1st Century, 1 to 100
Emperor Ngai is succeeded by a two year-old: Emperor Ruzi. The widow of
Emperor Yuan, who ruled from 48 to 32, dominates the royal palace. She
makes her nephew, Wang Mang, regent for Emperor Ruzi. Wang Mang is a
Confucianist, and many Confucianists look to him to bring to the throne
Wang Mang stages a coup and becomes emperor.
Augustus dies. His adopted son, and son-in-law, Tiberius, becomes
A rebel army invades and burns China's great capital, Chang'an. Rebel
soldiers find Wang Mang in his throne-room reciting from his collection
of Confucian writings, and Wang Mang is silenced by a soldier cutting
off his head.
Since 150 BCE, Jews called Essenes have denounced the Jewish majority
as apostate and temple worship in Jerusalem as polluted. They describe
the majority of Jews as the "sons of darkness" and themselves as "the
sons of light." They live in communes, share, and look
forward to Armageddon - God's day of judgment.
Like the Essenes, John the Baptist has seen perversity in Jewish
society and has envisioned the coming of an Armageddon that will bring
a new Israel under God. But rather than stay separated from others as
have the Essenes, John joined various others who traveled about Galilee
preaching. John made verbal attacks on the Judah's king (who is
subservient to the Romans), Herod Antipas - the son of Herod the Great.
John around this time, give or take a year or two, is imprisoned and
A young man whose name in Greek is Jesus has created a following of his
own, while recognizing there is none greater than his former leader,
John the Baptist. This year, give or take a year or two, he goes to
Jerusalem for Passover and there creates a disturbance. He is executed
- by stoning if convicted of blasphemy and by crucifixion for some
Followers of Jesus keep his movement alive. Among these followers, John
the Baptist has been relegated to second standing. The followers
continued to worship at Jerusalem's temple, "the House of the Lord."
They call themselves the "The Poor" or "The Saints." They look forward
to Jesus returning and bringing a New Order. Some among them draw
attention to themselves by arguing with other Jews. Some are expelled
from the city, and one of them, Stephen, is executed.
Tiberius dies. Gaius Caesar, nicknamed Caligula, age 25, begins his
reign as Roman Emperor, intent on doing well for the Romans and the
Millions have died in China as rival factions have vied for power. The
most successful of the rival factions is led by a Han prince, Liu Xiu.
He has surrounded himself with educated men and is popular among his
troops. His army has not looted when capturing towns, and this has
helped him win hearts and minds. He captures the ruined capital,
Chang'an. He proclaims himself emperor, restoring the Han dynasty - to
be known as the Later Han, or East Han, dynasty.
Japanese have expanded against native people, reaching the Kanto plain,
where Tokyo would one day be.
Caligula has created fear around him. The fearful conspire and
assassinate him. Jews, who had been threatened by his decrees, are
saved. Rome's senate is timid. Rather than assert its power, rule by
emperors and accident of birth continues.
The Roman Emperor Claudius sends troops to conquer Britain.
Saul (or Paul) of Tarsus is one of many Jews spreading news to fellow
Jews in cities across the empire - news of the coming
of Armageddon. Some non-Jews have been attracted to the
unique institution of their Jewish neighbors, the synagogue, and some
of them have joined the followers of Jesus. The question arises whether
these non-Jews should be required to follow Jewish laws, such as
circumcision. Paul and others favor compromise. Followers of Jesus
against compromise claim that matters of faith should not be based on
Liu Xiu of the Han dynasty is succeeded by his son, Emperor Ming, who
is to reign for eighteen years while China's economy continues to
recover from war and chaos. Blending has been taking place in schools
of thought, and Emperor Ming associates himself with Taoism and
theological Confucianism and declares himself a prophet.
Rome, a city crowded with people and wooden dwellings, is swept by a
great fire. Christians, seen dancing with joy, perhaps believing that
Armageddon has arrived, are suspected of having set the blaze.
