4th Century, 301 to 400

301  Perhaps as early as now, or maybe into the following century, Samoans have traveled across 2000 miles (3200 km) of ocean to the Marquesas Islands, and in their boats, navigating by the sun and stars, Polynesians migrate from there to the Hawaiian Islands. At some unknown date in the coming centuries they will arrive at uninhabited Easter Island, about 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) southeast of the Marquesas Islands.

305  To better rule the Roman Empire, Diocletian has created four vice-emperors – military men who are to govern separate sections of the empire. Diocletian has attempted to restore Rome's ruined economy by fixing prices. Everyone has been ordered to remain at his present occupation and location – adding to what will someday be a part of feudalism. Diocletian has attempted another purge of Christians, but their numbers are too vast, and the persecutions drag on. Because of ill-health, he abdicates, leaving his vice-emperors in charge.

311  In China, Empress Jia has slaughtered many. Civil war has weakened the country, and, spotting the weakness, a tribal army arrives at the capital, Luoyang. The tribal army slaughters thousands. It is the beginning of rule by Xiongnu chieftains in northern China.

312  The armies of two sons of former vice-emperors fight each other. The army of Constantine wins, and Constantine becomes emperor of the western half of the Roman Empire. Constantine's mother is a Christian.

313  The Edict of Milan, agreed to by Constantine and the emperor of the eastern half of the empire, Licinius, makes Christianity a legal faith.

317  Chinese flee from the Xiongnu in northern China. The Jin emperor, Yuan, sets up rule in southern China at the city of Jiankang (Nanjing).

320  Economically, local areas in India have been functioning at world class levels, but India has been fragmented politically.  The ruler of Magadha, Chandra Gupta, extends his power in the Ganges Valley.

321  Constantine makes the day of the sun god Sol Invictus (Sunday) a holy day and a day of rest for Christians.

322  By around now saddles and stirrups are in use at least for a few in China. A representation of a rider with these exists in a Jin Dynasty tomb.

324  Constantine defeats the eastern emperor and becomes emperor of all the empire. He prefers the more Christianized eastern half of the empire and founds a new capital in the east called New Rome, eventually to be known as Constantinople (in the 1900s to be changed to Istanbul).

325   Christianity is receiving state support, new churches, more wealth and more elaborate rituals. Christianity's bishops defer to the authority of Constantine, who wants to heal divisions within the Church. Constantine presides over the Church's first ecumenical (general) council, at Nicea, to decide the nature of Jesus Christ. Bishop Arius and Arian Christianity lose. The doctrine of the Trinity is accepted.

333   Constantine widens the gap between Christianity and Judaism, decreeing that Christians of Jewish heritage will either break all ties with Judaism or be executed.

337  According to Bishop Eusebius, with Constantine at his death-bed, Constantine chooses baptism. Bishop Eusebius is the Church's leading theoretician, a scholar of history and theology. He has written of the Roman Empire as having arisen to prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus Christ and to unify the world under the authority of God. He associates Rome with God's eternal order and peace.

351  A German named Ulfilas, who was converted to Christianity in Constantinople, has turned forty. He has translated the Bible and is doing missionary work among his fellow Goths outside the empire. As a result, Goths entering the empire are largely Christian.

357  Chandra Gupta's son, Samudra Gupta is halfway through his forty-five years of rule. He is extending the Gupta empire.

363   Constantine's grandson becomes emperor. Disillusioned by bloodshed within the family of Constantine, and a secret admirer of Hellenistic culture, he is to be known as Julian the Apostate.  Lacking the hostility felt by Christians toward Jews, he rescinds a law that forbids marriage between Christians and Jews. He rescinds the law that bans Jews from entering Jerusalem, and he abolishes privileges that have been bestowed upon the Christian clergy.

367  Emperor Julian is killed while fighting an army of the Sassanid Empire. Christians rejoice at news of his death and express their belief that Julian's death was the work of God. The Sassanid king, Shapur II, is devoted to Zoroastrianism and has been attempting to exterminate his empire's Christians.

372  A monk introduces Mahayana Buddhism to the Kingdom of Goguryeo (Koguryo) in northern Korea, and the king of Goguryeo welcomes Buddhism and patronizes it.

378  Christians are back in power. Germans have been invading the Roman Empire. The Christian emperor of the eastern half of the empire, Valens, is defeated by Christianized Germans called Goths, at Adrianople.

380  The co-emperors Gratian and Theodosius publish their edict that the doctrine of the Trinity is  to be the official state religion.

384  Buddhism spreads to the royal family of Paekche (Baekche) (southern Korea) and to Silla (central Korea). These two Korean states make Buddhism their state religion.

388  The Sassanid king, Shapur III, has ruled for five years and has lifted the persecutions of Christians, believing they are of more value to him working and paying taxes. Zoroastrian priests are upset.

390  The three Korean states, Koguryo, Paekche (Baekche) and Silla have adopted Buddhism as their state religion. Buddhist prayers are offered for the well-being of their kingdom, for recovery from illness and for the conception of children. Aristocrats leave the animist shamans to those they considered unsophisticated. Soldiers fight wars not only for their king but for the Way of the Buddha.

391  Emperor Theodosius the First sanctions the destruction of the great pagan temple of Serapeum at Alexandria, Egypt, dedicated to Alexandria's protector deity, Serapis.

393  Theodosius bans pagan worship. He proclaims Christianity the religion of his Roman Empire. He abolishes the Olympics. This is the last year of the Olympic games until the middle of the 19th century.

395  Christian emperors have been persecuting pagans, Jews and Arian Christians. Christian mobs have been attacking what are described as works of the devil. Pagan temples have been robbed of their treasures. Libraries have been destroyed, causing the disappearance of many writings. Emperor Theodosius, who has described heretics as insane, dies. Augustine is named bishop of Hippo (in North Africa).

400  On the plains of what someday will be called the United States, the bow and arrow is replacing the spear, the bow and arrow giving hunters and warriors a greater striking distance. Bantu speaking people have been migrating through the territory of other peoples and they have reached the southern tip of the African continent.

3rd Century (201 to 300 CE) | 5th Century (401 to 500 CE)

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