1st Century A.D. (The People's Chronology)
1 A.D.5 A.D.
2 A.D.: political events
Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, and Trajan will be the major Roman emperors of this century.
2 A.D.: literature
Poetry: De Re Rustica by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella is a didactic work about agriculture.
2 A.D.: agriculture
Columella advises switching from grain to vines, "for none in Italy can remember when seeds increased fourfold." The common yield for a bushel of seed is only two or three bushels of grain, and while an acre of land may, at best, yield four to six bushels of wheat or barley the more usual yield is two to three bushels, and most of Rome's grain comes from Egypt and North Africa (see 6 A.D.).
"The Earth neither grows old, nor wears out, if it be dunged," writes Columella, who urges crop rotation that alternates grain with legumes. Romans use blood and bones as fertilizer. They grow clover and will later grow alfalfa, but they disdain to use human excrement for fertilizer.
Japanese farmers at Kyoto cultivate rice for the first time, using seed imported from China.
2 A.D.: population
A Chinese census indicates a population of 57,671,400. Accurate or not, it will survive as the world's oldest census.
4 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Augustus induces his stepson Tiberius Claudius Nero to adopt his 19-year-old grandnephew Germanicus Caesar as a son (although Tiberius has a son of his own) and arranges the marriage of Germanicus to his 20-year-old granddaughter Agrippina (the Elder), who will accompany Germanicus to Gaul and to the East.
Parthia's senate dethrones the country's young king Phraatakes and his mother-wife, Musa, after a 6-year reign. It replaces them with a native Parthian who will reign until 8 A.D. as Orodes III.
5 A.D.: political events
The Roman legions defeat Lombard tribes that have established themselves on the lower Elbe River.
6 A.D.: political events
The Chinese emperor Pingdi dies suddenly February 3 at age 14, and his regent Wang Mang, 50, selects the youngest of more than 50 eligible heirs to the throne: the boy was born only last year, but Wang becomes acting emperor in his own right (his enemies say that he poisoned Pingdi) (see 9 A.D.).
China requires candidates for political office to take civil-service examinations.
6 A.D.: religion
Rome's Syrian legate Quirinius orders the population of Judaea to register in order that a census may be taken in Galilee, but the Jewish sect known as Zealots agitates in public places, telling people that compliance with the order will represent tacit acknowledgment by Jews that polytheistic pagans have the right to rule them (see 54 A.D.).
6 A.D.: food availability
The number of Romans receiving free grain rises to 320,000, up from 150,000 in 44 B.C. Close to one-third of the city is on the dole.
Rome imports some 14 million bushels of grain per year to supply the residents of the city alonen amount requiring several hundred square miles of croplands to produce. One-third comes from Egypt, the rest mostly from North African territories west of Egypt.
7 A.D.: political events
The Roman heir apparent Tiberius campaigns in Illyricum with support from his adopted son Germanicus Caesar, whose father was Tiberius's late brother Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (Drusus senior).
7 A.D.: education
The Greek Stoic philosopher Athenodorus Cananites dies at age 81 (approximate), having exerted great influence on the young Octavian who has become the emperor Augustus. Athenodorus helped the late Marcus Tullius Cicero compose De Officis.
7 A.D.: literature
Poetry: Metamorphoses by Ovid, whose works have been banned.
8 A.D.: political events
A son of Parthia's late king Phraates IV returns from Rome to reclaim the throne following the assassination of Orodes III, who was placed on the throne following the murder of Phraates in 2 B.C. but was then put to death for his alleged cruelty. His Roman habits and tastes antagonize his fellow Parthians and he faces rebellion from the start, but he will reign until 12 A.D. as Vonones I (but see 10 A.D.).
8 A.D.: literature
The Roman emperor Augustus exiles the poet Ovid to the Roman outpost of Tomis (Constanza) on the Black Sea, in part because of his elegiac poem instructing a man in the art of winning and keeping a mistress and instructing a woman on how to win and hold a lover. Ovid destroys his new masterpiece at news of his banishment, but copies made by his friends will survive with such lines as "Love and dignity cannot share the same abode" (II).
9 A.D.: political events
The Battle of Teutoburger Wald (Teutoburg Forest) in September secures the permanent independence of the Teutonic tribes and establishes the Rhine as the boundary between Latin and German territories. The Roman emperor Augustus's generals have extended the empire's frontier from the Alps to the Danube, built forts on both sides of the Rhine, invaded as far as the Elbe, and made the region's inhabitants subject to Roman military rule. The Cherusci tribal chieftain Arminius, 27, has served in Rome's armies, been made a Roman citizen, but has developed a hatred for the Romans and is familiar with their military strategems. He has feigned friendship with Augustus's legate Publius Quinctilius Varus, who has led three legions with 5,000 men each, two 500-man cavalry alae plus one Gallic alae, and possibly some auxiliary cohorts into the thick Hyrcinian forest after being informed (falsely) that a distant tribe has risen in revolt (his total force will later be estimated to number between 12,000 and 18,000). Arminius enlists two other tribes (the Chauci and Marsii) to join his Cherusci in a rebellion; helped by their knowledge of the impenetrable forest, by the muddy terrain after heavy rains, and by the inability of the Romans to maintain close ranks after their German auxiliaries desert, the Germanic tribes cut down trees to form a barricade, ambush the Romans, attack their rear columns, and annihilate all three legions, killing about 10,000 legionnaires in a 3-day massacre. Son of Sextus Quintilius Varus, who helped to assassinate Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Varus is related by marriage to the emperor Augustus; he throws himself on his sword after sustaining a wound and his head is sent to Augustus, who reportedly says, "Varus, Varus, give me back my legions." He orders that forts east of the Rhine be abandoned and halts all efforts to expand the empire east of the Rhine and north of the Danube. The Roman army will never again have a XVIIth, XVIIIth, or XIXth legion, and the remains of the slaughtered legionnaires will not be recovered for 6 years.
China's acting emperor Wang Mang ascends the throne himself January 10 and proclaims the Xin (Hsin) dynasty (see 6 A.D.). He has easily subdued his opponents and prepared the way for his usurpation by spreading stories to the effect that the Han dynasty ruled for the time that was intended for it and that Heaven has granted him the mandate for a new dynasty. Wang Mang will reign until 23, but the Han dynasty that began in 206 B.C. will continue until 220 A.D.
9 A.D.: human rights, social justice
The new Chinese emperor Wang Mang grants manumission to the country's slaves but slavery will persist nevertheless (see 17 A.D.).
9 A.D.: agriculture
Wang Mang nationalizes Chinese land, dividing the country's large estates and establishing state granaries.
10 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Vonones I encounters a formidable challenge to his rule (see 8 A.D.). A Parthian who has been brought up among the Dahae as a nomadic Scythian, the ragged leader is initially defeated but will soon defeat Vonones and reign until A.D. 38 as Artabanus II.
