Chronology for Lecture on Roman Relations with the East



323 BCE

Death of Alexander the Great.

late 4th c. BCE

Evidence of Arab Nabataean state with capital at Petra (modern Jordan).

311-250 BCE

Flourishing of Seleucid empire in Middle East and Central Asia.

305 BCE

Megasthenes sent as ambassador to N. Indian court; there compiles famous description of India.

ca. 250 BCE

Emergence of Parthia.

ca. 240 BCE

Establishment of an independent Bactrian kingdom.

early 1st c. BCE

Height of Parthian power.

1st c. BCE

For a time, Nabataeans expand into Syria and Palestine. Awareness and use of monsoon winds for sea trade with India.

53 BCE

Parthians defeat Romans at Carrhae (in Mesapotamia).

40 BCE

Parthians temporarily control Jerusalem; then driven back by Romans.


Reign of Caesar Augustus.

30 CE

Ptolemaic Egypt brought back under Roman control.


Reign in Nabataea of King Aretas IV; kingdom's "golden age" under Roman suzerainty.

1st c. CE

Roman efforts to secure trade route through southern Caucasus to East.

mid-1st c. CE

Writing of the "Periplus of the Erythraean (Red) Sea" (a description of the Red Sea/Indian Ocean trade with India).

63 CE

Parthian treaty with Rome recognizing nominal Roman suzerainty.

97 CE

Chinese ambassador Kan Ying in Parthia.

ca. 100 CE

Reign of Kushan king Kanishka; height of Kushan Empire in East.

114 CE

Roman Emperor Trajan initiates major war against Parthia; he takes capital Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia in 115, though Romans do not keep control of it. Via Nova Traiana built to Gulf of Aqaba.

mid-2nd c. CE

Caludius Ptolemy compiles in Alexandria his Geography.

166 CE

Near Eastern merchants in China claim to be Roman embassy.

2-3rd c. CE

Flourishing of Palmyra as important commercial city on western borders of Parthia.

2nd q. 3rd c. CE

Sasanians finish off Parthia.

244 CE

M. Julius Philippus, an Arab, becomes Emperor of Rome after death of predecessor in battle against Sasanians; negotiates short-lived peace with Sasanians.

260 CE

Sasanian ruler Shapur I defeats Romans at battle of Edessa and captures Emperor Valerian.

mid-4th c. CE

Great earthquake destroys Petra.

2000 Daniel C. Waugh