyrant in everything but name. He assumed the title of strategos autokrator. The struggle between Agathocles and the surviving Syracusan leaders who escaped into exile will continue for the next decade. Second Samnite War is renewed when the Romans violate the treaty. 315 Agathocles attacks and seizes Messene (mod. Messina). Battle of Lautalae. Samnites defeat a Roman army under general and dictator Q. Fabius Rullianus. 314 Temporary suspension of the war between Syracuse and the Carthaginians for control of Sicily. The people of Akragas send for Acrotatus of Sparta to help them against Agathocles. After a stop at Taras/Tarentum, Acrotatus arrived in Akragas and took charge of the city’s defenses. He soon displayed such cruelty towards the inhabitants that they rose up and drove him out. Acrotatus murders Sostratus and escapes from Akragas. Romans invade Samnite territory and capture Tarracina. Capua is forced to sign a new treaty with the Romans. Romans unsuccessfully attack Bovianum Vetus. C. Maenius is elected dictator in Rome to investigate anti-Roman plots in the Campanian city of Capua. Romans establish a Latin colony at Luceria, Apulia. War breaks out between the Romans and the Aurunci. Romans defeat Samnites who retreat to Maleventum. The city’s name was more likely Maloeis (derived from the Greek word for apple malon). Although it had once been thought that the name Maleventum was derived from the Latin, meaning “Bad Air”, this theory has now been largely abandoned. 313 Romans capture Novla from the Samnites. They rename the town Nola. (alt dates: 314; 311). The Romans capture the last of the Aurunci towns. Romans found Latin colonies at Suessa Aurunca (Campania), on the island of Pontiae, and at Saticula (Samnium). Completion of the first section of the Via Appia (Appian Way) linking Rome with Capua. Romans capture Casinum (mod. Cassino [FR]). Romans capture Fregellae (alt. date: 313) and Sora (alt. date: 314). 312 117th Olympiad Romans colonize Casinum (mod. Cassino [FR]). Roman censor Appius Claudius drains the Pontine marshes. Appius Claudius builds the Via Appia, the first Roman aqueduct. Gela falls again to the Carthaginians who are helped by the treachery of the city’s nobles. 311 Hamilcar, son of Gisco, arrives in Sicily to take over the Carthaginian forces there. Agathocles captures Gela and massacres 4,000 of the population. Romans capture Bovianum Vetus. 310 Hamilcar seizes control over most of Sicily and soon lays siege to Syracuse itself. Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, invades North Africa with an army of 14,000 to ravage Carthaginian territory. He is accompanied by Archagathus, his son by Theoxena (step-daughter of Ptolemy I of Egypt). The Siciliot Greek army lands at Latomiae. The attack takes the Carthaginians completely by surprise and recalls Hamilcar from Sicily to defend Carthage. Etruscans send ships to Agathocles in support of his war against Carthage. Romans capture the Samnite town of Allifae (mod. Alife [CE]). (c) Romans take control of Herculaneum. Romans make an unsuccessful naval raid near Pompeii. 309 Taking advantage of the absence of Agathocles in Africa, the city of Henna (mod. Enna) successfully revolts from Syracuse under their native Sikel leader Xenodichias. Having received aid in their revolt from the city of Akragas, the citizens of Henna decide to place themselves under the authority of that city as protection from Syracusan retaliation. Heraclea Minoa is captured by Akragas. Agathocles continues his campaign against Carthage in North Africa. Marching inland, he defeats the Carthaginians in battle but is unable to follow-up his success when his camp is looted by Carthage’s Numidian allies. 308 118th Olympiad. Xenodokos takes power in Akragas for a short time. 307 Agathocles campaigns throughout Sicily. He sacks Apollonia (where he massacres most of the population), near Messene, captures Kephaloidion (mod. Cefalů [PA]), and sacks Segesta in western Sicily. A peace treaty is signed between Agathocles and Hamilcar. Control over Sicily is restored to old status quo. Agathocles marries Theoxena, sister of Magas, the Ptolemaic viceroy of Cyrene. Hernici revolt against the Romans. The Hernici are an Italic tribe living between the Lago di Fucino (Lacus Fucinus) and the river Sacco (Trerus). Romans under Fabius defeat the Samnites at Alife. The “Nuceria League” (Nuceria, Sorrento, Pompeii, Stabile, and Herculaneum) break their alliance with the Samnites and make peace with the Romans on favorable terms. 306 New treaty between Rome and Carthage. Peace treaty signed between the Romans and the Hernici. Most of the latter receive the status of civitas sine suffragio. 305 Samnites retake Bovianum Vetus.
304 119th Olympiad Romans establish a Latin colony of 6,000 at Alba Fucens Rome makes new alliances with the Marsi, Paeglini, Marrucini, and Frentani. Second Samnite War ends. The new treaty secures Roman control over northern and central Campania. Taras is attacked by the Lucanians. The Tarentines appeal for help to Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse. Agathocles uses the appeal as a pretext to invade Bruttium. Agathocles captures Lipara through treachery. The loot taken was loaded onto ships bound for Syracuse. Enroute the fleet was caught in a storm and lost.
303 Cleonymus of Sparta and Taras negotiate an alliance against the Lucanians. Expedition of Cleonymus of Sparta to Italy. He is defeated by the Salentini with the help of the Romans. (alt. date: 302 BC). Metapontum opposes Cleonymus of Sparta. Lying siege to the city, he forces the Metapontians to conclude a treaty and pay him a large indemnity. Alliance between Rome and Taras/Tarentum. Romans establish a Latin colony at Sora in Samnite territory to guard the Liris valley. Romans establish a Latin colony at Alba Fucensis (Alba Fucens) with 6,000 colonists. 301 Romans war against the Marsi and Etruscans. Peace between Rome and the Vestini.
3rd Century BC Leonidas of Tarentum, poet, flourishes. He wrote at least 100 epigrams, most of which can be read in the Greek Anthology. Pompeii founded by the Samnites. 300 120th Olympiad Rhegium captured by Syracuse. (c) Last known eruption of Roccamonfina, located 50 km N of Naples. (c) Eruption on Vulcano island. 299 (early in year) Lucanians send an embassy to Rome to make a formal complaint about the Samnites. Appearing before the Senate, they said the Samnites had attempted to make a treaty them against the Romans. When the Lucanians refused, the Samnites invaded their territory to try to force them into the treaty. The Lucanians stated that they were willing to endure the suffering rather than turn against Rome. They asked the Romans to declare war on the Samnites and promised to remain loyal, even offering them hostages as a guarantee of their good faith. The Romans agreed to help and sent ambassadors to the Samnites ordering them to withdraw immediately from the territory of their Lucanian allies. Samnite officials met these ambassadors before they arrived, telling that they be killed if they tried appearing before any Samnite assembly. When the ambassadors returned to Rome and reported what had transpired, the Senate declared war on the Samnites. The Third Samnite War begins. Agathocles occupies the island of Corcyra. First professional barbers in Rome arrive from Sicily. 298 Romans under L. Cornelius Scipio Barbatus drive the Samnites out of Lucania. Romans capture Taurasia, Bovianum Vetus and Aufidena (mod. Aufedena [AQ]), centers of the Caraceni Samnites. Latin colony founded at Carseoli. New treaty between the Romans and Lucani. 296 121st Olympiad. Minturnae (the principal port of the Ausoni) and Sinuessa receive full Roman citizenship. (Alt date. 295 BC) Pestilence strikes Rome. 295 Battle of Camerinum. Romans under Scipio Barbatus are defeated by an allied army of Gauls and Samnites. Battle of Sentinum. Romans defeat a coalition of Samnites, Gauls (Senones), and Etruscans. The Samnite leader Gellius Egnatius is killed during the battle. Agathocles of Syracuse captures Croton. Agathocles cedes Corcyra to Pyrrhus of Epirus. 294 Battle of Lucera. Samnites defeat the Romans. Etruscans end their alliance with the Samnites and sign a treaty with Rome. 293 Battle of Aquilonia. Romans defeat the Samnites. Romans capture Amiternum (AQ). 292 122nd Olympiad. Romans crush a rebellion at Falerii. 291 Romans capture the Samnite city of Venusia (mod. Venosa) near the Lucanian border. They establish a Roman colony there. Pestilence strikes Rome. 290 Romans under consul Manius Curius Dentatus capture the Praetutian city of Interamna (mod. Teramo). It is given the status of a municipium. Adria (mod. Atri [TE]) captured by the Romans. Third Samnite War ends. A new treaty is signed between Rome and the Samnites. Surrender of rebel Sabines who receive the status of civitas sine suffragio.
289 Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, dies. Sources differ as to the nature of his death. Some believe that he was the victim of an assassin; others believe he died of jaw cancer. Agathocles’s wife and children are given sanctuary in Egypt.