11 A.D.: environment
China's Huanghe (Yellow River) changes its course, creating a disaster as it inundates fields in one of the country's most densely populated regions. The resulting displacement of people combines with famine and epidemics to create civil unrest as peasants gather together in larger and larger units to resist the emperor Wang Mang's tax collectors (see politics, 18 A.D.).
12 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Vonones I is deposed after a 4-year reign as Artabanus II routs the king's forces.
12 A.D.: agriculture
The Chinese repeal the radical land reforms made by the emperor Wang Mang 3 years ago in response to widespread protests.
14 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Augustus dies at Nola August 19 at age 76 after a brilliant 41-year reign in which the empire has protected and governed outlying provinces, giving each a degree of autonomy in administering its own laws so long as it accepted taxation by Rome and Roman military control. The massacre of his legions at Teutoburger Wald 5 years ago has left Augustus a broken man; some legionnaires mutiny at news of his death, and some of the soldiers incite others to kill their officers, complaining that legionnaires are treated little better than slaves, often serving 30 to 40 years and then given barren plots of land to till on rocky hillsides or in swamplands. The popular Germanicus Caesar, now 29, manages to suppress the revolt 10 days' march from Rome, and Augustus is succeeded (despite legal obstacles to dynastic succession) by his stepson Tiberius Claudius Nero, now 55. Son of the late emperor's widow Livia by her first marriage, Tiberius will rule until 37, carrying on the imperial regime inaugurated by Augustus in 27 B.C. and maintaining within the empire the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) that will continue for nearly 150 years.
14 A.D.: literature
The Roman aristocrat and literary patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus dies at age 77 (approximate), having helped to support Ovid and other leading poets.
16 A.D.: political events
A Roman army under the command of the emperor Tiberius's adopted son Claudius Drusus Julius Caesar, 31, defeats the Cherusci chieftain Arminius at what later will be Idistaviso; captures his wife, Thusnelda; breaks up Arminius's Germanic kingdom; recovers the eagles of the legions lost at the Battle of Teutoburger Wald 7 years ago; and avenges the defeat of Varus. Now given the name Germanicus, Drusus suppressed an ominous mutiny in Pannonia 2 years ago and last year was made consul, but Arminius defeats another Roman force at Steinhunder and forces the legions to withdraw.
17 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Tiberius sends his adopted son Germanicus Caesar to install a new king in Armenia. He sends his son Drusus to Illyricum as governor.
Capadocia and Commagene become a Roman province following the death of their king.
17 A.D.: human rights, social justice
China enacts a tax on slaveholding (see 9 A.D.); slaves do most of the menial work as they do in Rome.
17 A.D.: commerce
Seven regional Chinese commissions are directed to establish annual high, low, and mean price levels for staples and to buy surplus goods at cost, but merchants and capitalists employed by the emperor Wang Mang as administrators will provoke revolts.
17 A.D.: literature
The Patavium (Padua)-born historian Livy (Titus Livius) dies at Rome at age 58 (approximate), having written a 142-book History of Rome from its founding in 753 B.C. to 9 B.C. (only 35 books will survive but Byzantine writers will paraphrase much of what is lost). Using a style derived from the writings of Cicero, Livy has based his work with little selectivity on works by previous authors, expressing an admiration for the civilization of early Rome and borrowing freely from Virgil's Aeneid.
18 A.D.: political events
A Chinese peasant group known as the Red Eyebrows gains enough power to defeat the imperial army of Wang Mang (see 23 A.D.; environment, 11).
19 A.D.: political events
Germanicus Caesar visits Egypt early in the year, incurring the wrath of the Roman emperor Tiberius by violating a rule laid down by the late Augustus against allowing any Roman of senatorial rank to enter Rome's breadbasket. Germanicus returns to Syria, where he quarrels with the legate Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, and dies at Antioch, having been poisoned at age 34 (approximate) and believing that the poison was administered by Piso's wife, Plancina. Piso is charged with the murder and prosecuted before the Senate, his suicide prevents a resolution of his guilt or innocence, and many believe that Tiberius either fostered the antagonism between him and Germanicus or actually had a hand in Germanicus's murder. Germanicus is survived by his widow, Agrippina (the Elder), and six of their nine children.
The Cherusci chieftain Arminius is killed at age 36 (approximate), dying by some accounts at the hands of a family member after having gained more power through the death of another German chieftain (see Sculpture, 1875 A.D.).
20 A.D.: political events
Illyricum's Roman governor Drusus Julius Caesar engineers the overthrow of Maroboduus, king of the German Marcomanni.
21 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Tiberius's son Drusus Julius Caesar is appointed consul for a second time and next year will receive the administrative privileges of tribunician power (but see 23 A.D.).
23 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Tiberius's son Drusus Julius Caesar dies July 1 at age 36 (approximate), having been poisoned by his wife, Livilla, and Tiberius's adviser Lucius Aelius Sejanus, the ambitious equestrian prefect of the guard. Sejanus has designs on the imperial throne and begins an 8-year domination of the emperor.
Chinese rebels break through a gate on the east wall of the capital city October 4, and street fighting reaches the palace four miles away at sundown. The rebels gain adherents in the city overnight, and they break into the palace October 5, setting fires that burn through the day (see 18 A.D.). An 18-year-old collateral imperial scion who is supposedly a descendant of the Han dynasty founder Gao Zu (Kao-tsu) has gained support from the powerful Liu clan and other rich landowning families, raised an army, and defeated the forces of the unpopular emperor Wang Mang, who is conducted by chariot October 6 to the Terrace Bathed by Water, where more than 1,000 attendants fire crossbows until they run out of arrows. Wang Mang's supporters fight hand to hand with swords until late afternoon, when the rebels force their way onto the terrace and overpower the emperor, who dies at age 68 after a 14-year reign in which he has attempted to curb usury and advance the welfare of the masses. He has had three of his sons and one grandson executed for breaking the law, and had it not been for the flooding of the Huanghe (Yellow River) 12 years ago his Xin (Hsin) dynasty might have continued for decades if not centuries, but it will end in 2 years. The usurper Xuan will reign until then.
24 A.D.: political events
The scholarly ruler Juba II of Numidia and Mauretania in northwest Africa dies at age 74 (approximate) after a 49-year reign in which his first wife, Marc Antony and Cleopatra's daughter Cleopatra Selene, exercised strong influence. Juba is succeeded by his 45-year-old son, who last year adopted the tactics of Berber rebels to help the Roman governor of Africa put down their insurrection, which has begun 7 years ago. The son has had a Hellenistic education and will reign until his death in 40 as Ptolemy of Mauretania.
