Comprehensive Timeline of Jewish, Christian and Roman Events from 333 BCE to 431 CE


Overview

This Timeline Chart lists important events and milestones for the Jewish, Christian and Roman peoples, centered on Palestine but occasionally extending over the Roman Empire as well.  The dates in this timeline run from 333 BCE (the beginning of Alexander’s Hellenization of his conquered lands) to 431 CE (when the beliefs of Christianity, now the Empire’s state religion, were stabilized at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus.)  The chart is complementary to parts of six other Wikipedia timelines (listed below this table) but is much more complete, and it emphasizes the interactions between three groups: the Jews, the Christians and the Romans.  These interactions include both peaceful coexistence and conflicts about taxation or of a legal, religious, or violent nature between these groups.

These events are just milestones in what are usually long progressions of activities or changes, such as the separation of Christianity from its Jewish roots, which mainly took place from approximately 50 to 100 CE.  On the other hand, the Roman persecutions of Christians, both local and empire-wide, took place over 270 years.  They began with Herod Agrippa’s local persecution of Christians in Galilee, ca 42 CE, and finished with the ending of Diocletian’s empire-wide Great Persecution of Christians in 312 CE.

The information in this integrated list of milestones can be used to create lists of milestone events in any of the transformations that took place during these centuries.  Possible lists include the Jewish-Roman interactions, both good and bad; the Christian-Roman interactions, both good and bad; the growth of Christianity over its first four centuries; the development of Judeo-Christian literature over seven centuries; and changes in coinage (and depicted images) from Jewish to Roman coins.


Notes for the Table

We use the modern dating system: BCE for Before the Common Era (the Christian B.C.) and CE for the Common Era (the Christian A.D.).  Only the earliest four Christian heresies, ca 144 to 166 CE,  are included.  Dates of Christian deaths or martyrdoms are only listed for the first century CE.  References are listed below the table.  The symbol ‘ca’ (or ‘Ca’) in front of a date is the Latin circa, meaning about or approximately.   So  ‘ca 200’ means ‘about 200’.

The Timeline Chart contains the following Eras: (also listed within the chart)

333 – 37 BCE Hellenization of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, etc., including Judaism.
63 BCE Beginning of centuries of Roman rule of Judea. Pax Romana from 27 BCE to 180 CE.
30  – 80 CE First generation of Christian Apostles and Martyrs (Stephen, James, Andrew, Paul, Peter).
49 – 115 Composition of all 27 books finally included in the New Testament.
50 – 100 Separation of Christianity from Judaism in stages.
64 – 303 Eight Roman persecutions of Christians (some localized, some Empire-wide) but not including wars with the Jews.  Dates are 42, 64, 90, 177, 202, 250, 258, 303.
66 – 73 First Jewish-Roman war.  This major Jewish rebellion was finally crushed.  Saducees, Essenes and Zealots were virtually erased.  After the Roman destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, Pharisaic Judaism evolved into rabbinic Judaism.
93 – 120 Earliest independent Roman publications confirming Christianity (see the Tab on Confirming Authors).
100 – 325 Ante-Nicene era.
144 – 156 The first four Christian ‘heretical’ groups are active: Marcionites, Valentinians, Ebionites and Montanists.
310 – 450 Nicene Era (Constantine and the Church Councils)
337 – 392 Growth of Christianity from acceptance by the Romans to domination of their Empire.

Comprehensive Timeline of Jewish, Christian and Roman Events from  333 BCE to 431 CE

