Crisis of the 3rd Century Timeline

By Sampsa Rydman (2010).
Orient North Africa Rome and the West  
Ti. Claudius Severus Proculus C. Aufidius Victorinus Emperor Septiumius Severus tours Syria, Palestine and Arabia. The province of Numidia is taken from the proconsul of Africa and made an Imperial province. Age of Expressive Classicism in Roman art. Mithraism is spreading quickly all over Italy and Illyria.

Patriarch Demetrius of Alexandria sends Pantanaeus as a missionary to India.

Jewish scholar Judah ha-Nasi compiles tracts of the Mishnah, beginning the creation of Talmudic law.

Gnosticism is the most popular religious system challenging traditional pagan worship in Africa and Egypt. The are several small christian congregations in Rome: A monarchist sect, led by bishop Natalius, Latin-speaking tertullianist sect led by bishop Zephyrinus, a gnostic one, calling themselves as the "pure ones" or cathares, and a Greek-speaking non-trinitarian adoptionist sect led by Theodotus the Moneylender.  
L. Annius Fabianus, M. Nonius Arrius Mucianus       Osroene becomes the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion.    
Imp. Caesar L. Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus III, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; suff. T. Murrenius Severus, C. Cassius Regallianus Septimius Severus returns to Rome after a five year absence. Decennalia-celebrations are held in celebration of his reign. Christians in Rome refuse to participate; as a result Septimius Severus forbids conversion to Judaism and Christianity.

Female gladiators banned from the arenas.

Pantheon, sanctuary to all gods, is restored in Rome.


First book of the Kabbalah, Sepher Yetzirah, possibly compiled. Greek & Aramaic Kabbalah already exist in Gnostic schools. Martyrdoms of Felicia and Perpetua in Carthago, according to tradition.    
203 956 C. Fulvius Plautianus II, P. Septimius Geta II

Septimius Severus campaigns in North Africa, advancing frontier to the Sahara.

Completion of the Arch of Septimus Severus in the Roman Forum. Septizodium is dedicated.


The Portico of Octavia is restored and the Arch of Septimius Severus is inaugurated in Rome. Titus Flavius Clemens, developer of Christian Platonism and a Gnostic, retires from the Catechetical School of Alexandria. His brightest pupil, 18-year old Origenes, is appointed as his successor as the headmaster of the Didaskalion. Origenes takes the words of his Lord quite literally and castrates himself.  

Greek-speaking trinitarian hard-liners group behind renowned theologian Hippolytus, disciple of Irinaeus, who had high hopes of becoming bishop himself. He refutes Zephyrinus in his work Philosophymena describing him as "a simple man without education". Zephyrinus has to rely on his heavy-handed archdeacon Callixtus, a mobster and embezzler, to stay in power.

204 957 L. Fabius Cilo Septiminus Catinius Acilianus Lepidus Fulcinianus II, M. Annius Flavius Libo



Secular Games (Ludi saeculares) celebrated throughout the Empire.

Brith of Plotinus, Neoplatonist philosopher.


  Tertullianus completes his work The Crown. A young man called Sabellius starts to develop his own christology, describing Father, Son and Holy Spirit as aspects God. He gains support from moderate monarchists and starts his own Sabellian congregation. The proto-Franks expand to the lower Rhine in two major groups, Salian Franks (coastal people) and Riparian Franks (dwellers by the riverbanks).
205 958 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus II, P. Septimius Geta Caesar Hadrian's Wall is restored after heavy raids by Caledonian tribes. Plautianus, praetorian prefect and father-in-law of Caracalla is assassinated. Aemilius Papinianus, a celebrated jurist and magister libellorum, becomes praetorian prefect.

Epaphroditus writes on "Surveying and the Theory of Numbers".

      Opposing Christian gangs clash violently in the narrow streets of Trastevere district. A turf war between followers of Natalius, Callixtus, Hippolytus and Sabellius causes much bloodshed.  
206 959 M. Nummius Umbrius Primus Senecio Albinus, L. Fulvius Gavius Numisius Petronius Aemilianus           Callixtus continues his protection racket by extracting money from Jews and weaker Christian congregations. As a manager of Christian burial grounds along the Appian Way and leader of their Collegium, he obtains a great influence over the poor and illiterate - and keeps bishop Zephyrinus in his pocket with his bribes, according to Hippolytos. His gangs attack followers of Natalius until he is forced to submit to bishop Zephyrinus, covered in ash and dressed in sackcloth. Ardashir I, king of Istakhr and later Persia.
207 960 L. Annius Maximus, L. Septimius Aper            
208 961 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus III, P. Septimius Geta Caesar II Septimius Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta campaign against the Caledonians in Britain.         Civil war in Parthian Empire between sons of late king Vologases V (191-208).
209 962 L. Aurelius Commodus Pompeianus, Q. Hedius Lollianus Plautius Avitus

Antonine wall is repaired in Scotland by Septimius Severus. Publius Septimius Geta receives the titles of Imperator and Augustus from his father.

210 963 M. Acilius Faustinus, A. Triarius Rufinus       Death of Serapion, patriarch of Antioch. He is succeedes by Asclepiades.   After the defeat of Natalius, a number of monarchists start new congregation under presbyter Sabellius. Preacher and prophet Mani is born in western Persia. Mani's father, Pattig, was from Hamadan and his mother, Maryam, was of the family of the Kamsaragan, who claimed kinship with the Parthian royal house, the Arsacids.
211 964 Terentius Gentianus, Pomponius Bassus

Septimius Severus dies in Eboracum, Britain. Caracalla and Geta, Severus' sons rule as joint emperors under supervision of their mother, empress Julia Domna. Geta is murdered by Caracalla 10 months later, making him sole emperor.

Severus bans abortion as a crime against the rights of parents, and punished it with temporary exile.