25 A.D.: political events
China's Eastern Han dynasty is established at Luoyang and will rule until 220. Now 20, the new ruler Xiu will reign until 57 as the emperor Guangwudi (Kwang Wu-ti) ("Shining Martial Emperor"), restoring the Han (or Later Han) dynasty, thwarting encroachments by nomadic tribesmen to the north, returning imperial rule to outlying areas in the south, and suppressing numerous domestic rebellions.
The equestrian prefect Sejanus persuades the Roman emperor Tiberius to retire from the hostile political climate of Rome and settle on the island of Caprae (Capri) in the Bay of Naples, where Tiberius devotes himself to a life of pleasure.
26 A.D.0 A.D.
27 A.D.: religion
The Babylonia-born Jewish sage Hillel dies at Jerusalem (year approximate), having instituted a legal device called the prosbul that mediated the reluctance of lenders to annul debts in the seventh year as biblically ordained. He will be quoted for millennia as having said, "If I am not for myself, who is for me, but if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?"
30 A.D.: medicine
De Res Medicos by the Roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus is a collection of Greek medical writings. Celsus also publishes De Artibus. Tracing medical history from simple remedies through Hippocratic and Alexandrian contributions, he describes in careful detail the surgical instruments of his own day after witnessing many operations and dissections. "I am of the opinion that the art of medicine ought to be rational," writes Celsus. "To open the bodies of the dead is necessary for learners" (see Galen, 180 A.D.; "Paracelsus," 1530 A.D.).
30 A.D.: religion
Jesus of Nazareth leaves Galilee after a brief ministry and travels to Jerusalem to observe Passover at a ritual Seder meal that will be depicted by future painters as The Last Supper. Although he is but one of many Jewish evangelists who claim to be the Messiah, Jesus has antagonized the priestly class by driving the money changers out of the (third) Great Temple at Jerusalem and attacking the hypocrisy of the privileged classes. With a price on his head, he is betrayed by his disciple Judas Iscariot and seized by Roman soldiers, who deliver him to the high priest and the Sanhedrin (great council and tribunal of the Jewish nation). He is condemned as a blasphemer and sent to the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, whose chief concern is to curb unrest that might create political repercussions back at Rome. Pilate sends Jesus to the ruler of Galilee Herod Antipas, who sends him back to Pilate, who lets the mob decide his fate. The mob condemns Jesus and he is crucified, probably April 30, between two thieves on Golgotha, a knoll near the Damascus Gate. Few people are aware of the crucifixion, such events being commonplace.
Image Pop-UpCrucifying Jesus of Nazareth at Jerusalem gave birth to a Christian religion that much of humanity would come to embrace.
Disciples of Jesus will profess to have seen him resurrected after his burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. They will proclaim him Messiah and Savior, and they will found the Christian faith that will grow in later centuries to dominate much of the world (see Paul, 46).
31 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Tiberius on Capri hears that his onetime favorite Lucius Aelius Sejanus is intriguing against him and sends word to Rome that he is to be executed (see 23 A.D.). Summoned before the Senate in the Temple of Apollo, Sejanus is strangled to death and his body thrown into the Tiber.
31 A.D.: energy
A horizontal waterwheel described in Chinese writings is a mechanism in which the wheel employs a series of belts and pulleys to drive a bellows that works an iron furnace for the casting of agricultural implements.
33 A.D.: political events
Agrippina the Elder dies October 18 at age 47 (approximate) on the island of Pandateria in the Tyrrhenian Sea, having either starved herself to death or been starved by order of the Roman emperor Tiberius.
36 A.D.: religion
The Sanhedrin at Jerusalem summons the Hellenist (foreign-born) Christian deacon Stephen and charges him with speaking against "this holy place and the law." He speaks out in his own defense, calling the (third) Great Temple an idolatry comparable to the golden calf of Aaron, and his response so angers the supreme rabbinic court that he is taken outside the city and stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr (see James, 44).
37 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Tiberius is murdered March 16 at age 78 by his 25-year-old nephew Gaius Caesar, youngest son of the late Germanicus Caesar, who is called Caligula because of the caligae, or soldiers' boots, that he has worn. Roman historians will villify Tiberius as a tyrant, but he has ruled with moderation and strengthened the state. The new emperor Caligula has suffocated his uncle and will soon introduce cruel oriental excesses in a reign that will continue for nearly 4 years.
38 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Artabanus II is deposed after a 28-year reign in which most of his time has been spent suppressing rebellions, obliging him at one time to live as a hunter among the Scythians. He is succeeded by a man who is probably his son and will reign briefly as Vardanes I, reimposing Parthian control over the city of Seleucia, which has declared independence.
39 A.D.: political events
Roman authorities thwart a conspiracy against the emperor Caligula and execute some of its participants while exiling others who include Caligula's 24-year-old sister Agrippina the Younger. The wife of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, she will not be permitted to return from exile until 41.
Northern Vietnamese aristocrats march on the Chinese fort at Lien Lau under the leadership of Trung Trac and her younger sister Trung Nih. Trung Trac's late husband, Thi Sach, has been assassinated by a Han dynasty general for conspiring with other lords to oust the Chinese. The sisters force the general to flee, and within a year they and their allies will have gained control of 65 northern fortresses (see 40 A.D.).
40 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Vardanes I is assassinated by a brother during a hunt; the brother will reign until 51 as Gotarzes II, exercising such cruelty that several rebellions will be mounted against his rule.
The North African client ruler Ptolemy of Mauretania is assassinated at age 60 (approximate) by order of the Roman emperor Caligula, whose jealousy he has aroused. The last known living descendant of Egypt's Cleopatra VII and the last member of the Ptolemaic royal family, he has helped the Romans suppress a Berber revolt in Numidia. His death provokes a new revolt in Mauretania, which will be reorganized into two Roman provinces.
Vietnam's Trung sisters proclaim themselves joint queens of an independent state extending from southern China to what later will be Hue (see 39 A.D.). They rule from Me Linh in the lower delta of the Red River (but see 43 A.D.).
40 A.D.: exploration, colonization
The Greek merchant Hippalus voyages in 12 months from Berenice, on Egypt's Red Sea coast, to India's Madras coast and back, a journey that has previously required 2 years. Hippalus has discovered that the monsoon winds (the word derives from mawsim, Arabic for seasons) reverse direction twice a year, a fact the Arabs may have known for centuries. The southwest wind, favorable for voyages from Egypt to India, prevails from April to October, and the northwest wind for the return trip prevails from October to April (see 90 A.D.).
40 A.D.: religion
The 55-year-old Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus) heads a delegation that goes to Rome following a massacre of Alexandrian Jews (year approximate). The first great thinker to attempt a synthesis of revealed faith and philosophic reason, Philo asks the emperor Caligula to reassert rights that were granted to the Jews by the Ptolemies and confirmed by the emperor Augustus. The notoriously anti-Semitic Greek grammarian has accused the Jews of disloyalty, Philo is prepared to answer the charges, Caligula cuts him short, and Philo comforts his colleagues by telling them that God will punish the emperor (see politics, 41 A.D.).