Date(s) Event(s) Reference(s)
BCE (or B.C.)     Before the Common Era  (or Christian B.C.)
333 – 37 BCE Hellenization of the Near East, including Judaism
333-320 Alexander the Great from Macedonia conquers Egypt, middle east including Jerusalem and elsewhere; brings the Hellenizing influences of Greek language and culture. Various, W/TJer
332 Alexander granted the Samaritans permission to build a temple on Mount Gerizim.  It rivals the one in Jerusalem. [JJI, 31,36]
300 -200 Judea ruled by Ptolemaic Hellenistic Dynasty. [SC1, 9]
ca 200 Second part of Hebrew Bible, the Prophets (Nevi’im) is being canonized as scripture. [TJC, v]
ca 200 Septuagint (Greek translation of Hebrew Bible) completed. W/TC
198 Judea annexed by Antiochus IV, the Great, to the Seleucid Empire, in Syria; Hellenization continues. TJC, [IG1, 120]
Bency, 371]
167-164 Antiochus Epiphanes IV’s policy of enforced Hellenization outlawed the practices of Judaism.  The Temple was converted to universal worship and a statue of Zeus introduced. [BW1,267] [MB1, 23]
[TJC, 5]
167-161 The Maccabean (Hasmonean) Revolt against the Seleucids and the Hellenized Jews, led by Judas Maccabeus, results in victory. TJC
164 Judas Maccabaeus rededicates the Temple after expelling the Syrians. The rededication becomes the basis for the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. [JJI, 55]
163 Daniel is the last book of the OT to be completed. (Can be dated precisely). Bible
157-129 Hasmonean dynasty establishes its royal dominance in Judea during renewed war with the Seleucid Empire. TJC
ca 150-112 Rise of Pharisees and Saducees in Palestine [JJI,74], [IG1, 120]
ca 140 The Essenes found a community at Qumran [RDstory, 55]
139 Jewish missionaries banned from the city of Rome. [TJC, vi]
134 Sadducee John Hyrcanus becomes leader of Hasmoneans. W/TJer
134-63 BCE the Hasmonean Dynasty reigned for 71 years over an independent Jewish kingdom. [RDStory, 55]
[IG1, 120]
128 The Hasmonean John Hyrcanus destroyed the temple on Mount Gerizim [PF2, 159]
104 Aristobulus rules and takes the title of king of Judaea (of the Hasmonean dynasty) [MB1, 23]
103-76 Alexander Jannaeus is king and high priest of Judaea.  Civil war between Sadducees (Temple priests who support his role) and Pharisees, who are the religious party of ordinary people. [TJC, 5]
ca 90 Great Jewish sage Hillel formulates the rules for Bible interpretation. [TJC, v]
76-67 Salome Alexandra becomes queen, ends the civil war, introduces reforms, brings the Pharisees and their oral law into the Sanhedrin. [TJC, 5]
73-71 BCE Spartacus led the slave revolt against the Romans [LTJ3, 15]
63 BCE Beginning of centuries of Roman rule of Judea
63 Pompey besieged and entered the Temple, Judea became a client kingdom of Rome.  In time, Greek deities were simply given Roman names. [TJC, 5]
54 Crassus loots the temple, confiscating all its gold. W/TJer
40-37 Antigonus, the last Hasmonean King, makes bronze coins with both Hebrew and Greek text. [Bency, 228]
37 Herod the Great appointed King of the Jews by the Roman Senate. DA1, [Bency, 635]
37 King Herod takes over Jerusalem and reigns until his death in 4 BCE. [Bency, 635]
37 Herod kills all the Hasmoneans he can find; executes 45 of the Sanhedrin. [MB1, 27]
37 – 4 Herod only issues coins with the Greek words, “Herod the King.” [Bency, 228]
32 Leadership of Rabbi Hillel begins. [LJL, 280]
27 Herod begins massive rebuilding program (see 20 BCE), including new Temple, new city of Caesarea, upgrades fortress at Masada. DA1
27 BCE – 180 CE “Pax Romana” the empire has a lot of peace, permitting relatively safe travel, etc. W/TOR
27 BCE-14 CE Reign of Caesar Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, who was deified as a son of God  divi filius at his death. BE6, [Bency, 635]
C 20 King Herod expanded the platform of Temple Mount, rebuilt the Temple, including the Western Wall, and built up Jerusalem as a showcase city for the Roman Empire. [BW1, 268]
DA1
6-4 BCE Estimated birth of both John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth W/TRC, Matt 2
4 BCE Five days before his own death, Herod executed his eldest son, Antipater. [IG1,92]
4 BCE King Herod dies and Judaea divided amongst his sons TJC
4 BCE to 39 CE Herod Antipas rules Galilee and Perea as tetrarch. DA1, [Bency, 635]
4 BCE-6 CE Judea ruled by Herod’s son Archelaus. Over time, Jewish disturbances broke out in Jerusalem and throughout the Kingdom. [IG1, 91-2]
CE (or AD)          Common Era (or  Christian Anno Domini)
3-6 CE Under the rule of Archelaus, Jewish disturbances broke out in Jerusalem and throughout the kingdom of Judea. IG1, 92
6 CE Roman Province of Judea created by merging existing Judea with Samaria and Idumea. IG1, W/TC
6 Quirinius, Legate (Governor) of the Roman province of Syria, conducted the Census of Quirinius; dates Jesus’ birth to this year, contradicting Matt2. Luke 2:1-3.