288 123rd Olympiad The Campanian Mamertines (= “sons of Mamers” [Mars]), having been employed as mercenaries by Agathocles, are now left to their devices by his death. Taking advantage of the disorder, they capture the city of Messene. Having taken the city by treachery, they killed all of the men and took the women as wives. 287 (c) Archimedes, one of history’s greatest scientists and inventors, is born at Syracuse. The son of the astronomer Phidias, he received his education at the great University of Alexandria. After studying under Conon of Samos and Eratosthenes, he eventually returned to Syracuse, where he settled in as a member of the court of his close friend (and possible relative), Hieron II. 286 Phintias (Findias) becomes tyrant of Akragas. 285 Thurii attacked by the Bruttians. Rhinton of Syracuse, dramatist, dies at Tarentum. 284 124th Olympiad (c) Playwright Livius Andronicus is born in Tarentum. Translating and adapting many Greek plays into Latin, he is considered the founder of Roman drama and epic poetry. 282 Romans establish a colony at Adria. Romans send a garrison to Rhegium (alt. date: 280). Roman-Tarentine Conflict begins. Thurii asks help from Rome against the Lucanians. Because Thurii is a colony of Taras, this request creates political tension between the Taras and Rome. Rome and Taras make an agreement delineating their spheres of influence. The Romans agree not to send ships into the Gulf of Taranto or go beyond the Lacinium promontory. The Romans send a squadron into the Gulf of Taranto carrying a garrison bound for Thurii. A storm catches ten of the Roman ships and drives them up to the port of Taras. The Tarentines, then celebrating the festival of Dionysus, are enraged to see the Romans violating their recent agreement. They attack the ships, sinking four of them and capturing another. The remainder of the Roman fleet deposits the garrison at Thurii. Tarentines appeal for help to Pyrrhus of Epirus. Pyrrhus owed a debt of gratitude to the Tarentines who had earlier helped him conquer the island of Corcyra. His main motivation, however, was that he viewed Italy as a step towards his ultimate goal, the conquest of Macedonia. Coming to the aid of Taras was the excuse he needed to send a force westward into Magna Graecia and then into Sicily. Once he consolidated the power and wealth of the western Greeks, he would move against Carthage to eliminate any threat which they might pose. Then he would turn his attention against Macedonia. To hide this ultimate goal, however, he went so far as to ask his fellow Hellenistic rulers for help against the Romans. Several responded with donations of ships, money, and soldiers. Ptolemy II Philadelphos of Egypt sent him a force of 9,000 soldiers and 50 war-elephants. Even Macedonia itself sent phalanxes to support him. The Romans withdraw their garrison from Thurii. Tarentines send their army and fleet to Thurii to oust the pro-Roman aristocratic government there and replace it with a democratic one. 281 Roman army under Emilius Barbula invades Tarentine territory. The Romans capture and plunder Taras. The Tarentines, supported by Samnite and Sallentinian reinforcements, counter-attack but are defeated. A Tarentine delegation under Agis is sent to negotiate with the Romans. Before an agreement can be reached, 3,000 Epirote troops under Milon arrive and drive the Romans out of Taras. The peace talks are broken off and the Romans retreat suffering heavy losses from attacks by Greek ships. 280 125th Olympiad First Roman coins are minted. Sosistratos takes power for a short time in Akragas. He is soon ousted as the city comes under Epirote rule. Rome plants a garrison at Rhegium. The troops are not Roman regulars but consist of a cohort of Sidicini and two cohorts of mixed Campanian troops. Roman-Tarentine Conflict evolves into the Pyrrhic War. Pyrrhus arrives at Taras with the main body of his army. He has under his command a force of over 23,000 infantry, archers and slingers, 3,000 horsemen, and 19 war-elephants. Accompanying him are two of his sons, Alexander and Helenus. Battle of Heraklea. Pyrrhus defeats the Romans. Pyrrhus defeats an army of 30,000 Romans under the command of M. Valerius Laevinus. Casualties on both sides are heavy but the Romans are able to recover from their losses more quickly than Pyrrhus. Following his victory at Heraklea, Pyrrhus marches towards Rome in hopes of convincing other peoples and cities under Roman domination to switch their loyalties to him. The attempt proves fruitless and he retires back into Apulia. Neapolis, a loyal allied city of Rome, successfully repels Pyrrhus’ attack. Phintias (Findias), tyrant of Akragas, transports the remaining population of Gela to his new city of Phintias (mod. Licata). In memory of their former home, these people continue to refer to themselves as Geloans.
279 Battle of Asculum (Apulia). Pyrrhus defeats a Roman army commanded by G. Fabricius Luscinus, but suffers heavy casualties. Many sources consider this a drawn battle rather than an actual victory for Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus receives a request from the Greek Sicilian cities of Syracuse, Leontini, and Akragas, to lead them in a war against the Carthaginians and the Mamertines. (alt. date. 278 BC). Romans and Carthaginians sign a defensive treaty against Pyrrhus. 278 Pyrrhus places a garrison at Taras under the command of his son Alexander, and goes to Sicily. Arriving at Tauromenion (mod. Taormina) and makes an alliance with the local tyrant Tydarion. His next landing is at Catana, where he is receives in friendship. Pyrrhus assumes the title of King of Sicily. He plans to place his son, Alexander, on the throne of a united Greek Sicily. Alexander, through his mother, is a descendant of Agathocles. Pyrrhus also makes plans for his two other sons. Helenus was to be his successor on the throne of Epirus, while Ptolemy, who did not accompany him on the campaign, would become the king of a new kingdom encompassing southern and central Italy. Treaty between Rome and Heraclea. (alt date 282 BC). 277 (c) Rhegium under Epiriote control (to 270 BC). Pyrrhus marches through Greek Sicily taking control of Syracuse and Leontini. As he advances towards Akragas, he learns that the population there expelled the Carthaginian garrison from the city. He enters Akragas unopposed and establishes his own Epiriote garrison there. Pyrrhus takes Henna. Continuing his march, Pyrrhus takes the cities of Selinus, Herakleia and Segesta. Consolidating his Epiriot troops with those of the cities he has occupied, Pyrrhus now crosses into Carthaginian territory with a large army. Eryx, Panormus and Herkte all fall and Lilybaeum, the last Carthaginian stronghold, is besieged. Croton submits to Rome. Romans occupy Bruttium.
