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The 2nd century BC started the first day of 200 BC and ended the last day of 101 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, although depending on the region being studied, other terms may be more suitable. It also considered to be the end of the Axial Age.[1] In the context of the Eastern Mediterranean, it is referred to as the Hellenistic period.

Millennium: 1st millennium BC
State leaders:
Categories: BirthsDeaths
Eastern hemisphere at the beginning of the 2nd century BC.
Eastern hemisphere at the end of the 2nd century BC.

Fresh from its victories in the Second Punic War, the Roman Republic continued its expansion into neighboring territories, eventually annexing Greece and the North African coast, after destroying the city of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War. Rome's influence was also felt in the Near East, as crumbling Hellenistic states like the Seleucid Empire were forced to make treaties on Roman terms to avoid confrontation with the new masters of the western Mediterranean. The end of the century witnessed the reform of the Roman Army from a citizen army into a voluntary professional force, under the guidance of the noted general and statesman Gaius Marius (Marian Reforms).

In South Asia, the Mauryan Empire in India collapsed when Brihadnatha, the last emperor, was killed by Pushyamitra Shunga, a Mauryan general and the founder of the Shunga Empire.

In East Asia, China reached a high point under the Han Dynasty. The Han Empire extended its boundaries from Korea in the east to Vietnam in the South to the borders of modern-day Kazakhstan in the west. Also in the 2nd century BC, the Han dispatched the explorer Zhang Qian to explore the lands to the west and to form an alliance with the Yuezhi people in order to combat the nomadic tribe of the Xiongnu.[2]


Bust of Antiochus IV at the Altes Museum in Berlin.
Mural from the tomb of Liu Wu whose principality was at the heart of the Rebellion of the Seven States
Coin of Menander I, the Greek king who ruled most of Northern India (c.150-130) and converted to Buddhism.
Cleopatra II ruled Egypt in co-operation and competition with her brothers Ptolemy VI and VIII for most of the century.
Emperor Wu of Han was probably the most powerful man in the world at the end of the century
Posidonius was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age.

190s BCEdit

180s BCEdit

170s BCEdit

160s BCEdit

150s BCEdit

140s BCEdit

130s BCEdit

120s BCEdit

110s BCEdit

100s BCEdit

Significant peopleEdit


Science and philosophyEdit

Inventions, discoveries, introductionsEdit

Hipparchus' equatorial ring.

Sovereign StatesEdit


  1. ^ Meister, Chad (2009). Introducing Philosophy of Religion. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 0-203-88002-1.
  2. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Silk Road, North China, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham
  3. ^ "Mathematics in the Context of Alexandrian Culture" (PDF).

Decades and yearsEdit