      Following his predecessors Latin policies, bishop Zephyrinus tries to eliminate all reference to Jews from the Gospels.  
212 965 C. Iulius Asper II, C. Iulius Camilius Asper

The Constitutio Antoniniana, issued by Caracalla, confers citizenship on all free men in the Empire (except Egyptians).

Edessa is annexed by Rome.

Aemilius Papinianus, a Roman jurist, is put to death by Caracalla.          
213 966 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus IV, D. Caelius Calvinus Balbinus II

Severan outposts in Scotland are evacuated.

Caracalla defeats invading Cenni and Alemanni tribes.

Possible birth of mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria, dubbed "the father of Greek algebra".          
214 967 L. Valerius Messalla, C. Octavius Appius Suetrius Sabinus

Caracalla campaigns against Goths and germans. The defences of Rhaetia are reinforced, in the form of an uniterrupted stone wall.

Kingdom of Osroene is annexed by Rome.


Caracalla erects a shrine to Apollonius of Tyana, 1st century miracle-worker and neo-Pythagorean prophet. Tyana is elevated to an official status of Colonia. Apollonius receives divine honours.        
215 968 Q. Maecius Laetus II, M. Munatius Sulla Cerialis

Caracalla issues a new form of silver coinage, the Antoninianus, valued at 2 denarii. Denarius is rapidly debased and disappears. Preparations for Parthian War; massacre at Alexandria.

      Agrippinus, bishop of Carthage, assembles a synod of bishops of Numidia and Africa to decide, should converts from other Christian sects be rebaptized.   Reign of Vachagan I, king of Caucasian Albania (215-55).
216 969 P. Catius Sabinus II, P. Cornelius Anullinus

New wars against Parthia. Caracalla invades Adiabene and sacks Arbela, desecrating the tombs of Parthian kings.

Armenia is annexed by Rome.

Caracalla makes concessions to the Jews, exempting them from taxes for the first time since Julius Caesar.

The baths of Caracalla are completed in Rome.

The basilica and mausoleum of deified Septimius Severus is completed in Leptis Magna. Death of Clemens and Pantanaeus.      
217 970 C. Bruttius Praesens, T. Messius Extricatus II

Death of the Emperor Caracalla (assassinated by Julius Martialis, an officer of the imperial bodyguard) and suicide of empress dowager Julia Domna. Opellius Macrinus, the Praetorian Prefect, is hailed by the troops as the new emperor. He is the first emperor to be drawn out of the Roman Ordo Equester. Romans and Parthians fight indecisive battle at Nisibis. Mesopotamia is annexed.

Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium) in Rome is closed down when it is damaged by fire after it was struck by lightning.

  Death of Asclepiades, patriarch of Antioch. He is succeeded by Philetus.   Aging and weak Zephyrinus dies. Callixtus takes over the Catholic bishopric of Rome. Hippolytus and a number of his conservative Greek supporters leave the Church in disgust. Hippolytos proclaims himself as the rival bishop, but Callixtus has the support of both Sabellians and Adoptionist sects.  
218 971 Imp. Caesar M. Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus II, M. Oclatinius Adventus II, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

Macrinus is defeated by rebel forces near Antioch and executed. Bassianus Elagabalus, teenage drag-queen and nephew of Caracalla, is declared emperor by his mother Julia Soaemias and soldiers supporting the Severan dynasty.

        Callixtus establishes the practice of the absolution of all repented sin, including murder, adultery, and fornication, as well as heresy.  
219 972 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus II, Q. Tineius Sacerdos II

Elagabalus, though politically dependent upon his mother, surrounds himself with a gay court. He is initiated into the worship of the Phrygian cults of Cybele and Attis.

Legions III Gallica and IV Scythica are disbanded after they rebel against Elagabalus.

Elagabalus begins the restauration of Colosseum in Rome.

220 973 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus III, P. Valerius Comazon Eutychianus II

Goths invade Asia Minor and the Balkans.

An indian delegation visist emperor Elagabalus.

Completion of the "The Life of Apollonius of Tyana" by Flavius Philostratus.

Elagabalus establishes the Syrian sun god of whom he is priest, El Gabal, as a major Roman god. Temple of Juppiter Victor (built by Commodus) is rededicated to Sol Invictus Heliogabalus.     Callixtus wins a competition against Barkeepers Fellowship over the ownership of an empty insula in Trastevere. The building block, which had formerly been a Taverna Meritoria (asylum for retired soldiers), is converted into a basilica. This Titulus of Callixtus becames the first official ecclesial building and also the first place in the city of Rome where mass is openly celebrated.  
221 974 C. Vettius Gratus Sabinianus, M. Flavius Vitellius Seleucus

Elagabalus, having achieved notoriety in Rome with his transvestite ways, proclaims himself as "Empress of Rome". He is forced to adopt Alexander Severus as his heir.

222 975 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus IV, M. Aurelius Severus Alexander Caesar

Elagabalus is assassinated while in a latrine by the Praetorian Guard. 13-year old Severus Alexander is declared emperor while his aunt, Julia Avita Mamaea, governs the empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council of senators.

  Severus Alexander declares tolerance of all religions. Bardaisan, an outstanding scientist, poet and founder of Syrian gnosticism, dies at Edessa (or Ani, Armenia).   Callixtus is killed in the riot following the assasination of Elagabalus, by a pagan lynch mob enraged by Christian expansion in the Trastevere district. His body is thrown in to a well.  
223 976 L. Marius Maximus Perpetuus Aurelianus II, L. Roscius Aelianus Paculus Salvius Iulianus  

Gladiatorial games are resumed in the Colosseum after repairs initiated by Heliogabalus are partially completed by Severus Alexander.