Poverty and hunger in Jerusalem are accompanied by a rebellion. Jewish
rebels burn the homes of Jewish aristocrats and kill those aristocrats
they can get their hands on, and with whatever weapons they can find
they attack outnumbered Roman soldiers. A war has begun that is to last
for seven years.
Christians have been executed for what has been deemed criminal
activity. Among the Christians who vanish from history are the apostles
Paul and Peter.
Emperor Nero seeks to punish the disloyal. A poor politician, he has
created enemies among men who command troops. As an army closes in,
Nero commits suicide. Rule averts to military men, and rule by members
of the family of Augustus (the Julio-Claudians) ends.
The first general to have made himself emperor, Servius Galba, has made
many enemies and is cut down by a soldier on horseback.
The Gospel of Mark has been written within the last ten years,
according to scholars, maybe in Syria. It has been described
as the "first attempt to tell the story of the life and the death of
Jesus." Its a story of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to
his death and resurrection.
The war in Judea ends with Roman soldiers overrunning Masada. The
Essenes disappear. Some Jews are taken away as slaves. Rome abolishes
Judea as a homeland of the Jews. Christians see the demise of Jews as
God's punishment, and Jews put into their synagogue liturgy an anathema
Mount Vesuvius erupts, covering Pompeii and other towns. Pompeiians are
flash-heated to death without time to suffocate. Some Christians see
the eruption as God's vengeance against recent persecutions. Some
Romans believe that the gods have begun the doomsday that they have
long been expecting.
Another fire sweeps Rome, for three days and nights.
An epidemic of disease has been spreading among the Romans, and the
popular emperor, Titus, dies of fever.
The Gospel of Matthew has been written within the last ten years,
according to some but not all scholars. The gospel's author doesn't
claim to have been an eyewitness to events. It incorporates much of the
Gospel of Mark. It keeps Christianity attached to Judaism, with Jesus
as its miracle working Messiah. It describes Jesus as having descended
from Abraham and King David and of a virgin birth.
Sometime around now, give or take many years, the Gospel of Luke is
written. Forty-one percent of it has commonality with the Gospel of
Mark. Like the Gospel of Mark and unlike the Gospel of Matthew, the
intended audience is Greek-speakers, and Christianity is described as
an international religion, not an exclusively Jewish sect.
The Christian bishop in Rome, Clement, supports his authority among
other Christian communities by linking God with Rome. In his first
letter to Christians in Corinth, he has described a hierarchy of
authority that begins with God, goes to Jesus, then to the apostles,
and finally to bishops such as he, and he adds that God has granted to
Rome "the authority of empire," glory and honor.
With China's prosperity has come another attempt at expansion westward.
An army of 60,000 has conquered its way to the eastern shores of the
Caspian Sea. The commander wishes to send an envoy to make contact with
the Romans, but the Parthians fear an alliance between Rome and China
and a loss of their role as middlemen in trade between the two, and
Parthians discourage the Chinese commander with tales of danger.
At Teotihuacan (in Central Mexico) the last pyramid, the Pyramid of the
Sun, is completed.
The Gospel of John was written sometime between the years 90 to 100
according to some but not all scholars. It tells the story of Jesus
with symbolic language that differs from the three other recognized
gospels. And it differs on points in Jesus' life. The gospel's language
has been described as "intentionally antagonistic at times toward
Jewish tradition and toward Jewish sensitivities." (The Gospel of John,
The Japanese have pushed into northeastern Honshu. They have
driven back those called Ainu, and a little mixing between Japanese and
Ainu may have been occurring, accounting perhaps, in years to come, for
the greater hairiness of the Japanese compared to the Chinese. Kushans
have migrated from Bactria into northwestern India. At some unknown
date around these times, a Kushan named Kanishka has established an
empire. He is a Buddhist. Buddhism has been changing from a way of life
to a religion. The Buddha, Siddartha Gautama, has been elevated from a
teacher to a god, said to be the latest of a series of his incarnations.
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