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This is a chronology of warfare between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BC and 596 AD. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd century BC. The series of conflicts, which began in the 5th century under the Western Roman Emperor Honorius, was one of many factors which led to the ultimate downfall of the Western Roman Empire.

List of campaigns[]


2nd century BC[]

The Defeat of the Cimbri by Alexandre Gabriel Décamps

1st century BC[]

Vercingetorix Throws Down His Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar by Lionel Noel Royer, 1899

  • 58–51 BC, Conquest of Celtic Gaul to the Rhine by Julius Caesar, Gallic Wars.[5]
  • 46 BC, Execution of Vercingetorix the Celt.[10]
  • 30–29 BC, Rebellion of the Morini and Treveri with aid of the Suebi crushed by proconsuls Gaius Carrinas and Gaius Cornelius Gallus.[11]
  • 20 BC, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Governor of Transalpine Gaul, Construction of military roads and especially the military road Lugdunum--Divodurum--Treverorum--Agrippinensium (from Lyon to Cologne).
  • 16 BC, clades Lolliana,[12] Destruction of the legion Legio V Alaudae by Sicambri and their allies, Fall of the Kingdom of Noricum.
  • 16–13 BC, Emperor Augustus on the Rhine, Reorganization of the Three Gauls (capital Trier), Decision to fortify the left bank of the Rhine and conquest of Germania to the Elbe, Rome pays tribute to the Frisii, Begin of invasions east of the Rhine by Rome, Construction of the modern city of Mainz begins.
  • 12–9 BC, Invasions of Drusus I up the Elbe from the North Sea, the Lippe and Main, Battle of the Lupia River, Cherusci, Marsi and Sicambri[13] subdued, Chatti, Mattiaci, Tencteri and Usipetes are overrun, Frisii and other the Germans along the lower Rhine defeated,[14] Canal of Drusus constructed,[15] Establishment of new forts by Rome of Haltern am See, Xanten, Haltern, Oberaden, Holsterhausen, Anreppen and Beckinghausen.[16]
  • 9 BC, Creation of Magna Germania (capital Cologne), Pacification campaigns against the Germanic tribes by the Roman Empire, Marcomanni defeated and forced to flee into the territory of the Boii.[17]
  • 8-7 BC, Construction of military forts on both sides of the Weser, Deportation of 40,000 Sicambri and Suebi west of the Rhine.[18][19][20]
  • 6–2 BC, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus leads a Roman army across the Elbe. Construction of military roads, called the pontes longi, amid the vast swamps between the Rhine and the Ems.[21] Hermunduri subdued and forced to flee into the territory of the Marcomanni.[22]

1st century[]

The Varus battle by Otto Albert Koch, 1909

  • 1–4 AD, Rise of the Chatti[23][24] and Bructeri (immensum bellum)[25] suppressed by Tiberius, who reaches the Elbe. Canninefates, Chattuarii, Cherusci are again subdued. Lombards, Semnones, Chauci and other tribes who dwelt on both sides of the Elbe are subjugated.[26]
  • 5, The Roman navy reaches the Cimbrian peninsula for the first time. Cimbri, Charudes, Semnones and other Germanic tribes who inhabit the region declare themselves friends of the Roman people.[27][28]
  • 6–9, Uprising in Illyricum, which cancels the major Roman project of war against Suevic Marcomanni. Romans forced to move eight of eleven legions present in Magna Germania to crush the rebellion in the Balkans and Pannonia.[29]
  • 6, Varus succeeds Saturninus as governor of Germania with the mission of peacekeeping and the implementation of tax and judicial administration.
  • 9, clades Variana, Destruction of the legions XVII, XVIII and XIX by Arminius in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, Suicide of Administrator Varus, Loss of military camps east of the Rhine.,[30][31][32] Roman Empire is forced to strategically withdraw from Germania. Pro-Roman Germanic coalition led by Maroboduus and Segestes turns against Arminius.[33] The resistance of the Roman garrison of Aliso and the arrival of Roman reinforcements on the Rhine prevent Arminius from invading Gaul.[34]
  • 10–13, Military command of Tiberius in Germania and interventions in the valley of the Lippe, replaced by Germanicus, Construction of Limes Germanicus begins.
  • 14, Mutiny of the legions of Germania.
  • 14–16, Roman retaliation against Cherusci, Chatti, Bructeri and Marsi, capture of Thusnelda, recovery of two legionary standards lost in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

