2nd century BC

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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 proper (for instance, if regarding only the Eastern Mediterranean, it would best be called part of the Hellenistic period).



Fresh from its victories in the Second Punic War, the Roman Republic continued its expansion into neighbouring territories, eventually annexing Greece, and the North African coast after completely 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 in order to avoid confrontation with the new masters of the western Mediterranean. The period is noted for the emergence of a new arrogance on the part of the Romans, which manifested itself in provincial corruption, and a shameless lust for wealth and status among the privileged classes. The end of the century witnessed the reforming of the Roman Army from a citizen army to a voluntary professional force, under the guidance of the great general and statesman Gaius Marius—(Marian Reforms).

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.[1]


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