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Cartography Portfolio (in progress)

I.) Antiquity ~ (FIN)

+ The Empire of Alexander the Great to 323 BC ~ (FIN)
+ The expansion of the Roman Empire to AD 117 ~ (FIN)
+ The Roman Empire, AD 125 ~ (FIN)
+ The Roman Empire, AD 395 ~ (FIN)
+ The rise of Christianity to AD 451 ~ (FIN)
+ The barbarian migrations, AD 358 – 568 ~ (FIN)
+ The end of the Western Roman Empire, AD 476 ~ (FIN)

II.) Middle Ages
+ The Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian, AD 525 – 565 ~ (in progress)

III.) Early Modern Era
+ (tba)

IV.) Modern Era
+ (tba)


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The Roman Empire, AD 125 by Undevicesimus
The Roman Empire, AD 125


The Roman Empire, AD 125

753 BC
Founding of Rome (according to Varro) – Beginning of recorded time for the Romans (ab urbe condita) – The (legendary) rule of the Seven Kings begins: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullus, Tarquinius Superbus

c. 510 BC
Establishment of the Roman Republic – Rome’s first international treaty: Carthage’s trade monopoly in the western Mediterranean is recognised, on condition that Carthage refrains from attacking Rome and its allies

498 – 493 BC:
First Latin War
Rome becomes the dominant power in Latium and forces the Latin cities into a military alliance, in exchange for recognition of their political autonomy

450 BC
The Law of Twelve Tables (leges duodecim tabularum) is constituted as the fundament of Roman law

396 BC
Rome captures the Etruscan city Veii and begins its territorial expansion

390 BC:
Battle of the Allia
The Roman army is decisively defeated by a Celtic invasion, leaving Rome vulnerable to attack

387 BC
The Celtic invaders largely sack Rome

380 BC
The reconstruction of Rome begins

358 BC
Rome re-establishes its alliances with the Latin cities

343 – 341 BC:
First Samnite War
Rome takes over Capua

340 – 338 BC:
Second Latin War
Rome smashes a revolt of the Latin cities

326 – 304 BC:
Second Samnite War
Rome annexes all of Campania and secures footholds in southern Italy, thus surrounding Samnium and crippling its expansion

298 – 290 BC:
Third Samnite War
A coalition of the Samnites, Celts, Etruscans, Lucanians, Sabines and Umbrians is smashed by Rome at the Battle of Sentinum (295 BC); Rome controls central Italy

282 – 272 BC: Rome goes to war against Tarentum, the last major city on the Italian peninsula to resist the Romans
+ 280 BC: Tarentum calls on Pyrrhus of Epirus for help, resulting in a stalemate with Rome after two hard-fought Pyrrhic victories at Heraclea (280 BC) and Asculum (279 BC)
+ 272 BC: Rome captures Tarentum and controls the Italian peninsula almost up to the Po Valley

264 BC – 241 BC:
First Punic War
+ 264 BC: Rome accepts Messana’s call to arms against Carthage (and Syracuse) and invades Sicily
+ 260 BC: Rome narrowly defeats Carthage at the naval Battle of Mylae
+ 256 BC: a close victory at the naval Battle of Ecnomus allows the Romans to invade the Carthaginian motherland in Africa
+ 255 BC: Carthage defeats Rome at the Battle of Tunis but Rome has by now conquered most of Sicily and allied with Hiero II of Syracuse
+ 241 BC: a decisive Roman victory at the naval Battle of the Aegates Islands marks the end of the war

241 – 238 BC
Rome takes control of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica and establishes its first provinces: Sicilia and Corsica et Sardinia

229 BC:
First Illyrian War
Roman fleets combat Illyrian piracy

226 BC:
Ebro Treaty
Rome recognises Carthage’s dominance south of the Ebro

222 BC
Rome defeats the Insubres in the Po Valley at the Battle of Clastidium and tightens its hold on northern Italy

220 – 219 BC:
Second Illyrian War
Rome diminishes the power of the Illyrian tribes and forces Demetrius of Pharus to flee to Macedon

219 BC
Rome accepts Saguntum’s call for help against Carthage, despite the Ebro Treaty

218 – 201 BC:
Second Punic War
+ 218 BC: Carthaginian commander Hannibal leads his army across the Alps into Italy, rallies the Celtic tribes there and defeats the Romans at the Battle of the Trebia
+ 217 BC: Hannibal smashes the Romans at the Battle of Lake Trasimene and advances south
+ 2 August 216 BC: a crushing Carthaginian victory at the Battle of Cannae leaves over 50,000 Romans dead
+ 215 BC: Hannibal allies with Philip V of Macedon (Beginning of the First Macedonian War, until 205 BC) – Syracuse betrays Rome and allies with Carthage
+ 212 BC: Rome takes Syracuse, reconquers Sicily and allies with Syphax of Numidia and the Aetolian League – Carthage conquers Tarentum – Most of southern Italy switches sides to Hannibal
+ 211 BC: Rome reconquers Capua
+ 209 BC: Publius Cornelius Scipio conquers Carthago Nova
+ 206 BC: Rome finishes the conquest of Carthaginian territories in Spain (started in 217 BC)
+ 204 BC: Scipio invades Africa from Sicily
+ 203 BC: a Roman victory at the Battle of Tunis forces Carthage to call Hannibal back home
+ 202 BC: Scipio decisively defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Zama
+ 201 BC: Carthage surrenders to Rome – the Carthaginian Empire is dissolved

200 – 190 BC
Rome conducts successful campaigns against the Celts in northern Italy

200 – 197 BC:
Second Macedonian War
Rome comes to the aid of Pergamum, Rhodes and Athens and breaks the power of Philip V of Macedon at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC

197 BC
Rome establishes the provinces of Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior, securing major footholds in Spain

196 BC
Rome declares ‘freedom’ for the Greek cities and leaves Greece by 194 BC

192 – 188 BC
Antiochos III of the Seleucid Empire allies with the Aetolian League and invades Thessaly (Greece) – Rome defeats both Antiochos III and the Aetolian League and becomes the dominant power in the Eastern Mediterranean

171 – 168 BC:
Third Macedonian War
Macedon is irreversibly defeated at the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC

168 BC:
Third Illyrian War
Though allied with Rome, the Illyrian king Gentius switches sides to Macedon during the Third Macedonian War and attacks the Roman settlements at Apollonia and Dyrrhachium – Rome defeats Gentius and creates the new province of Illyricum in his erstwhile kingdom

149 – 146 BC:
Third Punic War
Rome utterly destroys the city of Carthage and turns its remaining territory into the province of Africa