Campaigns of Tiberius and Germanicus in the years 10/11-13 CE. In pink the anti-Roman Germanic coalition led by Arminius. In dark green, territories still directly held by the Romans, in yellow the Roman client states

  • 17, Cessation of military offensives east of the Rhine by Tiberius, Civil war between pro-Roman and anti-Roman Germanic tribes ends in a stalemate.[35][36]
  • 19, Death of Germanicus.
  • 21, Assassination of Arminius.
  • 28, Revolt of the Frisii, Tax collectors hanged, Romans defeated in the Battle of Baduhenna Wood.
  • 41, Raid against the Chauci under Emperor Claudius, Recovery of third legionary standard lost in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
  • 47, Cnaeus Domitius Corbulo crosses the Rhine, defeats the Frisii and Chauci and occupies their territory.[37][38]
  • 50, Raid against the Chatti under Emperor Claudius, Liberation of Roman prisoners.[39]
  • 54, Under Emperor Nero, Frisian raid repulsed.[40]
  • 69–70, Revolt of the Batavi, Destruction of 2 Roman legions by the Batavi, Rebellion crushed by Quintus Petillius Cerialis.[41]
  • 72, Under Emperor Vespasian, Romans occupy and settle the Agri Decumates.
  • 82–83, Campaign against the Chatti under Emperor Domitian, Roman armies conquer the territory of Chatti with the help of Mattiaci, Hermunduri and Cherusci, Triboci and Nemetes subdued, Establishment of new Roman forts of Ladenburg, Neuenheim, Ladenburg, Sulz, Geislingen, Rottenburg an der Laaber, Burladingen, Gomadingen, Donnstetten, Urspring, Günzburg.[42][43][44][45]
  • 89, Lucius Antonius Saturninus, Legio XIV Gemina and Legio XXI Rapax revolt against Rome with aid of the Chatti.[46]

2nd century[]

  • c. 165, Invasion of Pannonia by Lombards and Ubii.
  • 166–180, Germanic tribes invade the frontiers of the Roman Empire, specifically the provinces of Raetia and Moesia, Marcomannic Wars.
  • 180, Goths reach the banks of the Black Sea.

3rd century[]

The area (Agri Decumates) between Main and Rhine was evacuated in 259 AD, dozens of Roman camps were abandoned.

    • 259–260, Evacuation of the agrarian area Agri Decumates by the Roman Empire, Roman Empire retreats behind the Rhine.
    • 260–274, Usurper Postumus, of possible Batavian origin,[50] declares himself Emperor of the Gallic Empire including Roman Gaul, Roman Britain, Roman Spain and Germania. He assumed the title Germanicus Maximus after successfully campaigning against Franks and Alamanni.[51]
    • c. 267–269, Invasion of the Goths, Gothic attacks on Marcianopolis and Chrysopolis, Sack of Byzantium.
    • 268, Siege of Mainz, Battle of Lake Benacus, assassination of Gallic Emperor Postumus.
    • 269, Battle of Naissus,[52] end of Gothic Invasion.
    • 271, Battle of Placentia, Battle of Fano, Battle of Pavia, Destruction of Alemannic army, Emperor Aurelian repelled another Gothic invasion but abandoned the province of Dacia north of Danube forever,[53] Construction of the Aurelian Wall begins.
    • 277–278, Emperor Probus's successful campaigns against Goths, Alamanni, Longiones, Franks and Burgundians.[54]
  • 286, Campaign against the Alamanni, Burgundians, Heruli and Chaibones under Emperor Maximian.
  • 287-288, Salian Franks, Chamavi and Frisii surrender and become subjects of the Roman Empire. Maximian move them to Germania Inferior to provide manpower and prevent the settlement of other Germanic tribes.[55][56]
  • 292, Constantius defeat the Franks who had settled at the mouth of the Rhineand and deport them to the nearby region of Toxandria providing a buffer along the northern Rhine and reducing his need to garrison the region.[55]
  • 296, Frisians deported into Roman territory as laeti.[57]
  • 298, Battle of Lingones.
  • 298, Battle of Vindonissa.