276 126th Olympiad Pyrrhus abandons his Sicilian expedition and returns to Taras, renewing his war with Rome. 275 Hieron II seizes power in Syracuse. (c) Barium, in Apulia, taken by the Romans. Battle of Beneventum/ Maleventum. Romans under Man. Curius Dentatus defeat Pyrrhus. Pyrrhic War comes to an end. Pyrrhus withdraws from Italy. Pyrrhus leaves a garrison at Taras and returns with his army to Epirus. Of his original army, only about 8,500 remain. End of the Pyrrhic War. Pyrrhus continued his attempts to gain power through interference in the affairs of other Greek states. In 272 BC, he intervened in a war in the Argolis and was fatally struck in the head by a roof tile during street fighting in Argos. The withdrawal of Pyrrhus leaves Rome in effective control over Magna Graecia. The withdrawal of the Epiriote garrison, Rhegium is left defenseless and is seized by a group of Campanian mercenaries who had deserted from the Roman army. 273 Romans establish a Latin colony at Poseidonia. Most sources state that it was at this time that the city’s name was changed to Paestum. There is numismatic evidence, however, that indicates that the change may have occurred prior to this. Coins from the city excavated from late 4th century BC graves give the name of Paistano instead of Poseidonia. 272 127th Olympiad The Anio Vetus, Rome’s second aqueduct, is built. Renewal of the Roman-Tarentine Conflict. Romans make new alliances with Velia, Heraclea, Thurii and Metapontum, removing them from Tarentine influence. Romans attack and capture Taras/Tarentum. They defeat the Epiriote garrison left there by Pyrrhus and raze the city walls. This removes their last major Greek opponent in Magna Graecia. According to some sources this is the actual end of the “Pyrrhic War.” A Roman colony is established near the city. Romans complete their subjugation of the Italic Samnites, Lucanians and Bruttians. Nearly the entire Magna Graecia portion of southern Italian mainland is now under Roman control. Livius Andronicus, the Taras-born poet, is brought to Rome as a prisoner. Pestilence strikes Rome. 270 Hieron II becomes king of Syracuse. (c) Hieron II begins to build an army which he intends to use against the Mamertines. (c) Theocritus arrives at the court of Hieron II at Syracuse. Romans go to war against the Umbrians, Picentes, and Sallentini. Romans capture Rhegium from rebellious Mamertine mercenaries. (alt. date: 271 BC). Treaty of alliance between Rome and Caulonia in Bruttium. Poet Gn. Naevius is born in Capua. Archimedes of Syracuse studies at Alexandria. 269 The Picentes revolt against Rome. Altar of Hieron II built at Syracuse. Dedicated to Zeus Eleutherios (the Liberator), it was c196 m. in length and 11 m high. According to the ancient historian Diodorus Siculus, 450 oxen could be sacrificed on the altar at the same time. (c) Hieron II of Syracuse defeats the Mamertines at the battle of the river Longanus. 268 128th Olympiad Sabines receive full Roman citizenship. Romans under Consul Sempronius crush the Picentes revolt. They grant a treaty of alliance to Asculum Picenum and grant “Latin Rights” to the remainder of the tribe. A portion of the tribe is transported to new lands in Campania. This group, known as the Picentini, settles at Picentia (mod. Pontecagnano), to the east of Salernum (mod. Salerno). They are remembered in the place names for the river Picentino and the Monti Picentici. Romans establish a Latin colony at Maleventum. Because the name resembles the Latin word male (=bad), the Romans changed the name to Beneventum, based on the Latin word bene (= good). 267 Romans capture Brentesion in Apulia. Renaming the city Brundisium (mod. Brindisi), they improve the city and its harbor, turning it into their principal port for traffic and trade to the eastern Mediterranean. (alt. dates 245 or 244 BC). 266 Alliances are made between Rome and the last independent peoples in Apulia and Messapia. This marks the completion of the Roman conquest of the entire southern Italian mainland. 265 Hieron II of Syracuse lays siege to the Mamertines in Messane. The Mamertines send an appeal for help to Carthage which responds by sending a fleet to Messane. The Carthaginians occupy the city and force Hieron II to conclude a new treaty and withdraw his troops. The Mamertines quickly come to resent the imposition of Carthaginian control of their city and send an appeal for help to Rome to oust the Carthaginians. Archimedes of Syracuse develops the Archimedean Screw, a mechanical devise for lifting liquids to higher levels, and the law of specific gravity. 264 129th Olympiad First Punic War (called the Sicilian War by the Romans) breaks out between Rome and Carthage for control of Sicily. Using the appeal for help sent by the Mamertines, the Roman Consul Appius Claudius Caudex cross the Strait of Messina with 2 legions and occupies Messane. Expelling the Carthaginian garrison there they replace it with one of their own. This incursion out of their sphere of control, alarms Hieron II who quickly accepts an alliance with Carthage against Rome. The First Punic War, one of the bloodiest conflicts of ancient history, has begun. Romans establish a Latin colony at Aesernia (mod. Isernia). (alt. date: 263 BC). The ager Romanus, the territory directly under Roman authority, measures 23,226 km˛. 263 The Romans dispatch both consuls with their armies (totaling about 40,000 men) to Sicily. Man. Valerius Messalla begins a siege of Syracuse. Realizing that the security of his kingdom is now in jeopardy, Hieron II quickly cancels his alliance with Carthage in favor of one with Rome. Hieron proves himself to be a trusted ally to Rome throughout the remainder of the war. Romans receive a sundial from Catane (mod. Catania) in Sicily. It is often referred to as the first sundial at Rome, but such a device had been erected in the court of the Temple of Quirnus in the year 293 BC. The Sicilian sundial was set up in the Forum and became a popular stopping point for Romans wishing to check the time. Unfortunately, having been created for use at Catane (which lies at latitude 37°30′ N) it was gave the incorrect time at Rome (latitude 41°54′ N) until being remounted a century later. Romans conquer Adranon (mod. Adrano [CT]). The town is given the status of a civitas stipendiaria (a town subject to a heavy tribute to Rome). Much of the population is sold into slavery by the Romans to the inhabitants of nearby Centuripe. Control of Netum (mod. Noto Antica) is given to Hieron II by the Romans as part of their treaty. Morgantina comes under Roman control. 262 Akragas, allied with the Carthaginians and second in power in Sicily only to Syracuse, becomes a prime target for the Romans. It comes under siege by both Roman consular armies. The Carthaginians send Hannibal to organize the defense of the city. 261 (Jan) Hannibal, the Carthaginian general commanding the defenses at Akragas, abandons the city with his troops under cover of night. Now defenseless, Akragas falls to the Romans the next day. The Greek population is sold into slavery. The Romans continue their land offensive in Sicily, defeating the Carthaginian commander Hanno in some minor engagements. While failing to achieve much against the Romans on land, the Carthaginians still prove themselves to be masters of the sea, conducting raids along the coast of the Italian mainland. This threat prompts the Romans to begin building up their own naval force. Using the ship-building skills of their Greek allies in southern Italy, the Romans soon have a fleet of 160 ships. 260 130th Olympiad Segesta surrenders to the Romans. The Romans grant it many benefits and award Segesta the status of civitas libera et immunis (“free and immune city”). The Romans believe that the Elymians, like themselves, were descendants of the Trojans. The theater of war becomes more focused on the sea. The Roman consul Cn. Cornelius Scipio attempts to capture the Lipari Islands, which the Carthaginians had been using as a base to raid Roman and Italian territory. Due to faulty intelligence, Scipio is ambushed in a sea battle and captured. He is released after a short time. Because of his foolhardiness, he is given the nickname Asinus. Despite his later successes, the unfortunate name stuck with him. Battle of Mylae. A Roman fleet of 140 ships under the commander of C. Duillius gain their first naval victory over 130 Carthaginian ships commanded by Hannibal Gisco at the battle of Mylae off the N coast of Sicily. This victory breaks the myth of Carthaginian naval invincibility. Gisco returns to Carthage where he is executed for his defeat. Elymian port of Drépanon (mod. Trapani) seized by the Carthaginians who develop it into a naval base. 259 First Punic War continues. A Roman force commanded by the Roman consul L. Cornelius Scipio broadens the theater of war by attacking the Carthaginian-held islands of Sardinia and Corsica. While he succeeds to capture the latter island, his attack on the former is unsuccessful. The other consular army, under the command of C. Aquillius Florus, continues the offensive in Sicily where the Carthaginians make some minor gains. 258 Romans capture Kamarina. The Roman army in Sicily, commanded by A. Atilius Caiatinus, continues the offensive against the Carthaginians and their allies. They capture the city of Henna (mod. Enna) in the interior of the island. Meanwhile, the other Roman consul, C. Sulpicius Paterculus, continues the attacks against Sardinia, defeating a Carthaginian squadron off Sulcis. 257 The Roman Consul C. Atilius Regulus defeats the Carthaginians off Tyndaris. He raids Carthaginian-held Malta where he sinks 18 enemy ships. The other consul, Cn. Cornelius Blasio, continues the campaign in Sicily. 