41 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Caligula is murdered January 24 by a member of his praetorian guard after a megalomaniacal reign of savage tyranny. He is succeeded by Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, a 50-year-old brother of the late Germanicus Caesar and a nephew of the late emperor Tiberius. A crippled man with a speech defect (but a keen mind), Claudius gains the throne with support from men who include the diplomat Marcus Julius Agrippa and will rule until 54 as the emperor Claudius.
The new Roman emperor Claudius grants his supporter Marcus Julius Agrippa the kingdom of Judaea, which he will rule until his death in 44 as Herod Agrippa I.
43 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Claudius leads a personal expedition to conquer what later will be called Britain and Romanize the island people (see 54 B.C.). Succeeding where Julius Caesar failed, he crosses the channel with four legions (about 20,000 men) and defeats the Trinovantes, who helped Julius Caesar defeat their Catuvallauni rivals in 54 B.C. (see 47 A.D.).
Seasoned Chinese troops under the command of Gen. Ma Yüan (Ma Vien) defeat the untrained forces of Vietnam's Trung sisters (see 40 A.D.). Lacking supplies and their former peasant support, they have been beaten at Lang Bac, near what later will be called Hanoi, and have retreated to Hat Mon (later Son Tay), where Ma Yüan gains a decisive victory; refusing to be captured, the two sisters drown themselves at the juncture of the Day and Red rivers (see 939 A.D.).
43 A.D.: exploration, colonization
London (Londinium) is founded by the Romans (see 400 B.C.). It will remain for more than 2,000 years the chief city of what will be called the British Isles (see 61 A.D.).
44 A.D.: political events
Judaea's Herod Agrippa I puts on a spectacular series of games at Caesarea to honor the Roman emperor Claudius but dies there at age 54 after a 3-year reign in which he has tried to strike a balance between Roman authority and Jewish autonomy, repressing Jewish Christians. His 17-year-old son is studying at the court of the emperor Claudius in Rome, and Judaea becomes once again a procuratorial province of Rome.
44 A.D.: religion
The apostle James becomes the second Christian martyr (see 36 A.D.). The son of Zebedee, he has preached the divinity of the late Jesus of Nazareth and is executed on orders from Herod Agrippa I before the king's death.
44 A.D.: agriculture
Romans create the capon, gelding cocks to make them grow larger.
44 A.D.: food and drink
Vomitoriums gain popularity in Rome. The emperor Claudius and others employ slaves to tickle their throats after they have eaten their fill in order that they may return to the banquet tables and begin again. Most Romans live on bread, olives, wine, and some fish, but little meat.
46 A.D.: religion
The apostle Paul journeys to Cyprus and Galatea with the Cypriot Barnabas and with Mark, a young cousin of Barnabas. Originally named Saul, Paul never met the late Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified 16 years ago, but he will play a pivotal role in preaching a new "Christian" religion not only to fellow Jews but also to non-Jews (see 50 A.D.).
47 A.D.: political events
Roman legions in what later will be called the British Isles suppress a revolt by the Iceni client-king Prasutugus (see 43 A.D.; 48 A.D.).
The emperor Claudius celebrates the 800th anniversary of Rome's founding with 3 days and nights of games and religious sacrifices. The city has grown to occupy all of its seven hills (Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine).
48 A.D.: political events
Roman legions invade Wales (see 47 A.D.). They will conquer the country in the next 30 years, defeating the Indo-European people who were probably the first to settle in what later will be called the British Isles, while Roman engineers construct a great network of roads (see 60 A.D.).
The Roman emperor Claudius persuades the Senate to accept members from Gaul and other parts of the empire. Claudius has turned a blind eye to the infidelities of his promiscuous third wife, Valeria Messalina, whom he married in 38 when she was 16 and who bore his daughter Octavia the following year. Now 26 and the mother also of a 7-year-old boy, Britannicus (who may have been fathered by the late Caligula), she has used sex as a weapon and, while Claudius is away at Ostia, holds a party that includes a marriage ceremony performed between her and a consul-designate Caius Silius (who is himself already married). Claudius hears of the betrayal from his confidant Narcissus, hastens back to Rome, and gives orders for the execution of Messalina, Caius Silius, and some others. Given the opportunity to take her own life, Messalina cannot muster the courage and is killed (see 49 A.D.).
The son of the late Judaean king Herod Agrippa I receives authority over temple affairs in Jerusalem. He has taken an interest in the welfare of the Jews and secured an edict favoring them with moderate treatment (see 50 A.D.).
49 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Claudius marries his 34-year-old niece Agrippina the Younger, who has allegedly just poisoned her second husband, Passienus Crispus (see 48 A.D.). A granddaughter of the late Marcus Vipsinius Agrippa and a great-granddaughter of the emperor Augustus, Agrippina is the emperor's fourth wife and persuades Claudius to adopt her son Nero by her first husband, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (see 54 A.D.).
49 A.D.: medicine
Smallpox appears for the first time in China (see Egypt, 1350 B.C.) Deadly and highly contagious, it will take millions of lives in the centuries to come (see Japan, Korea, 583 A.D.).
49 A.D.: religion
The emperor Claudius expels Jewish Christians from Rome in a crackdown on those who do not believe in the Roman gods.
The Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria dies at his native Alexandria at age 62 (age and year approximate), having provided a clear view of Hellenistic Judaism and laid the foundations of Christian theology.
50 A.D.: political events
The son of Judaea's late Herod Agrippa I is made king of Chalcis in southern Lebanon and will reign until his death in about 93 as Herod Agrippa II.
50 A.D.: exploration, colonization
Cologne has its beginnings in the town of Colonia Agrippina built on the left bank of the Rhine at the site of Oppidum Ubiorum, chief town of the Ubii. The Roman emperor Claudius fortifies the town at the request of his niece and bride Agrippina the Younger, 35, who was born in the place (see 1288 A.D.).
50 A.D.: religion
The apostle Paul travels to Greece on a journey that will take 3 years (see 46 A.D.). He has given up Jewish dietary laws, decries traditional circumcision, and exhorts Jews and others to convert to the new "Christian" religion (see 54 A.D.).
51 A.D.5 A.D.
51 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Gotarzes II is deposed. Her deposed king Vonones II returns, having held power only from 8 to 12 (although he may have controlled parts of Persia for longer periods). Vonones II himself dies, and his son by a Greek concubine will reign until 78 as Vologeses I, giving the kingdom of Media Atropatene to his brother Pacorus and occupying Armenia for his brother Tiridates (but see 54 A.D.).