4th century[]

  • 306–310, Emperor Constantine the Great drives the Franks back beyond the Rhine and captures two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The prisoners are fed to the beasts of Trier's amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed.[58] Constantine crosses the Rhine in 308 and 310, devastating the lands of the Franks and the Bructeri.[59]
  • 332, Roman invasion north of the Danube under Emperor Constantine the Great. Capture of Gothic Prince Ariaricus. Nearly one hundred thousand Goths die before submitting to Rome.[60][61][62][63][64][65]
  • 306-337, After thirty years of military campaigns Constantine regains control over a good part of the territories which had been abandoned by Gallienus and Aurelian. This included the Agri decumates from the Alemanni, the plain south of the Tisza (Banat) from the Sarmatians and Oltenia & Wallachia from the Goths.[66][67][68]
  • c. 350, Infiltration of Germania Inferior by Franks.
  • 354–355, Roman double victory over Alamanni under Emperor Constantius II.[69][70]
  • 356, Recapture of Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) by Julian the Apostate, Siege of Senonae by Alamanni, Siege of Autun by Alemanni, Battle of Reims, Battle of Brumath.

The northern and eastern frontiers of the Roman Empire in the time of Constantine, with the territories acquired in the course of the thirty years of military campaigns between 306 and 337.

  • 357, Roman invasion of Alemannic territory led by general Barbatio and Emperor Julian the Apostate, Attack of Lugdunum (Lyon) by Laeti, End of coordinated operation against the Alemanni, Battle of Argentoratum, Capture of Alemannic King Chnodomarius, Emperor Julian crosses the Rhine at Moguntiacum and forces three Alamannic kingdoms to submit, Franks expelled from the basin of the Meuse.[71]
  • 358, Raid in the province of Raetia by Alemannic Juthungi, Destruction of Castra Regina (Regensburg) by Alemanni, Emperor Julian forces the Salian Franks into submission and expel the Chamavi back to Hamaland.
  • 359, Execution of Roman General Barbatio, Recapture of Moguntiacum by Julian the Apostate, Emperor Constantius II crosses the Danube at Brigetio (Komárom) and devastates the Quadian lands.[72]
  • 365–366, Invasion of Roman Gaul by Alemanni, Alemanni pushed out of Roman Gaul.
  • 367, Sack of Moguntiacum by Alemanni, Battle of Solicinium, Roman army led by Eastern Emperor Valens defeats Gothic Greuthungi and captures their king Ermanaric.[73]
  • 367–368, Great Barbarian Conspiracy against Roman Britain and Roman Gaul by Saxons and Franks, Death of Nectaridus.
  • 367–369, Attack on Gothic Thervingi under Eastern Emperor Valens.[74][75]
  • 368, Invasion of Alemannic territory under Emperor Valentinian the Great, Crossing of the Rhine by the Roman Empire.
  • 369, Destruction of a fortress near Heidelberg by Alemanni.
  • 370, Invasion of Roman Gaul by Saxons, Death of all invading Saxons, Invasion of Alemannic territory by Valentinian the Great, Rome captures thousands of Alemannic Bucinobantes, Deposition of Alemannic King Macrian, Hunnic raids on Gothic Greuthungi.[76][77][78][79][80][81]
  • 374, Assassination of Quadic King Gabinius, Invasion of former Illyricum by Quadi and Sarmatians.
  • 375, Pillaging of Quadi lands by the Roman Empire, Western Emperor Valentinian the Great dies during peace negotiations.

Empire of the Huns, pushing the Germanic tribes over the Limes into the Roman Empire.

5th century[]

For the timeline of events in Britannia after its abandonment by Emperor Valentinian III, see Timeline of conflict in Anglo-Saxon Britain.

  • 401–402, Raid in Raetia by Vandals.
  • 401–403, Invasion of Italy by Visigoths under Alaric I, Gothic War.
  • 405–406, Siege of Florentina,[92] Battle of Faesulae,[93] Execution of Gothic King Radagaisus,[94] 12,000 Gothic higher-status fighters are drafted into the Roman army.[92][94]
  • 406, War between Frankish federates and Vandals, Battle of Moguntiacum, Vandal King Godigisel dies in battle, Alans under King Respendial rescue the Vandals, Invasion of Gaul by Vandals, Suebi, Burgundians and Alans, Fall of Roman Gaul.
  • 408, Failed invasion of Moesia by Huns and Germanic mercenaries led by Uldin the Hun, Capture of thousands of Germanic mercenaries, Execution of Roman General Stilicho, Slaughter of wives and children of barbarian foederati, Siege of Rome by Visigoths, Attacks on Roman Britain by Saxons.

