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- Note: Sometimes the '50s is used as shorthand for the 1950s, the 1850s, or other such decades in various centuries – see List of decades
|Centuries:||1st century BC – 1st century – 2nd century|
|Decades:||20s 30s 40s – 50s – 60s 70s 80s|
|Years:||50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59|
|Births – Deaths – By country
This is a list of events occurring in the 50s, ordered by year.
- Cologne is raised to the status of a city.
- Romans learn the use of soap from the Gauls.
- Utrecht is founded, a Roman fortification (castellum) is constructed at the Rhine border in the present-day Netherlands.
- Claudius adopts Nero.
- In Judea a Roman soldier seized and burned a Torah-scroll. Procurator Cumanus had the culprit beheaded, calming down the Jews and delaying for two decades the outbreak of their revolt
- In Britain, governor Publius Ostorius Scapula begins his campaign against the recalcitrant Silures of south Wales, who are led by the former Catuvellaunian prince Caratacus. London (Londinium), Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum), Tripontium (near modern Rugby) and the fort of Manduessedum (near modern Atherstone) are founded (approximate date).
- Roman emperor Claudius appoints Agrippa II governor of Chalcis.
- Romans built a wooden bridge across the Thames in the London area.
- The Iazyges settle in the Hungarian plain to the east of the Tisza River.
- The Tocharian or Yue-Chi tribes are united under the Kushan leader Kujula Kadphises, thus creating the Kushan Empire in Afghanistan and northern India. (approximate date)
San Bartolo pyramid is completed around this time.
- Christianity is introduced throughout Nubia by a high official of Queen Judith.
- The Epistle to the Romans is written (approximate date).
- The Apostles hold the Council of Jerusalem (approximate date).
Arts and sciences
- Hero of Alexandria invents a steam turbine (possible date).
- Pamphilus of Alexandria writes a poetic lexicon.
- Pedanius Dioscorides describes the medical applications of plants in De Materia Medica.
- Diogenes, the Greek explorer, discovers the African Great Lakes.
- The distinction between chronic maladies and acute illnesses is made by Thessalos.
- Emperor Claudius and Titus Flavius Vespasianus are Roman Consuls.
- Burrus, praetorian prefect (51–62 AD), is charged by Seneca with the education of Nero.
- In Britain, governor Publius Ostorius Scapula defeats Caratacus and the Silures in the territory of the Ordovices in central Wales. Caratacus seeks sanctuary with Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes in northern England, but she is a Roman ally and hands him over to Ostorius. Despite the defeat, the Silures continue to fight.
- The captured Caratacus is exhibited in chains in Claudius' triumph in Rome, but his dignified demeanour persuades the emperor to spare his life and allow his family to live free in the capital for short period of time.
- Vonones II died after a few months he ascended to the throne, his son Vologases I of Parthia becomes ruler of the Parthian Empire.
- Paul of Tarsus begins his second mission (approximate date).
- The New Testament book 1 Thessalonians is written (possible date).
- In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul supports the separation of Christianity and Judaism.
- Emperor Claudius attempts to control the Fucine Lake by digging a 5.6 km tunnel through Monte Salviano, requiring 30,000 workers and eleven years.
- In Rome a law prohibits the execution of old and crippled slaves.
- Ananias, a high priest in Jerusalem, is sent to Rome after being accused of violence.
- Barea Soranus is consul suffectus in Rome.
- Pliny the Elder writes his account of the German wars.
- Tiridates I, brother of Vologases I, comes to power in Armenia as an adversary of the Romans.
- In Britain, governor Publius Ostorius Scapula dies while campaigning against the Silures of south Wales. Following his death, the Roman Second Legion are heavily defeated by the Silures. His replacement is Aulus Didius Gallus, who quells the rebellion and consolidates the gains the Romans have so far made, but does not seek new ones.
- Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, is believed to have landed in Kodungallur, India to preach the Gospel; the Marthoma Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church,the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church the Indian Orthodox Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East claim descent from him.
- Roman emperor Claudius removes Agrippa II from the tetrarchy of Chalcis.
- Decimus Junius Silanus Torquatus and Quintus Haterius Antoninus become Roman consuls.
- Claudius secures a senatorial decree that gives jurisdiction in financial cases to imperial procurators. This marks a significant strengthening of imperial powers at the expense of the Senate.
- June 9 – Nero marries Claudia Octavia.
- Claudius accepts Nero as his successor, to the detriment of Britannicus, his son by his first wife, Valeria Messalina.
- Distinct fellowships within the reign of centricles fall to the dominion of Gaulic barbarians, which provoked an enclave uprising in the foothills of what are now the Alps.
- Cardiff was founded by Aulus Didius Gallus
Arts and sciences
- Seneca writes the tragedy Agamemnon, which he intends to be read as the last chapter of a trilogy including two of his other tragedies, Medea and Edipus.
- October 13 – Roman emperor Claudius dies, possibly after being poisoned by Agrippina, his wife and niece, and is succeeded by Nero.
- Nero attempts to prohibit the gladiatorial games.
- Under Nero, Rome annexes Aden to protect the maritime route between Alexandria and Asia.
- Two centurions are sent to the south of Egypt to find the sources of the Nile, and possible new provinces. They report that while there are many cities in the desert, the area seems too poor to be worthy of conquest.
- Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo arrives in the East and take up an assignment as governor of Asia, with a secret brief from Nero and his chief ministers Seneca and Burrus to return Armenia to the Roman Empire.
- Corbulo inspects in Syria a base of Legio X Fretensis at Cyrrhus, the Roman legionnaires are demoralized by a "long peace". Many soldiers have sold their helmets and shields.
- Corbulo recruits Syrian auxiliary units in the region and stationed them in border forts, with orders from Nero not to provoke the Parthians.
- Violence erupts in Caesarea regarding the a local ordinance restricting the civil rights of Jews, creating clashes between Jews and pagans. The Roman garrison, made up of Syrians, takes the side of the pagans. The Jews, armed with clubs and swords, meet in the marketplace. The governor of Judea, Antonius Felix, orders his troops to charge. The violence continues and Felix asks Nero to arbitrate. Nero, sides with the pagans and relegates the Jews to second-class citizens. This decision does nothing but increase the Jews' anger.
- In Britain, Venutius leads a revolt against his ex-wife Cartimandua, queen of the Brigantes and a Roman ally. Governor Aulus Didius Gallus sends her military aid, and after some indecisive fighting a legion commanded by Caesius Nasica defeats the rebels (approximate date – some time between 52 and 57).
- Winter – Domitius Corbulo marched his legions (Legio VI Ferrata and Legio X) into the mountains of Cappadocia and made camp. He gives the men a harsh training, twenty-five-mile marches and weapons drills.
- Patriarch Onesimus succeeds Stachys the Apostle as Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Paul of Tarsus begins his third mission.
- Apollos, a later assistant of Paul, is converted to Christianity in Ephesus.
- Roman emperor Nero is also a Roman Consul.
- Agrippina the Younger is expelled from the imperial palace by her son Nero, who installs her in Villa Antonia in Misenum.
- The Roman jurist Sabinus writes three books on the rights of citizens.
- War between Rome and Parthia breaks out due to the invasion of Armenia by Vologases I, who had replaced the Roman supported ruler with his brother Tiridates I of Armenia.
- Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus becomes a consul in Rome.
- The Jianwu era of the Eastern Han Dynasty changes to the Jianwuzhongyuan era.
- Envoys from Cilicia come to Rome to accuse their late governor, Cossutianus Captio, of extortion; the Roman Senate is supported in the case by Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus.
- Roman emperor Nero is also a Roman consul.
- In Britain, Quintus Veranius Nepos becomes governor in place of Aulus Didius Gallus. He begins a campaign against the Silures of south Wales.
- Also in Britain Venutius begins his rebellion against his wife Cartimandua.
- The Chinese emperor grants the king of Nakoku a golden seal, being the oldest evidence of writing in Japan. In return the king sent an envoy to China.
- Accession of Chinese emperor Han Mingdi.
- Accession of the Silla king Talhae.
- Paul of Tarsus writes his Second Epistle to the Corinthians and his Epistle to the Romans (probable date).
- Roman emperor Nero and Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus become Roman consuls.
- The friendship between Nero and Marcus Salvius Otho ends when they both fall in love with Poppea Sabina, and Otho is sent to Lusitania as governor.
- Roman-Parthian War: Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, commander in the East, launched his Armenian offensive against Parthia. He led a Roman army (four legions) through the mountainous country of Armenia, against the fortress at Volandum, to the southwest of Artaxata. After a siege of eight hours Corbulo takes the city, the legionnaires massacred the defenders and plunder Volandum to their hearts' content.
- Corbulo marched to Artaxata crossing the Aras River, along the valley he is shadowed by tens of thousands of mounted Parthian archers led by king Tiridates I. The city opened its gates to Corbulo, just as it had to Germanicus four decades before. When he takes the 250-year-old Armenian capital, Corbulo gives the residents a few hours to collect their valuables and burns the city to the ground.
- The Ficus Ruminalis begins to die (see Rumina).
- In Thuringia conflict between two Germanic tribes erupts over access to water.
- Gnaeus Julius Agricola, 18 years old, is serving as a military tribune in Britain under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and is attached to Legio II Augusta.
- Start of Yongping era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.
- Ming-Ti, new emperor of China, introduces Buddhism to China and the West Indus Valley.
- In China, sacrifices to Confucius are ordered in all government schools.
- The apostle Paul is arrested in Jerusalem, and is imprisoned in Caesarea. He then invokes his Roman citizenship and is sent to Rome to be judged.
- St. Paul writes his Epistle to the Romans.
- Emperor Nero orders the murder of his mother Julia Augusta Agrippina. He tries to kill her through a planned shipwreck, but when she survives has her executed and frames it as a suicide.
- Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, Roman commander in the east, captures Tigranocerta in Mesopotamia. He installs Tigranes VI, a Cappadocian prince, as ruler of Armenia. For the next four years, a cohort from Legio VI Ferrata and Legio X Fretensis is stationed in the capital as bodyguard to the king, supported by fifteen hundred auxiliaries.
- Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus retires from the Roman Senate.
Arts and sciences
- Paul the Apostle pleads his case and testifies of Christianity before King Agrippa II of the Herodians, who responds "You almost persuade me to be a Christian."
- Claudius, Roman Emperor (41–54)
- Nero, Roman Emperor (54–68)
- Kujula Kadphises, Kushan emperor
- Paul of Tarsus, Christian evangelist
- Emperor Ming of Han China