Sunday 26 February 2023

Campaigns - Augustus to Trajan

Cobbling together the armies of  Nabataea and the Late Judaean marked the first stage of my latest project, The Early Imperial Roman Army of the 1st and 2nd century. Determining which opponents should be collected, I find a timeline of military activity useful. Below is a brief summary of campaigns beginning with the reign of Augustus and ending with the death of Trajan. 

Most of Rome's enemies in the West I already have in the collection, Marcomanni, Chatti, Sarmatians and the Dacian. In the East, Nabataea and the Judaean are done and soon, Emesa and the Commagene will join their number. The Batavian, Pre-Islamic Nomadic Arab and the Jewish Revolt will complete the list of enemies, hopefully before the start of the summer. 

The following list is compiled from Yann La Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, which I highly recomment. 


29 BC – 19 BC

Together with Agrippa, Hispania is subdued, requiring needing seven legions.

25 BC – 7 BC   

Beyond the Alps, the Salassi are finally subjected after a series of campaigns.

12 BC – 9 BC   

Across the Rhine, Drusus reaches the Elbe River in a series of campaigns. Later, the defeat

inflicted by Arminius calls for a revaluation of Rome’s frontier policy.

15 BC              

Drusus and Tiberius capture Raetia and Vindelicia.

13 BC              

Piso makes an armed incursion into Moesia, ensuring the Elbe could be reached from the 

Danube as well. The extra security in the region ensured the kingdom of Thrace, Crimea and 

the Pontus would become protectorates.

6 AD – 9 AD    

Pannonia and Dalmatia rebel against Rome, Maroboduus seizes the moment to fight Tiberius.

Galatia is reduced in status to a province.

6 AD - 42 AD

Judaea, previously ruled by kings, is divided and governed by prefects. A peaceful period with

Parthia follows allowing ambassadors from the Indian kingdoms to visit Rome.

Arabia was the scene of two major wars during the reign of Augustus

In North Africa, Rome wars against the Nasamones, the Musulamii, and the Gaetuli.



14 AD -17 AD  

Germanicus restores discipline among the legions in Pannonia and Germany and crosses the 

Rhine to consolidate power. Moravia becomes a protectorate as a result. Germanicus is sent 

East; Rome annexes Cappadocia and Armenia becomes a protected kingdom.

34 AD             

Judaea is annexed.

20 AD – 22 AD

Revolts in Illyria and Thrace unsettle the period of expansion. Tacfarinus leads the Musulamii 

to revolt in 17 AD to 24 AD. In 21 AD the Treveri and Aedui revolt in Gaul.



39 AD             

Experiences setbacks against the Chatti. in. In the East, Armenia and Judaea are temporarily

abandoned. Assassination of King Ptolemy of Mauretania in 40 AD may have been an attempt 

to annex the kingdom.



40 AD             

The Maghreb becomes first priority as emperor. Suetonius Paulinus brings order and 

establishes to two new provinces, Caesarean Mauretania and Tingitania Mauretania.

43 AD             

The conquest of Britain became Claudius’ greatest achievement.

44 AD             

Judaea is annexed once more and entrusted to procurators.

45 AD             

Thrace is integrated in the empire in. In Germania, Vespasian is sent to Strasbourg to quell the


48 AD – 49 AD

Corbulo subdues the Chauci and Frisians. 

Near the end of his reign, Vologeses invades Armenia.  



58 AD – 63 AD  

Parthia becomes difficult, Corbulo conquers Armenia and occupies Adiabene.

Boudicca revolts which are supressed by Suetonius Paulinus.

66 AD             

Insurrection in Judaea, Vespasian and Titus are sent, but Nero's death pauses the campaign.


The Crises

68 AD – 69 AD

Following the death of Nero, Galba is the first to have himself acknowledge as emperor. Becoming too authoritative, he was abandoned by the military and replaced by Otho. The legions in Germany support their own candidate, Vitellius and resolve the dispute at the Battle of Bderiacum. Vitellius the victor, was later captured and killed by Vespasian, opening the way to the throne for the latter.

The Batavian revolt and Jewish War will be covered in future articles.



69 AD – 72 AD

Titus subdues the Jews. Cerialis, Frontinus and Agricola win recognition in Britain. The Commagene is annexed to the province of Syria. 



79 AD – 81 AD

His brief reign is devoid of any major military campaigns.



77 AD – 84 AD

Agricola continues campaigning in Britain. Frontinus is recalled to deal with the Chatti in on the upper Rhine. On the Danube, the Quadi and Marcomanni become restive as were the Jazyges and Sarmatians.

85 AD – 88 AD

The Dacians are the greatest trouble. Domitian fails and peace is purchased.



96 AD- 98 AD 

His short reign is devoted to administrative changes than military projects.



101 AD- 105 AD

Subjugation of Dacia required several campaigns; pacification in 107 AD. Troops sent East.

107 AD           

Nabataea is annexed.

113 AD - 115 AD         

Conquering Mesopotamia was a prelude to the major campaign in Parthia, this required ten

legions and auxiliaries between the period of 113 and 114 AD. Trajan did not survive to see the

conquest consolidated. 

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