Timeline 60BC – 138AD

Roman/Celtic Time Line

The Celts were the dominant force in Western Europe in the mid to late Iron Age, reaching a peak during the mid 1st millennium BC. In fact, it was the sack of Rome by the Celts which stimulated the Romans to re-fortify and ultimately become the dominant military force in Europe for the first half of the 1st millennium AD.

This timeline is focussed on the British Celtic culture and those cultures which had influence on the British Celts. It is also more specifically focused on those activities which would have had an effect on the Brigantes tribe of Britain during the late British Iron Age.

The reader should be warned that many specific times and in some cases, locations are still disputed, in some cases, an event may have occurred within 10 years of the date shown. We have simply attempted to place the events in their most likely time, given the historical and archaeological information to hand.

Time Line

BC 60 Gaul Aedui appeal to Rome for help against Teutons; Rome refuses
BC 58 Gaul Helvetii try to leave Switzerland and move into southern Gaul; start of Gallic Wars.
BC 56 Britain Cassivellaunus conquers the Trinovantes, Prince Mandubracius flees to Rome for help.
BC55 Britain Late in the season (late Aug) Julius Caesar tries to land 12,000 men (10th and 7th legions) in Britain and is pinned down on the south coast at his landing point between Deal and Warmer Castle for a couple of hours until his troops can land in sufficient quantities to form a beachhead. Having secured the surrender of the local tribes and with the approaching Autumn gales he withdraws from Britain (before the Autumn equinox – 21st September). Commius, Caesars appointed King of the Gallic Atrebates is left behind to secure further alliances in Britain.
BC54 Gaul During Caesar’s preparations for a second landing in Britain he attempts to take with him hostages from the major Gallic tribes, Dumnorix the Aeduan refuses, and the Romans kill him. As he dies he cries “I am a freeman in a free state”
BC54 Britain Caesar lands on the South coast between Sandwich and Deal with 30,000 men (five legions) and 2,000 Gallic Cavalry, he lands without resistance. The first battle is twelve miles inland, firstly at a river, then at an established hill-fort nearby, 7th legion captures the fort forcing the Britons to flee. The Romans are forced to return to the shore for ten days on news of the fleet being seriously damaged by a storm.
BC 54 Britain Caesar returns to the march inland and engages an enlarged multi-tribe British force led by Cassivellaunus (from a north of Thames-based tribe, Catevaulauni?) A cavalry battle occurs whilst Caesar is still on the march near Canterbury, by the river Stour, the British forces are repelled. Further skirmishes and battles are fought whilst Caesar builds a camp, eventually a major battle takes place between three legions during a foraging expedition. Cassivellaunus is completely routed and is forced to disband the allied forces and each retreated to their own territories.
BC 54 Britain Caesar follows Cassivellaunus across the Thames (via the only fording point), a running battle of cavalry and chariot skirmishes ensues.
BC 54 Britain Caesar reinstates Mandubracius to the throne of the Trinovantes. Seeing this, other tribes come over to the Roman standard – Caesar mentions the Cenimagni, Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci and Cassi as surrendering during his advance into Essex
BC 54 Britain Possibly at Wheathampstead, Caesar defeats Cassivellaunus in his own stronghold (not his capital), Cassivellaunus escapes.
BC 54 Britain At Cassivellaunus’ bidding, the Kings of four Kent-based tribes – Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus and Segovax attack Caesars coastal base and are easily routed. Cassivellaunus surrenders using Commius as messenger. Caesar then returns to Gaul.
BC54 Gaul During late Autumn, at the bidding of Indutiomrus of the Treveri, Ambiorix of the Eburones leads an attack against the Roman legion garrisoned locally and massacres them. Ambiorix is joined by the Aduatuci and Nervii and attacks the legion garrisoned at Namur. The siege would have been successful if not for Caesar leading a timely rescue mission.
BC 53 Gaul The tribes of Gaul unite is open revolt under the leadership of Indutiomarus of the Treveri. The Celtic army consisted of the Treveri, Senones, Carnutes, Nervii, Aduatuci and Eburones. Indutiomarus attacks Caesar’s headquarters at Mouzon and lays siege. After a great fight, the Romans kill Indutiomarus. The revolt continues throughout Gaul causing Caesar to travel from tribe to tribe, re-conquering Gaul. Ambiorix disappeared into the Ardennes forest.