54 A.D.: political events
Roman legions go to war against the Parthian king Vologases I and his brother Tiridates for control of Armenia, beginning a conflict that will continue until A.D. 63 (see 58 A.D.).
The emperor Claudius dies in agony at Rome October 13 at age 63 in a plot inspired by the empress Agrippina the Younger. She has given him a dish of poisonous mushrooms, and when they merely made him ill she has summoned the physician Stertinius Xenophon, who has pretended to help him but has actually put a poison-tipped feather down his throat. Claudius in his 13½-year reign has made Britain a Roman province, extended Roman rule over North Africa, built many roads, and implemented administrative reforms that have included increased reliance on freedmen. Agrippina makes Sextus Afranius Burrus prefect of the praetorian guard and will seek to rule the empire through her uncontrollable son Nero Claudius Augustus Germanicus, now 16, who enjoys popularity with the masses despite his erratic behavior and will reign as the emperor Nero until 68.
Extremists among the Zealots in Judaea turn to terrorism and will become known as Sicarii because they carry daggers to assassinate those conciliatory toward Rome (sikariot is Greek for daggermen) year approximate; (see 6 A.D.; 66 A.D.).
54 A.D.: religion
Epistles to the Corinthians by the Christian apostle Paul deal with a variety of moral and ethical questions.
55 A.D.: political events
Britannicus, son of the late Claudius, dies at age 14 after being poisoned by his step-brother, the emperor Nero.
A son of Parthia's Vologases I wrests the throne from his father and will reign until 58 as Vardanes II.
55 A.D.: religion
Epistle to the Galatians by the Christian apostle Paul blasts converts from Judaism and paganism who have been enticed by other missionaries to add the rite of circumcision to their Christian observances in the churches of Anatolia (date approximate) (see 54 A.D.). Probably written from Ephesus, the letter asserts Paul's apostolic authority against opponents who assert that he was not trained by Jesus himself (see 58 A.D.).
57 A.D.: political events
China's Eastern Han dynasty emperor Guangwudi (Kuang wu-ti) dies after a 32-year reign in which he has exhausted himself with wars against the Vietnamese and other foreign forces as well as with internal rebellions; he is succeeded by his 28-year-old son Zhuang, who will reign until 75 as Mingdi (Ming-ti) ("Enlightened Emperor").
58 A.D.: political events
The Roman general Corbulo defeats Parthian forces in Armenia and makes it a Roman protectorate (see 54 A.D.), but hostilities continue. The Parthian usurper Vardanes II is executed after a brief reign, and Vologases II regains his throne (see 60 A.D.).
58 A.D.: religion
The apostle Paul arrives at Jerusalem from Corinth or Ephesus (see 55 A.D.), but authorities at Caesarea arrest him and hold him for trial before the procurator of Judaea (see 62 A.D.).
59 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Nero has his mother, Agrippina the Younger, put to death in her country house at the urging of his stoic counselor, the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger), 61. She has opposed his affair with Poppaea Sabina, and he has earlier invited her to Baiea, set her afloat on the Bay of Naples in a boat designed to sink, and expected her to drown, but she thwarted his plan by swimming to safety. Nero's advisers Seneca and Burrus will administer the government until 62.
59 A.D.: religion
Festus succeeds Felix as procurator of Judaea and holds a new trial for the apostle Paul, who makes an "appeal unto Caesar" in the presence of Herod Agrippa II.
60 A.D.: political events
The Armenian king Tiridates is deposed and banished by the Roman general Corbulo, who has invaded from Syria and made the country a Roman protectorate (see 58 A.D.). Corbulo replaces Tiridates with a grandson of an earlier Armenian ruler, who becomes Tigranes V, but the move enrages Tiridate's brother Vologeses I of Parthia (see 63 A.D.).
The Trinovantes in what later will be called the British Isles rebel against the Romans, who conquered them in 43 (see 61 A.D.).
61 A.D.: political events
London is sacked by the Trinovantes, who have allied themselves with the Iceni (see 60 A.D.). The Iceni queen Boudica (Boadicia) has revolted upon the retirement of the Roman governor Seutonius Paulinus. Legionnaires crush the Trinovantes and restore the Roman authority that will continue until 407 (see 77 A.D.).
Roman engineers surround London (Londinum) with a wall eight feet thick.
62 A.D.: political events
The praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus dies at Rome, possibly having been poisoned by the emperor Nero. His colleague Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger) is left to administer Nero's realm (but see 65 A.D.).
62 A.D.: science
Alexandrians witness a lunar eclipse on the evening of March 13 at 11 o'clock.
62 A.D.: religion
Roman authorities permit the apostle Paul to live at Rome but keep him under house arrest (see 58 A.D.). Albinus succeeds Festus as procurator of Judaea and the Romans permit Paul to resume his travels (but see 67 A.D.).
62 A.D.: environment
A February 5 earthquake shatters temples and other structures in southern Italian towns such as Paestum and Pompeii, killing an estimated 20,000 (see Vesuvius, 79).
63 A.D.: political events
Armenia's former king Tiridates regains his throne with the consent of Rome (see 60 A.D.). The peace of Rhandeia ends a 6-year conflict with Parthia's Vologases I, and the emperor Nero will crown Tiridates in 66.
63 A.D.: literature
Nonfiction: Epistilae Morales by the Roman philosopher Seneca says, "All art is but imitation of nature."
64 A.D.: religion
Persecution of Christians begins at Rome, where the emperor Nero accuses them of having started a fire that devastates the city in July. The apostle Peter is crucified; other Christians are made scapegoats for the fire and torn apart by dogs or burned at the stake.
64 A.D.: architecture, real estate
Jerusalem's (third) Great Temple is completed after 84 years of construction (but see 70 A.D.).
64 A.D.: environment
Rome has a fire that begins the night of July 18 in some wooden booths at one end of the Circus Maximus, spreads in one direction over the Palatine and Velia hills and up to the low cliffs of the Esquiline, spreads in another direction through the Aventine, the Forus Boarium, and the Velabrum until it reaches the Tiber and the Servian Wall, raging for a week, destroying nearly two-thirds of the city, and leaving half the population homeless. The emperor Nero has fretted (not "fiddled") while Rome burned and begins rebuilding to a master plan that will give the city straight, broad streets and wide squares whose cleanliness will be supervised by the aediles, but he begins building a 50-acre palace, and many Romans believe that he deliberately set the fire to clear a site for the palace.
64 A.D.: food availability
Vast quantities of grain are stored at Rome under the supervision of the aediles who control the food supply. They introduce regulations to ensure the freshness of meat, fish, and produce sold in the city.
65 A.D.: political events
A plot to murder the Roman emperor Nero comes to light. The conspirators are executed or are forced to take their own lives. Nero kicks his wife, Poppea, who is pregnant and dies as a result of the blow.
