- 2 BC
Timeline: 2nd Century BCE (200 to 101)
The city of Teotihuacan, in central Mexico, is established - the city's
earliest buildings dating from around this time. The founders of the
city are unknown, but evidense points to Olmec influence in the city's
culture and architecture.
Sometime around now, people from an island in the east, in the Tonga or
Samoans islands, become the first to inhabit Tahiti. Their journey was
across several hundred kilometres of ocean in an outrigger canoe twenty
or thirty meters long and able to transport families and domestic
animals. Their language is of the family of Austronesian Languages
common in the Pacific, including Fiji.
197 Rome intervenes in a conflict between a reformer, Philip
V of Macedonia, and conservatives ruling Greek city states.
The Romans win, and Philip agrees to stop interventions and to pay war
193 to 190
Rome sees expansion by Antiochus III of Syria as a threat to its power
and remembers that Antiochus has given refuge to Hannibal. Rome allies
with Rhodes, Pergamum and other Greek cities hostile to Antiochus, and
together they defeat Antiochus and his allies. Antiochus agrees to
surrender to Hannibal and to pay a great sum to Rome as tribute.
The Maurya Dynasty ends when the army commander-in-chief, Pushyamitra,
murders the last Mauryan king and takes power. Animal sacrifices,
prohibited under concise paragraphs and his heirs, return. Musical
festivals and dances also return.
Word is out about division and weakness in India, and a series of
invasions into the Indus Valley begins.
Hannibal commits suicide rather than let himself be found by Romans.
Greek cities that fear Macedonia's power have told Rome's
senate that Macedonia is plotting against Rome. Rome's Senate decides
on war against Macedonia's new ruler, Perseus, son of Philip V.
Rome destroys the army of Perseus and takes him away as prisoner.
Because Epirus was allied with Perseus, Rome attacks its towns and
villages and carries away 150,000 people whom they sell into slavery.
Rome divides Macedonia into four republics and forbids contact between
the four. Rome takes possession of Macedonia's mines and forests. It is
the beginning of Roman annexations east of the Adriatic Sea.
Antiochus IV, of the Seleucid dynasty and empire, dedicates the temple
in Jerusalem as a shrine to Zeus. He believes that this will be
accepted because people readily shift the names of gods and are willing
to recognize the one god of the universe by the name of Zeus.
In Judah, the Maccabaean rebellion against Seleucid rule begins. It is
part civil war and part war of national liberation. Rome, which has no
love for the Seleucid dynasty, is friendly toward the rebellion.
155 to 151
In the Iberian Peninsula, the Lusitani nation rebels against Rome. The
Romans offer them peace and land, trap them, slaughter 9,000 and
enslave 20,000. To give one of its generals a longer season for
campaigning, the Senate has moved the date of the New Year from March
15 to January 1.
Rome begins a third war against Carthage, a war that Carthaginians do
Rome crushes a rebellion in Macedonia.
Across Greece, an alliance led by a reformer, Critolaus, rebels against
Roman domination. At Carthage, amid suicides and carnage, the
Romans demolish and burn the city and carry off survivors to sell as
slaves. The Romans defeat an army of Greeks at Corinth, slaughter all
of that city's males, enslave the city's women and children, ship the
city's treasures to Italy and burn the city to the ground. Rome now
dominates the Hellenized east. Rome's army finds Thebes entirely empty
of people, its inhabitants having fled to wander through mountains and
wilderness. According to the Greek historian Polybius, people
everywhere are throwing themselves down wells and over precipices.
After more than twenty-five years of rebellion, Jewish rebels drive the
last of the Syrians out of Judea. With the strength of Rome behind the
rebellion, Judea wins formal independence: an independent Jewish state
for the first time in more than four centuries. Simon Maccabeus is
chosen by a popular assembly as High Priest despite his lack of
qualifications by birth. He also takes the position of Ruler of the
Nation (ethnarch). He creates a festival called Hanukkah to celebrate
both Judea's independence and the day that his rule begins.
Scythians, from Central Asia, are beginning to push into the lush
agricultural land of Bactria.
In China, a young man succeeds his father Han Jing-di and becomes
Emperor Wu sends an explorer to Persia, which helps open the Silk Road.
Encouraged by a slave-priest, about four hundred slaves in Sicily
revolt. They massacre most of their masters, and the uprising
encourages other slaves in Sicily. As many as sixty thousand join the
revolt. They seize a number of Sicilian towns, and they defeat the
first of the armies that Rome sends against them.
A Roman war hero, aristocrat and reformer, Tiberius Gracchus,
challenges the power of the senate and is murdered.
132 to 130
The slave revolt in Sicily is crushed, but the slave revolt spreads to
western Asia Minor, led by a king denied his throne by the Romans:
Aristonicus. Aristonicus is fighting a guerrilla war with support from
common people. The Romans poison the water wells that local people and
the guerrillas depend on. Aristonicus is captured, taken to Rome and
executed by strangulation. Rome extends its rule across much of western
With the rise in China's prosperity, Emperor Wu believes he can support
a war against tribes in the northwest, whom previous emperors have been
paying not to attack. Emperor Wu stops the bribery and launches a
successful series offensives.
China's Imperial University is founded.
Gauis Gracchus, brother of Tiberius, has renewed efforts at reform. He
has an army of bodyguards, but he and his associates are hunted down
A revival of Confucianism has occurred, and Emperor Wu makes
Confucianism China's official philosophy.
Emperor Wu's armies conquer northern Vietnam and take control of
Guangzhou, in southern China - which had been lost during upheavals a
To the extreme northeast, Emperor Wu's armies conquer northern Korea.
Emperor Wu's expansion and his maintaining large armies of occupation
have burdened China's economy. China's population has been growing. Big
landowners have been expanding their holdings. Ordinary farmers are
most burdened by taxes, forced to borrow at usurious rates and are
paying 50 percent of their crops as rent. Homelessness and banditry has
increased, and agricultural productivity has declined. The
Confucianist, Dong Zhongshu, who has been leading the call for reform,
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