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3rd century: Map


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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.

The 3rd century is the period from 201 to 300 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era.

In this century, the Roman Empire sees a crisis, marking the beginning of Late Antiquity. In Persiamarker, the Parthian Empire is succeeded by the Sassanid Empire.

In India, the Kushan Empire is replaced by the Gupta Empire. Chinamarker is in the Three Kingdoms period. The Xiongnu form the Tiefu state under Liu Qubei. Koreamarker is ruled by the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Japanmarker enters the Kofun period.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Bantu expansion reaches Southern Africa.

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

Roman Empire

After the death of Commodus in the 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, 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.


The Baths of Caracalla, in 2003

Significant people

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Decades and years

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