256 131st Olympiad. The Roman fleet is victorious over the Carthaginians off the southern Sicilian coast near Economus. In an effort to force the Carthaginians to withdraw troops from Sicily, the Romans plan an invasion of their enemy’s North African homeland. A huge Roman fleet of 330 ships (250 warships and 80 transports), carrying over 140,000 men, commanded by L. Manlius Vulso and M. Atilius Regulus, sets sail and begins to cross from Sicily to North Africa. While still off the Sicilian coast near Economus, the Romans are intercepted by a Carthaginian fleet of 350 ships, carrying over 150,000 men under the command of Hanno. Despite Carthaginian superiority in numbers and naval skill, they are defeated in the greatest naval battle in ancient history. The Carthaginians losses total 30 ships sunk and 50 others captured. The Romans have 24 of their ships sunk and none captured. With their way cleared, the Roman fleet continues on its way to Africa. The Roman invasion force makes a successful landing in North Africa, but no sooner do they arrive than Manlius Vulso and his 2 legions are recalled. He returns to Sicily with the bulk of the fleet leaving the 2-legion army under the command of M. Atilius Regulus in Africa to keep up the pressure against Carthage. Regulus achieves more victories over the Carthaginians, defeating them at Adys and capturing the city of Tunis. The Carthaginians, recognizing their dilemma, attempt to negotiate a peace with Regulus. Intent on crushing and humiliating Carthage, Regulus offers extremely harsh surrender terms, which the Carthaginians refuse. Thus the war continues. 255 Akragas is sacked by the Carthaginians. It remains under Carthaginian control until 210 BC. The fortunes of Regulus and the Roman army in North Africa change dramatically when they suffer a major defeat near Tunis at the hands of a Carthaginian army commanded by Spartan general Xanthippus. Regulus finds himself a prisoner while the survivors of his army retreat back to the coast, sending word of their dilemma to Rome. A legend developed around the ultimate fate of Regulus. It was said that the Carthaginians arranged for him to return to Rome on the condition that he negotiate a peace for them. Should he fail to fulfill this promise, he would agree to return to Carthage to face whatever fate they desired. According to the story, when Regulus returned to Rome, he appeared before the Senate and, contrary to his agreement, extolled the Romans to continue the war rather than make peace. He then willingly returned to Carthage where he was tortured to death. The story, although appearing in many history books as fact, in reality is a fable, created later to vilify the Carthaginians. In reality, nothing is known of Regulus after his capture by the Carthaginians and it is more likely that he died soon after that event while still a prisoner. The remainder of the Roman North African expedition is ultimately rescued by a 250 ship Roman fleet dispatched from Sicily. The Carthaginians attacked this fleet with 200 ships off Cape Hermaea but are once again defeated. As the Romans sail back to Sicily, however, they are caught in a sudden storm off Camerina and all but 80 ships are sunk before reaching safety. Romans capture the island of Pantelleria from the Carthaginians. 254 The Romans capture Drepanon (mod. Trapani), which they rename Drepanum. Hasdrubal arrives in Sicily to take command of the Carthaginian forces there. The Romans rebuild their fleet back up to a strength of 220 ships. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio arrives in Sicily with an army of 4 legions. The Romans capture Panormus (mod. Palermo). Romans capture Kephaloidion (mod. Cefalů [PA]) on the N. coast of Sicily. They rename the city Coephaledium. Carthaginians retake Pantelleria. An underwater volcanic eruption occurs SW of Sicily. 253 A Roman consular army, under the command of Cn. Servilius Caepio, continues to campaign in Sicily. The other Roman consul, C. Sempronius Blaesus, conducts an unsuccessful raid on North Africa. His fleet narrowly escapes disaster on the Syrtis. Sailing back to Sicily, it is caught in a storm off Cape Palinurus and half of the ships are lost. 252 132nd Olympiad Romans capture Lipara from the Carthaginians (or 251 BC). Romans capture Thermae. 251 Carthaginians send fresh reinforcements to Sicily. (c) Romans under consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus found Metheola (mod. Matera) in Lucania. 250 The Carthaginians under Hasdrubal attempt to retake Panormus but are defeated by the consul L. Manlius Vulso. Carthaginian losses are heavy and include all of their elephants. The Romans continue their own offensive and bring Lilybaeum, the principal Carthaginian stronghold on Sicily, under siege. The Carthaginian garrison manages to hold out thanks to supplies being brought by Rhodian blockade runners. Eruption on Ischia. Timaeus, Sicilian historian from Tauromenium, dies at Syracuse. 249 A Roman fleet under consul P. Claudius Pulcher is defeated at Drepana (mod. Trapani). Losing 93 ships, Pulcher is recalled to Rome and fined for his incompetence. The other Roman consul, L. Junius Pullus, attempts to engage his fleet of 120 warships and 800 transports against a Punic force of 100 ships under the command of Carthalo off Camerina. Carthalo, realizing that a storm is approaching, maneuvered the Roman fleet between his ships and the shore. The Roman fleet is caught in the tempest and broken up against the coastline, while the Carthaginians escape. Junius survives the storm and reorganizes his troops to march inland. 248 133rd Olympiad The Romans continue to besiege the Carthaginian strongholds at Lilybaeum and Drepana. 247 Romans under L. Caecilius Metellus continue to besiege Lilybaeum. Romans under M. Fabius Buteo to besiege Drepana. They capture the island of Pelias. Hamilcar Barca is appointed general and arrives in Sicily where he establishes his base on Mt. Heirkte (or 248 BC). He conducts raids on Bruttium (or 246 BC). Birth of Hannibal Barca, the eldest son of Hamilcar Barca. 246 Romans continue their sieges Lilybaeum and Drepana. Minor skirmishing takes place around Monte Heirkte. 245 The war situation in Sicily remains essentially unchanged from the year before. 244 134th Olympiad. There is little change in the war in Sicily. The sieges of Lilybaeum and Drepana continue while minor skirmishing still centers on Monte Heirkte. A Latin colony is established at Brundisium. The Via Appia (Appian Way) is extended from Capua to Beneventum (mod. Benevento). 243 First Punic War continues. The sieges of Lilybaeum and Drepana continue. Hasbrubal withdraws from Monte Heirkte and takes up a new position on Monte Eryx. From here he is better able to engage the Romans who have been besieging Lilybaeum and Drepana. (alt date 244 BC). 242 Romans capture Lilybaeum. Consul C. Lutatius Catulus brings a new Roman fleet to Sicily. He is wounded at Drepana. 241 First Punic War ends. With their treasury nearly exhausted, the Romans build a new fleet using money loaned by private citizens. The 200 ships are put under the command of C. Lutatius Catulus and set out for Sicily. On March 10, Catulus engages the Carthaginians under Hanno in a sea battle near the Aegates Islands. The Romans achieve a decisive victory, 50 Carthaginian ships and capturing 70 more. The loss of this fleet seals the fate of Lilybaeum and what was left of Carthaginian hopes in Sicily. The Carthaginians sued for peace. Peace Treaty between Rome and Carthage. Sicily becomes the first Roman province, to be ruled by a praetor. The Carthaginians are required to renounce all territorial claims to the island and promise to respect the sovereignty of Hieron’s kingdom of Syracuse. All prisoners of war are returned and Carthage must pay an immediate indemnity of 1000 talents and an annual tribute of 220 talents for the next 10 years. Latin colony established at Spoletium (mod. Spoleto). The defeat of Carthage has left it in a weakened and vulnerable state. The loss of Sicily and the indemnity they must pay to the Romans leaves the city severely short of funds. As a result, many of Carthage’s foreign mercenaries have not received their wages for some time. Growing angry they attempt to force Carthage to pay them by marching against the city of Tunis. The attack, however, is ill-led and uncoordinated and the Carthaginians ultimately put down the revolt. Carthage remains weak for several more years and is unable to prevent the Romans from seizing control of Sardinia in 238/7 BC. The island is soon developed as Rome’s second province after Sicily. Carthage now begins a new period of colonization and conquest in Iberia (Spain) which will eventually restore its wealth and power but, ultimately, lead to a new confrontation with Rome. 240 135th Olympiad Livius Andronicus of Tarentum produces his first play in Rome. This marks the beginning of Roman dramatic theater. The Romans pass the Lex Hieronica, a taxation law which lists 34 Sicilian tributary cities. 239 Quintus Ennius, a poet often called the “father of Roman poetry,” is born at Rudiae in Apulia. He was of Oscan ancestry, and was uncle of the poet Marcus Pacuvius. 238 With the help of Carthaginian mutineers, the Romans seize control of the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. They create their second province outside of Italy. 236 136th Olympiad 232 137th Olympiad 228 138th Olympiad 227 Number of annually elected Roman praetors is raised to four in order to provide governors for Sicily and Sardinia. 224 139th Olympiad 220 140th Olympiad (c) The Roman poet and painter Marcus Pacuvius is born at Brundisium. Like his uncle and teacher, Ennius, he was of Oscan ancestry. As a poet he wrote about 12 plays dealing with Greek subjects, and as an artist, he decorated the temple of Hercules on the Forum Boarium in Rome. 218 Second Punic War begins. Hannibal Barca, commander of Carthage’s forces in Spain, begins a march north into southern Gaul (May) and then across the Alps into northern Italy (November), thus beginning the Second Punic War. He defeats one Roman army under the command of Cornelius Scipio at Ticinus and another under Sempronius Longus at Trebia. The Carthaginians are not so fortunate in other areas however. The Punic commander Hanno suffers defeat in Spain, while a Carthaginian fleet is defeated west of Sicily. Carthaginian-held Malta is lost to the Romans. Hannibal captures Barium in Apulia and places a garrison there. Romans launch a successful invasion of Carthaginian-held Malta from Sicily. 