Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

4th century

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4th century

The 4th century (per the Julian calendar and Anno Domini/Common era) was that century which lasted from 301 to 400. In the West, the early part of the century was shaped by Constantine the Great, who became the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Gaining sole reign of the empire, he is also noted for re-establishing a single imperial capital, choosing the site of ancient Byzantium in 330 (over the current capitals, which had effectively been changed by Diocletian's reforms to Milan in the West, and Nicomedeia in the East) to build the city soon called Nova Roma (New Rome); it was later renamed Constantinople in his honor.


The last emperor to control both the eastern and western halves of the empire was Theodosius I. As the century progressed after his death it became increasingly apparent that the empire had changed in many ways since the time of Augustus. The two emperor system originally established by Diocletian in the previous century fell into regular practice, and the east continued to grow in importance as a centre of trade and imperial power, while Rome itself diminished greatly in importance due to its location far from potential trouble spots, like Central Europe and the East. Late in the century Christianity became the official state religion, and the empire's old pagan culture began to disappear. General prosperity was felt throughout this period, but recurring invasions by Germanic tribes plagued the empire from AD 376 onward. These early invasions marked the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire.

According to archaeologists, sufficient archaeological correlates of state-level societies coalesced in the 4th century to show the existence in Korea of the Three Kingdoms (AD 300/400–668) of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla.

Long Fourth Century

Historians of the Roman Empire may refer to the "Long Fourth Century" which is the period spanning the fourth century proper, but starting earlier with the accession of the emperor Diocletian in 284 and ending later with the death of Honorius in 423 or of Theodosius II in 450.


  • Noba people settle in Africa.
  • Early 4th century – Former audience hall now known as the Basilica, Trier, Germany, is built.
  • 301: Armenia first to adopt Christianity as state religion.
  • 306 – 337: Constantine the Great, ends persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire (see also Constantinian shift) and Constantinople becomes new seat of government (New Rome).
  • 325 – 328: The Kingdom of Aksum adopts Christianity.
  • 325: Constantine the Great calls the First Council of Nicaea to pacify Christianity in the grip of the Arian controversy.
  • 335 – 380: Samudragupta expands the Gupta Empire.
  • 337: Constantine the Great is baptized on his death bed.
  • 350: About this time the Kingdom of Aksum conquers the Kingdom of Kush.
  • 350: About this time the Huns begin to invade the Sassanid Empire.
  • 350: The Kutai Martadipura phase in East Kalimantan produced the earliest known stone inscriptions in Indonesia. (to 400)
  • 365: an earthquake with a magnitude of at least eight strikes the Eastern Mediterranean. The following tsunami causes widespread destruction in Crete, Greece, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, and Sicily.
  • Mid-4th century – Dish, from Mildenhall, England, is made. It is now kept at The British Museum, London.
  • Mid-4th century – Wang Xizhi makes a portion of a letter from the Feng Ju album. Six Dynasties period. It is now kept at National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.
  • 376: Visigoths appear on the Danube and are allowed entry into the Roman Empire in their flight from the Huns.
  • 378: Battle of Adrianople: Roman army is defeated by the Visigoth cavalry. Emperor Valens is killed.
  • 378 – 395: Theodosius I, Roman emperor, bans pagan worship, Christianity is made the official religion of the Empire.
  • 378: Siyaj K'ak' conquers Waka on January 8.
  • Siyaj K'ak' conquers Tikal on January 16.
  • Siyaj K'ak' conquers Uaxactun.
  • 381: First Council of Constantinople reaffirms the Christian doctrine of the Trinity by adding to the creed of Nicaea.
  • 383: Battle of Fei River in China.
  • 395: The Battle of Canhe Slope occurs.
  • 395: Roman Emperor Theodosius I dies, causing the Roman Empire to split permanently.
  • Late 4th century – See "The Historia" of Arbogast and Bauto.
  • Late 4th century – Cubiculum of Leonis, Catacomb of Commodilla, near Rome, is made.
  • Late 4th century – Atrium added in Old St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
  • Significant people