Acts 5:37
6-7 Zealot uprising against Rome, led by Judas of Galilee. Josephus credits him with founding the revolutionary Zealots. [Acts 5.37]
[Bdict, 499-500]
6-15 Annas the Sadducee and father-in-law of Caiaphas is high priest. [Sage, 168]
6–25 In Judea, Romans isssue bronze coins with Caesar on one side and a Palestinian palm tree or sheaf of corn on the other side. [Bency, 228]
8 Twelve year old Jesus discusses Judaism with Temple priests for three days.  He calls the Temple “my Father’s house.” Luke 2.48-49.
14-37 Roman Emperor Tiberius succeeds Augustus. [Bency, 635]
18-36 Joseph Caiaphas is High Priest of Herod’s Temple. W/TC, [EPS1,780]
19 Jews and astrologers expelled from Rome. W/TC
ca 25 Death of Joseph the betrothed W/TOR
26-36 Pontius Pilot is Prefect/Procurator of Judea.  Eventually recalled to Rome for excessive violence, and exiled. [MB1, 43]
26 – 36 Pontius Pilate issues coins with distinctly pagan decorations. [Bency, 228]
28-30 Three year public ministry of Jesus. BE6, W/TOR
28/29 John the Baptist starts baptising in 15th  year of Emperor Tiberius. Jesus is baptised.  Harold Antipas, ruler of Galilee, had John the Baptist executed. Luke 3:1-2, 21-22
Matt 14.10
30 Crucifixion of Jesus.   Catholics use 33 CE which is listed in Pilate’s acta (official record) for the year 33, but this report is possibly spurious [EH, 90]
[RCBible, xv]
30 – 80 First generation of Christian Apostles and Martyrs
30/33 Peter founds Christ’s Jerusalem church with about 120 Jews Acts 1:15
33/4 Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is stoned to death in Jerusalem by Jews.  Saul watched and approved. Acts 7.54-8.1
ca 33/35 Conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus Acts 9.1-22; 22.6-11; 26.4-23.
35 Pilate attacks a crowd around a Samaritan prophet at Mount Gerizim. [PF2, 172]
[Bdict, 806]
36 CE End of the rule of both Pontius Pilate and the collaborating high priest Caiaphas.
37-41 Roman emperor is Caligula. He demands to be worshiped as a god in life. [PF2,174][Bency,635]
39 Peter preaches to a gentile audience in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea Maritima. W/TCM
39-40 Disturbances in Palestine and Alexandria [Bency, 635]
40 Emperor Caligula fails to get his own cult statue of Zeus-Gaius into Jerusalem’s Temple. [PF3, 165]
Ca 40 CE Hillel recognized as an important Pharisaic scholar, and the founder of his own school, which was recognized as authoritative. [WWR, 155]
CE 40-135 After Peter, and starting with James the brother of Jesus, the first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all Jewish.  This ended in CE 135, where at the end of the second Jewish war with Rome, the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem. [GV2, 83]
41-54 Roman emperor is Claudius.  He denounced the ‘’great folly and madness’ of his predecessor.  He announces tolerance for jewish customs and worship without let or hindrance. [PF2, 174-5]
[Bency, 635]
40-50 Catholics refer to the earliest Gospel manuscript, the Aramaic version of Matthew, written between AD 40 and 50. See 50 CE. W/TOR says in 50
42 First persecution of Christ-followers in Jerusalem under Herod Agrippa I. [RCBible, xv]
42 Mark goes to Alexandria W/TCM
44 St. James the Great, brother of John, beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I during Passover. Acts 12.1-2
44-66 Frequent unrest in Judea DA1
44-66 The prophets Theudas, Judas the Galilean, the Egyptian, and the ‘signs prophet’ in Palestine develop followings and are suppressed by the Roman rulers. Acts 5.35-39; 21.38. [PF2, 150] , [IG1, 96]
45-46 After a famine in Judea, Paul and Barnabas support the Jerusalem poor from Antioch. W/TJer
45-59 Anan II (Anani’as ) is High Priest [Bency, 635],
Acts 23.2, 24.1
46-47 Paul’s 1st Mission, with Barnabas & Saul  to Cyprus, Antioch & five other places. Acts 13:2-
47 The Church of the East is created by St. Thomas W/TC
49 Since the jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of  ‘Chrestus’, Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome.
49 CE A conference of Paul and other Christian leaders in Jerusalem agreed to allow Gentiles into the community without circumcision – the most important and decisive decision made in Christian history. [LTJ2, 74]
49-53 Paul’s second mission, with Barnabas first, then Silas, to Asia minor, Macedonia, Lystra, Corinth.  Timothy and Luke joined them. NTG,  [Bency, 635]
49-60 Letters of Paul written BE6
49-115 Composition of all 27 books of the New Testament  
50 Passover riot in Jerusalem, many dead W/TC
50/51 Council of Jerusalem determines that gentile converts to Christ do not have to abide by all Mosaic laws, including circumcision.  This begins the separation of Christianity from Judaism [RDStory, 132]
Acts 15:1-35
