Northern Africa 350: Sack of Meroë
While the Roman Empire entered a period of unrest under the squabbling sons of Constantine—and the usurper Magnentius—Aksum continued to expand under the rule of Ezana. In c. 350 the Aksumites invaded the neighboring Kingdom of Kush and sacked its capital Meroë, bringing an end to the 1400-year-old Kushite state.
338 Restoration of Khosrov the Small▲
In late 337 Constantius II raced back to the East to find that the Persians had already abandoned their invasion of Roman Mesopotamia. After placating the legions—who had grown restive in his absence—he moved on to Armenia, where he restored its Roman client king Khosrov III the Small without significant opposition. He also corresponded with the Arab tribes, encouraging them to raid the Persians.
Apr 340 Battle of Aquileia▲
As senior Augustus, Constantine II interfered in political and religious affairs across the Roman Empire, particularly in Africa, but was met with resistance by his younger brothers, Constantius II and Constans. To assert his authority, Constantine crossed the Alps into Italy with a body of troops in early 340, only to be ambushed and killed by Constans’ forces near Aquileia. With the death of Constantine, Constans gained control of the Prefecture of Gaul, doubling the size of his domains.
340? First Himyarite Central Arabian campaign▲
In c. 340 the Himyarite Kingdom launched the first of four campaigns into Central Arabia. In this campaign the Himyarites appear to have invaded Ma’ad and raided as far as Yabrin (210 km south of Riyadh).
345? Second Himyarite Central Arabian campaign▲
In c. 345 the Himyarite Kingdom launched the second of four campaigns into Central Arabia. Little is known about this campaign.
350? Third Himyarite Central Arabian campaign▲
In c. 350 the Himyarite Kingdom launched the third of its four campaigns into Central Arabia. Attacking the nomadic tribes of Ma’ad, the Himyarites raided Khargan in the valley of al-Kharj and the nearby city of Gawwan.
350? Last Kushanshah▲
In c.350, according to contemporary sources, a new people called the Chionites (‘chion’ being derived from the Persian word for ‘Hun’) began living among the Kushano-Sasanians and became a threat to Persia. At about the same time, the Kushano-Sasanian ruler Varahran Kushanshah started minting coins which incorporated the Kidarite tamga, suggesting that he was now under the power of the Kidarites, or Kidara Huns. It is uncertain whether or not the Kidarites were separate from the Chionites at this point, but, going by ancient texts, they were probably still a subtribe.
18 Jan 350 Magnentian Revolt▲
Constans’ corrupt rule proved especially unpopular in Gaul and by 350 a conspiracy had formed around Magnentius, commander of the Herculian and Jovian imperial guard units. In January, while Constans was away hunting, Magnentius held a great feast, attended by many high ranking officers, in Augustodunum (Autun) to celebrate the birth of a son. Late that evening he emerged in imperial regalia and surrounded by guards, and was quickly proclaimed emperor by all his guests.
Jan 350 Death of Constans▲
Learning of Magnentius’ usurpation in January 350, Constans fled for Spain, but was killed by Magnentius’ assassins at Helena, just north of the Pyrenees. With the death of Constans, the Praetorian Prefectures of Gaul and Italy declared for Magnentius.
350? Sack of Meroë▲
In c. 350 Ezana of Aksum mounted a campaign against the Kingdom of Kush and its Nubian (Nobatae?) allies, possibly in response to an attempted Kushite invasion of Aksum. Apparently achieving a great victory, the Aksumites overran Kush and sacked its capital Meroë. Already weakened by economic problems associated with deforestation and soil depletion, the Kingdom of Kush collapsed soon afterwards, leaving Meroë permanently abandoned.