217 Hannibal’s victories continue in northern Italy when he defeats Flaminius at Lake Trasimene. Romans under Fabius Cunctator take Casilinum in Campania. Romans capture the island of Pantelleria from the Carthaginians for a second time. Eruption of Vesuvius (to 216 BC). 216 141st Olympiad Hannibal marches into southern Italy intent on turning Rome’s Italian and Greek allies over to his side. (Aug 2) Battle of Cannae. Hannibal defeats the Romans. Romans suffer their greatest military defeat at the hands of Hannibal. Hannibal’s army, numbering about 40,000, defeats a Roman force of about 70,000, under the command of consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. The Carthaginians and their allies envelope the Roman army and slaughter 50,000, while taking another 10,000 prisoner. First battle of Nola. Romans under Marcus Claudius Marcellus prevent Hannibal from capturing city. Hannibal is only partially successful in turning Cannae into a diplomatic as well as a military victory. Some, but by no means all, of Rome’s allies join the Carthaginian camp. The most significant defector is Capua who sees an alliance with Hannibal as an opportunity to regain the lands, wealth and prestige it had lost to Rome. Hannibal chose Capua for his winter headquarters. He later regretted the decision, claiming that his troops became weak through the luxuries offered by the city. Another city to quickly declare its support for Hannibal after the battle of Cannae was Metapontum. The Romans quickly garrisoned the city to prevent its revolt. Hannibal sacks Nuceria Alfaterna (mod Nocera Inferiore). The town is not rebuilt until the time of Augustus. Hannibal destroys Cisturninum (mod. Cisternino [BR]) in Apulia. Argos Hippion (mod. Arpi [FG]) surrenders to Hannibal after the battle of Cannae. He establishes his winter camp there (to 215 BC). Hannibal captured and burns Acerrae. Croton revolts against Rome after the battle of Cannae. Potentia (mod. Potenza [PZ]) rebels against the Romans after the battle of Cannae. Gelon II dies. 215 Hannibal captures Casilinum after a siege through the winter of 216-215 BC. Second battle of Nola. Romans under Marcus Claudius Marcellus prevent Hannibal from capturing city for a second time. Hannibal withdraws back into Apulia. Romans under Consul Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus defeats Hanno, Hannibal’s lieutenant, at the River Calor (mod. Calore or Calore Irpino) near Beneventum. Hanno’s force consisted of 17,000 Bruttian and Lucanian infantry and 1,200 cavalry. Gracchus’s force was made up mostly of volunteer slaves who had been hastily organized to deal with the threat from Hanno. As incentive, these slaves were promised their freedom if victory was achieved. The slave army fought so ferociously that Hanno was barely able to escape with only 2,000 of his soldiers. Each of the Gracchus’s soldiers presented their general with the head of an enemy as proof that he had fought and was thus granted his freedom. Hieron II dies. He is succeeded as king of Syracuse by his grandson Hieronymus. As one of his first acts, Hieronymus breaks the long-standing treaty with Rome and makes an alliance with Carthage against Rome. The Romans react quickly, marching against Syracuse and putting the city under siege. (Dec 15) Hieronymus is assassinated at Leontini. A Carthaginian-supported revolt in Sardinia threatens Rome’s food supply. Troops are quickly dispatched to suppress the rebels. Eruption on Vulcano Island. 214 Morgantina switches its allegiance from Rome to Carthage. Romans retake Casilinum. They use the city as their base of operations against Capua. Third battle of Nola. Romans under Marcus Claudius Marcellus prevent Hannibal from capturing city for the third and final time. Romans under Fabius Maximus besiege and capture Aecae (mod. Troia). Henna (mod. Enna) devastated by the Romans. During the Roman operations against Syracuse, it was learned that Henna was on the verge of rebelling. The Romans attacked the city and trapped much of the population in the theater. In the ensuing massacre most of the city’s leaders and upper classes are killed. All rights and privileges for the surviving population are revoked (alt. date: 213 BC). Megara Hyblaea in Sicily is taken by the Romans under Marcellus. Leontini is captured by the Romans who sack and annex the city. After failing to take the city by direct assault, the Romans under Marcus Claudius Marcellus begin a siege of Syracuse which will last until 212 BC. 213 Romans under Fabius Maximus retake Argos Hippion (mod. Arpi [FG]). Its territory is reduced and it loses control of the port of Sipontum. Romans attack Syracuse but are unable to take the city by direct assault. They begin a siege that will last for the next two years. 212 142nd Olympiad Metapontum expels its Roman garrison and again declares its support for Hannibal. Hannibal establishes a garrison there. Hannibal occupies Tarentum. The Roman garrison manages to maintain control of the citadel. Hannibal captures Heraclea. Romans take Tauromenium. Syracuse finally falls to the Romans under Marcellus. As the city is stormed, Archimedes is confronted by a Roman soldier who, for reasons unclear, slays him. Marcellus is outraged at the act, having specified that Archimedes was to be kept safe. Romans lay siege to Capua. The sudden arrival of Hannibal forced the Romans to withdraw after a short battle. Hannibal remained only a brief time before departing to the south. Once the Carthaginians were gone the Romans returned and renewed their siege. 211 Hannibal returns to attempt to break the Roman siege of Capua for a second time. Unlike the previous year, he encountered heavy resistance from the Romans. Unable to break the siege works, Hannibal then attempted to lure the Romans away marching on Rome itself. Knowing that this was a feint and that Hannibal was in no position to take their city, the Romans remained at Capua. Hannibal abandoned Capua to its fate and withdrew south into Bruttium. Soon afterward, Capua fell. Many Capuans are killed or enslaved while the remainder while the remainder lose their civic rights. The leading citizens of the city were scourged and beheaded, while others committed suicide through poison at a banquet served just prior to the surrender. Capua loses the right to choose their own magistrates and its territory is declared ager publicus (State property.) Morgantina is captured by the Romans, completing their conquest of Sicily. Morgantina is given to Roman auxiliaries from Spain. 210 Carthaginians retake Capua. Romans retake Akragas on Sicily with the help of traitorous Carthaginian mercenaries within the city. Romans rename the city Agrigentum. Romans establish Sicily as their first overseas province. Lucius Cincius Alimentus, praetor, is assigned the province of Sicily. Among the troops under his command are the disgraced Roman survivors of Cannae. (c) Romans begin to establish large wheat-growing latifundae (estates) in Sicily. Eruption on Stromboli. 209 Romans under Fabius retake Tarentum. Romans under Marcellus defeat the Carthaginians under Hannibal in a 2-day battle at Canusium (mod. Canosa) in Apulia. 208 143rd Olympiad Hannibal captures Lucius Cincius Alimentus. He treats his Roman prisoner as an honored guest. Alimentus is later released and becomes a notable scholar, writing a Greek history of Rome, and works on law and grammar. M. Claudius Marcellus is killed in an ambush in southern Italy. 207 Battle of the Metaurus River. A Carthaginian relief force under the command of Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, enters northern Italy. They are defeated by a Roman army commanded by G. Claudius Nero and M. Livius Salinator. Hasdrubal is killed in the fighting. Hannibal withdraws his garrison from Metapontum and retreats into Bruttium. Knowing what fate awaited the population of the city at the hands of the Romans, he decides to evacuate the Metapontines with his soldiers. Metapontum comes under Roman control but is reduced to a minor town. The town survived but never regained its importance or prosperity. By the time of Strabo, in the 2nd century AD, Metapontum was deserted and in ruins. 205 Romans retake Croton (alt. date: 204 BC). Titus Quinctius Flamininus is appointed Propraetor in Tarentum. Some of Capua’s former territory is sold off to private buyers despite its status as ager publicus (State property). 204 144th Olympiad An attempt to reinforcement Hannibal in Italy is unsuccessful when the Carthaginian relief force under Mago is defeated in northern Italy. Hannibal destroys the city of Thurii. Unable to be reinforced and with few allies remaining in Italy, Hannibal is now trapped in the southern part of Bruttium. The Romans continue to apply increasing pressure and capture Romans capture Cosentia (mod. Cosenza), the Bruttian capital. Roman army under P. Cornelius Scipio invades North Africa. Scipio achieves a major victory over the Carthaginians and their Numidian allies in a battle in the Bagradas valley. 203 Hannibal destroys Caulonia. 202 Romans retake Barium (alt. date: 203 BC). Severely threatened by the Romans under Scipio and the Numidian under King Masinissa, the Carthaginians order Hannibal to return from Italy to take charge of their defenses. Accompanying him were what remains of his remaining allied troops, mostly Bruttians, who left Italy with great reluctance. Scipio Africanus assembles a fleet at Lilybaeum in preparation for his invasion of North Africa. (Oct 19) Battle of Zama. Carthaginian army (about 40,000 strong) under Hannibal is defeated by a Roman army of about the same size commanded by Scipio. The Carthaginians suffer such severe losses that they are forced to sue for peace. Scipio receives the name Africanus in honor of his victory. End of the Second Punic War.