      Urbanus is elected as the bishop of Paulist congregation in Rome by a rump congregation composed of liberal Latin-speaking christians. Greeks and conservatives refuse to accept election, claiming Hippolytus as the reigning bishop.  
224 977 Ap. Claudius Iulianus II, C. Bruttius Crispinus


        Bishop Urbanus decrees that "The gifts of the faithful that are offered to the Lord can only be used for ecclesiastical purposes, for the common good of the Christian community, and for the poor; for they are the consecrated gifts of the faithful, the atonement offering of sinners, and the patrimony of the needy."  
225 978 Ti. Manilius Fuscus II, Ser. Calpurnius Domitius Dexter       First known version of Gospel according to Mark is published.   First Christian paintings appear in Rome, decorating the catacombs.  
226 979 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Severus Alexander Augustus II, C. Aufidius Marcellus II             Ardashir I (Arđaxšēr) defeats the Arsacid king Artabanus at Hormizdegan, destroying the Parthian Empire. He becomes Shah of Persia and founder of the Sassanid dynasty.
227 980 M. Nummius Senecio Albinus, M. Laelius Fulvius Maximus Aemilianus  

Neronian Baths in Rome are repaired by Severus Alexander and renamed after him (Thermae Alexandrinae) .

  Theodoros, a student of law, converts to christianity and starts to study theology under Origenes in Caesarea. He is later known as Gregorios Thaumaturgos, a prolific writer and magician.     Persia annexes all of Parthia after the death of Vologases VI.
228 981 Q. Aiacius Modestus Crescentianus II, M. Pomponius Maecius Probus

Ardashir fails to take Hatra, now reinforced by Romans. He invades Roman Mesopotamia. Local Roman auxiliaries kill the provincial governor and defect to Ardashir.

229 982 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Severus Alexander Augustus III, L. Claudius Cassius Dio Cocceianus II  

Second consulship of the Roman historian Dio Cassius.

  After two decades of collecting and collating manuscripts, Origenes commences his polyglot version of the Old Testament: Hexapla, a text containing several translations of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures in parallel columns.      
230 983 L. Virius Agricolas, Sex. Catius Clementinus Priscillianus

Sassanid Persia invades Roman Empire to reconquer former Persian territories in the Orient.

Taxes are increased in order to maintain the unity and defense of the Empire.

Colosseum restored in Rome by Severus Alexander.

  Origenes is spontaneously ordained priest of Caesarea Maritima by its small (17 members) christian congregation. Patriarch Demetrius in enraged of this infringement of his episcopal rights. After sailing to Achaea to settle a law dispute without permission to leave, Origenes is banished from Alexandria by Demetrius. Seventy bishops hold the council of the Christian church in Africa. Urbanus dies of old age. He is succeeded by Pontianus, son of Calpurnius, native to city of Rome. Prophet Mani, in his twenties, lives with a Jewish ascetic group known as the Elkasites. He comes to a belief that salvation is possible through education, self-denial, vegetarianism, fasting, and chastity.
231 984 L. Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus, T. Flavius Sallustius Paelignianus

Severus Alexander campaigns against Ardashir. Mesopotamia recaptured and Romans succesful in Armenia and Media but Ardashir defeats a third Roman arny near Ctesiphon.

    Death of Philetus, patriarch of Antiochia. He is succeeded by Babylas the Martyr.      
232 985 L. Virius Lupus (Iulianus?), L. Marius Maximus Birth of the future Emperor Probus in the town of Sirmium. His father was either a certain soldier called Maximus, or humble Dalmatius the Gardener.  

Birth of the neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer and teacher Porphyrius in Tyros, Syria.

Plotinus travels to Alexandria to study philosophy. He becomes disciple of Ammonius Saccas.

Patriarch Demetrius convenes a synod which declares the ordination of Origenes invalid. Heracles, his first pupil, is installed as the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Soon after this, Demetrius dies. Heraclas follows him on the throne of St. Marcus and becomes the first bishop to call himself "pope" (Papa Abbas).   After condemnation of Origenes in Alexandria, Pontianus holds a synod at Rome to give support to patriarch Demetrius. Death of Chlodomir I, king of the Sicambrian Franks.
233 986 L. Valerius Maximus, Cn. Cornelius Paternus

Alemanni confederation raid Roman provinces. Alexander Severus begins to campaign against the Alemanni on the Rhine. Agri Decumates is evacuated.

234 987 M. Clodius Pupienus Maximus II, (Sulla?) Urbanus

General Maximinus Thrax usurps the throne. He is proclaimed as Emperor by the Pannonian legions.

235 988 Cn. Claudius Severus, Ti. Claudius Quintianus

Death of the Emperor Alexander Severus, who was killed when his troops mutinied near the town of Moguntiacum. Maximinus Thrax continues the campaign against the Alemanni successfully, becoming the first Roman emperor to fight in battle.

Death of the famous historian and consul Dio Cassius.     Death of Quintus Tertullianus, Christian apologist and inventor of the Trinity. Emperor Maximinus Thrax decides to end sectarian warfare in the ghettoes of Trastevere by sentencing all Christian faction leaders to Sardinian silver mines. Both Pontianus and Hippolytos die due to the inhuman treatment of slaves. Montanists and Sabellians suffer similar attrition. Pontianus appoints his secretary, former slave Anteros as his successor.  
236 989 Imp. Caesar C. Iulius Verus Maximinus Augustus, M. Pupienus Africanus

Maximinus Thrax begins to campaign against the revived tribes of the Dacians and Sarmatians.

The Senate appoints a twenty-man committee to co-ordinate operations against usurper Maximinus.


Schism between former congregations of Hippolytos and Pontianus is reconciled. Bodies of exiled bishops are interred in Rome. All christians in Rome assemble to elect a new bishop. The lot falls on Fabianus, layman and stranger to the city.

237 990 L. Marius Perpetuus, L. Mummidius Felix Cornelianus



Fabianus sends missionaries to Gaul.