146 BC
Rome destroys Corinth after a revolt of the Achaean League and formally annexes all of Greece into the province of Macedonia

136 – 132 BC:
First Servile War
Slave uprisings on Sicily result in the crucifixion of some 20,000 slaves

133 BC
Rome burns down Numantia, defeating the Celtiberian tribes and ending the Numantine War (started in 143 BC) – Attalus III of Pergamum leaves his kingdom to Rome by testament

129 BC
Rome makes Pergamum into the province of Asia

133 – 121 BC
The reformatory movement of the Gracchi brothers, aimed at a distribution of patrician lands to the plebeians, is brutally smothered by the Senate

123 BC
Rome conquers the Balearic Islands

121 BC
Rome gains its first footholds in southern Gaul

113 – 101 BC
Migratory invasions of the Teutones and Cimbri are crushed by the legions of Gaius Marius at the Battles of Aquae Sextiae (102 BC) and Vercellae (101 BC) – Marius’ legions are the first to be organised by a commander instead of the Senate (Marian Reforms since 107 BC)

111 – 105 BC:
Jugurthine War
Rome deals a defeat to Numidia

104 – 100 BC:
Second Servile War
Rome crushes another slave uprising on Sicily

96 BC
Apion of Cyrenaica dies and bequeaths his kingdom to the Romans, who merge it with the island of Crete into the province of Cyrenaica et Creta in 66 BC

91 – 89 BC: Social War
Rome’s Italian allies and subject states break away and form the new state of Italia with its capital at Corfinium – Rome grants all the Italic peoples the full Roman citizenship and regains their loyalty

88 BC:
Vespers of Ephesus
Approximately 80,000 Romans are murdered in Asia Minor on the instigation of King Mithridates of Pontus

88 – 84 BC:
First Mithridatic War
Roman forces led by Lucius Cornelius Sulla defeat Mithridates at the Battles of Chaeronea (86 BC) and Orchomenus (85 BC), before concluding the Treaty of Dardanus

88 BC
Marius and his supporters repress senatorial power in Rome while Sulla is away

86 BC
Marius dies during his seventh consulship

83 – 81 BC:
Second Mithridatic War
Rome compels Pontus to fulfil the conditions of the earlier Treaty of Dardanus

83 BC
Sulla returns to Italy

82 BC:
Battle of the Colline Gate
Sulla decisively defeats the Marian faction while his general Pompey clears Marian forces from Sicily and Africa

82 – 79 BC
The dictatorship of Sulla is marked by political repression of the Marian faction and renewed senatorial power

78 BC
Sulla dies after having voluntarily abdicated his dictatorship one year earlier

77 – 71 BC:
Sertorian War
Pompey defeats the Marian forces of Quintus Sertorius

74 – 64 BC:
Third Mithridatic War – Led by Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Roman forces attack Pontus and Armenia
+ 68 BC: Lucullus is recalled by the Senate after a mutiny in his army
+ 66 BC: Pompey is given command of Rome’s forces in Asia Minor, after having destroyed piracy in the Adriatic Sea in 67 BC
+ 64 BC: Pompey’s campaigns in the East result in a complete victory for Rome – Fall of Pontus and the Seleucids – The Armenian and Hasmonean kingdoms become Roman vassals – The provinces of Bithynia et Pontus, Cilicia and Syria are established

73 – 71 BC:
Third Servile War
A slave uprising led by Spartacus cuts a bloody swathe through southern Italy, but is ultimately crushed by the legions of Marcus Licinius Crassus

70 BC
Consulate of Pompey and Crassus

63 – 62 BC:
Conspiracy of Lucius Sergius Catilina
An alleged attempt to overthrow the Republic is exposed and eliminated by Cicero

62 BC
Pompey returns to Italy in triumph and disbands his legions with the promise of a land distribution, which is refused by the Senate

60 BC
The First Triumvirate is concluded; a private agreement of mutual political support and cooperation between Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar

59 BC
Pompey and Crassus get Caesar elected as consul – Caesar authorises a provincial tax reform and Pompey’ land distribution – Caesar becomes governor of the provinces Gallia Cisalpina (northern Italy), Gallia Narbonensis and Illyricum for five years

58 BC
The Romans take over the island of Cyprus

58 – 51 BC:
Roman conquest of Gaul by Caesar’s legions
+ 58 BC: the Romans smash the Helvetii at the Battle of Bibractes and the Suebi near the Rhine
+ 57 BC: the Belgic tribes are subdued
+ 56 BC: successful Roman campaigns against the tribes in Armorica and Aquitania
+ 55 BC: attacks by the Germanic Tencteri and Usipetes are repelled – Roman forces cross the Rhine for the first time – Roman forces reach the British Isles for the first time
+ 55 BC: consulate of Pompey and Crassus – The Triumvirate divides up Rome’s proconsular provinces; Pompey receives Spain, Caesar receives Gaul and Crassus receives Syria
+ 54 BC: Caesar invades the British Isles in full force and is victorious against the Britons led by Cassivellaunus before returning to Gaul – Uprising of the Eburones (led by Ambiorix), Nervi and Treveri
+ 53 BC: Caesar ruthlessly destroys the revolting Belgic tribes and pursues the survivors across the Rhine
+ 52 BC: major Gallic uprisings led by Vercingetorix end in a decisive Roman victory at Alesia – Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar and is brought to Rome, where he is executed in 46 BC
+ 51 BC: Caesar finishes the conquest of Gaul

53 BC:
Battle of Carrhae
Crassus’ invasion of Parthia ends with a humiliating Roman defeat and his death

52 BC
Pompey is elected consul without colleague (sine collega) after riots in Rome

50 BC
Caesar refuses the Senate’s demand to disband his armies and crosses the Rubicon (“alea iacta est!”)

49 – 45 BC: Civil war of Caesar against Pompey and the Pompeian faction in the Senate
+ 49 BC: Caesar takes Rome and conquers Italy – Pompey and much of the Senate flee to Greece – Caesar turns around and invades Spain within a month, defeating Pompeian forces at the Battle of Ilerda 
+ 9 August 48 BC: a decisive Caesarian victory at the Battle of Pharsalus, Pompey flees to Egypt and is assassinated by order of Ptolemy XIII
+ 48 – 47 BC: Caesar enters Egypt, defeats Ptolemy XIII and gives the Ptolemaic realm to Cleopatra VII under Roman protection – Caesar and Cleopatra have a child; Caesarion
+ 47 BC: Caesar defeats Pharnaces of Pontus at the Battle of Zela (“veni, vidi, vici”)
+ 46 BC: the Battle of Thapsus ends in a decisive Caesarian victory – Caesar becomes dictator and praefectus moribus
+ 45 BC: Caesar defeats the last Pompeian forces at the Battle of Munda in Hispania and becomes dictator perpetuus, imperator and pontifex maximus – Caesar authorises an enlargement of the Senate to 900 members, a census of Roman citizens, municipial reforms in Italy, provincial reforms, a calendar reform (Julian calendar) and land distributions for veterans