2nd Century BC Temple of Apollo at Alba Fucens built. Cato the Elder describes an ancient version of pizza. He described it as a “flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones.” 200 145th Olympiad (c) Small Roman Temple to the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva) is built at Paestum. 199 More of Capua’s former property is sold to private buyers. 196 146th Olympiad 194 Romans establish a colony at Dicaearchia, on the coast of Campania. They rename the place Puteoli (= “little wells”) because of the many hydrothermal vents in the region. Romans establish a sea-colony at Liternum (mod. Giugliano in Campania), on the coast of Campania, to the north of Cumae and south of the mouth of the river Vulturnus. Despite attempts to turn Liternum into a prosperous city, it was severely hindered by the nearby malarial lagoons. Liternum and Volturnum (both erected on land formerly belonging to Capua) and Puteoli are given the status of coloniae. Other Roman colonies established at Salernum (mod. Salerno), Lucania (Buxentum), Apulia (Sipontum), and Bruttium (Croton (mod. Crotone), Tempsa). 193 The Romans establish the Latin colony of Copiae on the site of the destroyed city of Thurii in Lucania. It soon assumes the name of the former settlement, being called Thurii Copia, or simply Thurii. (alt. date 194 BC) 192 147th Olympiad (c) Lilybaeum, in W Sicily is raised to the status of a colonia. Latin colony of Vibo Valentia is established at Hipponion in Bruttium. (alt. date 194 BC). 191 Roman praetor Aulus Cornelius Mammula is sent to Bruttium. 190 The Via Appia (Appian Way) is expended to Venusia. Marcus Tuccius serves as praetor (and later Propraetor) in Bruttium and Apulia (to 188 BC). 188 148th Olympiad 186 A conspiracy in Rome and southern Italy centered within the Bacchanalian cult is discovered and suppressed by the Roman Senate and the consuls. The Bacchanalia is outlawed by Roman law. 185 The Roman praetor Lucius Postumius Tempsanus suppresses a slave revolt near Tarentum. 184 149th Olympiad Lucius Postumius Tempsanus, now Propraetor, continues to crush slave revolts in southern Italy. He continues to discover evidence for anti-Roman conspiracies in the south based on the Bacchanalian cult. Roman colony established at Potentia (mod. Potenza) in Lucania. 183 The Roman government sends praetor Lucius Pupius to conduct a new investigation of the Bacchanalian cult in southern Italy. Eruption off Vulcano island creates the small islet of Vulcanello. Suicide of Hannibal Libyssa, Anatolia. (alt. date: 182 BC). 181 Roman investigations continue in the Italian south under praetor Lucius Duronius of the Bacchanalian cult. Earliest mention of a harbor at Barium (mod. Bari). 180 150th Olympiad Birth of the Roman writer G. Lucillius at Suessa Aurunca in Campania. Proconsuls P. Cornelius and M. Bebius Tanfilus transport thousands of Ligurian Apuani to resettle abandoned lands in northern Campania. One of the new settlements is Bebianum (mod. Pontelandolo [BN]). 176 151st Olympiad 172 152nd Olympiad 169 The Oscan poet Quintus Ennius dies. 168 153rd Olympiad Romans under Lucius Aemilius Paullus defeat the Macedonians at Pydna. The victory was commemorated by Marcus Pacuvius, the Oscan-Roman poet, with a praetexta entitled Paullus. 167 Abolition of taxation of Roman citizens. Taxation is now limited to non-citizen allies, Latins, and Italics. 164 154th Olympiad 162 The Roman government buys up several parcels of land which were originally part of the ager publicus taken from Capua during the Second Punic War. These lands had been illegally sold to wealthy Romans who now only gave them up after receiving ample compensation. The Roman government now passes laws forbidding Capua’s former territory from being leased or sold to large land owners. 160 155th Olympiad 156 156th Olympiad 152 157th Olympiad 149 Third Punic War begins. 148 158th Olympiad 146 Third Punic War ends as Carthage is captured and destroyed by the Romans. The city is razed and, according to tradition, the site is sown with salt as a curse to prevent the city from ever rising again. In fact, a new Roman city of Carthage is eventually founded and grows into a flourishing commercial center. 144 159th Olympiad 141 (c) Mt. Etna erupts. 140 160th Olympiad 136 161st Olympiad 135 First Servile War breaks out in Sicily. Thousands of slaves rise up against their masters. The rebels, under the leadership of a Syrian slave named Eunus, and his Cilician lieutenant Cleon, seize the cities of Henna, Tauromenium, and Morgantina. Henna becomes the capital of the rebel slaves. At the height of the revolt, about 200,000 slaves join the rebel army. (alt. date: 139; 133). 133 Roman Tribune Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus proposes an agrarian law limiting the amount of land an individual can hold. Under this law, a person can hold no more than 500 iugera (roughly 312 acres), plus an additional 250 iugera per child of public land. The law is strongly opposed and ignored by large landowners in Etruria and Campania. The animosity created by this law ultimately led to the assassination of Tiberius Gracchus later in the same year. He is clubbed to death by his adversary P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica. Romans build the Via Popilia (named for the consul Publius Popilius Laenas) running from Capua to Rhegium. Information regarding this road came to light with the discovery of the Polla Tablet: “I built the road from Rhegium to Capua, and on that road I erected all the bridges, milestones and tabelarii. From here (Forum Popilii) it is 51 miles to Nuceria, 84 to Capua; [it is] 74 to Muranum, 123 to Cosentia, 180 to Valentia, 231 to the Strait at the statue, 237 to Rhegium. Total from Capua to Rhegium 321 miles. And likewise, as Praetor in Sicily, I rounded up the fugitive slaves of the Italians and returned 917 men. Likewise, I was the first to make the shepherds depart from the Ager Publicus in favor of farmers. I built the Forum and the public buildings here.” 132 162nd Olympiad First Servile War ends as Roman forces under Consul Publius Rupilius recapture Henna, the rebel capital in central Sicily. The rebel leader Eunus is captured and dies in prison at Morgantina. Towns which had supported the defeated Sicilian rebels are punished. Adranon (mod. Adrano [CT]) loses its autonomy completely, annexed to nearby Centuripe. 130 The Oscan poet Marcus Pacuvius dies. 129 The Roman government forbids the cultivation of vineyards and olive groves north of the Alps in an attempt to protect the economy of Italy. (c)A sumptuous Roman villa is erected near Abellinum. It remained occupied until an eruption of Vesuvius and an associated earthquake drove the last residents away. The site of the villa was later occupied by a Romanesque cathedral. 128 163rd Olympiad 126 Eruption on Vulcano island. (June) Mt. Etna erupts. 124 164th Olympiad Romans establish the colony of Minervium or Colonia Minervia at Scylacium (mod. Squillace [CZ]) in Bruttium. 123 The praefecti Capuam Cumas, the Roman officials governing northern Campania, become elected for the first time. Since the creation of the office in 318 BC, they had been appointed deputies of the praetor urbanus. The office survives until the time of Augustus. 122 A Roman colony is established at Tarentum by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus. Mt. Etna erupts. 121 Gaius Gracchus murdered by a mob led by his enemy L. Opimius. 120 165th Olympiad 117 Major earthquake strikes Apulia and Lucania. 116 166th Olympiad 113 Earthquake in Lucania causes wide cracks in the earth. 112 167th Olympiad 110 World’s first cultivated oyster farms established in Campania. 108 168th Olympiad 106 (Jan 3) Marcus Tullius Cicero, the great Roman orator, is born. (Sept 20) Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey the Great) is born. 105 (Oct 6) The Cimbri and Teutones defeat the Romans at Arausio. Ancient sources claim that entire Roman force, perhaps 80 to 120,000, was destroyed. 104 169th Olympiad Second Servile War breaks out in Sicily. Rebel slaves in Sicily rise up at Segesta under the leadership of Tryphon and Athenion. There seems to be some discrepancy among the sources as to the years this uprising occurred. Some sources put it beginning in 103 BC, while others say it was 102 BC. Leontini is sacked by rebel slaves in Sicily. Insurrection in Campania led by the knight Vettius. Romans formally adopt the eagle (aquila) as the principal standard of the legion. 103 Death of the writer G. Lucillius at Neapolis (Naples). 102 Battle of Aquae Sextiae. Romans under Gaius Marius defeat the Teutones and Ambrones. 101 Battle of Vercellae. Romans under Gaius Marius defeat the Cimbri.