Persians resume their attacks on the Roman province of Mesopotamia.
238 991 C. Fulvius Pius, Pontius Proculus Pontianus

Rebellion over tax collection in Africa. Gordianus, proconsul of Africa is proclaimed emperor along with his son. Senate sides with the Gordians, who are nevertheless defeated by legions loyal to Maximinus in Numidia. Two senators (Pupienus and Balbinus) are raised to the purple, but they are lynched by the Pretorian Guard. Maximinus Thrax is killed in a mutiny. Grandson of Gordianus, 13 year old M. Antonius Gordianus Pius III is proclaimed sole emperor by the Senate and the People of Rome. Pretorian Prefect Timesitheus, his father-in-law, becames regent of the empire.

Colosseum is again restored after being damaged by fire.       Reinforced and strengthened by persecutions, christian congregations in Rome thrive under bishop Fabianus He divides Rome into seven districts, each supervised by a deacon, and appointed seven subdeacons, to collect, in conjunction with other notaries, the acta of the martyrs, i.e. the reports of the court-proceedings on the occasion of their trials. Considerable work is done in the catacombs of Callixtus, which are greatly enlargened. Khosrau I, king of Armenia, is assassinated.
239 992 Imp. Caesar M. Antonius Gordianus Augustus, M. Acilius Aviola Gothic invasion of Lower Moesia is repelled.            
240 993 C. Octavius Appius Suetrius Sabinus II, Ragonius Venustus

A rebellion under the governor of Africa, Sabinianus, is put down near Carthage.

241 994 Imp. Caesar M. Antonius Gordianus Augustus II, Clodius Pompeianus             Shapur I of Persia succeedes Ardashir I as Shah of Persia. Shapur annexes the Kushan Empire.
242 995 C. Vettius Gratus Atticus Sabinianus, C. Asinius Lepidus Praetextatus

Gordianus III opens the Temple of Janus and marches in person against the Persian invasion of the East, and relieves the city of Antioch from siege.

Cimmerian cities in the Bosphorus are evacuated, as the territory is now controlled by the Ostrogoths.

243 996 L. Annius Arrianus, C. Cervonius Papus

Praetorian Prefect Timesitheus defeats Persians in the Battle of Resaena, but dies of natural causes and Marcus Julius Philippus becomes prefect.

244 997 Ti. Pollenius Armenius Peregrinus, Fulvius Aemilianus

Persian counter-attack near Fallujah and crush romans. Gordianus III is mortally wounded but Philippus is suspected of having him killed. He is proclaimed Emperor by the legions. He buys peace from Shapur I of Persia in order to deal with the troubles on the Rhine/Danube border.

  Plotinos founds his own Neoplatonist school in Rome.        
245 998 Imp. Caesar M. Iulius Philippus Augustus, C. Maesius Titianus

Philippus campaigns against and makes peace with several Germanic tribes.

  Death of Ammonius Saccas, the Greek philosopher and teacher of Plotinos, in Alexandria.   Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, a Punic scholar and wealthy and distinguished member of the Equestrian order, converts to Christianity.    
246 999 C. Bruttius Praesens, C. Allius Albinus         Cyprianus is ordained deacon. He gives a portion of his wealth to the poor of Carthage.    
247 1000 Imp. Caesar M. Iulius Philippus Augustus II, M. Iulius Severus Philippus Caesar  

Ludi Saeculares. Rome celebrates it's millenium birthday. The event is also celebrated in literature with several publications, including Asinius Quadratus's History of a Thousand Years, specially prepared for the anniversary.

    Cyprianus becomes presbyter. His popularity is rising quickly.    
248 1001 Imp. Caesar M. Iulius Philippus Augustus III, Imp. Caesar M. Iulius Severus Philippus Augustus II

Goths and germans are finally defeated, but the legions are not satisfied with the result, probably due to a low share of the plunder, if any. They proclaim Tiberius Claudius Pacatianus as emperor, but the rebellion is quickly crushed. In the East, Marcus Iotapianus leads another uprising in response to the oppressive rule of Priscus and the excessive taxation of the Eastern provinces. Other two usurpers, Marcus Silbannacus and Sponsianus join the fray.

  Dionysios, member of a wealthy Pagan family and learned scholar before converting into Christianity, follows Heraclas as the Papa of Alexandria. He is the first pope to have a title "the Great" attached to his name. He writes interpretations of books of Luke, John and the Revelations. Death of Donatus, bishop of Carthage.    
249 1002 Fulvius Aemilianus II, L. Naevius Aquilinus

Gothic tribes take advantage and invade the northern provinces, but are defeated again by dinstinguished and capable general Trajanus Decius, who is proclaimed emperor by his men. He immediately marches to Rome; tyrant Philippus and his army is defeated near Verona. When the news of Decius' success reached Rome, Marcus Julius Severus Philippus, Philip's eleven-year-old son and heir, is also murdered.

    Religious strife in Alexandria. Pagan lynch mobs pillage the homes of Christians. Cyprianus wins election as the Bishop of Carthage by a very narrow margin. Presbyters of Carthage despise him because of his learning, wealth and equestrian linfestyle.    
250 1003 Imp. Caesar C. Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus II, Vettius Gratus

Goths crosses the Danube to raid Moesia and Thrace under king Kniva. They are surprised by the Emperor while besieging Nicopolis on the Danube; the Goths fled through the difficult terrain of the Balkans, but then doubled back and surprised the Romans near Beroë, sacking their camp and dispersing the troops. It was the first time a Roman emperor fled in the face of Barbarians.

Decius endeavours to revive the separate office and authority of the censor to improve public morale.

Colosseum in Rome is again ruined by fire.

Decius starts a campaign of restoration of the religion and institutions of ancient Rome, restoring Pax Deorum. Oath of allegiance is demanded from all public servants and priests, including Christians. Sacrifice to State Gods is made compulsory.

Dionysios is captured by soldiers during the "Decian Persecution", but is freed by a Christian mob and fleds into the desert.

Traditional martyrdom of Cappadocian Christian officer Philopater Mercurius.

