Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century
, also known as Military Anarchy
or the Imperial Crisis
(AD 235–284), was a period in which the Roman Empire
nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion
, civil war
, and economic depression
. The crisis began with the assassination
of Emperor Severus Alexander
by his own troops in 235, initiating a 50-year period during which there were at least 26 claimants to the title of emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals
, who assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire. The same number of men became accepted by the Roman Senate
as emperor during this period and so became legitimate emperors.
By 268, the empire had split into three competing states: the Gallic Empire, including the Roman provinces of Gaul, Britannia and (briefly) Hispania; the Palmyrene Empire, including the eastern provinces of Syria Palaestina and Aegyptus; and the Italian-centered and independent Roman Empire, proper, between them. Later, Aurelian (270–275) reunited the empire; the crisis ended with the ascension and reforms of Diocletian in 284.
The crisis resulted in such profound changes in the empire's institutions, society, economic life and, eventually, religion, that it is increasingly seen by most historians as defining the transition between the historical periods of classical antiquity and late antiquity.
Year of the Six Emperors (238)
Reign of Gordian III (238–244)
Reign of Philip the Arab (244–249)
Reign of Decius and Herennius Etruscus (249–251)
Reign of Trebonianus Gallus (251–253)
This page was last edited on 16 July 2018, at 17:41 (UTC)
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