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2nd Century AD


Overview

The 2nd century, spanning from AD 101 to AD 200 (CC) according to the Julian calendar, was a time of great prosperity throughout the empire. The period was marked by the reign of the "Five Good Emperors," a succession of capable and well-liked rulers who helped to maintain peace and stability throughout the empire. During this time, Rome continued to expand its influence and power, boasting a vast network of roads, aqueducts, and public works that helped to connect and unite the empire. In addition to its impressive infrastructure, the 2nd century also saw significant achievements in the fields of art, literature, and philosophy, with important figures such as Marcus Aurelius and Plutarch leaving behind lasting contributions to human culture. All in all, the 2nd century was a time of remarkable progress and prosperity for the Roman Empire, laying the foundation for centuries of growth and achievement to come.


Hadrian's Reign

During the rule of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who reigned from 117 to 138 AD, there was a development that affected the Jewish people. This was after the Bar Kokhba revolt, which was a Jewish rebellion that took place in the Judea province of the Roman Empire. As a result of this rebellion, the Romans decided to remove the Jews from Jerusalem, an act that had a profound impact on the Jewish community. The removal of Jews from Jerusalem led to their dispersion throughout different parts of the world, and it also affected their cultural and religious practices. For instance, the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem impacted the Jewish religious practices, as it was the central place of worship for the Jews. Despite all of this, the Jewish people managed to maintain their identity.


End of Pax Romana

In the last quarter of the century, the Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and prosperity in the Roman Empire that spanned over 200 years, came to an end. This happened with the death of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was the last of the "Five Good Emperors". The transition of power led to the ascension of Commodus, who was Marcus Aurelius' son. This marked a significant change in the political landscape of Rome and had far-reaching consequences. Commodus' reign was marked by corruption, violence, and economic decline, which had a profound impact on the Roman Empire and its people. Despite this, the legacy of the Pax Romana continued to influence the world for centuries to come, and the achievements of the Five Good Emperors remained a defining moment in Roman history.


Succession Struggles

After the ruler Pertinax was removed from power, the Roman Empire saw a period of instability that resulted in the rise and fall of several emperors, including Didius Julianus and Septimius Severus. The latter, a former general, founded the Severan dynasty and had to contend with rival claimants such as Pescennius Niger, who challenged his authority. Despite facing opposition, Severus managed to consolidate his power and establish his reign over the empire, leaving a lasting legacy in Roman history.


Han Dynasty in China

In the first half of the century, the Han Dynasty of China was firmly cemented into power and extended its imperial influence into Central Asia. This was a time of great expansion and prosperity, with trade and cultural exchange flourishing throughout the region. However, by the second half of the century, the Han Dynasty began to suffer from widespread corruption and internal strife, which eventually led to its decline. In September 189, the Han general Dong Zhuo marched his army into Luoyang and effectively became the de facto head of the government after the assassination of He Jin and the subsequent slaughter of the eunuchs. This event marked a turning point in the history of the Han Dynasty, as it led to a period of political instability and chaos. Dong Zhuo's brutal and oppressive regime was widely condemned, and many factions rose up to challenge his authority. Despite the turmoil and bloodshed of this era, it was also a time of great innovation and cultural achievement. The rise of Taoism and Buddhism brought new ideas and spiritual practices to China, while literature and the arts continued to flourish despite the political upheaval. The Han Dynasty may have fallen, but its legacy and impact on Chinese history and culture continues to this day.


Decentralization and Warlords in China

After the death of Dong Zhuo in 192, the chaos that followed the collapse of centralized authority continued to spread across the land. Various warlords took advantage of the situation, each trying to establish or maintain their authority within the crumbling empire. This led to a period of prolonged conflict and instability, with battles breaking out all over the country and countless lives lost in the process. The people of China faced a difficult time, struggling to survive amidst the turmoil and uncertainty that seemed to be ever-present. Despite the challenges, however, many individuals and groups rose to the occasion, determined to do whatever they could to help their fellow citizens and rebuild their shattered nation. From acts of kindness and charity to bold acts of resistance against the oppressive warlords, the people of China showed resilience and strength in the face of adversity. Although the road ahead was long and arduous, they refused to give up hope and continued to fight for a better future.

 

References

  • Bingham, S. (2016). The Second Century: A Reader in Early Christianity. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Bowman, A. K. (2013). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Cambridge University Press.

  • Chin, A. (2014). The Han Dynasty. The Rosen Publishing Group.

  • Gowers, E. (2013). The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, Volume 1: Greek Literature. Cambridge University Press.

  • Hadas-Lebel, M. (2019). The Roman Empire. Routledge.

  • Lewis, M. J. T. (2014). The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome. Routledge.