65 A.D.: religion
The Gospel by the Christian apostle Mark is written at Rome in response to the persecution that began last year.
65 A.D.: literature
The philosopher-statesman Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger) dies at Rome at age 69 (approximate), having been denounced by his enemies as a party to the conspiracy against Nero and ordered to open a vein. His older brother Junius Gallio follows Seneca's example and dies at age 70 (approximate).
The poet Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus) dies at Rome at age 26, having been ordered to open a vein for his part in leading the conspiracy to assassinate Nero. A nephew of Seneca the Younger, Lucan is famous for his historical epic Bellum civile, an account of the war between Julius Caesar and Pompeii, but Nero has banned public reading of his works, which expressed a longing for the old Roman republic (which, of course, ended long before he was born).
66 A.D.: political events
Nero's guard Tigellinus denounces the emperor's favorite courtier, Gaius Petronius (né Titus Petronius Niger), who is accused of treason, arrested at Cumae, and ordered to commit suicide. A former consul, he slits his veins, wraps the wounds to delay his demise, and spends his final hours chatting with friends, feasting, and, at last, sleeping; he leaves behind his Satyricon, depicting the vice and depravity of Rome.
66 A.D.: religion
The Roman procurator Gessus Florus in Judaea permits a massacre of Jews in Caesarea, Jewish Zealots at Jerusalem rise in revolt, the Herod Agrippa II of Chalcis supports Florus and urges moderation, but troops that he has sent to Jerusalem capitulate during the summer. Zealot terrorists massacre Jerusalem's Roman garrison and stage a surprise raid in which they seize control of Masada, a seven-hectare (18-acre) mountaintop fortress that towers 1,424 feet over the Judaean desert and was renovated with two ornate palaces by Herod the Great between 37 and 31 B.C. The Zealots build a synagogue and ritual bath and stock the stronghold with grain, filling its cisterns with 750 liters (200,000 gallons) of water (see 67 A.D.).
66 A.D.: literature
Fiction: Book of Satyrlike Adventures (Satyricon, or Satyricon liber) by the late Gaius Petronius relates the wanderings of a disreputable but adventurous trioncolpius, Ascyltos, and Giton. The longest episode in the comic, picaresque novel describes a dinner party given by one Trimalchio, a rich and vulgar freedman in a Greco-Roman town in Campania, but only about one-tenth of Petronius's manuscript will survive.
67 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Nero orders the execution of his general Corbulo and two former legates from the German provinces.
Roman armies under Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, 58, and his son Titus, 27, enter Galilee to put down the revolt by Jewish Zealots, who have massacred a body of Roman soldiers in protest against their sacrileges and extortions (see 66 A.D.). All the Jews of Caesarea have been slaughtered by the town's gentile citizens, and the Jews are furious, but the Roman army is overwhelming. Jewish general Joseph ben Matthias, 30, holds out in a siege of the fortress Jotapata but yields after 47 days to Vespasian and gains the favor of the Roman general (see 73 A.D.; Jerusalem, 70 A.D.).
67 A.D.: transportation
The Roman emperor Nero tours Greece and orders construction of a canal through the isthmus of Corinth.
67 A.D.: religion
Romans execute the Christian apostle Paul June 29 on the Via Ostia, three miles outside Rome (see 62 A.D.). The first great Christian missionary and theologian, Paul has effectively founded the new Christian religion and will hold a position in the faith second only to that of Jesus. Christianity will grow in the next 8 centuries to dominate Europe, and beginning nearly 16 centuries hence it will be embraced throughout vast territories that Europeans will discover and colonize.
68 A.D.: political events
Rome's Senate sentences the emperor Nero to death under pressure from the praetorian guard, whose members have recognized the legate Servius Sulpicius Galba, 65, as emperor. Nero commits suicide June 9 at age 30; his death ends the Julio-Claudian line of Caesars that has ruled Rome for 128 years, and he is succeeded by Galba, who will rule for less than 6 months before being challenged.
68 A.D.: literature
Nonfiction: History of the Jewish People is compiled by the Jewish general Joseph ben Matthias, who has taken the Roman name Flavius Josephus (see 67 A.D.).
69 A.D.: political events
Eight legions on the Rhine refuse allegiance to the Roman emperor Galba and salute as emperor their legate Aulus Vitellius, 54 (see 68 A.D.). Galba is murdered January 15 along with his newly adopted successor, Piso Licinianus. The murderer is Marcus Salvius Otho, 36, a dissolute friend of the late emperor Nero, and the Senate recognizes Otho as emperor. He grants the Lingones citizenship (see 224 B.C.).
Aulus Vitellius sends two legions to the Po Valley. The emperor Otho commits suicide April 16, Vitellius's legions defeat Otho's forces April 19 in the Battle of Bedriacum near Cremona, and Vitellius then faces a challenge from Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, 59, now legate of Judaea. The prefect of Egypt proclaims Vespasianus emperor July 1, the legate of Syria. All the Danubian legions rally to his support, and the emperor Vitellius mobilizes forces to oppose them. Antonius Primus, commander of the Seventh Legion in Pannonia, leads other Danubian legions against Vitellius and defeats him in late October in the second Battle of Bedriacum. He sacks Cremona and forces the Senate to recognize Vespasianus as the emperor Vespasian.
The Roman emperor Vitellius dies in a street battle December 20, leaving Vespasian to begin a reign that will continue until 79. The Senate confers all the imperial powers upon Vespasian December 22 with the Lex de Imperio Vespasiani (Law Regulating Vespasian's Authority).
The emperor Vespasian lays siege to Jerusalem as the Jewish Zealot leader John of Giscala continues resistance after having eliminated his rival, Eleazar.
70 A.D.: political events
The emperor Vespasian returns to Rome, leaving his son Titus to continue the siege of Jerusalem with help from Herod Agrippa II of Chalcis. Vespasian turns his energies to repairing the ravages of civil war. He suppresses an insurrection in Gaul, restores discipline to the demoralized Roman army, renews old taxes and institutes new ones, and rebuilds the Capitol which was burned in the fighting that raged in the city last autumn.
Jerusalem falls September 7 (see 67 A.D.). The Romans sack the city and destroy most of the (third) Great Temple, completed only 6 years ago (the one part left standing will become famous as the "Wailing Wall").
Titus gives some of Judaea to Herod Agrippa II, who extends his realm beyond Chalcis but retains most as an imperial province. Rome quarters a legion in Jerusalem under a senatorial legate whose position is higher than that of the procurator. The Romans abolish the Jewish high priesthood and Sanhedrin (Jewish national council); they divert the 2-drachma tax paid by Jews for support of the Third Temple to a special account in the imperial treasury (fiscus Judaicus) (see Masada, 73).