BC 52 Gaul A crisis in Rome (the assassination of Publius Clodius) gave the still rebellious factions in Gaul hope that they could take the advantage, Vercingetorix was hailed leader of the Celtic army which included the Carnutes, Arvernians, Senones, Parisii, Cardurci, Turoni, Aulerci, Lemovices, Andes, Pictones and the West Coast tribes, later the Biteriges and Ruteni, even the Aedui eventually joined in what was to be the final reckoning of Gaul. A running battle ensued, Vercingetorix had fifteen thousand cavalry (lost in south-east Lingone) and 60-100,000 foot soldiers before the reinforcement at Alisia, The final battle was at Alisia in Mandubia, and Caesar laid siege for three months with a giant two faced siege wall (10 miles circumference), the Romans defended both the interior and exterior, since Vercingetorix was re-enforced by 35,000 Averni and Aedui, 12,000 Sequani, Senones, Bituriges, Santoni, Ruteni and Carnutes, 10,000 and Lemovices, 8,000 Pictones, Turoni, Parisii, and Helvetii, 5,000 each of Suessiones, Ambiani, Mediomatrici, Petrocorli, Nervii, Morini, Nitiobroges, and Aulerci Cenomani, 4,000 Atrebates, 3,000 Veliocasses and Aulerci Eburovices,2,000 from the Bellovaci 1,000 from the Rauraci and Boli, a further 20,000 from all the maritime tribes in all some 8,000 cavalry and 250,000 infantry were rallied in Aedui. It is here that Commius intervenes on behalf of the rebellion and takes over the command of the relief army. Still, Caesar availed and in the end, Vercingetorix surrendered.
BC 49 Rome Julius Caesar becomes Emperor
BC 45 Rome Julius Caesar orders for Vercingetorix to be sent to Rome, to be paraded through the streets and executed.
BC 44 Rome Julius Caesar assassinated.
BC 31 Rome Augustus becomes Emperor, having previously ruled jointly with Mark Antony and Aemilius Lepidus.
0 Jerusalem Birth of Christ. (According to the church of Rome under Constantine)
AD 1 Possible date of “Táin Bó Cúailnge”
AD 5 Britain Cunobelinus (Cymbeline) recognized by Rome as King of Britain
AD 10 Britain Catuvellauni conquer Trinovantes, the capital city for the two kingdoms moves from Verulamium to Camulodunum.
AD 14 Rome Augustus dies, Tiberius now Emperor.
AD 35 Britain Joseph of Arimathea and the Rich Fisher brings the Holy Grail to Britain; Chapel of St. Joseph established at Glastonbury.
AD 37 Rome Gaius (Caligula) now emperor.
AD 38 Rome Caligula parades Celtic captives through Rome.
AD 39 Britain The Catuvellauni under the Kingship of Cunobelinus and his sons Caratacus and Togidubnus, expand into and take over the Trinovantes (Suffolk) Cunobelinus’ eldest son, Adminius is given the Trinovantes thrown. Conobelinus retains friendly links with Rome.
AD 40 Britain King Cunobelinus dies? Togidubnus inherits the throne to the Cartevaulauni, and Caratacus to act as military General. Their brother Adminius inherits the Trinovantes territory, north-east of Kent and an important Roman port. Togidubnus and Caratacus immediately begin raising anti-Roman forces.
AD 40 Britain Adminius flees his anti-Roman brothers in the hope that Gaius would defeat them and put him on the throne. Gaius delays any action.
AD 41 Rome Gaius is assassinated, with Rome on the verge of civil war Claudius becomes emperor
AD 41 Britain Togidubnus and Caratacus invade and hold the land of the Atrebates (Hampshire) Caratacus becomes king and issues his own coins.
AD 41 Rome Verica of the Atrebates (Hampshire) petitions Claudius to come to Britain to help against the Catuvellauni.
AD 43 (September?) Britain Claudian invasion, led by Aulus Plaitius Silvanus with four legions.
AD 43 Britain Northern Dubonni pledge allegiance to Rome and ask for protection.
AD 43 Britain Defeat of Caratacus in the battle of the Medway. The Romans set up camp in Londinium to wait for Claudius and receive deputations from the tribes.
AD 43 Britain After escaping with Caratacus across the Thames at Tilbury, Togidubnus dies.
AD 43 Britain Caractacus escapes firstly to Camulodunum (Colchester, capital of the Trinovantes, who he was now King) then to the Welsh borders and prepares to fight the Romans using guerilla tactics.
AD 43 Britain Vespasian, then General of Legio II Augusta, travels by ship to Bosham Harbour (Chichester) and King Cogidubnus. From here he leads an assault on the neighbouring aggressive tribes. Later as Emperor he builds a Palace here.
AD 43 Britain Vespasian conquers the Durotriges and Northern Dobunni, fighting thirty battles, including Maiden Castle and Hod Hill, capturing 30 oppida?? Webster places this here, but surely the Legio fortress would be closer to the enemy? How was Caratacus able to secure the support of these tribes later if they were already subdued? Also, the Romans were unlikely to give Vespasian a free hand with the other Legions so far away?