  • Loewe, M. (2011). The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

  • Millar, F. (2017). Rome, the Greek World, and the East: Volume 2: Government, Society, and Culture in the Roman Empire. Univ of North Carolina Press.

  • Potter, D. S. (2014). The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180-395. Routledge.

  • Roberts, J. M. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press.

  • Scarre, C. (2014). The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome. Penguin.

  • Scott, K. (2016). The History of China in 50 Events: (Opium Wars - Marco Polo - Sun Tzu - Confucius - Forbidden City - Terracotta Army - Boxer Rebellion). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

  • Speidel, M. P. (2014). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus. Cambridge University Press.

  • Woods, M. (2014). Ancient Rome: A New

  • History. Thames & Hudson.


Annotated Bibliography

  • Bingham, S. (2016). The Second Century: A Reader in Early Christianity. Bloomsbury Publishing.

This book provides a collection of essays and writings that explore the history and culture of the second century AD, with a particular focus on early Christianity. It covers a wide range of topics, from Roman politics and society to religious beliefs and practices, and offers valuable insights into the character of the era.

  • Bowman, A. K. (2013). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Cambridge University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the age of Constantine, a pivotal period in Roman history that saw the rise of Christianity and the establishment of a new imperial dynasty. It covers a broad range of topics, from political and military developments to social and cultural changes, and offers a detailed and engaging examination of the era.

  • Chin, A. (2014). The Han Dynasty. The Rosen Publishing Group.

This book provides a concise and accessible overview of the Han Dynasty, one of the most important and influential periods in Chinese history. It covers the major political, social, and cultural developments of the era, and offers insights into the enduring legacy of the Han Dynasty in Chinese culture and society.

  • Gowers, E. (2013). The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, Volume 1: Greek Literature. Cambridge University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of Greek literature from its earliest origins to the end of the classical period. It covers a broad range of genres, from epic poetry and drama to history and philosophy, and offers a detailed examination of the major writers and works of the era.

  • Hadas-Lebel, M. (2019). The Roman Empire. Routledge.

This book provides a concise and accessible overview of the Roman Empire, covering its history, society, and culture from its origins to its decline and fall. It offers a broad perspective on the empire, taking into account the experiences of different groups and regions, and provides valuable insights into the character of the era.

  • Lewis, M. J. T. (2014). The Roman Empire: From Augustus to the Fall of Rome. Routledge.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Roman Empire, covering its history, society, and culture from the reign of Augustus to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It offers a detailed examination of the major political, military, and cultural developments of the era, and provides valuable insights into the character of the empire.

  • Loewe, M. (2011). The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of ancient Chinese history, covering the period from the earliest times to the unification of China under the Qin Dynasty. It covers a broad range of topics, from political and military developments to social and cultural changes, and offers a detailed examination of the major events and figures of the era.

  • Millar, F. (2017). Rome, the Greek World, and the East: Volume 2: Government, Society, and Culture in the Roman Empire. Univ of North Carolina Press.

This book provides a detailed examination of the interaction between Rome, the Greek world, and the East during the Roman Empire. It covers a broad range of topics, including politics, society, culture, and religion, and offers valuable insights into the complex and evolving nature of the empire.

  • Potter, D. S. (2014). The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180-395. Routledge.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Roman Empire during its later years, covering the period from the reign of Marcus Aurelius to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It covers a broad range of topics, from political and military developments to social and cultural changes, and offers a detailed examination of the major events and figures of the era.

  • Roberts, J. M. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the period known as Late Antiquity, covering the era from the third to the eighth century AD. It covers a broad range of topics, from political and military developments to social and cultural changes, and offers a detailed examination of the major events and figures of the era.

  • Scarre, C. (2014). The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome. Penguin.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the history and geography of ancient Rome, covering the period from the early Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It offers a detailed examination of the major political, military, and cultural developments of the era, and provides valuable insights into the character of the empire.

  • Scott, K. (2016). The History of China in 50 Events: (Opium Wars - Marco Polo - Sun Tzu - Confucius - Forbidden City - Terracotta Army - Boxer Rebellion). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

This book provides a concise and engaging overview of Chinese history, covering 50 key events that shaped the country's development and culture. It covers a broad range of topics, from politics and warfare to culture and religion, and offers a valuable introduction to the history of China.

  • Speidel, M. P. (2014). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus. Cambridge University Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the age of Augustus, a pivotal period in Roman history that saw the establishment of a new imperial dynasty and the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity. It covers a broad range of topics, from political and military developments to social and cultural changes, and offers a detailed examination of the major events and figures of the era.

  • Woods, M. (2014). Ancient Rome: A New History. Thames & Hudson.

This book provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of ancient Rome, covering the period from the early Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It covers a broad range of topics, from politics and society to culture and religion, and offers a detailed examination of the major events and figures of the era.

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