Kingdom of the Vandals (yellow) and their allies the Sarmatian Alans before the Invasion of Roman Africa, c. 418

  • 409, 2nd Siege of Rome by Visigoths, Invasion of Roman Spain by Vandals, Suebi (Marcomanni, Quadi, Buri) and Alans.
  • 410, Sack of Rome by Visigoths, Begin of attacks on Vandals by Visigoths, Begin of Barbarian raids by Picts, Scoti and Irish Celts, End of Roman rule in Britain, Suevi establish a Kingdom in Galicia.
  • 411, Jovinus declares himself Western Roman Emperor with aid of the Burgundians, Franks and Alans, Burgundians establish a Kingdom left of the Rhine under King Gundahar.
  • 413, Capture of Narbonne and Toulouse by Visigoths led by King Ataulf, Usurper Jovinus is executed, Sack of Trier by Franks.
  • 421, Sack of Trier by Franks.
  • 422, Capture and Execution of Frankish King Theudemeres by Romans, Attack on Vandals by Romans.
  • 426–436, Campaigns against the Visigoths in southern Gaul under Western Emperor Valentinian III, Battle of Narbonne, Capture of Visigothic chieftain Anaolsus.
  • 428, Invasion of Northern Gaul by Salian Franks led by King Chlodio.
  • 428–431, Failed Roman campaigns against Salian Franks, Alemannic Juthungi on the Rhine and Danube, Germanus of Auxerre leads Romano-Britons to a victory against Saxon raiders.[95]

During his four-year reign Majorian reconquered most of Hispania and southern Gaul, meanwhile reducing the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suevi to federate status.

  • 429–439, Invasion of Africa by Vandals led by Vandal King Genseric, Siege of Hippo Regius, Capture of Carthage by Vandals, Capture of Roman navy by Vandals, Pillaging of Sicily, Begin of pirate raids by Vandals.
  • 431, Invasion to the Somme River by Salian Franks.
  • 436–437, Invasion of Burgundian Rhineland by Hun mercenaries controlled by Rome, Burgundian King Gundahar dies in battle.
  • c. 443, Britain plunges into civil war, Groans of the Britons, Britain is abandoned by Western Emperor Valentinian III.
  • 448, Defeat of the Salian Franks in the Battle of Vicus Helena by Roman General Aëtius, Frankish King Chlodio dies in battle.
  • 451, Invasion of Gaul by the Huns with Frankish, Gothic and Burgundian mercenaries led by Attila the Hun, Sack of Trier, Attack on Metz, Siege of Orléans, Coalition of Romans, Franks and Visigoths led by General Aëtius stop the Huns in the Battle of Châlons, Visigothic King Theodoric I dies in battle.
  • 452, Invasion of northern Italy under Attila the Hun: Sack of Aquileia, Vicetia, Verona, Brixia, Bergamum and Milan.
  • 453, Hunnic and Germanic attacks on Constantinople, Attila the Hun dies during heavy drinking.
  • 454, Assassination of Roman General Aëtius, Gepids establish a kingdom in Pannonia.
  • 455, Sack of Rome by Vandals, Capture of Empress Licinia Eudoxia by Vandals.
  • 456, Visigoths defeat the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia in the Battle of Órbigo.
  • 458, Emperor Majorian leads the Roman army to a victory over the Vandals near Sinuessa,[96] Roman victory over the Visigoths in southern Gaul in the Battle of Arelate.

Europe in the late 5th century (476-486).

  • 459, Seizure of Trier by Franks, Roman reconquest of southern Gaul and most of Hispania under Emperor Majorian.
  • 460, Roman victory over the Suebi at Lucus Augusti, Roman fleet is destroyed by traitors paid by the Vandals, Attack on the kingdom of the Vandals cancelled.
  • 461, Seventeen Vandal ships destroy forty Roman ships in a surprise attack.
  • 463, Battle of Orleans.
  • 465, Ostrogothic King Valamir dies in battle.
  • 468, Invasion of the Vandal Kingdom by the Byzantine Empire, Defeat of the Byzantine Empire by the Vandals in the Battle of Cape Bon.
  • 469, Ostrogoths decisively defeat an alliance of pro-Roman Germanic forces in the Battle of Bolia,[97] Fall of the Hunnic Empire, Visigoths thwarted an attack by an alliance of Bretons and Romans in the Battle of Déols.
  • 472, Revolt in Thrace by Ostrogoths led by chieftain Theodoric Strabo.
  • 476, Revolt of Heruli, Scirii and Turcilingi mercenaries, Battle of Ravenna, Germanic Heruli chieftain Odoacer becomes King of Italy, Deposition of Romulus Augustulus, the last de facto Western Roman Emperor, Fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 480, Assassination of Julius Nepos, the last de jure Western Roman Emperor.
  • 486, Franks under Merovingian King Clovis I defeat the Kingdom of Soissons in the Battle of Soissons, Fall of the Kingdom of Soissons.
  • 489, Theodoric the Great defeats Odoacer in the Battle of Isonzo, Battle of Verona.