AD 43 (November?) Britain Claudius comes to Britain in person to claim it for Rome. He rides an elephant into the new town of Londinium. After a mock Battle? Camulodunum is captured.
AD 43 Britain Claudius receives deputations from 11 Kings, including Cogidubnus (Regni), Cartimandua (Brigantia) and Antedios (Iceni) and made terms for peace. It is likely that large loans helped path the way, since sudden demands for their repayment helped cause the Boudican rebellion.
AD 43 Britain Aulus Plaitius Silvanus becomes Governor of Brittania.
AD 43 (December?) Britain Claudius leaves for Rome, having spent 16 days in Britain.
AD 43-47 Britain Romans drive into the midlands (XX Valeria Victrix and XIV Gemina) and in the east (IX Hispania). Legionary forts established at Camulodunum, Noviomagus Regnorum (Chichester) and Longthorpe (Peterborough).
AD 44 Britain Ratae (Coritani) captured. Garrison fort of Legio IX at Ratae. Ermine St begun. Newark captured. Some displaced Coritani migrate northwards to Brigantia.
AD 45 Britain New governor, Ostorius Scapula, governor, frontier now from the Trent to the Severn – west of the Fosse Way.
AD 46 Britain Scapula begins his policy of disarming the Client tribes, leading to civil unrest.
AD 47 Britain Icenian revolt, quashed by Auxilia, Prasutagus pronounced King of Iceni.
AD 47 Britain Campaigns in the west (Legio II Augusta under Vespasian). Caratacus invades the northern Dubonni?, helped by the southern Dubonni and the Durotriges possibly including the Silures.
AD 47 Britain Decongli (Flintshire) fall to the Empire, the Romans get within reach of Anglesey and cut off Wales.
AD 47 Britain Brigantian revolt (led by Venutius?) diverts the southern Wales campaign into south-west Brigantia (north-west Cheshire?).
AD 49 Britiain Veteran Colonia of Camulodunum (Colchester) founded, to free up the XX to move to Gloucester towards Caratacus and the Silures.
AD 49 Britiain Caratacus is forced to retreat into the territory of the Ordovices (North Wales), to mount a last defence of Anglesey?
AD 49- 50 Britiain Legionary fortresses at Glevum (Gloucester) and Lindum (Lincoln).
AD 51 Britain Caratacus, finally defeated in North Wales, flees to Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes, and is surrendered to the Romans. It is probably at this time that Venutius and Cartimandua of the Brigantes see their marriage break up, Venutius deciding to take the throne from Cartimandua begins planning a revolt.
AD 51 Britain Scapula dies.
AD 52 Britain New Governor of Britain, Aulus Didius Gallus.
AD 52 Britain The marriage of Venutius and Cartimandua, rulers of the Brigantes breaks down, and civil war breaks out, It is probably at this time that the huge fortification of Stanwick is begun. Ownership of Stanwick is still open to conjecture, but it would make sense to imply Venutius the builder, since it occupied a controlling point for the trade routes to the non Romanised zones.
AD 53 Britain During this period Gallus moves the Roman occupation zone forward into southern Brigantia, probably establishing the forts at Templeborough (Rotherham), Brough on Noe and Rossington Bridge (Doncaster), this would have been as a direct response to the need to protect Cartimandua, as documented by Tacitus.
AD 53 Britain Venutius attacks Cartimandua, placing her under siege. Gallus comes to Cartimanua’s aid and sends some cohorts who break the siege. It is likely that Cartimandua was forced to abandon the position.
AD 54 Rome Nero becomes Emperor.
AD 55 Britain Cartimandua raids Venutius’ territory and holds his Brother and some relatives’ hostage.
AD 56 Britain Venutius attacks Cartimandua, this time the ninth legion are required to save her. The most likely position of this battle is the region of Barwick in Elmet, which is surrounded by several defensive dykes which may have been built at this time.
AD 57 Britain New Governor, Q. Veranius
AD 58 Britain New Governor, Suetonius Paulinus, attack on N. Wales.
AD 59-60 Britain Suetonius clears Britain totally of the Druids, with a final stand on Anglesey.
AD 60 Britain Pratagustus of the Iceni dies, and the Romans ignore his will and take his lands away from Boudica and the Iceni ruling classes, at the same time Seneca recalls for immediate payment loans given to the tribes after the invasion twenty years ago.
AD 60 Britain Boudica of the Iceni is elected war leader and leads a revolt against the Romans, Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium are sacked and 70,000 killed.
AD 60 Britain Paulinus diverts his forces away from Anglesey to put down the Boudican revolt.
AD 63 Britain New Governor, T. Maximus.
AD 65 Britain Roman preparations for campaigns in Wales.
AD 66 Britain One legion (XIV Gemina) withdrawn from Britain.