50 Gospel of Matthew in Aramaic finished W/TOR
50-100 Separation of Christianity from Judaism in stages  
51 During Gallio’s one year as proconsul of Achaia, ‘the Jews’ brought Paul before Gallio, accusing him of ‘persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.’ Gallio took no action. Acts 18.12-17
52-60 N. Antonius Felix is Governor of Judea Acts 23 to 25 (8 refs)
[Bency, 635]
53-57 Paul’s third mission, to Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, Greece, Caesarea and Jerusalem. [Bency, 635]
54-68 Emperor Nero (see also 64-68) [Bency, 635]
ca 58 Paul arrested as “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” and for teaching resurrection of the dead.  Tried and imprisoned for two years in Caesarea.  In Malta, after the snake incident, “they …began to say that he was a god.” Acts 24.1-25.12
ca 60 Apostle Andrew crucified in Patras, Greece. W/TEO
60 – 62 Porciius Festus is Governor of Judea Acts 24 to 26 (13 refs)
[Bency, 635]
60/62 The Jerusalem High Priest, named ‘Hanan’ or Ananus ben Ananus, was directly responsible for execution of Jesus’ brother James ‘the Just’, the leader of the Christians in Jerusalem.  James and others were stoned to death for breaking Jewish law by high priest. [Chr, 93 & 105]
[JJI, 125].
62 – 67 Deaths of Paul and Peter in Rome various
63 Simeon, another relative of Jesus, is appointed Bishop of Jerusalem. He succeeds James as the leader of the Jesus movement in Jerusalem. [BW1, 98]
63 The completion of Herod’s temple left some eighteen thousand men out of work. [PF2, 298]
64-68 Emperor Nero (54-68)  blames fire in Rome on Christians (not other jews); starts the first local (Rome only) persecution of Christians W/TRC
W/TOR
65-70 Gospel of Mark published Bible
66-73 CE During the rebellion, Jewish insurgents overstruck Roman coins to read, “Shekel of Israel,” “Jerusalem is Holy,” and “For the Redemption of Zion. [CE2, 325]
67 Martyrdom of St. Paul outside of Rome.  Pope Linus becomes first or second Bishop of Rome (a  matter of opinion).  See also 62 CE. W/TC,  W/TRC
66–73 First Jewish-Roman War  
66-70 Great Jewish Revolt:  or First Jewish-Roman war.  Romans under Titus (Emperor Vespasian’s son) destroy Herod’s temple, 70 CE.  1,100,000 people are killed by the Romans during the siege, and 97,000 captured and enslaved. The Saducees mostly killed.  A multi-sided civil war and war with the Romans. NTG, DA1, W/TC
67 Josephus, a Jewish military leader in Galilee, defects to the Romans following a defeat, and starts writing his histories. [MB1, 43]
68 Romans destroy Qumran, the place of the Essenes.  Most Essenes died. W/TC
68 CE The Zealots in Jerusalem replace the illegitimate Hasmonean High Priest with one from the legitimate line of the Zadoks. [JDC2, 81]
68-69 Year of three Emperors: Galba-Otho-Vitellius [Bency, 635]
69-79 Emperor Vespasian BE6
69 Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai gets Roman permission to set up a Jewish center at Yavneh/Javne/Jabneh.  Its council becomes the new Sanhedrin.  This was a center of Judaism and Jewish scholarship.  The school and Sanhedrin there was destroyed in 132 [TJC, vi] [MB1, 43][IG1, 120]
70 Jerusalem falls to the Romans led by Titus (eldest son of Emperor Vespasian) and the second Temple is destroyed, but the city was not.  [MB1] says the city was destroyed. . [MB1, 55], IG1,
W/TRC
70 CE By this time, the majority of Christians were already Gentile in background. [LTJ2, 52]
73 Fortress at Masada is conquered and 960 Zealots there commit mass suicide.  Most Zealots are now extinguished. [BW1, 98]
[MB1, 43]
ca 75 During the reign of Vespasian (69 – 79) Roman coins were minted saying iudaea capta “Judaea Conquered’  or showing Vespasian as Pontifex Maximus, ‘High Priest’. [MB1, 57]
76 Pope Linus is martyred. W/TRC
77 Josephus publishes The War of the Jews. W/JJ
79-81 Roman Emperor Titus [Bency, 635]
80 Some Jewish Christians expelled from synagogues [Bible, p.1814]
ca 80-85 Matthew, Luke and Acts published. BE6
80-115 Rabbi Gamaliel II takes over the leadership at Yavne. [IG1, 120]
81-96 Roman Emperor Domitian [Bency, 635]
81-90 Emperor Domitian ordered that all descendants of King David be slain.  see  90 –  96 below. [BW1, 98]
85 ‘Curse against Heretics’ added to Jewish synagogue benedictions, with the intent of excluding Christians.
88 (or 91) to 101 Clement, fourth Bishop of Rome, wrote Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, 1 Clement, possibly one of the books that some included in the NT. [RCBible, xv]
W/TC
ca 88 The worship of Christ Followers in synagogues ended. [JS1, 102]
90 Council of Javneh marks final separation and distinction between the Jewish and Christian communities, including rejection of the Septuagint and a definition of the Jewish Bible contents. [Story, 100]