Christians are stoned to death in Lampsacus, Mysia, during the "Decian Persecution".

Christians in North Africa refuse the oath of allegiance en masse. Proconsul of Africa sentences several Christian sect leaders to death. Bishop Fabianus becomes the first victim of "Decian Persecution" in Rome.  
251 1004 Imp. Caesar C. Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus III, Q. Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius Caesar

Kniva, king of Carpic Goths, defeats Romans in a decisive battle near Abrittus. Most of the Roman field army is annihilated and Trajanus Decius becames the first Emperor killed in a battle with barbarians along with his son Herennius Etruscus.. His younger son and successor Gaius Valens Hostilius perishes to the Plague in Rome. Senator Trebonianus Gallus concludes a peace treaty with the Goths.

  Second outbreak of Antonine Plague. 5,000 lives are lost every day in Rome. Many people think that atheists (Christians) have provoked the wrath of the Gods by denying their divine power. Father of all Christian monks, saint Antonios, is born near Heraclea in Upper Egypt.

Contoversy over the "lapsed" who had made the compulsory sacrifice to Emperor disunites the Church of Carthage. A schism brokes out between Cyprianus and deacon Felicissimus, who has been ordained by presbyter Novatianus in Cyprian's absence. Cyprianus banishes Felicissimus. He is however supported by other presbyters and becomes the anti-Patriarch of Carthage. Hard-liner Novatianist faction splits from the Church and elects Fortunatus as bishop in opposition of Cyprianus.

With emperor Trajanus Decius away from the city, persecution slackens. Sixteen bishops assemble in Rome to elect successor to Fabianus. The assembly is equally divided between hard-liners and liberals. Cornelius, candidate of Cyprianus of Carthage, is elected bishop of Rome on March 13, against his own will. His election is fiercely opposed by presbyter Novatianus, who maintained the view that not even the bishops could grant remission for grave sins like murder, adultery, and apostasy, but that these could only be remitted at the Last Judgment. Supporters of Novatianus split from the Church. Dionysios of Alexandria sides with Cornelius; Fabianus of Antiochia with Novatianus.  
252 1005 Imp. Caesar C. Vibius Trebonianus Gallus Augustus II, Imp. Caesar C. Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldumnianus Volusianus Augustus

Senator Trebonianus Gallus, governor of Moesia Superior, is proclaimed Emperor by the Senate and the legions. Despite the peace treaties, both Shapur I of Persia and the Gothic tribes invade. Persians conquer Syria and Armenia.

      Traditional martyrdom of Agatha in Catania, Sicily after having attacked the Roman cult images. Under Cornelius, the Roman church is registered having 155 clergy and supported 1500 widows and poor. Total Church membership is perhaps 5000 - 10000, with greatest majority living in Trastevere district.  
253 1006 Imp. Caesar C. Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldumnianus Volusianus Augustus II, Valerius Maximus

With Goths on the loose, governor Aemilianus of Moesia Superior takes command and initiative in his own hands. He defeats Goths in battle and is proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers. Trebonianus Gallus is assasinated by his own troops to support Aemilianus, who is in turn murdered when loyal legions under Valerianus arrive from Noricum and Rhaetia. Valerian and his son Gallienus are proclaimed Emperors.

  Plotinus develops a philosophy synthesized out of Platonism, Aristotelianism and Stoicism that resembles Oriental mysticism. His works, The Enneads, are arranged in six groups of nine by one of his pupils, Porphyrius. He teaches in Rome until his death in ad 270. Babylas, patriarch of Antioch, dies while in prison. Novatianus installs Maximus as a rival patriarch in Carthage, after withdrawing communion with Fortunatus.

Refusing to show loyalty to emperor Trebonianus Gallus by traditional sacrifice, bishop Cornelius is exiled to Centumcellæ (Civita Vecchia), where he dies. Lucius son of Porphyrianus is elected his successor, but he is also banished soon after his consecration.

254 1007 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Valerianus Augustus II, Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus

The Marcomanni invade Pannonia. Gothic king Kniva loots and sacks all Thracia.

      Death of Origenes in Caesarea.

Archdeacon Stefanos, a greek, succeeds bishop Lucius I in Rome. A controversy rises from the question what to do with those whose faith had lapsed during the "Decian persecution". In a battle against Cyprianus, the bishop of Carthage, he invents the claim to "Petrine authority" of the Church of Rome. St. Peter is added to the list of Roman bishops. In emulation of the Holy See of St. Mark in Alexandria, Roman bishops start to call theirs the Holy See of St. Peter.

255 1008 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Valerianus Augustus III, Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus II Province of Dacia is abandoned to the barbarians.       Another schism brokes out between Cyprianus and Stefanos, bishop of Rome, about the efficacy of baptism by heretics.    
256 1009 L. Valerius Maximus II, M. Acilius Glabrio

The Franks cross the Rhine and invade Gaul. Cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defenses of the frontiers begins to crumble. The Goths invade Asia Minor and sack Thessalonica. In Africa, Berbers massacre Roman colonists.

      Learning about upcoming persecution, Cyprianus prepares his people for the expected and sets and example for his flock by refusing to sacrifice to the Pagan deities and firmly professing Christ.   Shapur I overruns Mesopotamia and Syria. Roman border colony of Dura-Europos is destroyed by Persians.
257 1010 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Valerianus Augustus IV, Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus III

Emperor Valerianus recovers Antiochia from Persians. Goths are defeated by Roman forces along the lower Danube.

  Imperial edict aimed to re-establish Pax Deorum and uphold traditional Roman values requires the clergy to sacrifice to the State gods on pain of exile, and property sequestrated.

Birth of Gregorius the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church.

Cyprianus is banished to desolate Churubis by proconsul Aspasius Paternus. Stefanos dies a natural death. He is succeeded by a Greek, Xystus. He tries to restore relations with the African and Eastern churches which had broken off on the question of heretical baptism.  
258 1011 M. Nummius Tuscus, Mummius Bassus

The Goths ravage Asia Minor and Trebizond. Franks destroy and pillage Tarraco in Spain. Alemanni invade Italy. Co-emperor Gallienus creates mobile cavalry reserve at Milan.