70 A.D.: religion
The Jewish teacher Johanen ben Zakkai saves Judaism. A disciple of the late Babylonian Jew Hillel, who died some 60 years ago, Johanen has had himself carried out of Jerusalem during the siege and has asked Vespasian to grant him a boon. He opens a school at Jabneh with Roman permission.
70 A.D.: food availability
Panic strikes Rome as adverse winds delay grain shipments from Egypt and North Africa, producing a bread shortage. Ships laden with wheat from North Africa sail 300 miles to Rome's port of Ostia in 3 days given good winds, and the 1,000-mile voyage from Alexandria averages 13 days. The vessels often carry 1,000 tons each to provide the city with the 8,000 tons per week it normally consumes; shipping adds little to the price (which may double if hauled overland); wheat is a cheap commodity, but the supply depends on favorable winds.
71 A.D.: architecture, real estate
The Arch of Titus erected at Rome by the emperor Vespasian celebrates the triumph of his son last year at Jerusalem.
A palatial public lavatory built by the emperor Vespasian opens at Rome, which now has an extensive system of waterworks with flush toilets and urinals.
73 A.D.: religion
Roman forces batter a hole through the wall of the fortress at Masada April 15 after a siege of nearly 2 years in which they have built ramps to gain access (see 66 A.D.). But the 10,000 legionnaires find only two women and five children left alive, the other 950 Zealots having chosen to die rather than be slaughtered or enslaved. Led by Eleazar ben Jair, they have evidently drawn lots to choose men who would kill groups of people and then kill themselves; the survivors are found hidden in a water conduit. The last remnant of Jewish rule in Judaea, Masada will later become a symbol of national heroism.
75 A.D.: political events
China's Eastern Han dynasty emperor Mingdi (Ming-ti) dies after a 19-year reign in which his general Pan Chao has repelled the tribes that have made inroads on the nation's northwest frontier (year approximate). Mingdi is succeeded by his 19-year-old son Da, who will reign until 88 as the emperor Zhangdi (Chang-ti).
76 A.D.00 A.D.
76 A.D.: energy
Greek engineer and mathematician Heron of Alexandria dies at age 65 (year and age approximate), having devised an "aeolophile" that foreshadows the steam engine. Two brackets on the lid of a basin of boiling water support a hollow ball, one bracket being hollow and conducting steam that escapes at the top from two bent pipes, creating a force that makes the ball spin (see Somerset, 1628 A.D.).
76 A.D.: science
Heron's steam-powered toy illustrates what later will be stated as the third law of motion, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (see Newton, 1687 A.D.). Heron of Alexandria has written at least 13 works on mathematics, mechanics, and physics but will be remembered most for Proposition 1.8 of his Metrica (the Heron Formula) for calculating the area of a triangle in terms of its sides.
77 A.D.: political events
The Roman governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola arrives in Britain to continue the conquest begun by the emperor Claudius 34 years ago (see 61 A.D.). He finds "a fierce and savage people running through the woods" (see 83 A.D.; Chester, 79 A.D.).
77 A.D.: medicine
De materia medica by Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides, 37, details the properties of nearly 600 medicinal plants and describes animal products with alleged dietetic or medicinal value (year approximate). Dioscorides has served as a surgeon in Nero's army, and his five-volume work discusses about 1,000 simple drugs obtained from such plants as cannabis, colchicum, peppermint, and water hemlock as well as animal derivatives (e.g., milk and honey) with dietetic and medicinal value (second book), with references to sleeping potions and surgical anaesthetics obtained from mandragora and opium. His fifth book discusses chemical drugs such as auripigmentum (yellow arsenic sulfide), calcium hydrate, copper oxide, lead acetate, and mercury (including ways to prepare it from cinnabar). The books will be translated into at least seven other languages and serve as the leading pharmacological text for 16 centuries.
78 A.D.: political events
A Parthian chieftain challenges the rules of Vologases I and begins a reign as Pacorus II that will continue until 105, during which time he will vie for power with other claimants to the throne (see 80 A.D.).
79 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Vespasian dies June 24 at age 69 after saying, "Oh, dear, I think I am becoming a god" ("Vae, puto deus fio"). He is succeeded after a 10-year reign by his son Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus Titus, now 38, who will rule as the emperor Titus until 81.
79 A.D.: exploration, colonization
Chester is founded by Roman occupation forces in what is later called England.
79 A.D.: science
Historia Naturalis by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (Plinius Secundus), 56, is a 37-volume encyclopedia of natural history that says of agriculture, "The farmer's eye is the best fertilizer."
79 A.D.: environment
Mount Vesuvius on the Bay of Naples erupts August 24 after 16 years of increasingly violent earthquakes that have seriously damaged towns in the Campania. Victims have never before seen a volcanic eruption and are killed before they can flee; the eruption continues for 3 days, raining hot cinders down upon the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, setting fires that destroy buildings, suffocating people with sulfurous fumes, and then burying Pompeii under 30 feet of ashes while burying the smaller city of Herculaneum under lava and mud. Surrounding towns are also buried, and the death toll probably exceeds 10,000. Pliny the Elder witnesses the eruption from a ship in the bay, takes refuge with a friend at Stabiae, and dies of suffocation from poisonous fumes (see 513 A.D.).
Image Pop-UpWhen Mount Vesuvius erupted near the Bay of Naples it spewed ash and lava that buried thousands of people alive.
80 A.D.: political events
Parthia's king Vologases I dies after a 29-year reign in which he has resisted attacks by the nomadic Dahae and Shakas, a rebellion by the Hyrcanians, an invasion by Alani tribesmen into Media Atropatene and Armenia, competition from Pacoros II (see 78 A.D.), and the usurpation of his throne by a man who may have been his son, who set himself up briefly as Vologases II. Another relative challenges the rule of Pacorus II and will presume to reign until 90 as Artabanus III.
80 A.D.: medicine
Anthrax sweeps the Roman Empire in epidemic form, killing thousands of humans and animals.
80 A.D.: literature
Nonfiction: Book of Spectacles (Liber de Spectaculis) by the Roman epigrammatic poet Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), 40, commemorates the dedication of Rome's giant new Flavian Amphitheater (later to be called the Colosseum).
80 A.D.: sports
The Flavian Amphitheater dedicated at Rome by the emperor Titus with 100 days of games and spectacles will come to be called the Colosseum. Built with plunder taken from Jerusalem 10 years ago, it has required a special road to carry the 200 oxcarts per day that transported 160,000 cubic feet of limestone (travertine) for its walls from quarries 20 miles away; the marble-faced travertine, brick, and stucco walls rise 160 feet above the ground with Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian arches, and there are 50,000 marble seats in three tiers (a fourth tier is for women, slaves, and the poorest classes) around the 617- by 513-foot oval arena built above its two-level labyrinthine substructure (used for making costumes and scenery, housing animals and gladiators, and similar functions). There are 32 elevators to move the caged animals up to the arena floor, and a retractable fabric canopy (the velarium) can be rolled out to protect spectators from the sun. Admission is free, and the emperor has 500 wild beasts and many gladiators slain to amuse the populace, which stream into the great amphitheater through 80 entrances. Gladiators will sometimes fight to the death, but more often they will be spared to fight again (spectators will show their desire for clemency by pressing their thumbs against the index fingers in their closed fists; a thumbs-down gesture from the emperor signals that a man's life should be spared) (see 404 A.D.).