ca 90-150 Third part of Hebrew Bible, the Writings (Ketuvim) are finalized and canonized as sacred scripture. [TJC, vi]
ca 90-95 Gospel of John written BE6
ca 90-96 2nd persecution of Christians in Rome under Emperor Domitian.  Possibly the source of the oppression & murder depicted in the Book of Revelation. W/TOR
[LTJ3, 51]
93 – 120 Earliest independent Roman publications confirming Christianity (by Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, & Suetonius)  
93 Flavius Josephus writes about the lives and deaths of Jesus, John the Baptist, and James the brother of Jesus. W/Josephus on Jesus
96 Romans make practicing Jews pay the Fiscus Judaicus tax that Christians do not.
98-117 3rd Persecution.  Emperor Trajan. [BE6, 373]
100 St John, the last of the apostles, dies in Ephesus (aged 90ish) W/TRC
100-325 Ante-Nicene Era  
ca 100 Emergence of Christian catacombs as meeting places and burial sites. W/TOR
ca 100 By the end of the first century, the majority of Christians weren’t Jewish converts to Christianity.  By 100 CE, over 40 churches were established, mostly in Asia Minor. [RCD, 344]
W/TC
108-124 3rd persecution of Christians under Emperors Trajan and Hadrian W/TOR
110-120 Jewish and Christian writings on scrolls begin to be converted to the codex format which is similar to modern books. [Bible, xiv]
RDStory, 133]
112 Pliny the Younger tells Emperor Trajan “It is not only through the cities, but also through villages and the countryside that the contagion of this superstition [Christ followers] has spread”   Christian were still tolerated. W/TCM, W/PYC
115-17 Jewish diaspora revolts in Alexandria, Cyrene, cyprus and egypt crushed.  Great synagogue and Great Library in Alexandria destroyed.  Wholesale massacre of the Jews in Alexandria. [MB1, 58] [TJC, vi
[Bency, 161]
116 Roman historian Tacitus, in his Annals, criticizes Nero for blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome in 64 CE and his subsequent torture of them. W/TonC
117-138 Roman Emperor is Hadrian [Bency, 635]
ca 120 Roman historian Suetonius writes that Emperor Claudius expelled the followers of Chrestus from Rome for causing disturbances.
ca 120 Rabbi Tarfon advocates burning the Gospels. W/TC
127 Hadrian’s edict prohibiting circumcision as a barbaric practice. [Bency, 162]
128 Aquila’s Greek translation of the OT W/TOR
130 The Romans rebuilt the Temple as a Temple to Jupiter (Zeus). [BE6, 179]
131-136 Simon bar Kochba leads a large rebellion against Rome in response to Hadrians actions, such as putting a Temple of  Jupiter over the Temple ruins.  He gets control of Jerusalem for three years and is proclaimed ‘Messiah’ by Rabbi Akiva. Roman coins were overstruck with “Year One of the Redemption of Israel,” or “Simeon Prince of Israel. IG1, W/TC,
W/TJer [CE2, 325]
131-136 Hadrian crushes Jewish resistance; forbids Jews and Jewish-Christians to return to Jerusalem upon pain of death.  Jerusalem renamed Aelia Capitolina. Judea renamed Syria Palaestina. All Jewish teaching and observances banned.  City repopulated with gentiles from Syria and Egypt.
136 After the defeat of Bar Kochba, three centuries went by before the reappearance of messianic fervor and messianic claimants. [CE2, 442]
144-156 The first four Christian ‘heretical’ groups (Marcionites, Valentinians, Ebionites and Montanists)  
144 Heretic Bishop Marcion of Sinope based his own version of Christianity on Paul’s letters and a revised Luke.  The link to Judaism was completely broken.  His Marcionite church spread and survived for centuries. [WWR, 258-9][BE7, 64]
150 Christianity reached Edessa (North of Antioch) and a church was built, which translated the Greek NT into Syriac. [EH, 54]
150 Valentinus, most famous Christian Gnostic, narrowly loses election for Bishop of Rome.  Christian writers begin to condemn the Gnostics. [MB1, 67] [WWR, 426] [Story, 101]
ca 150 The Ebionites, a Jewish-Christian group, claimed Jesus was a righteous man, but only a man; he was the Jewish Messiah sent from the Jewish God to the Jewish people. The laws of Torah must be followed. [BE7, 43, 44]
[Chr, 107]
150 Latin translations (Vetus Latina) from the Greek texts of the scriptures are circulated among non-Greek-speaking Christian communities
156/160 Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and teacher of Irenaeus, is martyred, as  described in The Martyrdom of Polycarp. W/TRC
[LTJ3, 57]
ca 156 Montanism, or The New Prophecy, was started by the heretic Montanus, who received new revelations, and embodied a charismatic and apocryphal approach.  Montanism lasted 100 years. [Chr, 138-40]
[BE7, 65] [DA1, 220]
166 Bishop Soter writes that the number of Christians has surpassed the Jews. W/TCM
177-180 4th persecution of Christians under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. W/TOR
180-192 Theodotian’s Greek translation of the OT W/TOR
