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2nd Century, 101 to 200

107  The Japanese send an ambassador to China.

107  At the town of Arbela (now Irbil in northern Iraq), in Adiabene (soon to be conquered and called Assyria by the Romans) – the Parthian king Xosroes murders a Christian bishop.  

110  Having become more aware of the world beyond China, the Chinese are hearing rumors about places of godliness and paradise where the climate is mild, where people are without sickness or disease and where people govern themselves. One such paradise is thought to be in the mountains of  Tibet. There, it is said, waters give one immortality, one can climb a mountain peak and become a spirit with the power to control the wind and rain, or one can climb another nearby peak and ascend to heaven.

129  The Roman Emperor Hadrian visits Jerusalem and orders it rebuilt as a Roman city, to be called Aelia Capitolina.

132   In China a seismograph has been invented.

132 – 135  A rebellion begins in Jerusalem, led by Simeon ben Kosiba, known by his admirers as Bar Kokhba (Son of a Star). The foremost rabbi and Judaic scholar, Akiva, has hailed Simeon as another King David the conqueror, sent by God – in other words, the Messiah. Perhaps as many as 580,000 Jews die fighting, including Simeon ben Kosiba. Emperor Hadrian bans Jews from Jerusalem for ten years.  The Romans glut the slave markets with Jewish captives. The prohibition against circumcision is renewed and celebration of the Jewish festivals, observance of the Sabbath, study of the Torah and possession of a scroll of Jewish Law become punishable by death.

142  Zhangling has founded a Taoist church called "The Way of the Great Masters," moving what was originally a prescribed way of life to an organized religion. He earns the respect of local people by getting done what the emperor's authorities have failed to do: repair roads and bridges, store grain and distribute bread to the starving. Zhangling has created a government that rivals the authority of the emperor.

161  Marcus Aurelius becomes Rome's emperor. He is a Stoic – another philosopher king – and wants to do his best for Rome.

178  Iraeneus succeeds Bishop Pothinus (178) in Lyons. Iraeneus counts twenty different varieties of Christianity and combats what he considers heresies. He seeks conformity of views among Christians. Before he dies in 202, the collections of books of the New Testament will be formed. Other gospels are destroyed. There are only four gospels he claims, just as there are only four winds, four corners of the universe and four pillars holding up the sky. Some gospels are buried, to be discovered centuries later on papyrus fragments preserved by the dry climate in southern Egypt.

180  Marcus Aurelius has been fighting against Parthian military offensives and invasions by Germans. Rome has also suffered from a smallpox epidemic to be known as the Great Pestilence. He is disheartened by not having been able to make the world a better place and blames humanity. He has continued monarchy and authoritarianism by passing rule to his son, Commodus, and he dies.

184 In China, corruption has prevailed at the royal palace. Local gentry, despite their Confucianism, are oppressing peasants. Reforms are neglected. A Taoist named Zhang Jue, who calls himself "The Good Doctor of Great Wisdom," has been moving about in the countryside, spreading word of the emperor having lost the mandate of heaven, and he is offering magical healing. His movement has grown to hundreds of thousands, and the year to rise against the capital has arrived. This is the Yellow Turban rebellion. Another civil war in China begins, to last for years.

193  Rome's emperor, Commodus, is a disappointment. Commodus is assassinated.

197  Rule in the Roman Empire has passed to another soldier: to Lucius Septimius Severus – the first emperor who is not distinctly of Roman origin. He is Syrian. He believes in terror rather than conciliation. He has sixty senators arrested and thirty executed for having sided with his rival. He will expel Roman aristocrats from positions of authority in and outside the army. power. During the rule of his family, the Syrian sun god, Sol Invictus, will become an official god of the empire.  Rome is being swallowed by its empire.

200  Power in China has passed to warlords, and respect for Confucianism fades with the collapse of the Han dynasty. Kingdoms have arisen in southern Cambodia, and there Hinduism and Buddhism coexist peacefully. The importation of camels to the Sahara has increased trading there. The Soninke of Ghana is growing as a commercial power. Indonesians are settling in Madagascar.

1st Century of the Common Era (1 to 100 CE) | 3rd Century (201 to 300 CE)

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