AD 67 Britain Cartimandua marries Vellocatus
AD 67 Britain This is the most likely period for the building of Roman Rig defensive dyke between Sheffield and Doncaster if it is an Iron Age structure. The building of this structure at this time indicates this was Venutius’ south-eastern border.
AD 68 Britain Emperor Nero dies without a successor, Rome is thrown into a civil war as four rival factions vie for overall control. Firstly, Galba seizes control, The British Army refuses to join the governor, Trebellius Maximus, in revolt against Galba. Galba is overthrown by Otho, who in turn is ousted by Vitellius, whose short reign was ended by Vespasian.
AD 69 Rome Vespasian is emperor.
AD 69 Britain Venutius obtains additional forces from Carvetii, Novantae and Selgovae tribes.
AD 69 Britain Venutius attacks Cartimandua with his much expanded army, again Cartimandua has to be saved, this time she has to be re-located away from Brigantia. All of Brigantia is now held by Venutius.
AD 69 Rome New Governor for Britain appointed, V. Bolanus, who sets out to quell Wales and the Brigantes, Bolanus dies of natural causes within a year.
AD 70 Britain Petillius Cerialis appointed as governor of Britain, he brings with him a new legion, Legio II Adiutrix and leaves them at Lincoln. Legio IX will move to York.
AD 70 Britain Petillius Cerialis Leads the IX Legion northwards into Brigantia via Hull, at the same time, Legio XX advances North on the west side via Chester.
AD 73 Britain Petillius Cerealis, governor, with a new legion (II Adiutrix) subdues the Brigantes, the survivors are presumably pushed north-west into Caledonia. The Legionary fortress of Eboracum (York) is set up.
AD 74-78 Britain Sextus Julius Frontinus, governor, subdues Wales and plants garrisons there. Legionary fortresses at Isca and Deva.
AD 78 Britain Julius Agricola, governor, completes the conquest of North Wales and Anglesey.
AD 79 Britain Consolidation of Brigantian conquest.
AD 79 Rome Titus becomes Emperor.
AD 79 Britain The Romans reach the River Tyne on the northern fringe of the Brigantes’ land. Beyond the Tyne the major tribe are the Votadini who are based in the Bamburgh area of Northumberland with their territory extending north to Edinburgh. The people of Caledonia are now under threat from the Romans.
AD 80 Britain Julius Agricola commences his military campaign in Caledonia from his supply base at Corbridge. The Stanegate Roman road is built through the Tyne Gap from Corbridge-on-Tyne to Carlisle. Dere Street, a main route running from York to Caledonia in the north, is also constructed. These roads are complete by 85AD.
AD 81 Britain Julius Agricola carries out improvements to the defences at the York legionary fortress.
AD 81 Rome Domitian becomes Emperor
AD 83 Britain Julius Agricola’s army had been campaigning on the western coast of Caledonia. Agricola’s campaign culminated in the heavy defeat of the Highland tribes called the Caledonii (Picts) led by Calgacus at the battle of Mons Grapius somewhere in the Caledonian mountains. The Roman subjugation of Britain is now complete. A fortress is built at Inchtuthill in Tayside which will be the headquarters of the Roman 20th Legion.
AD 90 Britain Difficult terrain and unpredictable tribes in Caledonia made Roman administration of the land beyond the Rivers Forth and Clyde impossible. All Roman positions in Caledonia are abandoned.
AD 96 Rome Nerva becomes Emperor.
AD 98 Trajan becomes Emperor.
AD 105 Britain Permanent forts in southern Caledonia are abandoned and the Roman frontier moves south once again. Roman forts at Newstead, High Rochester and Glenlochar are destroyed by the native Britons.
AD 115 Britain The Ninth Legion is annihilated in an ambush by Caledonian tribesman along the River Tay
AD 117 Rome Publius Aelius Hadrianus (Hadrian) becomes the new Emperor of Rome. His appointment coincides with a major revolt against the Romans by the Brigantes but Falco, the new governor of Britain, successfully subdues them.
AD 117 Britain Roman frontier in Britain established along the line of Hadrian’s Wall; end of the Roman conquests of Celtic peoples
AD 122 Britain Construction of Hadrian’s Wall begins
AD 138 Rome Hadrian dies. 
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    Roman/Celtic Time Line The Celts were the dominant force in western Europe in the mid to late Iron Age, reaching a peak during the mid 1st millenium B
    [See the full post at: Timeline 60BC – 138AD]


    Thank you for this timeline, it is great for reference. Although some things may be speculative-ie the arrival on these shores of Joseph of Arimethea, and the fate of the ninth legion, it is good to know when, if it is true, this would have occurred.

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