6th century[]

Kingdom of the Visigoths (orange), Kingdom of the Suebi (green), Kingdom of the Burgundians, Kingdom of the Franks (purple), Kingdom of the Vandals (yellow), c. 490.

The Byzantine Empire at the End of the Antiquity in 555 AD.

  • 552, Justinian sends a force of 2,000 men, led by Liberius, against the Visigoths in Hispania. Conquest of Cartagena and other cities on the southeastern coast and foundation of the new province of Spania.[99]
  • 554, Byzantine General Narses defeats the Franks and Alemanni in the Battle of the Volturnus.[100]
  • c. 558–561, Failed Uprising of the Ostrogoth Widin.[101]
  • 567, Lombards decisively defeat the Gepids, Gepid King Cunimund dies in battle, Fall of the Kingdom of the Gepidae.
  • 568–c. 572, Invasion of Italy by a confederation of Lombards, Bavarians, Gepids, Suebi, Heruls, Thuringians, Saxons, Ostrogoths and Rugii.[102] Longbeards (Lombards) establish kingdoms in Northern Italy (Langobardia Major) and in Southern Italy (Langobardia Minor).
    • 569, Seizure of Cividale del Friuli, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia and Mediolanum by Lombards.
    • 570–572, Siege of Ticinum, Seizure of Tuscany by Lombards. Faroald and Zotto found the Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento.

See also[]


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  4. Florus, Epitome 1.38.16-17 and Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium Archived 2010-11-30 at the Wayback Machine. 6.1.ext.3 Archived 2010-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. (in Latin)
  5. Caesar. In: Hans Herzfeld[de] (1960): Geschichte in Gestalten (History in figures), vol. 1: A-E. Das Fischer Lexikon[de] 37, Frankfurt 1963, p. 214. "Hauptquellen [betreffend Caesar]: Caesars eigene, wenn auch leicht tendenziöse Darstellungen des Gallischen und des Bürgerkrieges, die Musterbeispiele sachgemäßer Berichterstattung und stilistischer Klarheit sind" ("Main sources [regarding Caesar]: Caesar's own, even though slightly tendentious depictions of the Gallic and the Civil Wars, which are paradigms of pertinent information and stylistic clarity")
  6. Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 1.31-53
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  10. Birkhan, Helmut, 1997, Die Kelten, p. 238. (German) (The Celts)
  11. Dio LI.20.5; LI.21.6
  12. Suetonius, Augustus, 23, Tiberius, 12; Tacitus, Annals, I.10, III.48; Velleius II.97, 102; Pliny, Nat. Hist. IX.35 (58); Dio, liv.6.
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  19. Cassius Dio, LV, 6.4-5
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  21. Tacitus, The Annals 1.44
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  23. Several examples by Max Ihm, s. v. Cheruski, in: Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (RE) III.2, Stuttgart 1899, cols. 2270–2272. (German))
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  32. "Germans under Arminius Revolt Against Rome". Edward Shepherd Creasy, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 2. 1905.,_Vol._2/Germans_under_Arminius_Revolt_Against_Rome. 
  33. Velleius, Hist. Rom. II, 119
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  36. Kevin Sweeney, Scholars look at factors surrounding Hermann’s victory Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. 2010-10.
  37. Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome, p. 269
  38. Tacitus 117:189–190, The Annals, Bk XI, Ch 18–19. Events of AD 47–48.
  39. Tacitus, Annals, XII.27
  40. Tacitus 117:253, The Annals, Bk XIII, Ch 55. Events of AD 54–58.
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  63. Origo Constantini 6.32 mention the actions.
  64. Eusebius, The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine, IV.6
  65. Odahl, Charles M., Constantine and the Christian Empire, chapter X.
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  68. R.Ardevan & L.Zerbini, La Dacia romana, p.210.
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  70. Ammianus Marcellinus, Historiae, book 15, chapters 4.
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  72. Ammianus Marcellinus, Historiae, book 17, chapters 12-13.
  73. Gibbon, Ibid. p. 892, 893
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