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A London Chronology to the Sixth Century

A London Chronology to the Sixth Century
Posted on Jun 17, 2002 – 01:44 AM by Bill McCann

This series of articles presents a basic chronology of London but will also contain references to national events where these are important in the development of the London area. Wherever possible, the precise dates and days of the week on which the events here recorded took place are noted. The series is an organic one and will change frequently as new events or dates are extracted from our sources.


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Chronology to the Sixth Century

The Romans invading Kent, as the Victorians pictured it. Note the nakedness of the Celts, this is authentic, they always went naked into battle.

YearMonth/DayEvent
753 BCETuesday April 21Traditionally the date on which the city of Rome was founded.
721 BCETuesday March 19The first-ever recorded solar eclipse was seen from Babylon.
648 BCEFriday April 6The earliest total solar eclipse chronicled by the Greeks was observed.
356 BCEWednesday September 20Birth of Alexander the Great
239 BCETuesday March 30The first recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
63 BCEFriday September 23Birth of the 1st Roman Emperor Augustus
55-54 BCEExpeditions of Caesar to Britannia.
44 BCFriday March 15Julius Caesar was assassinated.
43 BCEThursday March 20Birth of the Roman poet Ovid.
34-26 BCEProjected expeditions of Augustus.
31 BCEWednesday September 2Emperor Augustus (Octavian) defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium
26 BCE-40 CEBritannia in the period between the invasions was going through political and economic change.
19 BCETuesday September 21Death of the Roman poet Virgil
37Saturday March 16Death of the Roman emperor Tiberius. He was succeeded by his adopted son Caligula.
40The expedition of Gaius (Caligula) to Britannia was cancelled.
40-41Death of Cunobelinus (Cymbeline), King of the Catuvellauni who were centered around Hertford.
40-41Accession of Caratacus as king of the Catuvellani.
41Tuesday January 24Assassination of Caligula and acclamation of Claudius by the Praetorian Guard.
43Claudian invasion of Britannia.
47The conquest of the south-east of England was completed.
49Foundation of Colchester (Camulodunum).
50Foundation of Londinium . The first London bridge (timber) was built. The basic network of roads and the port facilities were established.
50-100Extensive and continued terracing of the hill at Old Bailey overlooking the Fleet river.
51Defeat and capture of Caratacus.
53Saturday September 15Birth of the Roman emperor Trajan,
54Sunday October 13Death of the Roman emperor and conqueror of Britain, Claudius I
60Boudiccan revolt and destruction of Londinium.
61The Boudiccan revolt was suppressed and rebuilding began. London became the capital of the province of Britannia.
60-70First metalling on Ludgate Hill. The road has a very steep gradient of 1 in 20.
60-70Possible timber bridge across the Fleet river.
60-70Warehouse and jetty were constructed on a small island downstream of the Fleet bridge. Grain and other goods, including surgical instruments and luxury toiletries, were landed here. .
70A massive watermill was on a small island upstream of the Fleet bridge. Grain was processed here. It may have been under military control.
70Monday October 15Birth of the Roman poet Virgil
70-84Conquest of Wales and the North. Conquest of Pictland.
70-75Construction of the first Forum and civic buildings in Londinium.
80-125Construction began on the Governor’s Palace, Public baths, the Fort and the first Fleet Bridge.
90-100Construction of the second forum and Basilica and the Thames waterfront.
105Tuesday March 11Ts’ai Lun, in China, invented paper, made from bamboo, mulberry, and other fibres, along with fish nets and rags.
110Construction of Cripplegate fort was completed.
110-120A complex of kilns was established on the Old Bailey hill overlooking the Fleet. Used for glass working.
120-125Londinium destroyed by fire (the Hadrianic Fire). A new Waterfront and civic centre were built.
121Saturday April 20Birth of the Roman Emperor, philosopher and author Marcus Aurelius.
122Hadrianus visited Londinium. The construction of Hadrian’s Wall by Aulus Platorius Nepos began.
125Construction of the Amphitheatre.
142The construction of the Antonine Wall, by Quintus Lollius Urbicus, began.
150A new Thames waterfront was extended a further 25 metres into the river.
158There was a Serious revolt in the north and the Antonine wall was over-run
160The Antonine wall was temporarily re-occupied.
163Hadrian’s Wall was restored and newly fortified.
166-70Plague of Galen? Decline of Londinium? .
190-220The city wall (with an external ditch and six double gates) and a new waterfront wall were constructed.
180Friday March 17Death of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
193Clodius Albinus, then Governor, withdrew the Roman forces from Britannia to support his bid to become emperor. The Barbarians overran the north of England.
194A small jetty or quay was constructed on the north side of Fleet bridge.
195-200The Fleet glass works went out of use and an octagonal Romano-Celtic temple, the largest yet found in Britain, was constructed on the site.
195-200Ludgate Hill was resurfaced and the gradient reduced to 1 in 10.
195-200A new Fleet bridge was constructed. It had masonry foundations and might have been a stone bridge.
200Britannia was divided into two Provinces. Londinium became the Capital of Britannia Superior, York (Colonia Eboracensium) was the capital of Britannia Inferior.
208Septimus Severus arrived in Londinium. He moved north to punish the Caledonians but died at York.
209-211Campaign of Caracalla in the north.
212Caracalla issued an edict conferring Roman citizenship on all free inhabitants of the Empire.
217Tuesday April 8The Roman emperor Caracalla was assassinated.
225Sea levels began to fall in south-eastern England and the tidal levels in the Thames dropped significantly. The Fleet islands became increasingly unusable and were abandoned.
225-250The final extension of the Roman waterfront, about 10 metres into the river.
240A Temple of Mithras built on the bank of the Walbrook
270The Fleet octagonal temple was destroyed, probably deliberately. A new multi-roomed, building, perhaps a mansio, with a hypocaust system replaced it.
286-7Carausius rebelled in Londinium and set himself up as Emperor. Britannia was once again separated from the Empire.
290The first mint in Londinium was established.
296Constantius Chlorus invaded Britannia.
297The “Empire” of Carausius was suppressed. Britannia became a civil diocese within the Empire and consisted of four provinces.
303Friday April 23The martyrdom of St George, patron saint of England.
306Campaign of Constantius I (Constantine the Great)in Pictland; he was proclaimed Emperor of Rome whilst at York ( Colonia Eboracensium )
313Constantine issued the Edict of Milan recognising Christianity as a religion in the Empire.
314April to OctoberConstantine visited Britannia.
341-6After a series of attacks, the Walbrook Mithraeum went into disuse.
367The Picts, Irish (Scotti) and Saxons all made successful incursions to Britannia and challenged the authority of Rome.
369Roman authority in Britannia was restored under Theodosius.

