3rd century

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Eastern Hemisphere at the beginning of the 3rd century AD.
Map of the world in AD 250.
Eastern Hemisphere at the end of the 3rd century AD.
Millennium: 1st millennium
Centuries:
Timelines:
State leaders:
Decades:
Categories: BirthsDeaths
EstablishmentsDisestablishments

The 3rd century was the period from 201 to 300 A.D. or C.E.

In this century, the Roman Empire saw a crisis, starting with the assassination of the Roman Emperor Severus Alexander in 235, and ending with the ascension of Diocletian in 284. This crisis also marked the beginning of Late Antiquity.

In Persia, the Parthian Empire was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire in 224 after Ardashir I defeated and killed Artabanus V during the Battle of Hormozdgan. The Sassanids then went on to subjugate many of the western portions of the declining Kushan Empire.

China entered the Three Kingdoms period with the formal abdication of Emperor Xian of Han to Cao Pi, starting in 220, before being united again under the Jin dynasty in 280.

In India, the Gupta Empire was on the rise towards the end of the century.

Korea was ruled by the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Japan entered the Kofun period. The Xiongnu formed the Tiefu state under Liu Qubei. The Southeast Asian mainland was mostly dominated by Funan; the first kingdom of Khmer people (Cambodians).

At about this time in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Bantu expansion reached Southern Africa.

In Pre-Columbian America, the Adena culture of the Ohio River valley declined in favor of the Hopewell culture. The Maya civilization entered its Classic Era.

Roman Empire[edit]

After the death of Commodus in the late previous century the Roman Empire was plunged into a civil war. When the dust settled, Septimius Severus emerged as emperor, establishing the Severan dynasty. Unlike previous emperors, he openly used the army to back his authority, and paid them well to do so. The regime he created is known as the Military Monarchy as a result. The system fell apart in the 230s, giving way to a fifty-year period known as the Military Anarchy or the Crisis of the Third Century, following the assassination of the 28-year-old emperor Severus Alexander (the last emperor of the Severan dynasty), where no fewer than twenty emperors held the reins of power, most for only a few months. The majority of these men were assassinated, or killed in battle, and the empire almost collapsed under the weight of the political upheaval, as well as the growing Persian threat in the east. Under its new Sassanid rulers, Persia had grown into a rival superpower, and the Romans would have to make drastic reforms in order to better prepare their state for a confrontation. These reforms were finally realized late in the century under the reign of Diocletian, one of them being to divide the empire into an eastern and western half, and have a separate ruler for each.

Events[edit]

The Baths of Caracalla, in 2003

Significant people[edit]

Literature[edit]

Science and Philosophy[edit]