Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Era from 000 to 499: Highlights

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-c. 108),
one of the "Church Fathers"

The 000-499 CE section of the Chronology starts here. The links there will lead you to the Listings.


In the West, this period was characterized by the height--and then the fall--of the Roman Empire, and, near the end, the onset of the "Dark Ages" (early Middle Ages). While the northern and western fringes of Europe (outside the Roman Empire) were just beginning to come into play, the eastern borders--that is, the Middle East, where Alexander had been--were producing the Christian New Testament and related works (e.g. the Pseudepigrapha and the so-called "Nag Hammadi Library"). Following this were the "Church Fathers," largely consumed with the Christological controversy, e.g., "What is the nature of the Christ?" as well as church-building strategies.

India was in the midst of its Middle Kingdoms, or Classical, Period (230 BCE-1279 CE), characterized by the largest estimated economy in the world, spread across numerous kingdoms with different languages.

China began this period in its second imperial dynasty, the Han (206 BC-220 CE), which is further divided into the Western (or Former) Han (206 BCE-9CE); the shortlived Xin (9 to 23 CE); and the Eastern (or Later) Han (25-220 CE). This was followed by the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 CE); the Jin Dynasty (265-420); and the beginnings of the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period (420-589). Though the empire previously had been unified under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), the period covering 000-500 CE was one of dissolution and resolution leading to the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-618 and 618-907, respectively), considered the highpoint of Chinese culture.

Though one early Japanese source (the Nihon Shoki, completed in 720 CE) dates the founding of Japan to 660 BCE, Chinese sources describe it at this period as a scattering of tribes; archaeological evidence bears this out. The Yayoi Period (300 BCE-250 CE) can be said to be largely "prehistoric," and the following Kofun Period (250-538) is named for archeological remains (a "kofun" is a burial mound). Any "history" from this period is essentially legendary, as the first historical document, the Kojiki, was not written until nearly two centuries after its end (711-712).

Aside from the Roman provinces of North Africa, there is nothing to say of literary production in this 500-year period on that continent, nor in the Americas or Australia. (These latter two will be treated with "the West" after European contact.)

No comments:

Post a Comment