Amount of silver in Roman coinage falls below 10%. Valerianus orders summary execution of those who repeatedly refused to sacrifice to the State gods. Valerian persecution in Egypt. Several Christians are beheaded. Cyprianus is imprisoned at the behest of proconsul Galerius Maximus and sentenced to die by the sword. A vast multitude of Christians follows his martyrdom. Bishop Xystus, his deacon Laurentius and six other deacons are beheaded in Rome.  
259 1012 Nummius Aemilianus Dexter, (Ti.?) Pomponius Bassus

Juthungi (Jutes) tribes cross the Upper Danube and invade Italy. Plague decimates eastern legions. Gallienus defeats Alemanni; his son, Saloninus is killed at Colonia Agrippina.

      Patriarch Carpophorus, a Montanist, is elected as the bishop of Carthage. Carpophorus denounces trinitarianism as a heresy, resulting in a schism between both Rome and Alexandria. North African bishoprics split from the mainstream Church.

After being vacant for nearly a year, the See of St. Peter is taken by another Greek, Dionysius. He raises large sums of money to ransom Christian prisoners from the hands of marauding Goths in Cappadocia.

Odenathus, king of Palmyra, sacks the city of Nehardea.
260 1013 P. Cornelius Saecularis II, C. Iunius Donatus II

Persians annihilate the whole eastern Roman army in Edessa. The Emperor and tens of thousands roman troops are taken into Persian captivity. Valerianus is turned into a living stepladder, then executed, stuffed and preserved as a trophy in the chief Persian temple at Ctesiphon. Roman Principate all but dissolves. Emperor Gallienus is faced with several uprisings and usurpers in Moesia and Pannonia. He negotiates alliance with the Marcomanni and accepts their princess as his concubine. Persians recapture Syria. Postumus, general of the western legions, forms the breakaway Gallic Empire based on Gaul, the Germanies, Britain and Spain (260-274).

  Emperor Gallienus issues and edict of religious toleration as a part of his cultural program. Christian church is given a legal status in the Roman Empire. Paul of Samosata, a procurator ducenarius, is elected patriarch of Antiochia. He teaches that Jesus was a born a mere man, but became infused with divine Logos, and thus became God.   Dionysios negotiates with emperor Gallienus. Emperor guarantees freedom of worship for Christians and even returns some of the confiscated property to the Church. Shapur I destroys Caesarea Mazaca in Asia Minor. Syria, Egypt and Palestine break off from the Roman Empire to form the Persian-supported Palmyrene Empire.
261 1014 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus IV, L. Petronius Taurus Volusianus

Remnants of the Roman forces in East are rallied by Macrianus and Ballista, who harry Shapur's forces. King Odenathus of Palmyra take Syria and subsequently dominates the eastern provinces as virtually independent Palmyran Empire (Syria, Arabia and Egypt).

Gallienus crushes the Alemanni near Mediolanum.

Roman usurpers Macrianus Major, Macrianur Minor and Quietus are defeated and killed by armies loyal to Gallienus.


Mithraeum Prorpre Carceres Circi Maximi, one of the better known Mithraeums at Rome, is completed at this time.

Imperial edict of 257, which led to the persecution of Christians, is repealed.

After persecution, Dionysios of Alexandria spends his life combatting controversies and heresies inside the Church. He attacks Novationists who do not want to allow apostates back into the church. He also denounces the Book of Revelations and the Milleniarists, who believe that after 1,000 years Jesus Christ upon his return, would establish his kingdom on Earth. Dionysios himself is critized as a heretic when he wrotes that that "Jesus had flown from God, like a river flowing from a spring or a plant growing from a seed", which implies that Jesus had not always lived with God and was begotten from him.   After the death of bishop Novatianus, the Novationist sect spreads rapidly. Their own name for themselves is katharoi, the pure, reflecting their claim not to be participants in the lax practices of the Catholics.  
262 1015 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus V, Nummius Fausianus Gallienus exludes senatorial class from major military commands. Separation of civil and military functions begin. Usurpers in Egypt (Mussius Aemilianus and Memor).

Gallienus concludes his tenth year in office by celebrating in Rome his Decennalia with a spectacular procession involving senators, equestrians, gladiators, soldiers, representatives of foreign peoples, and many other groups.

Artemision, the great Temple of Artemis in Ephesos, one of the seven wonders of the world, is burned down and destroyed by Goth army led by kings Respa, Veduc and Thuruar. This reduces the number of surviving wonders to four.      
263 1016 M. Nummius Ceionius Albinus II, Dexter

Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus

Gallienus and his wife Julia Cornelia Salonina as rulers patronize a cultural movement which collectively is known as the "Gallienic Renaissance". Philosopher Plotinos is among their close advisors. Neoplatonism becomes sort of official philosophy.

  The era known to Church history as the "Gallienic peace" prevails. The Church becomes a property and land owner. Bishops appear at the imperial court along philosophers, pagan priests and scholars.  
264 1017 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus VI, Saturninus   Gallienus visits Athens, becomes eponymous archon and receives initiation into the Eleusinian cult of Demeter.        
265 1018 P. Licinius Valerianus II, Lucillus Gallienus repels the invasions of the Goths in the Balkans. General Victorinus defects to Postumus in Gaul. Mediolanum and Verona are fortified.   Gallienus celebrates his celestial guardians: Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Jupiter, Juno, Liber Pater, Mercury, Neptune, and Sol. Maximus, disciple of Dionysios the Great, is nominated as the 15th patriarch of Alexandria. He is of mixed greek-coptic ancestry.      
266 1019 Imp. Caesar P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus VII, Sabinillus              
267 1020 Paternus, Archesilaus

The Goths and the Heruli invade Greece, sacking Byzantium.