15 March 44 BC
A senatorial conspiracy led by Brutus and Cassius assassinates Caesar on the Ides of March

43 BC
The Second Triumvirate is concluded between Caesar’s former generals Antony and Lepidus and Caesar’s grand-nephew and heir Octavian

42 BC
Antony and Octavian defeat Brutus and Cassius at the twin Battles of Philippi

40 BC
The Treaty of Brundisium divides the Roman world between the Triumvirs; Antony in the east, Octavian in the west, Lepidus in the south with Italy as joint territory (but de facto under Octavian)

38 BC
The Second Triumvirate is renewed for five years

36 BC
Antony marries Cleopatra VII and allegedly plans to build a Roman-Egyptian empire – Octavian and his able general Vispanius Agrippa defeat Sextus Pompey on Sicily – Lepidus is made pontifex maximus and thus politically removed from the Triumvirate

32 – 30 BC: Final War of the Roman Republic – Rome (pro-Octavian) declares war on Ptolemaic Egypt (pro-Antony)
+ 2 September 31 BC: Octavian defeats Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium
+ 1-3 August 30 BC: Octavian enters Alexandria – Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide
+ Rome annexes Egypt

27 BC
+ 13 January: Octavian nominally returns power to the Senate and restores the Roman Republic
+ 16 January: Octavian is given the honorary title of Augustus by the Senate and begins establishing the Principate – The ‘end’ of Republican Rome and beginning of Imperial Rome under Augustus as ‘emperor’ (princeps, ‘first citizen’)
+ The bulk of Roman holdings in Spain is turned into the new province of Hispania Tarraconensis
+ The provinces of Epirus and Achaea are created out of Macedonia

25 BC
Galatia becomes a Roman province

22 BC
Augustus and Agrippa reorganise Caesar’s Gallic conquests into three new provinces; Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis and Gallia Belgica – The island of Cyprus is made into a province of its own

20 BC
Augustus reaches an agreement with the Parthian Empire by which the legionary eagles lost by Crassus at Carrhae in 53 BC are returned

19 BC
Augustus finishes the conquest and pacification of Spain

17 BC
Augustus declares ‘world peace’ (pax Augusta)

16 – 15 BC
Roman forces led by Augustus’ stepsons Tiberius and Drusus establish the provinces of Raetia and Noricum

14 BC
Most of the western Alps are brought under Roman control by the creation of the provinces of Alpes Maritimae and Alpes Poeninae

13 BC
The provinces of Hispania Lusitania and Hispania Baetica are created, finishing the administrative reorganisation of Spain

13 – 9 BC
Agrippa and Tiberius subdue the Pannonians

12 BC
Agrippa, Augustus’ favourite general and would-be heir, dies

12 – 9 BC
Drusus subjugates the Frisii, Batavi and Chauci, drives off the Quadi and Marcomanni and successfully advances to the Elbe, where he dies

8 – 6 BC
Tiberius takes up command of the Roman armies in Germania and advances to the Elbe

7 BC
Augustus reorganises the administration of Italy

4 BC
Augustus adopts Tiberius and appoints him as heir to the Principate

AD 4
Tiberius begins constructing roads and legionary camps in Germania, in anticipation of its annexation as a Roman province

AD 6
Rome establishes the province of Iudaea

AD 6 – 9
A revolt of the Pannonians is crushed

AD 9:
Battle of Teutoburger Forest (Clades Variana)
Led by Arminius, the Cherusci ambush and destroy three Roman legions – Rome abandons Germania and retreats to the Rhine

AD 10
The province of Illyricum is split up into the new provinces of Pannonia­ and Dalmatia

AD 14
+ 18 August: Death of Augustus
+ 18 September: Tiberius is declared the new emperor

AD 14 – 16: Tiberius’ nephew Germanicus leads Roman reprisals against the Germanic tribes for the Teutoburg defeat
+AD 14: Germanicus’ legions are victorious against the Marsi, Bructeri and Usipetes
+ AD 15: Germanicus drives the Chattii from their lands and destroys their capital Mattium
+ AD 15: Roman forces enter the battlefield at Teutoburg and bury the Roman dead still lying there
+ AD 16: Arminius’ horde is crushed by the Romans at the Battle of the Weser
+ AD 16: Germanicus recaptures the legionary eagles lost at the disaster of Teutoburg Forest, retreats to the Rhine and is recalled to Rome by Tiberius, where he is given a triumph

AD 17
Rome creates the province of Cappadocia

AD 19
Germanicus dies in Syria, Tiberius loses his favoured general and would-be heir

AD 26
Tiberius goes to live on the island of Capri, embittered and disillusioned (tristissimus hominum)

AD 26 – 29
Tiberius’ Praetorian Prefect Sejanus seizes Tiberius’ retirement from Rome to further his own ambitions – Countless public trials, executions and forced suicides happen at Sejanus’ instigation

AD 31
Sejanus plots to assassinate Tiberius, but is himself executed first – Tiberius orders the infamous treason trials;  everyone associated with Sejanus must be arrested and killed

AD 37
+ 16 March: Tiberius dies, leaving his teenage grandson Tiberius Gemella and his adoptive grandson Gaius Caesar Germanicus as joint-heirs
+ 24 March: Gaius Caesar Germanicus, better known by his childhood nickname Caligula (‘little soldier boot’), becomes the new emperor – Caligula stops the treason trials and recalls senators exiled by Tiberius
+ October: Caligula nearly dies of illness, possibly poisoning, but recovers (at least physically)

AD 38
Caligula returns the right to elect the magistracy to the Roman people – Caligula’s sister Drusilla dies, further embittering the already unstable emperor

AD 38 – 39
Caligula works to turn the semi-republican Principate into an oriental Hellenic monarchy after Alexander the Great and the Achaemenids and liquidates any who might oppose him

AD 40
Caligula annexes the vassal kingdom of Mauretania after executing its king Ptolemy

24 January AD 41
Caligula is assassinated by Praetorian and senatorial conspirators – His uncle Claudius is proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard

AD 43
Claudius begins a Roman invasion of the British Isles – The new province of Britannia is established and gradually expanded (finished by AD 78)

