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Year 397 (CCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Caesarius and Atticus (or, less frequently, year 1150 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 397 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
|397 by topic|
|Ab urbe condita||1150|
|Balinese saka calendar||318–319|
|Chinese calendar||丙申年 (Fire Monkey)|
3093 or 3033
— to —
丁酉年 (Fire Rooster)
3094 or 3034
|- Vikram Samvat||453–454|
|- Shaka Samvat||318–319|
|- Kali Yuga||3497–3498|
|Iranian calendar||225 BP – 224 BP|
|Islamic calendar||232 BH – 231 BH|
|Minguo calendar||1515 before ROC|
|Seleucid era||708/709 AG|
|Thai solar calendar||939–940|
523 or 142 or −630
— to —
524 or 143 or −629
- Stilicho traps the Visigoths under King Alaric in the Peloponnese, but decides to abandon the campaign against the Visigoths in Greece, thus allowing King Alaric to escape north to Epirus with his loot. Presumably, Stilicho left Greece in order to prepare for military action in northern Africa, where a rebellion (see Gildonic Revolt in 398) seemed imminent.
- Emperor Honorius passes a law making barbarian styles of dress illegal in the city of Rome. As a result of this law, everybody in Rome is forbidden from wearing boots, trousers, animal skins, and long hair. This law is passed in response to the increasing popularity of barbarian fashions among the people of Rome.
- April 4 – Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, dies in his diocese after 23 years in office, during which he dominated the political life of the Roman Empire.
- August 28 – Council of Carthage: The biblical canon is definitely declared.
- September 7 – First Council of Toledo: Hispanic bishops, including Lampius, condemn Priscillianism.
- November 13 – John Chrysostom is appointed Archbishop of Constantinople.
- Mor Gabriel Monastery is founded and located on the Tur Abdin plateau near Midyat (Turkey).
- Sulpicius Severus writes the earliest biography of Martin of Tours, the first known "life of a saint" ever written.
- Augustine of Hippo begins his Confessions, an autobiography that recounts his intellectual and spiritual development.
- Scottish missionary Ninian establishes a church (Candida Casa) at Whithorn, and begins his work among the Picts.
- Burrell, Emma (2004). "A Re-Examination of Why Stilicho Abandoned His Pursuit of Alaric in 397". Historia: Zeitshrift Fur Alte Gesichte. 53 (2): 251–256. JSTOR 4436726.
- Aldrete, Gregory S.; Aldrete, Alicia (February 7, 2019). The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Done for Us?. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-350-10052-7.
- Elton, Hugh (1996). "Fravitta and Barbarian Career Opportunities in Constantinople". Medieval Prosopography. 17 (1): 95–106. ISSN 0198-9405. JSTOR 44946209.