          Odenathus is assasinated and his wife Zenobia sets herself up as Queen of Palmyra.
268 1021 Paternus II, Licinius Egnatius Marinianus

Goths sack Athens, Corinth and Sparta; Academia of Athens is destroyed.

Gallienus falls victim to a plot headed by senior officers possibly including generals Claudius and Aurelianus.


Plotinus writes "Against the Gnostics" to curb the infuence of Valentinians (Adelphius and Aquilinus) in his school.     Felix is elected as the bishop of Rome after death of Dionysius. He gives ecclesiastical sanction to the yearly celebration of mass over the graves of the martyrs. He is a fervent supporter of the trinity and hypostatic union and quarrels with Maximus of Alexandria over these theological points.  
269 1022 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Claudius Augustus, Paternus

Rebellion in Gaul. Hispania separates from the Gallic Empire and recognizes emperor Claudius II. Claudius II crushes invading Alemanni and then moves to battle the Goths, who have sacked Black Sea coasts with their fleets. Gothic invasion is checked again at Naissus and the Roman Empire saved from extinction.

Library of Alexandria is partly burned during a raid by Zabdas, general of Queen Zenobia. Claudius II adopts Vulcan, Apollo, Diana, Serapis, Isis, Hercules and Minerva as his patron gods. Paul of Samosata is deposed by n assembly of presbyters and deacons in Antiochia. He and Lukianos Didaskalos are banished, but Paul continues to occupy the bishop's house. Lukianos moves to Alexandria, where he is protected by patriarch Maximus. He becomes a teacher in the Cathechetical School of Alexandria, the Didaskalion.      
270 1023 Flavius Antiochianus II, Virius Orfitus

Claudius II Gothicus dies of Plague at Sirmium. He designates another illyrian general, Aurelianus, as his successor.


Deification of Claudius II by Senate. His golden statue is set up in front of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

Death of Plotinus in Rome.

Emperor Aurelianus installs Domnus as the patriarch of Antiochia.      
271 1024 Imp. Caesar L. Domitius Aurelianus Augustus, (Ti.?) Pomponius Bassus II

Aurelianus campaigns against Vandals, Juthungi and Sarmatians in the Danube region. Extreme pressure to Roman Empire results in several rebellions and usurpations.

Monetary crisis: Inflation is up to 1,000 % in some areas. Aurelianus - himself a possible mithraic initiate - tries to achieve more unity in the Empire by establishing Sol Invictus as the supreme god of the Roman Empire. A new priesthood and public cult is created. Sol Invictus is adopted as the celestial guardian of the Emperor. Aurelian is portraid as a living Son of God and Sol his Companion.        
272 1025 T. Flavius Postumius Quietus, Iunius Veldumnianus

Province of Dacia is finally abandoned and all Romans there are resettled south of Danube.

The Aurelian Wall construction is started in Rome. Other Italian cities are also fortified at the time.

Possible death of Plotinos.

During the siege of Tyana, emperor Aurelianus has a dream of Apollonius of Tyana and spares the city.

Christians of Antiochia sue Paul of Samosata. Paul loses his court case before the emperor Aurelianus and is forced to relinquish his house. He founds refuge from Alexandria.    

Zenobia proclaims herself to be Empress, and breaks all relations with the Roman Empire.

Death of Shapur I starts a succession dispute in Sassanid Persia.

273 1026 M. Claudius Tacitus, Iulius Placidianus

War against Palmyrene Empire. Queen Zenobia flees to Persia. Campaigns against Carpi raiders in Danube region. General Probus reconquers Egypt.

Rome forms an alliance with the kingdom of Aksum in Sudan.

Death of Dexippus, Greek historian, statesman and general, in Athens.   Timaeus becomes the patriarch of Antiochia. He accuses Maximus of Alexandria of harbouring known heresiarchs.     Palmyra is destroyed by emperor Aurelianus. The kingdom of Palmyra is reunited with the Roman Empire.
274 1027 Imp. Caesar L. Domitius Aurelianus Augustus II, Capitolinus

Aurelianus returns to West and conquers Gallic Empire. Gallia and Britannia are reintegrated into the Roman Empire. Marriage with Ulpia Severina. Monetary reforms try to curtain rampant inflation. Empire is reunited in its entirety, after 15 years of rebellion and the loss of two-thirds of its territory to usurpers and devastating barbarian invasions.

Second Triumph of Aurelianus in Rome. Aurelianus is proclaimed Restitutor Orbis. Roman currency is reformed.

Aurelianus inaugurates a new temple of the Sun-god Sol Invictus in Rome on the eastern Campus Martius.        
275 1028 Imp. Caesar L. Domitius Aurelianus Augustus III, Marcellinus

Aurelianus is murdered in Asia Minor while preparing a war against Sassanid Persia. His widow Ulpia Severina becomes ruling Empress after his death.

Publication of "Against The Christians" (Adversus Christianas) by Porphyrius. "The Gods have proclaimed Christ to have been most pious, but the Christians are a confused and vicious sect."

Deification of Emperor Aurelianus.     Eutychianus succeeds Felix as bishop of the catholic congregation at Rome. Nothing is known about his reign. Franks take advantage of the destroyed Roman armies of the Rhine. They pillage and depopulate large areas of northern Gaul, settling to live in Belgium and Rhineland.
276 1029 Imp. Caesar M. Claudius Tacitus Augustus II, Aemilianus II

Senate elects elderly Umbrian aristocrat and scholar Marcus Claudius Tacitus to the purple. He starts domestic reforms and revives the authority of the Senate, but fells ill and dies in Tyana, Cappadocia. Praetorian Prefect Florianus tries to covet the throne with the help of Gaul, Spain, Britain and Italy, but his schemes are ruined by illustrious general Probus, who is supported by Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine and Egypt. His own troops betray Florianus, and Probus is ratified as the successor of Aurelianus and Tacitus. Probus punishes the murderers of Aurelianus and defeats marauding Goths in Pannonia.