AD 44
Claudius splits up Mauretania into the new provinces of Mauretania Tingitana and Mauretania Caesarensis

AD 46
Claudius establishes the province of Thracia

13 October AD 54
Claudius is murdered by his fourth wife Agrippina – Agrippina’s son (Claudius’ adopted son) Nero becomes the new emperor

AD 58 – 63
War with the Parthian Empire over Armenia ends in a compromise peace

AD 59
Nero has his mother Agrippina murdered

AD 61
Rome crushes a Briton revolt

AD 62
Nero reintroduces trials presided over by the emperor, uses excessive violence against any who oppose him but focuses on enacting decrees and reforms popular with the masses

AD 64
The Great Fire of Rome starts on 18 July: over the course of several days, Rome largely burns down – Nero organises rescue efforts, provides shelter and food to those rendered homeless – Nero blames the fledgling Christian community for the fire and orders the first persecutions of Christians – Nero orders the construction of the Golden House (Domus Aurea) on the Palatine Hill in Rome

AD 64
The province of Alpes Cottiae is created

AD 65:
Conspiracy of Piso
An attempt to eliminate Nero fails

AD 66 – 73:
First Jewish-Roman War – Religious tension and resistance to taxation spark a Jewish revolt against Rome
+ AD 66: Jewish rebels overtake the Roman garrison of Jerusalem after the Romans execute thousands of Jews
+ AD 66: Jewish rebels deal a crushing defeat to the Romans at the Battle of Beth Heron
+ AD 67: Nero sends future emperor Vespasian to deal with the Jewish revolt – Roman forces systematically destroy Galilee to isolate the rebels in Jerusalem – The Romans besiege and destroy Yodfat
+ AD 68 – 69: infighting in Jerusalem severely weakens the Jewish rebels
+ AD 69: Vespasian journeys to Rome to become emperor, leaving his son Titus in command of the war
+ February AD 70: Roman legions under Titus surround and besiege Jerusalem – Infighting and starvation continue to weaken the defenders
+ August AD 70: Titus’ legions break into Jerusalem, burning nearly the entire city (including the Temple of Herod) and killing most of its inhabitants
+ AD 71: Titus returns to Rome but a few pockets of Jewish rebellion continue to resist
+ AD 72 – 73: Rome begins the Siege of Massada, the last Jewish centre of resistance
+ 16 April 73 AD: the defenders of Massada commit mass suicide as the fortress falls to the Romans

AD 68
Gaius Julius Vindex (governor of Gallia Lugdunensis), Marcus Salvius Otho (governor of Hispania Lusitania) and Servius Sulpicius Galba (governor of Hispania Tarraconensis) rebel against Nero – Nero flees Rome and ultimately commits suicide – End of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty

AD 69
Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian) – The Batavian Revolt breaks loose, but is crushed by AD 70

21 December AD 69
Vespasian is proclaimed emperor by the Senate – Beginning of the Flavian Dynasty

AD 74
Rome incorporates the region between the Rhine and Danube (agri decumates)

AD 79
+ 23 June: Vespasian dies and is succeeded by his son Titus
+ 24 August: Mount Vesuvius erupts and destroys the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum – Titus visits Pompeii shortly after and personally compensates the survivors

AD 80
A fire ravages Rome for three days and nights; Titus again pays for reparations and compensations to the afflicted – The Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium) is finished and inaugurated

13 September AD 81
Titus dies and is succeeded by his younger brother Domitian

AD 83
Domitian organises the provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior and orders the construction of the limites in the Rhine-Danube frontier region

AD 84
Significant Roman incursions into Scotland

AD 85 – 89
Rome goes to war with the Dacian tribes led by Decebalus after a Dacian invasion of Moesia – Decebalus becomes a Roman client king, in return for financial support – Domitian creates the provinces of Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior

18 September AD 96
Domitian is assassinated by a conspiracy between the Praetorian Guard and imperial freedmen – Marcus Cocceius Nerva is declared emperor – Beginning of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty

AD 97
Nerva adopts Trajan as his heir

AD 98
Nerva dies after a fifteen month rule – Trajan becomes the new emperor

AD 101 – 102, AD 105:
Roman-Dacian Wars
Trajan’s legions cross the Danube and subdue the Dacian tribes

AD 106
The province of Dacia is established – Most of Nabataea is turned into the province of Arabia

AD 107
Trajan devaluates the Roman denarius to increase his funds

AD 114
Trajan is given the title Optimus by the Senate – Roman forces occupy the Kingdom of Armenia, turning it into the new province of Armenia

AD 115: Second Jewish-Roman War
Jews engage in uprisings in the provinces of Cyrenaica, Aegyptus, Cyprus and Iudaea but are defeated by AD 117

AD 115 – 116
Trajan leads the Roman invasion of the Parthian Empire and establishes the new provinces of Mesopotamia and Assyria – Roman forces sack the Parthian capital at Ctesiphon and reach the Persian Gulf

9 August 117
Trajan dies, leaving the Roman Empire at its greatest extent ever – Hadrian, the governor of Syria, is declared emperor with the support of Trajan’s widow Pompeia

AD 118
Hadrian restores the Euphrates as Rome’s eastern frontier in return for peace with Parthia

AD 121 – 125, AD 126 – 129
Hadrian travels all across the empire to personally supervise administrative and military conduct

AD 122
Hadrian orders the construction of his famous Wall in Britain

AD 123
Hadrian prevents a new war with Parthia through diplomacy

AD 125
The Pantheon in Rome is rebuilt by order of Hadrian

AD 130
Rome outlaws the execution of slaves without a trial

AD 131
Hadrian orders Jerusalem (essentially destroyed since AD 70) rebuilt as the Roman colony Aelia Capitolina

AD 132
The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens is finished after ca. 630 years and dedicated by Hadrian

AD 132 – 135:
Bar Kokhba Revolt (Third Jewish-Roman War)
Rome’s plan to rebuild Jerusalem as a Roman colony provokes the Jews of Judea to enter open revolt under the leadership of Bar Kokhba – Despite heavy losses, Rome overwhelms the Jewish rebels by AD 135 – By order of Hadrian, the Jews of Judea are systematically annihilated, Jerusalem is rebuilt and renamed as Aelia Capitolina and the Roman province of Iudaea is merged into Syria

AD 138
+ 25 February: Hadrian adopts Antoninus as his son and heir
+ 10 July: Hadrian dies of heart failure after a prolonged period of illness and is succeeded by Antoninus

AD 139
Hadrian’s ashes are given their final resting place in his own mausoleum (Mausoleum Hadriani), known today as the Castle of the Holy Angel in Rome

