Body Count of the Roman Empire
"Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant"
"Where they make a desert, they call it peace." (Galgacus, Caledonian chief, from Tacitus: Agricola​, 30)
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Total Battle Deaths:
First Punic War (264 to 241 BCE) 400,000 [make link]
Richard A. Gabriel, The Culture of War: Invention and Early Development​, (1990) pp.110-111.  “Polybius called this war the bloodiest in history, and it is probable that the loss of life on both sides, most of it Roman, approached four hundred thousand men.”
Second Punic War (218 to 202 BCE) 770,000 [make link]
Spain (150 BCE)
Galba massacres 8,000 surrendering Lusitani [​http://www.ualberta.ca/~csmackay/CLASS_365/Misadmin.html#Galba​]
Siege of Carthage (146 BCE)
Marius vs. Cimbri & Teutoni
Wikipedia, "Marius"
Social War (91 to 88 BCE)
300,000 killed on all sides (C. Velleius Paterculus, The Roman History, 2.15.3)
Mithridatic Wars
Massacre of Roman citizens, 88 BCE
First Mithridatic War (89–85 BCE)
Plutarch says 200,000 Pontics killed in combat. Appian says 160,000.
Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BCE)
Plutarch, “Lucullus”: In the 300,000 Pontics were killed fighting for Mithradates, plus 100,000 Armenians were killed fighting for Tigranes.
Sulla's Reign of Terror (86-80 BCE)
Servile Wars (134-71 BCE): 1,000,000 [make link]
Gladiators (ca. 264 BCE to 435 CE): 3,500,000 [make link]
Durant, Caesar and Christ
Caesar's Gallic War (58–51 BCE): ca. 700,000
Julio-Claudian Emperors
Boudica's Revolt (Britain, 60 CE)
According to Tacitus, 70,000 Romans and provincials and 80,000 Britons were killed. TOTAL: 150,000
Jewish Wars (between 66 and 135 CE) 350,000 [make link]
Matthew White, The Great Big Book of Horrible Things (Norton, 2012) p.52: "A reasonable estimate would be something like 350,000 deaths all told, which would be around onethird if the original population was 1 million, or one-half if it was 700,000, or one-fourth if it was 1.4 million."
Christian Martyrs [make link]
Seleucia (167 C.E.)
Putnam's Home Cyclopedia​, G.P. Putnam & Co, 1852, p.417: 400,000 massacred by Cassius Avidius, a Roman general under M. Aurelius
A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer: Comprising Ancient and Modern Military...​, Thomas Wilhelm, 1882, p.310: 300,000 k.
“Seleucia”, Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed. (1911)
"In the war of Marcus Aurelius and L. Verus against the Parthians, Seleucia was taken by Avidius Cassius in 164, and then the Romans did what the Parthians had not dared to do: they burnt down the great Greek town with 300,000 inhabitants (Dio Cass. lxxi. 2; Zonar, xii. 2; Capitol. Vit. Veri, 8; Eutrop. 8. Io; Ammian. Marc. xxiii. 6.24; xxiv. 5.3)"
Probus's German War (277 C.E.)
Emperor Probus informed the Senate that he had killed 400,000 Germans (​Historia Augusta [​http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/Probus*.html​])
General population decline during The Fall of Rome: 7,000,000 [make link]
Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
(Extremely Preliminary and Debatable) TOTAL:
[FAQ: "How reliable are these numbers?"​]
The East Roman (​Byzantine​) Empire
List of Recurring Sources
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Last updated March 2011
Copyright © 2002-11 Matthew White