Tradition states that the city of Rome, the future capital of the Roman empire, is founded by Romulus and Remus. Romulus reigns from 753 to 715 B.C.
The Roman Republic begins.
The creation of the office of Pontifex Maximus (high priest) occurs after stripping power from the Roman consuls.
c. 390 B.C.
The Gauls defeat the Roman army at the battle of the Allia. They are the first enemy to sack the city of Rome.
343 to 290 B.C.
Rome fights the Samnites in three separate wars.
Work begins on the Appian Way, the Republic's first and most important highway constructed for military purposes.
Rome dominates and finally controls the Italian peninsula.
264 to 146 B.C.
Rome fights three Punic wars.
Sardinia and Corsica become the first Roman provinces following the defeat of Carthage.
219 to 218 B.C.
Rome expands into Iberian peninsula.
214 to 148 B.C.
Rome fights four Macedonian wars.
Macedonia, Africa become provinces.
135 to 71 B.C.
Rome fights three Servile Wars.
112 to 105 B.C.
Rome gains more African land.
The empire gains western Asia Minor.
Roman troops occupy Palestine (Judea). Jerusalem falls.
The Roman Senate appoints Herod the Great as King of Judea (King of the Jews). It will take three years, however, before he conquers Jerusalem and begins to assert authority as a king.
Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide. Egypt becomes a province of Rome.
Augustus is made the first true Roman Emperor, marking the end of the Republic.
Emperor Nero begins Rome's first persecution of Christians.
68 - 69 A.D.
The empire experiences a period of political turmoil known as the year of the four emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian).
General (later Emperor) Titus destroys and levels both Jerusalem and its temple (also known as Herod's temple).
96 to 180 A.D.
Reign of the 'Five Good Emperors' (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius), also known as the Pax Romana. The empire, during their rule, reaches its height of power.
The empire reaches its peak under Emperor Trajan.
132 to 136 A.D.
Rome puts down the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea.
284 to 305 A.D.
The last, and most vicious, persecution of Christians by the Romans occurs during the reign of Diocletian.
306 to 337 A.D.
Constantine the Great reigns. In 313 A.D., his Edict of Milan legalizes Christianity and ends the Roman state sanctioned persecution of Christians.
Constantine makes Byzantium (renamed Constantinople after his death) the imperial capital.
379 to 395 A.D.
Emperor Theodosius I reunites the Empire under his rule.
Christianity becomes the official state religion of the Roman Empire.
After the death of Emperor Theodosius his two sons split the Roman kingdom. Arcadius rules the Eastern part of the Empire (also known as the Byzantine) from 395 to 408 A.D. and Honorius rules the Western part from 395 to 423 A.D.
Alaric, King of the Visigoths, sacks the city of Rome. This is the first sacking since around 390 B.C.
The Western Empire collapses. General Odoacer of the Heruli forces Emperor Romulus Augustus to abdicate. Odoacer becomes the first barbarian King of Italy.
527 to 565 A.D.
Reign of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Justinian I. He reconquered many of the Western Empire's former lands (Italy, Africa, southern Hispania, etc.) and considered himself both a priest and a king.
During Mass on Christmas Day, in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Pope crowns Charlemagne (King of the Franks and Lombards) as Emperor. This is the first time in history a Pope crowns a Roman Emperor.
The Pope crowns Otto the Great (king of Germany since 936 and Italy since 961) the first Holy Roman Emperor.
The Eastern (Byzantine) Empire falls with the death of Emperor Constantine XI and the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks. From its rise in 753 B.C. to its fall, the mighty Roman Empire lasted more than 2,000 years!