© 2014


The expansion of the Roman Empire to AD 117 by Undevicesimus
The expansion of the Roman Empire to AD 117


The expansion of the Roman Empire to AD 117

From its humble origins as a group of villages on the Tiber in the plains of Latium, Rome came to control one of the greatest empires in history, reaching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Tigris and from the North Sea to the Sahara Desert. Its extensive legacy continues to serve as a lowest common denominator not only for the nations and peoples within its erstwhile borders, but much of the modern world at large. Roman law is the foundation for present-day legal systems across the globe, the Latin language survives in the Romance languages spoken on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond, Roman settlements developed into some of Europe’s most important cities and stood model for many others, Roman architecture left some of history’s finest manmade landmarks, Christianity – the Roman state religion from AD 395 – remains the world’s dominant faith and Rome continues to feature prominently in Western popular culture…

Rome rose in a geographically favourable location: on the left bank of the Tiber, not too far from the sea but far enough inland to be able to control important trade routes in central Italy: southwest from the Apennines alongside the Tiber, and from Etruria southeast into Latium and Campania. In later ages, the Romans always had much to tell about the founding and early history of their city: tales about the twin brothers Romulus and Remus being raised by a she-wolf, the founding of Rome by Romulus on 21 April 753 BC and the reign of the Seven Kings (of which Romulus was the first). According to Roman accounts, the last King of Rome – Tarquinius Superbus – was expelled in 510 BC, after which the Roman aristocracy established a republic ruled by two annually elected magistrates (Latin: pl. consulis) with the support of the Senate (Latin: senatus), a council made up of the leaders of the most prominent Roman families. Often at odds with their neighbours, the Romans considered military service one of the greatest contributions common people could make to the state and the easiest way for a consul to gain both power and prestige by protecting the republic.

The Romans booked their first major triumph by conquering the Etruscan city Veii in 396 BC and defeated most of the Latin cities in central Italy by 338 BC, despite the Celtic sack of Rome in 387 BC. Throughout the second half of the fourth century BC, the republic expanded in two different ways: direct annexation of enemy territory and the creation of a complex system of alliances with the peoples and cities of Italy. Shortly after 300 BC, nearly all the peoples of Italy united to stop Roman expansion once and for all – among them the Samnites, Umbrians, Etruscans and Celts. Rome obliterated the coalition in the decisive Battle of Sentinum (295 BC) and thus became the strongest power in Italy. By 264 BC, Rome controlled the Italian peninsula up to the Po Valley and was powerful enough to challenge its principal rival in the western Mediterranean: Carthage. The First Punic War began when the Italic people of Messana called for Roman help against both Carthage and the Greeks of Syracuse, a request which was accepted surprisingly quickly. The Romans allied with Syracuse, conquered most of Sicily and narrowly defeated the Carthaginian navy at Mylae (264 BC) and Ecnomus (256 BC) – the largest naval battles of Antiquity. Roman fleets gained a decisive victory off the Aegates Islands in 241 BC, ending the war and forcing the Carthaginians to abandon Sicily. Taking advantage of Carthage’s internal troubles, Rome seized Sardinia and Corsica in 238 BC.

Rome’s frustration at Carthage’s resurgence and subsequent conquests in Spain sparked the Second Punic War, in which the Carthaginian commander Hannibal crossed the Alps and invaded the Italian peninsula. The Romans suffered massive defeats at the Trebia (218 BC), Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and most famously at Cannae (216 BC) where over 50,000 Romans were slain – the largest military loss in one day in any army until the First World War. However, Hannibal failed to press his advantage and continued an increasingly pointless campaign in Italy while the Romans conquered Carthaginian holdings in Spain and ultimately brought the war to Africa. Hannibal’s army made it back to Africa but was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, securing Rome’s hard-fought victory in arguably the most important war in Roman history.

Firmly in command of much of the western Mediterranean, Rome turned its attention eastwards to Greece. Less than fifty years after the Second Punic War, Rome had crushed the Macedonian kingdom – an erstwhile ally of Hannibal – and formally annexed the Greek city-states after the destruction of Corinth in 146 BC. That very same year, the Romans finished off the helpless Carthaginians in much the same way, burning the city of Carthage to the ground and annexing its remaining territory into the new province of Africa. With Carthage, Macedon and the Greek cities out of the way, Rome could deal with the Hellenic kingdoms in Asia Minor and the Middle East, the remnants of Alexander the Great’s empire. In 133 BC, Attalus III of Pergamum left his realm to Rome by testament, gaining the Romans their first foothold in Asia.

As the Romans expanded their borders, the unrest back in Rome and Italy increased accordingly. The wars against Carthage and the Greeks had seriously crippled the Roman peasants whom abandoned their home to campaign for years in distant lands, only to come back and find their farmland turned into a wilderness. Many peasants were thus forced to sell their land at a ridiculously low price, causing the emergence of an impoverished proletarian mass in Rome and an agricultural elite in control of vast swathes of countryside. This in turn disrupted army recruitment, which heavily relied on middle class peasants who were able to afford their own arms and armour.

Two possible solutions could remove this problem: a redistribution of the land so that the peasantry remained wealthy and large enough to be able to afford their military equipment and serve in the army, or else allowing the proletarian masses to enter military service and make the army into a professional body. However, both options would threaten the position of the Roman Senate: a powerful peasantry could press calls for more political influence and a professional army would bind soldiers’ loyalty to their commander instead of the Senate. The senatorial elite thus stubbornly clung to the existing institutions which were undermining the republic they wanted to uphold. More importantly, the Senate’s attitude and increasingly shaky position, in addition to the growing internal tensions, created a perfect climate for overly ambitious commanders seeking to turn military prestige gained abroad into political power back home.

Roman successes on the frontline nevertheless continued: Pergamum was turned into the province of Asia in 129 BC, Roman forces sacked the city of Numantia in Spain that same year, the Balearic Islands were conquered in 123 BC, southern Gaul became the new province of Gallia Narbonensis in 121 BC and the Berber kingdom of Numidia was dealt a defeat in the Jughurtine War (112 – 106 BC). The latter conflict provided Gaius Marius the opportunity to reform his army without senatorial approval, allowing proletarians to enlist and creating a force of professional soldiers who were loyal to him before the Senate. Marius’ legions proved their efficiency at the Battles of Aquae Sextiae (102 BC) and Vercellae (101 BC), virtually annihilating the migratory invasions of the Germanic Cimbri and Teutones. Marius subsequently used his power and prestige to secure a land distribution for his victorious forces, thus setting a precedent: any successful commander with an army behind him could now manipulate the political theatre back in Rome.