1st Century BC100 170th Olympiad 99 Second Servile War ends in Sicily as the Romans under consul Manlius Aquillius finally crush the rebel slaves. Aquillius receives an ovation for his victory, a full triumph not being considered appropriate since the enemy were only rebel slaves. Just as the date of this war’s start differs among sources, so is its end disputed. Some report it as 99 BC, while others say 100 BC or 103 BC. 96 171st Olympiad 95 Roman entrepreneur C. Sergius Orata develops the oyster growing industry and invents the world’s first central heating system in Campania. Beds of cultured oysters are established along the Campanian coast at Lake Lucrinus near Baiae and Neapolis. According to Pliny the Elder, one local oysterman named C. Sergius Orata makes a fortune selling oysters to wealthy Romans and Greeks. Orata’s methods consisted of preparing the grounds by removing other forms of marine life, planting seed oysters, cultivating the oysters by keeping them separated in order to grow to a well-formed, mature size, and finally harvesting them when they were ready for market. Orata designed a Hypocaust central heating system to heat his oyster tanks. This centered on a furnace, whose fires were constantly fueled by charcoal, wood or perhaps coal. A pump forced the hot air through channels beneath the floor of the room. Such a system could heat rooms to about 21°C (about 70° F). A relatively simple, but expensive and fire-prone, system, it could only heat rooms on the ground floor and required a separate furnace for each set of rooms. 94 Great meteor is seen in the territory of the Vestini in central Italy. 93 Aulus Licinius Archias, Greek poet from Antioch, becomes a citizen of Heraclea in Lucania. 92 172nd Olympiad Eruptions on Ischia. 91 The Roman Tribune of the Plebs, M. Livius Drusus, attempts to pass legislation extending full Roman citizenship to all Italy. This sparks violent opposition from the conservatives culminating in the brutal murder of Drusus. – The assassination of Drusus enrages the Italians in the city of Asculum. An anti-Roman revolt breaks out as the citizens massacre all of the Roman citizens they can find. The revolt soon spreads to other allied Italian peoples (known collectively as socii), touching off the Social War. – The Italian rebels establish their own republic, Italia, and establish their capital at Corfinium, renamed Italica. Among the towns which join the rebellion are Stabiae, Surrentum, Herculaneum, and Pompeii. Eruption on Ischia. Eruption on Vulcano island. Possible earthquake at Rhegium. 90 Consul L. Julius Caesar enacts the lex Julia de civitate Latinus et sociis danda, a law granting full Roman citizenship to those Italian allies who did not join the revolt. It is a measure which succeeds in preventing any further defections to the rebel side. As a result of the Lex Julia, Neapolis (Naples) receives the status of a municipium. Aesernia (mod. Isernia) surrenders to the rebel Samnite general Vettius Cato after a long siege. Romans defeat Italians under Papius near Acerrae. The Roman Legate Gn. Pompeius Strabo lays siege to the city of Asculum (mod. Ascoli Piceno). (c) Diodorus Siculus, historian, born. A native of Agyrium, in Sicily, he composed a history of the world (Bibliotheca historica) from its mythological creation to 60/59BC. Of the 40 original books only 1-5 (mythological history preceding the Trojan War) and 11-20 (dealing with Greek, Sicilian and Roman history from 480 to 302 B.C.) have survived intact. Only fragments of the remaining books survive. How much of the work was original and how much consist of quotes of earlier sources has long been debated. Regardless of this, however, his history represents an important primary source of information for the periods and subjects it covers. Diodorus died in 30 BC. Elea (Velia) is raised to the status of a municipium. 89 Romans under Sulla besiege and capture Pompeii. (late Spring/early Spring) Battle of Fucine Lake. Romans under consul Lucius Porcius Cato unsuccessfully attack a camp of the rebel Marsi. Cato is killed in the fighting. Herculaneum is captured by Titus Didius, a legate of Sulla. The town soon becomes a Roman municipium. The “Nuceria League” (Nuceria, Surrentum, Pompeii, and Herculaneum) is broken up. The towns are united to Rome under separate treaties and the territory of destroyed Stabiae is given to Nuceria (Ager Nucerinus). These towns are the only ones in Campania to be enrolled in the Menenia voting tribe. Alba Fucens remains loyal to Rome and comes under siege from Italian rebels. The attackers retreat when a Roman relief force arrives. Battle of Nola. Romans defeat an Italian army. Asculum falls to the Romans under Gn. Pompeius Strabo. Romans under Gn. Pompeius Strabo capture the Italian capital of Italica (Corfinium). Rebels move their capital to Bovianum Vetus. Lex Plautia Papiria de Civitate Sociis Danda expands the eligibility of the lex Julia de civitate Latinus et sociis danda (90 BC). Among those who received Roman citizenship through the Lex Plautia Papiria de Civitate Sociis Danda is the Greek poet Aulus Licinius Archias, who had become a citizen of Lucanian Heraclea in 93 BC. In 62 BC, he was accused of falsely claiming Roman citizenship, and was successfully defended by Cicero. Venusia (mod. Venosa [PZ]) is raised to the status of a municipium. 88 173rd Olympiad Romans under Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius defeat an Italian army under Q. Pompaedius Silo. Silo is killed soon afterwards. Canusium receives the status of a municipium. L. Cornelius Sulla becomes the first Roman general to march his army on Rome itself. 87 Social War ends. Rebels destroy the pro-Roman town of Abella. It is later rebuilt and becomes a Roman colony. Marius and Cinna capture Rome and begin a reign of terror, executing many of their political enemies (to 86 BC). 86 (c) Sallust (G. Sallustius Crispus), historian, born in the Samnite city of Amiternum (AQ). (Jan 13) Marius dies. 84 174th Olympiad Aesernia is retaken by the Romans. The city is punished with such hard restrictions that much of the population abandon their homes. 83 Sulla returns from the east and lands with his army at Brundisium (mod. Brindisi). A bloody Roman civil war begins between Sulla and the party of his late rival, Marius. Among those who rally to Sulla are the future triumvirs Pompey (Gn. Pompeius Magnus) and M. Licinius Crassus. A short-lived colony is founded near Capua. 82 Marian supporter Gn. Papirius Carbo flees to Sicily but is captured the Sullan general Gn. Pompeius Magnus. Taken to Lilybaeum (mod. Marsala), he is executed. Sulla’s troops capture Neapolis (Naples) through treachery and massacre a large part of the population. Within a generation the city has recovered from this tragedy. Sulla defeats the Marians and their Samnite allies at the battle of the Colline Gate. Declaring himself dictator, Sulla proceeds to punish the surviving Samnites and other Italic peoples. As a result, the Italic cultures of central and southern Italy are suppressed and their people are absorbed into the Roman State. 80 175th Olympiad Nola, in Campania, surrenders to Sulla and is razed. The city is soon rebuilt. (alt date: 79) Romans capture Pompeii after the fall of Nola. They establish a Roman colony (Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum) there. Between 2,000 and 5,000 veteran soldiers settle here. (alt. date: 87 BC). 76 176th Olympiad 75 Cicero discovers the over-grown tomb of Archimedes at Syracuse. Cicero has the tomb cleaned up and restored. Still carved into the monument was a cylinder circumscribing a sphere with the ratio of 3/2, a decoration added in accordance with Archimedes’ wishes. 73 Third Servile War begins in southern Italy. Spartacus, a former Roman auxiliary soldier from Thrace who was condemned to be trained as a gladiator at Capua, leads a revolt of his fellow slaves. They break out the gladiator school and make their way to Mt. Vesuvius. Thousands of other slaves, as well as many free, but disenfranchised Italians, join the rebel army. Nola, in Campania, is attacked and pillaged by Spartacus. Verres becomes the praetor of Sicily. During his governorship he loots the cities of the island of an immense amount of treasure and artworks. Verres used harsh measures to keep the slave population repressed to prevent any uprising inspired by Spartacus who was then ravaging the Italian mainland. 72 177th Olympiad 71 Third Servile War ends. Spartacus is defeated by M. Licinius Crassus. Mopping up operations are carried out by Pompey. It is unclear whether Spartacus was killed in battle or died with the remaining 6,000 rebel slaves who were crucified along the Appian Way. 70 During these years, the province of Sicily produces over 500 million lb. of wheat per year. Under Augustus (29 BC-AD 14), Sicily will sends 80,000,000 lb. of cereals to Rome each year. (c) Marcus Tullius Cicero prosecutes the governor G. Verres on behalf of his Sicilian clients, for extortion and governmental incompetence from his governorship of the island province of Sicily. Found guilty by a jury, Verres and is sent into exile. He publishes the trial, called In Verrum. Little, if any, of the loot stolen by Verres is returned to Sicily. Construction begins on the amphitheater at Pompeii. 68 178th Olympiad 65 (Dec 8) Quintus Horatius Flaccus (aka Horace), poet, is born in Sulmona or Venusia. 64 179th Olympiad 63 Servilius Rullus attempts to found a colony near Capua. Cicero, in his oration De Lege Agraria, opposes this settlement and it fails. (Sept 9) Gaius Octavius Thurinus, the future Octavian and Augustus, is born in Rome. 62 (Jan 5) The attempted overthrow of the Roman government by Lucius Sergius Catiline and his conspirators fails. Catiline is killed in battle in Etruria, while 5 others conspirators are executed. Instrumental in exposing and crushing the conspiracy were Cato and Cicero who are viewed as the champions of the Republic. 