195 The first identifiable Christian gravestones for members of the Roman imperial household date from just after Emperor Commodus’s death in 192 CE. [Christ, 172]
ca 200 Severus and Caracalla permit Jews to hold public office without participating in Roman cult practices. [PF1, 47]
ca 200 Bishop of Rome gains his predominant position as pope.
ca 200-220 Jewish Mishnah, the written collection of Jewish oral law, is compiled, forming the basis of the Jewish Talmud commentaries.   Judah ha Nasi (the Prince) codified the halakhic interpretations of Torah in the Mishnah. [BW1,281]
[Story,23, 108][LJL, 280]
202-210 5th persecution of Christians and Jews under Emperor Septimus Severus.  His edict forbid conversions to Christianity or Judaism. W/TOR
208 Tertullian writes that Christ has followers on the North side of the Roman wall in Britain where the Romans have not yet penetrated. W/TCM
210 Hippolytus of Rome, bishop and martyr is last Greek-speaking father in Rome.
212 Roman co-emperor Caracallus allows free Jews to become full citizens of the Empire.  Jews are in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Asia Minor. [TJC, vi]
249-251 Emperor Trajan Decius forces all heads of household to sacrifice to the Roman gods and get a certificate of proof.  This starts the first empire-wide persecution of Christians, which ended with Decius’ death in 251. (requirement abandoned in 260).  Devotion to martyrs becomes widespread.  Bishop Fabian of Rome is the first one executed. [MB1, 91]  [BE7, 56]
256 First known justification of the Bishop of Rome being the appointed leader of the church.  Bishop (Pope?) Stephen quotes “on this rock I will build my church”  Around this time, the Roman church changed its main language from Greek to Latin. Matt.16.18
[RDStory, 221]
[Chr, 137]
258 “Valerian’s Massacre”. Roman emperor issues edict to execute immediately all Christian Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, including Pope Sixtus II. W/TC, [MB1, 91]
ca 260 Paul of Samosata begins preaching Modalism (aka Sabellianism), the belief that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely aspects or modes of the same being, playing transitory parts in succession.  The Synod in Rome condemned this. [Chr, 146-7]
284-305 Emperor Diocletian leads the “Great Persecution” of Christians (303 – 312) for being religious subversives: destroy churches; burns texts; forced labor; mutilation and death (W/ORT estimates one million Christian martyrs.) W/TOR, W/TC
[WWR, 101-2][RCBible, xviii]
285/6 Partition of Roman Empire into Eastern and Western halves.  Diocletian rules the East and Maximillian rules the West. [RCD, 347][RCBible, xvii]
300 Christian population is about 6,200,000 or 10.5 % of Roman Empire W/TOR, W/TCM
Early 300s By the early fourth century, possibly five to seven percent of the population of the empire was Christian. [BE7, 115]
ca 301 After the baptism of King Tiridates III, Armenia is the first country to make Christianity the state religion. [Story, 41]
[LTJ3, 106]
306 Synod of Elvira prohibits relations between Christians and Jews. W/TC
306-337 Roman Emperor Constantine BE6
310-450 Nicene Era (Constantine and the Church Councils) 
312 Constantine’s forces, displaying the Christian symbol Chi-Rho, win the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Emperor Maxentius. BE6
[RCBible, xviii]
313 Edict of Milan.  Constantine I (west) and Licinius (east) end persecution, and establish equal toleration for all religions.  [Chr, 189]
[LTJ3, 94]
313-23 On imperial coins, change from pagan symbols to Christian symbols. [LTJ3, 94]
316 Constantine used his influence to settle the Donatist dispute in North Africa, deciding in favor of the Catholics. [Story, 29]
321 Constantine decrees Sunday as a state “day of rest” in honor of the resurrection. W/TC
W/TOR
323 Pope Sylvester I changes old Christian and Jewish sabbath to Sunday W/TRC
324 Constantine defeats Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis, and becomes sole ruler of the empire.  The Labarum with the ‘Chi-Rho’ Christogram become the official standard of the Roman Empire. BE6  [Story, 28]
W/TEO
325 Final publication of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History.  Eusebius is bishop of Caesarea and church historian. BE6
325 Eusebius characterises Christian scriptures for NT [NNT, 502]
325-330 The Church of the Nativity was built in Bethlehem by Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. W/TC
[Bency, 58]
325 First Council of Nicea deals with Arian controversy (Father and Son are declared to be of the same substance) and produces first version of the Nicene Creed, which includes the Trinity.  This was the first council declared to be ecumenical, with 318 bishops present. The divinity of Jesus is made official. The order of supremancy of the churches is established as Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. BE6, W/TEO