Marius was succeeded as Rome’s leading commander by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who gained renown when Rome’s Italic allies – fed up with their unequal status – attempted to renounce their allegiance. Rome narrowly won the ensuing Social War (91 – 88 BC) and granted the Italic peoples full Roman citizenship. Sulla left for the east in 86 BC, where he drove back King Mithridates of Pontus, whom had sought to benefit from the Social War by invading Roman territories in Asia and Greece. Sulla marched on Rome itself in 82 BC, executed many of his political enemies in a bloody purge and passed reforms to strengthen the Senate before voluntarily stepping down in 79 BC.

Sulla’s retirement and death one year later allowed his general Pompey to begin his own rise to prominence. Following his victory in the Sertorian War (72 BC) in Spain, Pompey eradicated piracy in the Mediterranean Sea (67 BC) and led a campaign against Rome’s remaining eastern enemies in 66 BC. Pompey drove King Mithridates of Pontus to flight, annexed Pontic lands into the new province of
Bithynia et Pontus and created the province of Cilicia in southern Asia Minor. He proceeded to destroy the crumbling Seleucid Empire and turned it into the new province of Syria in 64 BC, causing Armenia to surrender and become a vassal of Rome. Pompey’s legions then advanced south, took Jerusalem and turned the Hasmonean kingdom in Judea into a Roman vassal as well. 

Upon his triumphant return to Rome in 61 BC, Pompey made the significant mistake of disbanding his army with the promise of a land distribution, which was refused by the Senate in an attempt to isolate him. Pompey then concluded a political alliance with the rich Marcus Licinius Crassus and a young, ambitious politician: Gaius Julius Caesar.

The purpose of this political alliance – known in later times as the First Triumvirate – was to get Caesar elected as
consul in 59 BC, so that he could arrange the land distribution for Pompey’s veterans. In return, Pompey would use his influence to make Caesar proconsul and thus give him the chance to levy his own legions and become a man of power in the Roman Republic. Crassus, the richest man in Rome, funded the election campaign and easily got Caesar elected as consul, after which Caesar secured Pompey’s land distribution. Everything went according to plan and Caesar was made proconsul of Gaul for five years, starting in 58 BC. In the following years, Caesar and his legions systematically conquered all of Gaul in a war which has been immortalised in the accounts of Caesar himself (‘Commentarii De Bello Gallico’). Despite fierce resistance and massive revolts led by the Gallic warlord Vercingetorix (53 BC), the Gallic tribes proved unable to inflict a decisive defeat on the Romans and were all subdued or annihilated by 51 BC, leaving Caesar’s power and prestige at unprecedented heights.

With Crassus having fallen at the Battle of Carrhae against the Parthians in 53 BC, Pompey was left to try and mediate between Caesar and the radicalised Roman proletariat on one side and the politically hard-pressed Senate on the other. However, Pompey had once been where Caesar was now – the champion of Rome – and ultimately chose to side with the Senate, realising his own greatness had become overshadowed by Caesar’s staggering military successes and popularity among the masses. When Caesar’s term as proconsul ended, the Senate demanded that he step down, disband his armies and return to Rome as a mere citizen. Though it was tradition for a Roman commander to do so, rendering Caesar theoretically immune from any senatorial prosecution, the existing political situation made such demands hard to meet. Caesar instead offered the Senate to extend his term as proconsul and leave him in command of two legions until he could be legally elected as consul again. When the Senate refused, Caesar responded by crossing the Rubicon – the northern border of Roman Italy which no Roman commander should cross with an army – and marched on Rome itself in 49 BC.

Pompey and most of the senators fled to Dyrrhachium in Greece and assembled their forces while Caesar turned around and conducted a lightning campaign in Spain, defeating the legions loyal to Pompey at the Battle of Ilerda. Caesar crossed the Adriatic Sea in 48 BC, narrowly escaping defeat by Pompey at Dyrrhachium and retreating south. Pompey clumsily failed to press his advantage and his forces were in turn decisively defeated by Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus on 6 June 48 BC.

Pompey fled to Egypt in hopes of being granted sanctuary by the young king Ptolemy XIII, who instead had him assassinated in an attempt at pleasing Caesar, who was in pursuit. Ptolemy XIII was driven from power in favour of his older sister Cleopatra VII, with whom Caesar had a brief romance and his only known son, Caesarion. In the spring and summer of 47 BC, another lightning campaign was launched northwards through Syria and Cappadocia into Pontus, securing Caesar’s hold on Rome’s eastern reaches and decisively defeating the forces of Pharnaces II of Pontus, who had attempted to profit from Rome’s internal strife. Caesar invaded Africa in 46 BC and cleared Pompeian forces from the region at the Battles of Ruspina and Thapsus before returning to Spain and defeating the last resistance at the Battle of Munda in 45 BC.

Caesar subsequently began transforming the Roman government from a republican one meant for a city-state to an imperial one meant for an empire. Major reforms would be required to achieve this, many of which would be opposed by Caesar’s political enemies. This was a problem because several of these people enjoyed significant political influence and popular support (cf. Cicero) and while none of them could really challenge Caesar individually and publicly, collectively and secretly they could be a serious threat. To render his enemies politically impotent, Caesar consolidated his popularity among the Roman masses by passing reforms beneficial to the proletariat and enlarging the Senate to ensure his supporters gained the upper hand. He then manipulated the Senate into granting him a number of legislative powers, most prominently the office of dictator for ten years, soon changed to dictator perpetuus. Though widely welcomed by the masses, Caesar’s reforms and legislative powers dismayed his political opponents, whom assembled a conspiracy to murder him and ‘liberate Rome’. The conspirators, of whom Brutus and Cassius are the most famous, were successful and on 15 March 44 BC, Caesar was brutally stabbed to death.

Caesar’s death left a power vacuum which plunged the Roman world into yet another civil war. In his testament, Caesar adopted as his sole heir his grandnephew Gaius Octavius, henceforth known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian, in English). Despite being only eighteen, Octavian quickly secured the support of Caesar’s legions and forced the Senate to grant him several legislative powers, including the consulship. In 43 BC, Octavian established a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate with Caesar’s former generals Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus. Caesar’s assassins had meanwhile fled to the eastern provinces, where they assembled forces of their own and subsequently moved into Greece. Octavian and Antony in turn invaded Greece in 42 BC and defeated them at the Battles of Philippi.