Aristocratic virtues: Sarcophagus of Publius Peregrinus, showing the deceased surrounded by muses and philosophers.

Bahram I of Persia executes Mani, founder and prophet of Manicheanism, by the instigation of the leading Zarathustran magians.

Bahram I is succeeded as Bahram II as Shah of Persia.

277 1030 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus Augustus, Paulinus

Probus is elected Consul with Paulinus, war against the Visigoths. He accepts the title Gothicus.

278 1031 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus Augustus II, Virius Lupus II

Probus is elected Consul (with Virius Lupus); he restores order in Gaul and the Rhineland and accepts the title Germanicus Maximus.

Aurelian Walls completed in Rome.          
279 1032 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus Augustus III, Nonius Paternus II

Third consulate of Probus (with Nonius Paternus II). War against the Isaurians in Asia Minor and the Blemmyans in Egypt. Probus forms three new legions from capitulated isaurian rebels (I Sagittaria, II and III Isaura). He accepts the title Persicus Maximus and Medicus Maximus.

The Greek mathematician Pappus of Alexandria demonstrates geometrically the property of the center of gravity.          
280 1033 V. Messalla, Vettius Gratus

Campaign against Burgundi and Vandal tribes at river Licce in Rhaetia. Vandal king Igillus is captured.

The commander of the Roman fleet on the Rhine, Bonosus, rebels against Probus. Defeated by loyal troops, he hangs himself.

      Presbyters Gaius and Gabinus establish a private house of worship (Domus ecclesiae) on the Quirinalis hill.  
1034 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus Augustus IV, C. Iunius Tiberianus Probus prepares to invade Persia and recapture of the lost eastern provinces. Triumph of Probus is celebrated in Rome.          
1035 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Probus Augustus V, Victorinus Emperor Probus is murdered in Sirmium while marching against Sassanid Persia. His praetorian prefect Carus usurps power.     Death of Maximus. Theonas, pope and 16th patriarch of Alexandria, is elected.

Death of Timaeus, patriarch of Antiochia. He is succeeded by Kyrillos.

1036 Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carus Augustus II, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carinus Augustus Carus continues his predecessors war against Persia and conquers Ctesiphon, capital of the Persian empire. He accepts the title of Persicus Maximus, but falls victim to a military conspiracy and is killed near Tigris.         Death of bishop Eutychianus of Rome. He is succeeded by presbyter Gaius of the Quirinalis hill.  
Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carinus Augustus II, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Numerianus Augustus; suff. C. Valerius Diocletianus Bassus

Numerianus, son of Carus, is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Diocles Valerius, Protector Domestici or commander of the mounted imperial bodyguards, is proclaimed emperor as Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus. He elevates experiences senator Lucius Caesonius Bassus, favourite of Probus, as his fellow consul and prime minister.

Province of Dardania is separated from Moesia Superior.

Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Carinus Augustus III, T. Claudius M. Aurelius Aristobulus; suff. Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus II

Praetorian prefect Aristobulus defects to Diocletianus. Emperor Carinus is defeated in the battle of the Margus, making Diocletianus the sole emperor. He appoints his chief of staff Maximianus to the office of Caesar.

Maximianus campaign against the Bagaudae (rebel peasants) in Gaul.

M. Iunius Maximus II, Vettius Aquilinus

Diocletianus elevates Maximianus to Augustus, making him his co-emperor. The empire is officially divided in two equal halves.

Carausius, commander of the British fleet, is accused of piracy. He responds by seceding from the Roman Empire, founding the short-lived breakaway state of Britannia.

        Rictiovarus, governor of Gallia Belgica, orders execution of two Christian missionaries, Crispinius and Crispinianus.  
Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus III, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus              
Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus II, Pomponius Ianuarianus Diocletianus conducts a military campaign in Rhaetia. Maximianus builds a new fleet in Gaul to fight Carausius in Britain.            
M. Magrius Bassus, L. Ragonius Quintianus First attempt to invade Britain fails due to bad weather.            
Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus IV, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus III Diocletianus and Maximianus meet in Mediolanum on the five-year anniversary of their rule (decennalia) to discuss their successes and failures.            
C. Iunius Tiberianus II, Cassius Dio Diocletianus signs peace treaties with Aksum and Nubia.            
Afranius Hannibalianus, Iulius Asclepiodotus Roman general Achilleus, the dux of Egypt appointed by Probus, is proclaimed emperor in Alexandria. For two years he resists loyalist forces, but in the end the rebellion is crushed.            
Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus V, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus IV

Beginning of the Tetrachy: Diocletianus and Maximianus appoint Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as their co-emperors. The Roman Empire is divided into four praetorian prefecturates and twelve dioceses.

Carausius is assassinated by his treasurer Allectus, who assumes the throne of Britain.

Fl. Valerius Constantius Caesar, C. Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar              
Nummius Tuscus, C. Annius Anullinus              
Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus VI, Fl. Valerius Constantius Caesar II Constantius Chlorus launches invasion of Britain to defeat the urusper Allectus. Western wing of his fleet, under praetorian prefect Asclepiodotus, lands near Isle of Wight and burns the British fleet. Allectus is killed in the battle of Calleva Atrebatum. Britain is reunited with the Empire.            
Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus V, C. Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar II              
M. Iunius Caesonius Nicomachus Anicius Faustus Paulinus II, Virius Gallus              
Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus VII, Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Augustus              
Fl. Valerius Constantius Caesar III, C. Galerius Valerius Maximianus Caesar III      

By the end of the 3rd century, Coptic Christians become biggest minority group in Egypt. By comparison, only c. 20 000 of Rome's one million inhabitants belong to any Christian or Gnostic cult.

Death of Theonas. Pope Petrus of Alexandria is elected the 17th patriarch of Alexandria.