Image Pop-UpRome's Flavian Amphitheater became known as the Colosseum and was the scene of bloody spectacles.
80 A.D.: agriculture
Anthrax strikes the cattle and horses of tribespeople on the borders of China, where an extended drought withers the grasslands. The tribespeople begin moving westward to seek new pastures.
80 A.D.: nutrition
The tribespeople moving westward from Mongolia avoid scurvy by consuming large quantities of mares' milk. The milk contains four times as much of the accessory food factor ascorbic acid as does cows' milk (no milk is notably rich in ascorbic acid but little is needed to avoid scurvy).
80 A.D.: population
Some 30,000 Asian tribespeople migrate from the steppes to the west with 40,000 horses and 100,000 head of cattle, joining with Iranian tribespeople and with Mongols from the Siberian forests to form a group that will be known in Europe as the Huns (see 140 B.C.; 200 A.D.).
81 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Titus dies September 13 at age 40 after a 2-year reign in which he has pleased the people with games at the Flavian Amphitheater but incurred some public wrath by keeping as his mistress Berenice, the sister of Herod Agrippa II. (Romans remember Julius Caesar's Egyptian mistress Cleopatra and are suspicious of eastern women.) Titus is succeeded by his brother Titus Flavius Domitianus, 29, who will reign until 96 as the emperor Domitian.
81 A.D.: commerce
The silver content of the Roman denarius will rise in the reign of Domitian to 92 percent, up from 81 percent in the reign of Vitellius.
81 A.D.: architecture, real estate
A second Arch of Titus is raised at Rome by the new emperor Domitian, with bas-reliefs that commemorate the military triumphs of the late Titus and Vespasian.
83 A.D.: political events
Roman forces under Gnaeus Julius Agricola in Britain defeat the Caledonians (Picts) and reach the northernmost point that they will attain in what later will be called the British Isles (possibly near what later will be Aberdeen, Scotland) (see 77 A.D.; 84 A.D.).
84 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Domitian recalls Gnaeus Julius Agricola from what later will be called the British Isles to help repel barbarian invaders near the Rhine and the Danube.
84 A.D.: religion
The Gospel according to John and the Gospel according to Matthew are transcribed. Matthew has written his at Antioch, saying, "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you," a positive assertion of the Golden Rule asserted in the negative by Confucius in his Analects (see 495 B.C.) and in Greek and Hebrew writings of the last century.
88 A.D.: political events
China's Eastern Han dynasty emperor Jangdi (Chang-ti) dies at age 31 after a 12-year reign in which Chinese military forces have become powerful enough to march against tribes who threaten their northern and western borders. Having used intrigue as well as armed might to achieve his ends, Jangdi and his general Pan Chao have reestablished Chinese influence in Inner Asia, but court eunuchs have increased their power during Jangdi's reign. The emperor is succeeded by his infant son Zhao, who will reign until 105 as the emperor Hedi (Ho-ti), but he will be a virtual pawn of the scheming courtiers who will effectively rule the country.
90 A.D.: political events
Parthia's Artabanus III dies after a 10-year period in which he has challenged the suzerainty of Pakoros II, who will continue his reign until 105.
90 A.D.: transportation
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (Sailing Round the Indian Ocean) by a Greek sea captain gives instructions on how to use the monsoon winds to advantage (see Hippalus, 40).
Roman ships break the Arab monopoly in the spice trade. The ships are large enough to sail without difficulty from Egyptian Red Sea ports to India, but while spices become more plentiful, they drain Rome of her gold reserves.
90 A.D.: religion
Use of spices is one of the excesses that will bring about the fall of Rome, says the Christian prophet John of Ephesus in his Revelations (18:11-13). John writes metaphorically of Babylon, but he means Rome.
90 A.D.: literature
The Roman epic poet Gaius Valerius Flaccus dies (year approximate), having written works that include the Argonautica, describing the voyage of the mythical Jason to Colchis in his ship the Argo to bring the Golden Fleece back to Thessaly (he has borrowed much of the story from the Alexandrian poet Apollonius Rhodius of about 200 B.C.) (see 1417 A.D.).
95 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Domitian has many senators executed out of paranoiac fears that they are plotting to kill him.
95 A.D.: medicine
A severe form of malaria appears in the farm districts outside Rome and will continue for the next 500 years, taking out of cultivation the fertile land of the Campagna, whose market gardens supply the city with fresh produce. The fever drives small farmers into the crowded city, they bring the malaria with them, and it lowers Rome's live-birth rate while rates elsewhere in the empire are rising.
95 A.D.: environment
At least 10 aqueducts supply Rome with 250 million gallons of water per day, some 50 gallons per person, even after the public baths have used half the supply.
95 A.D.: agriculture
Iron plows with wheels help some of Rome's barbarian neighbors to control the depth of plowing (and save the plowmen's energies). The barbarians use coulters to cut the soil and moldboards to turn it over. While Roman farmers practice cross-plowing, the barbarians plow deep, regular furrows that will lead to the cultivation of long strips of land rather than square blocks.
96 A.D.: political events
The emperor Domitian is stabbed to death by a freedman at Rome September 18 at age 44 after a 15-year reign in which he has shown himself a competent administrator but has antagonized some members of the governing class by his tyranny. The empress Domitia and officers of the court have conspired against Domitian out of fear that they may be next on his list of people to be executed or exiled, the praetorian guard mutinies and lynches Domitian's assassin, and the emperor is succeeded by the former Roman consul Marcus Cocceius Nerva, 60. The new emperor recalls citizens exiled by Domitian, restoring to them what remains of their confiscated property.
97 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Nerva recalls his general Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, 44, from the Rhine and formally adopts him in October at ceremonies in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol.
98 A.D.: political events
The Roman emperor Nerva dies suddenly January 25 at age 63 after a 16-month reign. He is succeeded by his adopted son, who will reign until 117 as the emperor Trajan. Born into an Italian family that had settled in Rome's Spanish provinces, Trajan is the first emperor not native to Rome, and his wife, Pompeia Plotina, is from Gaul.
98 A.D.: commerce
The silver content of the Roman denarius will rise to 93 percent under the emperor Trajan, up from 92 percent under Domitian.