  • Aelia Eudoxia, Roman Empress (before 385-404).
  • Albia Dominica, Roman Empress and regent (c. 337-after 378).
  • Ambrose, Christian theologian, bishop of Milan.
  • Arbogast, Roman general and rebel (d. 394).
  • Arcadius, Roman Emperor (377-408, reigned 383-408).
  • Atlatl Cauac, ruler of Teotihuacan (?-439)
  • Augustine, Christian theologian, bishop of Hippo.
  • Basil the Great, Christian theologian, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
  • Bassianus, Roman candidate for the position of Caesar (d. 316).
  • Calocaerus, Roman usurper (d. 334, reigned 333-334).
  • Chak Tok Ich'aak I reign (360–378) 14th dynastic ruler of Tikal
  • Chandragupta I, (320-335), Gupta emperor
  • Chandragupta II, (380-415), Gupta emperor
  • Claudius Silvanus, Roman general and usurper (d. 355, reigned 355).
  • Constans, Roman Emperor (c. 323-350, reigned 337-350).
  • Constantina, Roman Augusta (between 307 and 317 - 354).
  • Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor (272-337, reigned 306-337).
  • Constantine II, Roman Emperor (316-340, reigned 337-340).
  • Constantius Chlorus, Roman Emperor (c. 250-306, reigned 293-306).
  • Constantius II, Roman Emperor (317-361, reigned 337-361).
  • Constantius Gallus, Roman Caesar (c. 325/326-354, reigned 351-354).
  • Crispus, Roman Caesar (between 295 and 305- 326, reigned 317-326).
  • Dalmatius, Roman Caesar (d. 337, reign 335-337).
  • Decentius, Roman usurper (d. 353, reigned 350-353).
  • Diocletian, Roman Emperor (244-312, reigned 284-305).
  • Domitius Alexander, Roman usurper (died c. 311, reigned 308-311).
  • Ephrem the Syrian, (c. 306–373), Syriac speaking deacon, hymnographer, theologian, director of the School of Edessa.
  • Eugenius, Roman usurper (d. 303/304, reigned 303-304).
  • Eugenius, Roman usurper (d. 394, reigned 392-394).
  • Eutropius, Roman politician, chief advisor to the emperor (d. 399).
  • Ezana Aksumite Emperor.
  • Faxian, Chinese Buddhist monk.
  • Firmus, Roman usurper (d. 375, reigned 372-375).
  • Fu Jian, founding emperor of Former Qin
  • Fu Jian, Emperor of Former Qin
  • Gainas, Roman magister militum, briefly seized control of Constantinople (d. 400).
  • Galerius, Roman Emperor (c. 260-311, reigned 293-311).
  • Ge Hong, Chinese official and writer.
  • Gildo, Roman general and rebel, instigator of the Gildonic War (d. 398).
  • Gratian, Roman Emperor (359-383, reigned 367-383).
  • Gregory of Nazianzus, (c. 329- c. 390), Christian theologian, bishop of Nazianzus in Cappadocia.
  • Guo Xiang, Chinese scholar
  • Hannibalianus, Roman politician, King of Kings, candidate for the throne of a restored Kingdom of Pontus (d. 337).
  • Honorius, Roman Emperor (384-423, reigned 393-423).
  • Hypatia, (350/370-415), Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, mathematician and astronomer
  • Iamblichus, (245-c. 325), Neoplatonist philosopher.
  • Jerome, Christian priest, monk, and translator of the Bible into Latin.
  • John Chrysostom, Syrian-born Patriarch of Constantinople.
  • Jovian, Roman Emperor (331-364, reigned 363-364).
  • Julian, Roman Emperor (331/332-363, reigned 360-363).
  • Justina, Roman Empress and regent (c. 340-c. 388).
  • K'inich Muwaan Jol I reign ? –359 13th dynastic ruler of Tikal
  • Kumārajīva, (344-413), Buddhist monk from India, translator of sutras into Chinese.
  • Lactantius (c. 240 – c. 320) Christian theologian, advisor to Constantine I.
  • Licinius, Roman Emperor (c. 263-325, reigned 308-324).
  • Licinius II, Roman Caesar (c. 315-326, reigned 317-324).
  • Magnentius, Roman usurper (303-353, reigned 350-353).
  • Magnus Maximus, Roman Emperor (c. 335-388, reigned 383-388).
  • Marcellus, Roman usurper d. 366, reigned 366).
  • Martinian, Roman Emperor (d. 325, reigned 324).
  • Maxentius, Roman Emperor (c. 278-312, reigned 306-312).
  • Maximian, Roman Emperor (c. 250-310, reigned 285-305, 306-308, 310).
  • Maximinus II, Roman Emperor (c. 270-313, reigned 305-312).
  • Mesrop Mashtots, (c. 361–c. 440), Armenian monk, theologian and inventor of the Armenian alphabet.
  • Nepotianus, Roman usurper (d. 350, reigned 350).
  • Procopius, Roman usurper (c. 325/326-366, reigned 365-366).
  • Valerius Romulus, Roman consul, son and heir to an emperor (c. 292/295- 309).
  • Rufinus, Roman politician, Praetorian prefect of the East, power behind the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire (d. 395).
  • Sallustius, Roman writer and philosopher, known for his defense of Hellenistic religion.
  • Salutius, Roman politician, Praetorian prefect of the East, candidate for the imperial throne.
  • Samudragupta, (335-380), Gupta emperor
  • Flavius Severianus, Roman politician, son and heir to an emperor (d. 313). Executed for allegedly trying to become a usurper.
  • Flavius Valerius Severus, Roman Emperor (3rd century-307, reigned 305-307).
  • Siyaj K'ak' Teotihuacano warrior
  • Stilicho, Roman magister militum, de facto regent of the Western Roman Empire (c. 359-408).
  • Sun Sheng, Chinese historian
  • Dao'an (312-385), Chinese Buddhist monk, translator who eliminated Taoist words from Buddhist writings.
  • Theodore (c. 350–428), Christian theologian, bishop of Mopsuestia.
  • Theodorus, Roman usurper (reigned c. 372).
  • Theodosius I, Roman Emperor (347-395, reigned 379-395).
  • Ulfilas, Arian priest and translator of the Bible into Gothic.
  • Valerius Valens, Roman Emperor (d. 317, reigned 316-317).
  • Valens, Roman Emperor (328-378, reigned 364-378).
  • Valentinian I, Roman Emperor (321-375, reigned 364-375).
  • Valentinian II, Roman Emperor (371-392, reigned 375-392).
  • Valentinianus Galates, Roman consul, son and heir to a Roman Emperor (366-c. 370). Predeceased his father.
  • Valentinus, Roman rebel (d. 369).
  • Varronianus Roman consul, son and heir of an emperor (c. 363-after 380). Bypassed for the succession and partially blinded.
  • Vetranio, Roman Emperor (died c. 356, reigned 350).
  • Flavius Victor, Roman Emperor (d. 388, reigned 384-388).
  • Wang Xianzhi, Chinese calligrapher
  • Wang Xizhi, Chinese calligrapher
  • Wei Shuo, Chinese calligrapher
  • Xie An, Chinese statesman
  • Yax Nuun Ayiin I the first Teotihuacano ruler of Tikal reign 379-404
  • Inventions, discoveries, introductions

  • The Stirrup was invented in China, no later than 322
  • Kama Sutra
  • Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, earliest Christian bibles
  • Book of Steps, Syriac religious discourses
  • References

    4th century Wikipedia

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