[RCBible, xviii]
330 Consecration of the first Basilica of St. Peter built by Constantine over the tomb of Peter. [RCBible, xviii] W/TC, W/TRC
330 Constantine moves the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, refounded as Constantinople or “New Rome”.  Administrative records are held there. [MB1, 91], W/TC
331 Constantine commissions Eusebius to deliver 50 Bibles for the churches in Constantinople. W/TC
333 The Eleona Basilica is built on the Mount of Olives, marking the site of the Ascension of Jesus. W/TJer
336 Earliest recorded celebration of Christmas in Rome W/TRC
337 Constantine is baptised and then dies. BE6, W/TC
337-392 Growth of Christianity from acceptance by the Romans to domination of their empire.  
340 Roman Empire splits again into West and East.  Constantinople overtakes Rome as the largest city in the ‘world’. [RCBible, xviii]
341 Emperor Constans at Council of Antioch bans pagan sacrifices and magic rituals under penalty of death. [LTJ3, 99]
345 Firmicus Maternus writes The Error of the Pagan Religions BE6
345 Pope Julias I chooses Dec 25 as the official date of Christmas, overlaying the Christian festival with the dates of both Saturnalia, the pagan feast of the Roman god Saturn, and the feast of Mithras, the god of the Persian cult of Mithraism. [ZIBD, 961]
ca 350 The cross was adopted as the Christian symbol in the 4th century
354 Pagan temples are closed throughout the Roman Empire. [RDStory, 133]
360 First church of Hagia Sophia inaugurated by Emperor Constantius II. W/TEO
ca 360 C 360  Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicaea says Jesus had a body and soul, but his spirit was replaced with the Divine Logos.  In 362 the Counil of Alexandria accepted his teachings, but in 381 the Council of Constantinople condemned them. [WWR, 27] [Chr, 219]
361-3 Reign of Julian “the apostate”, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor.  Allows the jews to return to Jerusalem. Jesus to be revered with other great divine men. BE6
[LTJ3, 100]
363 Council of Laodicea names 26 books as the recommended NT, excluding Revelation
367 Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria sends Easter pastoral letter to the North African churches approving the 27 books of our NT as the correct list for Christian use for the first time.  He called it the New Testament.  He orders all non-canonical books in Egypt destroyed. [NNT, 505]
[MB1, 91]
374-395 Roman Emperor Theodosius I    see 381 BE7
375-400 Compilation of the Jerusalem Talmud is completed in Palestine. The more important and extensive Babylonian Talmud is completed ca 500. [LJL, 280] , [IG1,120]
[TJC, vi]
381-92 Emperor Theodosius I  and two others issues the Edict of Thessalonica, declaring Nicene Trinitarian Christianity (Roman Catholicism) the State Church of the Roman Empire.  Visits to pagan temples are forbidden.  Conversion encouraged. Jews may assemble for worship, but they cannot marry Christians. BE6, BE7, W/TRC,
W/EofT
[LTJ3, 100]
381 First Council of Constantinople, called by Theodosius I, the second ecumenical council, creates the revised Nicene Creed of 381, sometimes known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.  370 bishops attended.  Apollinarianism (360), Arianism and other heresies condemned. [RCBible, xviii]
BE7
382 Council of Rome sets the RC canon (list of accepted books) of OT and NT. W/TRC
382 Jerome begins Latin translation of gospels for Pope Damasus. [Story, 38]
383-94 Under Theodosius, the heretical sects of Christianity lost the right to meet, ordain priests, or spread their beliefs. Later on, they were also forbidden to reside within Constantinople, and their places of worship were confiscated. W/EofT
386 Priscillian, Bishop of Avila, Spain, was the first Christian executed by the church, for heresy. [MB1, 89]
391-2 Theodosius the Great ends pagan Eleusinian Mysteries by decree and causes surviving pagan sacrifices at Alexandria and Rome to cease.  All non-Christian temples in the Empire are closed.  He was the last ruler of the united empire. W/TRC,
[RCBible, xviii]
393 – 397 Pope Siricius (384-99) had the NT canon finalized at the Council of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397. [MB1, 85]
ca 400 The Apostolic Constitutions, a church manual lists its own recommended books, which are the NT 27 less Revelation plus the letters 1&2 Clement,  and eight other books.
ca 400 Nearly half the Roman Empire is now Christian [BE7, 43]
400/405 First version of St. Jerome of Aquileia’s Vulgate Latin Bible published. [RCD,351]
431 (Third) Ecumenical Council of Ephesus declares that Jesus was both man and god simultaneously, contradicting the Nestorian heresy.  Forbad any changes to Nicene Creed of 381.  160 bishops attended. W/TRC
W/TC