Octavian, Antony and Lepidus then divided the Roman world between them: Octavian would rule the west, Antony the east and Lepidus the south with Italy as a joint-ruled territory. However, Octavian soon proved himself a brilliant politician and strategist by quickly consolidating his hold on both the western provinces and Italy, smashing the Sicilian Revolt of Sextus Pompey (son of) in 36 BC and ousting Lepidus from the Triumvirate that same year.

Meanwhile, Antony consolidated his position in the east but made the fatal mistake of becoming the lover of Cleopatra VII. In 32 BC, Octavian manipulated the Senate into a declaration of war upon Cleopatra’s realm, correctly expecting Antony would come to her aid. The two sides battled at Actium on 2 September 31 BC, resulting in a crushing victory for Octavian, despite Antony and Cleopatra escaping back to Egypt. Octavian crossed into Asia the following year and marched through Asia Minor, Syria and Judea into Egypt, subjugating the eastern territories along the way. On 1 August 30 BC, the forces of Octavian entered Alexandria. Both Antony and Cleopatra perished by their own hand, leaving Octavian as the undisputed master of the Roman world.

Octavian assumed the title of Augustus in January 27 BC and officially restored the Roman Republic, although in reality he reduced it to little more than a facade for a new imperial regime. Thus began the era of the Principate, named after the constitutional framework which made Augustus and his successors princeps (first citizen), commonly referred to as ‘emperor’, and which would last approximately two centuries. Augustus nevertheless refrained from giving himself absolute power vested in a single title, instead subtly spreading imperial authority throughout the republican constitution while simultaneously relying on pure prestige. Thus he avoided stomping any senatorial toes too hard, remembering what had happened to Julius Caesar.

Augustus and his successors drew most of their power from two republican offices. The title of tribunicia potestes ensured the emperor political immunity, veto rights in the Senate and the right to call meetings in both the Senate and the concilium plebis (people’s assembly). This gave the emperor the opportunity to present himself as guardian of the empire and the Roman people, a significant ideological boost to his prestige. Secondly, the emperor held imperium proconsulare. Imperium implied the emperor’s governorship of a number of provinces, the so-called imperial provinces which were typically border provinces, provinces prone to revolt and/or exceptionally rich provinces. These provinces obviously required a major military presence, thereby securing the emperor’s command of most of the Roman legions. The title was proconsulare because the emperor enjoyed imperium even without being a consul. The emperor furthermore interfered in the affairs of the (non-imperial) senatorial provinces on a regular basis and gave literally every person in the empire the theoretical right to request his personal judgement in court cases. Roman religion was also brought under the emperor’s wings by means of him becoming pontifex maximus (supreme priest), a position of major ideological importance. On top of all this, the Senate frequently granted the emperor additional rights which enhanced his power even further: supervision over coinage, the right to declare war or conclude peace treaties, the right to grant Roman citizenship, control over Roman colonisation across the Mediterranean, etc. The emperor was thus the supreme administrator, commander, priest and judge of the empire – a de facto absolute ruler, but without actually being named as such. It is worth noting that Augustus and most of his immediate successors worked hard to play along in the theatre of the empire’s republican facade, which gradually faded as the centuries passed.

The most important questions nonetheless remained the same for a long time after Augustus’ death in AD 14. Could the emperor keep himself from provoking the Senate by playing along in the republican charade? Or did he choose an open conflict with the Senate by ruling all too autocratically? Even a de facto absolute ruler required the support and acceptance of the empire’s elite class, and a lack of this could prove to be a serious obstacle to any imperial policies. The relationship between the emperor and the Senate was therefore of significant importance in maintaining the political work of Augustus, particularly under his immediate successors. The first four of these were Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero – the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Tiberius was chosen by Augustus as successor on account of his impressive military service and proved to be a capable (if gloomy) ruler, continuing along the political lines of Augustus and implementing financial policies which left the imperial treasuries in decent shape at his death in AD 37 and Caligula’s accession. Despite having suffered a harsh youth full of intrigues and plotting, Caligula quickly gained the respect of the Senate, the army and the people, making a hopeful entry into the Principate. Yet continuous personal setbacks turned Caligula bitter and autocratic, not to say tyrannical, causing him to hurl his imperial power head-first into the senatorial elite and any dissenting groups (most notably the Jews). After Caligula’s assassination in AD 41, the position of emperor fell to his uncle Claudius who, despite a strained relationship with the Senate, managed to play the republican charade well enough to implement further administrative reforms and successfully invade the British Isles to establish the province of Britannia from AD 43 onward. But the Roman drive for expansion was somewhat tempered after Augustus’ consolidating conquests in Spain, along the Danube and in the east. The Romans had practically turned the Mediterranean Sea into their own internal sea (Mare Internum or Mare Nostrum) and thus switched to territorial consolidation rather than expansion. However, the former was still often accomplished through the latter as multiple vassal states (Judea, Cappadocia, Mauretania, Thrace etc.) were gradually annexed as new Roman provinces. Actual wars of aggression nevertheless ceased to be a main item on the Roman agenda and indeed, the policies of consolidation and pacification paved the way for a long period of internal peace and stability during the first and second centuries AD – the Pax Romana. This should not be idealised, though. On the local level, violence was often one of the few stable elements in the lives of the common people across the empire. Especially among the lowest ranks of society, crimes such as murder and thievery were the order of the day but were typically either ignored by the Roman authorities or answered with brute force. Moreover, the Romans focused on safeguarding cities and places of major strategic or economic importance and often cared little about maintaining order in the vast countryside. Unpleasant encounters with brigands, deserters or marauders were therefore likely for those who travelled long distances without an armed escort. At the empire’s frontiers, the Roman legions regularly fought skirmishes with their local enemies, most notably the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and the Parthians across the Euphrates. Despite this, the big picture of the Roman world in the first and second centuries AD is indeed one of lasting stability which could not be discredited so easily.

The real threat to the Pax Romana existed not so much in local violence, shady neighbourhoods or frontier skirmishes but rather in the highest ranks of the imperial court. The lack of both dynastic and elective succession mechanisms had been the Principate’s weakest point from the outset and would be the cause of major internal turmoil on several occasions. Claudius’ successor Nero succeeded in provoking both the Senate and the army to such an extent that several provincial governors rose up in open revolt. The chaos surrounding Nero’s flight from Rome and death by suicide plunged the empire into its first major succession crisis. If the emperor lost the respect and loyalty of both the Senate and the army, he could not choose a successor, giving senators and soldiers a free hand to appoint the persons they considered suitable to be the new emperor. This being the exact situation upon Nero’s death in AD 68, the result was nothing short of a new civil war.