61 Possible eruption of Mt. Etna. 60 180th Olympiad 59 Julius Caesar establishes colonies for his veterans in Campania. A colony for VIII Gallica Legion was founded at Casilinum and one for VII Paterna Legion at Calatia, near Capua. One of these colonies, Julia Felix, is settled with 20,000 veterans. Its population would later be augmented with new colonists by Marc Antony and by Nero. 56 Possible eruption of Mt. Etna. (Apr) Earthquake at Potentia (mod. Potenza) in Lucania. 181st Olympiad Lamachus of Tauromenium, victor in the stadion at the Olympian Games. 52 182nd Olympiad 50 Eruption on Stromboli. 49 (Jan 10) Julius Caesar crosses the small river Rubicon, the boundary between the Italy and Cisalpine Gaul. By leading his troops under arms into Italy, Caesar commits an act of high treason and rebellion. (Feb) Pompey and most of the Roman Senate abandons Rome and flees to Epirus in the Balkans. (Mar 28) Caesar visits Cicero at Formiae. (June 7) Cicero leaves Italy bound for Thessalonika. (Oct) Caesar is declares dictator for life at Rome. Julius Caesar issues a pardon to the former combatants of the Social War. This act allows the rise of the old local families in towns like Pompeii. Mt. Etna erupts. Caesar besieges Brundisium. 48 183rd Olympiad. (Aug 9) Battle of Pharsalus. Caesar, with an army of about 22,000, defeats Pompey, whose forces were about 60,000 in number. (Sept 29) Pompey the Great is assassinated when he arrives in Egypt on his 56th birthday. His murder is witnessed by his wife and children. 47 Julius Caesar assembles his fleet at Lilybaeum in preparation for his campaign in North Africa. 46 (Feb 5) Suicide of Marcus Porcius Cato at Utica. 45 (Mar 17) Battle of Munda. In Spain, Caesar defeats the last of the Roman Optimate armies bringing the Civil War to an end. The Optimate commanders, Titus Labienus and killed in the battle, while the two sons of Pompey the Great, Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey the Younger) and Sextus Pompey manage to escape. Gnaeus is soon captured and executed on April 12. Sextus successfully escapes and makes his way to Sicily. 44 184th Olympiad Possible eruption of Mt. Etna. Julius Caesar grants Latinitas (Latin Rites) to all free-born Sicilians. Soon after Caesar’s assassination, Marc Antony converts this to full Roman citizenship, claiming that this had been Caesar’s intention. (Mar. 15) Assassination of Julius Caesar. The Roman Republic is now plunged into a new civil war erupts between the Republican forces commanded by the assassins of Caesar and those of the First Triumvirate: Marc Antony, Octavian, and Marcus Lepidus. (Apr 18) Octavian, the nephew and adopted heir of Caesar arrives at Naples. (Apr 19) Octavian meets with Cicero and Balbus at Naples. He then goes to Puteoli and then to Cicero’s villa at Cumae in Campania. In a letter written a few days later, Cicero described Octavian as “very noble and friendly.” (May 8) Octavian assumes the name of Gaius Julius Caesar as the posthumously adopted son and heir of his great uncle the dictator Julius Caesar. Marc Antony renews the colony at Casilinum. Octavian appeals for help to Caesar’s veterans who had been earlier settled in Campania. They declare their loyalty to him as Caesar heir and quickly reassemble their two legions VII Paterna and VIII Gallica. The revival of these legions, numbering about 10,000 men, so close to Rome was viewed with alarm by the Roman Senate. They were to form the core of Octavian’s army in his initial struggle with Marc Antony. (Nov 27) Official formation of the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Marcus Antonius, and Marcus Lepidus. Among those killed is Cicero who dies at is villa at Formiae (mod. Formia). 43 Taking advantage of the disruptions following the death of Julius Caesar, Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey the Great, seizes control of Sicily. Henna, in Sicily, receives the status of a municipium. (Dec 7) Cicero is killed near Formiae (mod. Formia) by the tribunes Herennius and Popilius by order of Marc Antony. 41 Farmland in Campania is confiscated by the Roman government for distribution to retiring legionaries. 40 185th Olympiad Treaty of Brundisium. Octavian, Marcus Antonius, and Lepidus meet in the southern Italian port-city and divide the empire among them. The Republic/Empire is split with Antonius controlling the eastern provinces and Octavian most of the West. Lepidus, a reluctant and obviously junior partner, received only Africa. 39 Pact of Misenum. Members of the Second Triumvirate meet with Sextus Pompey in the Campanian port-city. The triumvirs recognize Sextus Pompey, son of the late Pompey the Great, as ruler of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Peloponnese. Pompey had threatened to use his fleet to cut off grain supplies to Rome if his demands were not met. About 5 years earlier, in 44 BC, it was estimated that about 150,000 people in Rome received free grain. 38 Treaty of Tarentum. Marcus Antonius, Octavian, and Lepidus meet in the southern Italian city and agree to a 5-year extension of the Second Triumvirate. Triumvirs go to war with Sextus Pompey. Octavian marries his third wife Livia Drusilla. 37 Agrippa begins to train a new fleet for Octavian near Naples. Sextus Pompey defeats Octavian in a naval battle off Messana (mod. Messina). 36 186th Olympiad (July 15) Mt. Etna erupts. (Aug) Sextus Pompey defeats Octavian in a sea battle. (Sept) Sextus Pompey is decisively defeated off the cape of Naulochus by Octavian’s legate, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. His fleet destroyed, Sextus flees from Sicily for the east. Lepidus attempts to seize control of Sicily in the wake of Sextus Pompey’s defeat, but is thwarted and ousted from the Second Triumvirate. Octavian takes control of Sicily and incorporates the forces of Lepidus and Sextus Pompey into his own. Lepidus is allowed to become Pontifex Maximus in Rome, a lifetime religious position. Prior to being selected as a triumvir, this had been the post which Lepidus had originally wanted. 35 Sextus Pompey is captured at Miletus and summarily executed on Antony’s orders. This act would later be used by Octavian in his condemnation of Antony because although Sextus Pompey had been a rebel, he was also a Roman citizen and had not received a trial as was his right. 34 Sallust, Roman historian from Samnium (Abruzzo), dies. 32 187th Olympiad Second Treaty of Tarentum. Octavian and Marcus Antonius meet at the southern Italian port-city and renew the Treaty of Brundisium (from 40 BC). (c) Mt. Etna erupts. 31 (Sept 2) Battle of Actium. The fleet of Octavian, commanded by Agrippa, decisively defeats that of Antony and Cleopatra. This victory breaks the power of the latter pair, leaving Octavian the sole ruler of the Roman world. Antony and Cleopatra flee to Egypt where they both commit suicide in 30 BC. Agrippa creates a major military port at Misenum on the Campanian coast. 30 (c) The city of Morgantina in Sicily is abandoned. The reasons for the abandonment of the city are uncertain. Archaeological evidence shows that Morgantina had enjoyed a high level of prosperity up to its end. Suicides of Antony (July 30 or Aug 1) and Cleopatra (Aug 30 or Nov 30) in Alexandria, Egypt. Diodorus Siculus, historian from Sicily, dies. 28 188th Olympiad Roman census taken. 27 (Jan 16) Octavian is awarded the title of Augustus by the Senate. This event is considered to mark the foundation of the Roman Empire. Marcus Terentius Varro, Roman scholar, dies. He was a native of the city of Reate (mod. Rieti), and thus probably of Sabine-Sabellian roots. Marcus Agrippa has a tunnel through the promontory of Posilipo, the headland which separates the Bay of Naples from the Bay of Baiae. Often called the grotto of Posilipo, this remarkable piece of Roman engineering runs 2,244 feet in length, 21 feet in breath, and rises to a height up to 70 feet in some places. 24 189th Olympiad Eruption on Vulcano Island. 22 Mausoleum of Lucius Munatius Plancus is erected at Caita (mod. Gaeta). Plancus was a Roman senator (c87 BC-c15 BC), consul in 42 BC, and censor in 22 BC. Although several tombs from ancient times have survived, this large cylindrical mausoleum is one of the few which belonged to a known historical figure. During the 19th century it was converted into a shrine for the Virgin Mary. 21 Augustus visits Sicily. 20 190th Olympiad 19 (Sept 21) The great Roman poet Vergil (or Virgil) (P. Vergilius Maro), author of the Aeneid, dies of illness as Brundisium (mod. Brindisi). His body is taken to Naples and interred in a tomb near that city. (c) Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Roman historian, is born. A member of a noble Campanian family, much of his life was spent in the Roman army, traveling throughout the Balkans, the East, Pannonia and Germany. Entering politics, he served as Quaestor in AD 8 and praetor in AD 15. It appears that he was part of the conspiracy of Sejanus against the emperor Tiberius for which he was executed in AD 31. Paterculus wrote a Compendium of Roman History in 2 books spanning from the period from the fall of Troy to the death of Livia in AD 29. 17 Horace composes the ode Carmen Saeculare. 16 191st Olympiad 12 192nd Olympiad Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa dies. 10 Eruption on Vulcano island. Possible eruption of Mt. Etna. 9 The island of Capri off the coast of Campania is made the personal property of the Roman Imperial family. Augustus establishes the world’s first paleontological museum in his villa on Capri. According to Suetonius, the villa housed “a collection of huge limb bones of immense monsters of land and sea popularly known as giants’ bones, along with the weapons of ancient heroes.” 8 193rd Olympiad Death of Horace. The sixth month in the Roman calendar, Sextilis, is renamed to honor Augustus. Roman census taken. 7 (c) Augustus reorganizes the political structure of Italy, dividing it into 11 administrative regions. The southern part of the peninsula consisted of Regio I: Latium et Campania; Regio II: Apulia et Calabria; Regio III: Lucania et Bruttii; and Regio IV: Samnium. 6 Eruption on Ischia. 4 194th Olympiad 2 Earthquake at Neapolis (Naples). Julia, daughter of Augustus, is declared guilty of adultery and is exiled to the tiny volcanic island of Pandateria (modern Ventotene), off the coast of Campania.