References (37)


  • [Bdict]     Powell, Mark Allen, general editor.  HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed., New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.

  • [BE6]       Ehrman, Bart D.  After the NT: the writings of the apostolic fathers. course transcript. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses www.thegreatcourses.com, 2005.

  • [BE7]       Ehrman, Bart D.  From Jesus to Constantine: a history of early Christianity.  courses guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses www.thegreatcourses.com, 2004.

  • [Bency]    Cornfeld, Gaalyhu, editor, with Bible scholars, historians and archaeologists. Pictorial Biblical Encyclopedia: a visual guide to the old and new testament.  NY: The Macmillan  Company, 1964.

  • [Bible]     Harper Collins Study Bible.  NY, NY: HarperOne an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.  Based on the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989 .  2204 pages.

  • [BW1]     Wilson, Barrie.  How Jesus Became Christian.   Random House Canada, 2008.  Prof. Wilson is at York University, Toronto.

  • [Chr]        MacCulloch, Diarmaid.  Christianity: the first three thousand years.  Viking, 2009.

  • [DA1]      Akenson, Donald H.  Surpassing Wonder:the invention of the bible and the talmuds. Un. Chicago Press, 1998.

  • [EH]         Eusebius.  Ecclesiastical History or The Church History.  A New Translation with Commentary by Paul L. Maier.   Kregel Publications, 1999.

  • [EPS1]     Sanders, Ed Parish. Paul: the apostle’s life, letters and thought.  Mineapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015.

  • [IG1]        Gafni, Isaiah M.  Beginnings of Judaism, course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses www.thegreatcourses.com, 2006.

  • [JJI]         Magness, Jodi.  Jesus and his Jewish Influences.  course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, www.thegreatcourses.com,  2015.

  • [JS1]        Spong, John Shelby.  Liberating the Gospels: reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes.  HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.   John Spong is an Anglican Bishop.

  • [LJL]        Diamant, Anita, and Howard Cooper.  Living a Jewish Life. updated and revised edition. HarperCollins, 2007.

  • [LTJ3]     Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The History of Christianity: from the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation. Course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses www.thegreatcourses.com,  2012.

  • [MB1]      Baigent, Michael.  The Jesus Papers: exposing the greatest coverup in history.  HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.

  • [NNT]      Taussig, Hal, editor.  A New New Testament.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

  • [NTG]      Smith, Thomas.  Quick Study New Testament Guide.   BarCharts, Inc., 2007.

  • [PF1]        Paul: the pagans’ apostle.   Paula Fredriksen.   Yale Un. Press 2017.

  • [PF2]        Fredriksen, Paula.  Jesus of Nazareth: King of the Jews. NY: Vintage Books edition, 2000.  Original Random House, 1999., www.vintagebooks.com, 1999.

  • [RCBible]       Roman Catholic NRSV Bible

  • [RCD]      Trigilio, John, Jr. and Kenneth Brighenti.  Catholicism for Dummies. Wiley, 2003.

  • [RDstory]   The Bible Through the Ages. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association. 1996.

  • [SC1]       Cherry, Shai.  Introduction to Judaism. course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses: www.thegreatcourses.com, 2004.

  • [Story]     Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The Story of the Bible. course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses www.thegreatcourses.com, 2006.

  • [TJC]       MacArdle, Meredith.  The Timechart of Jewish Civilization. Worth Press Ltd., 2004.

  • [WWR]    Hinnells, John, Who’s Who of Religions.  Penguin Books, 1991.

  • Wikipedia – Titles of Articles


  • W/EofT     Edict of Thessalonica

  • W/JJ          Josephus on Jesus

  • W/PYC      Pliny the Younger on Christians

  • W/TonC    Tacitus on Christ

  • Wikipedia Timelines


  • W/TCM    Timeline of Christian Missions

  • W/TC        Timeline of Christianity

  • W/TEO     Timeline of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece (33 – 717)

  • W/TJer      Timeline of Jerusalem

  • W/TOR     Timeline of Church History …(the Orthodox church.)

  • W/TRC     Timeline of the Catholic Church

  •