To further add to the catastrophe, the civil war of AD 68/69 (the Year of Four Emperors) allowed for two major uprisings to get out of hand – the Batavian Revolt near the mouths of the Rhine and the First Jewish-Roman War in Judea. Both of these were ultimately crushed with significant difficulties, especially in Judea where Jewish religious-nationalist sentiments capitalised on existing political and economic unrest. Though the Romans achieved victory with the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) and expulsion of the Jews from the city, Judea would remain a hotbed for revolts until deep into the second century AD. The fact that major uprisings arose at the first sign of trouble within the empire might cause one to wonder about the true nature of the Pax Romana. Was it truly the strong internal stability it is popularly known to be? Or was it little more than a forced peace, continuously threatened by socio-economic and ideological discontent among the many different peoples under the Roman yoke? Though a bit of both, the answer definitely leans towards the former hypothesis. While the Pax Romana lasted, unrest within the empire remained limited to a few hotbeds with a history of resisting foreign conquerors. Besides the obvious example of the Jewish people in Judea, whose anti-Roman sentiments largely stemmed from their unique messianic doctrines, large-scale resistance against the Romans was scarce. The incorporation and aggressive Romanisation of unique societies near the empire’s northern frontiers led to severe socio-economic problems, which in turn set the scene for uprisings, most notably Boudica’s Rebellion in Britain (AD 60 – 61) and the aforementioned Batavian Revolt near the mouths of the Rhine. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that the Pax Romana was strong enough to outlast a few pockets of rebellion and even a major succession crisis like the one of AD 68 – 69.

The Year of the Four Emperors ultimately brought to power Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty (AD 69 – 96) and architect of an intensified pacification policy throughout the empire. These policies were fruitful and strengthened the constitutional position of the emperor, not in the least owing to the fact that Vespasian’s sons and successors Titus and Domitian were as capable as their father. However, their skills did not prevent Titus and especially Domitian from bickering with the senatorial elite over the increasingly obvious monarchical powers of the emperor. In the case of the all too authoritarian Domitian, the conflict ultimately escalated again and despite his competent (if ruthless) statesmanship, Domitian was murdered in AD 96. A new civil war was prevented by diplomatic means: Nerva emerged as an acceptable emperor to both the Senate and the army, especially when he adopted the popular Trajan as his son and heir. Thus began the reign of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty (AD 96 – 192). Having succeeded Nerva in AD 98, Trajan once more steered the Roman Empire onto the path of aggressive expansion, leading the Roman legions across the Danube to crush the Dacians and establish the rich province of Dacia in AD 106. Subsequently, the Romans seized the initiative in the east, drove back the Parthians and advanced all the way to the Persian Gulf (Sinus Persicus). Trajan annexed Armenia in AD 114 and turned the conquered Parthian lands into the new provinces of Mesopotamia and Assyria in AD 116. Trajan died less than a year later on 9 August AD 117, his staggering military successes having brought the Roman Empire to its greatest extent ever…

© 2014


Sun stamp by Undevicesimus
Sun stamp

The Sun is the star at the centre of the Solar System. It is a hot-glowing sphere of gases where hydrogen is being turned into helium by the immense temperature and pressure of its core. This process releases enormous amounts of energy and makes the Sun shine. The bright solar disc sports a number of darker, cooler areas – sunspots – and is surrounded by a reddish layer of gases – the chromosphere – from which great tongues of glowing hydrogen burst out. Beyond these, the thin gases in the corona reach out for millions of kilometres into space. The Sun is thought to be around 4.57 billion years old and half-way through its life. At some point in the distant future, its energy will become exhausted. The Sun will subsequently swell to enormous size and turn into a red giant, quite likely engulfing the Earth and destroying any of its possibly remaining life forms.

Av. distance from Earth: 150,000,000 km
Diameter at equator: 1,392,684 km
Rotation period at equator: 24 Earth days
Rotation period at poles: 34 Earth days
Av. core temperature: 15,000,000 °C
Av. surface temperature: 5,500 °C
Mass (Earth = 1): 333,000
Age: 4.57 billion years

Mercury stamp by Undevicesimus
Mercury stamp

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, often obscured by the Solar effulgence and difficult to view from Earth. It is also the fastest moving planet, which may explain why it is named after the Roman god Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods. The Mariner 10 spacecraft approached Mercury in 1974 and 1975, mapping 45% of the planet and showing the Mercurian surface to be covered with craters. Mercury has no atmosphere, meaning the sunlit side of the planet would be capable of rapidly melting lead.

Aphelion: 69,816,900 km
Perihelion: 46,001,200 km
Diameter at equator: 4,880 km
Rotation period (1 day): 59 Earth days
Orbital period (1 year): 88 Earth days
Av. orbital speed: 47.87 km/s
Av. surface temperature: 350°C (day) / -170°C (night)
Mass (Earth = 1): 0.05
Satellites: 0

Venus stamp by Undevicesimus
Venus stamp

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is often considered Earth’s ‘sister planet’. Earth and Venus are both terrestrial bodies of similar size, mass and gravity. Known since ancient times, Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. Its brightness outshines all the stars in the night sky and is at its peak just before sunrise and right after sunset, which is why Venus is often called the Morning or Evening Star. Far from a star, Venus’ brightness stems from its cloud layers: a suffocating blanket of poisonous carbon dioxide with rains of sulphuric acid. These dense clouds trap the Sun’s heat on the Venusian surface and create an unimaginable greenhouse effect which would vaporise Earth’s water within seconds. Man-made lander craft has managed to examine the Venusian clouds and map the landscape by radar, thus revealing a hellish world with vast, dry plains and huge volcanic mountain ranges. However, no probe has survived longer than a few hours before being crushed by the planet’s intense atmospheric pressure.

Aphelion: 108,942,109 km
Perihelion: 107,476,259 km
Diameter at equator: 12,092 km
Rotation period (1 day): 243 Earth days
Orbital period (1 year): 225 Earth days
Av. orbital speed: 35.02 km/s
Av. surface temperature: 465°C
Mass (Earth = 1): 0.81
Satellites: 0

A quick note to inform you all that I am really sorry for not having presented a new map in over a month. For reasons which I don't see fit to elaborate, I havent worked on any new maps or essays since early September. However, I still intend to push ahead with my 45-map journey through history (please check my earlier journal entries if you don't know what I'm talking about: this and this) and it will continue to be the main project and priority on my dA account  no question about it!
  • Mood: Unhappy

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Nick E.V
Artist | Other
A complete failure and a terrible disappointment to my parents.


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Kiaein Featured By Owner 1 hour ago
thanks for the llama~
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Thnx for the llama
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Thanks for the :llama:
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Thanks for the llama!
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Thanks for the Llama ^w^
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