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The third century: crisis or continuity? 

The second half of the third century was a time of crisis and transformation for the Roman Empire. The borders were threatened: Goths and Alemanni attacked from the north and in Persia a new dynasty (the Sassanids) pursued an aggressive expansionist policy, resulting in war with Rome.

During the reign of Gallienus (260 - 268 AD) large parts of the empire broke away under independent rulers: the Gallic Empire in the west and the Palmyrene Empire in the east.
Other problems were usurpations by pretenders to the throne, in some areas a drop in agricultural production and a general decline of long distance trade. After 270 AD the silver coinage contained hardly any silver at all and an unchecked inflation set in.

And yet, the Roman Empire did not collapse. Modern research has shown that the core of the empire was still vigorous at the time, and many areas did not suffer from war or crisis but showed strong continuity. Also, some emperors deserve more praise than we gave them a few decades ago. Gallienus reformed the administration and the army, introducing a quick intervention corps of mobile cavalry, to be deployed when and where needed.

This website will not provide a comprehensive survey of third century history. I will discuss three themes: coin circulation in the western Empire from 260 to circa 300 AD, the context and functions of Forum Hadriani in the Civitas Cananefatium and (last but not least) continuity and crisis during the third century AD in the Dutch River Area. The content of this website is based on my publications in various journals.