A Victorian representation of the withdrawal of Roman troops from Britannia.

383Magnus Maximus was proclaimed Emperor in Britannia. He won a victory over the Picts and then withdrew Roman troops from Britannia to support his attempt to conquer the North-western part of the empire.
374Sunday February 16Ninth recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
398-400There were a series of Roman victories over the Picts, Irish (Scotti) and Saxons.
400-402.Stilicho withdrew more troops from Britannia.
406Britannia revolted against Honorius and two emperors are proclaimed.
407Constantine III was proclaimed in Britannia. He ruled the Empire from Arles.
409Britannia revolted against Constantine III and Roman rule in Britain effectively ended.
410Rome was sacked by the Goths and Honorius tells the Britons to arrange for their own defence.
429St Germanus visits Britain to suppress the Pelagian heresy.
446Britain made a last plea to Rome for military protection.
450The Adventus Saxonum, Hengest and Horsa settled in Kent.
455Hengest rebelled against Vortigern.
457The Britons, defeated by the invading Angles, retreated to LondiniumLondinium disappears from historical record.
477Saxon settlement of Sussex.
485Wednesday April 17Death of the Greek mathematician and philosopher Proclus.
495Saxon settlement of Wessex.
500Revolt of the Mercenaries and the Battle of Mons Badonicus. ??Arthur established an overkingdom??.

The Victorian view of Hengist and Horsa making a treaty with Vortigern.


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