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The 2nd and 1st Centuries are the seventh section of the Iron Age.
|Iron Age Pt. 6:|
|Iron Age Pt. 7|
|Iron Age Pt. 8:|
The Egyptians had always prided themselves on being the strongest and greatest nation to ever exist. Though nearing the end of the "Before Common Era" the Egyptian's status as the world's number one power was being challenged by many different nations were beginning to pose a threat to Egypt's position as the world's most powerful nation. Persia was beginning its expansion eastward into mainland Asia and into some parts of Indus, as no real power was there to challenge their expansion. Meanwhile Egypt was currently having to force its way through the Abyssinia to expand into new lands. The Macedonians and even the Golden Empire were expanding, but were facing quite a bit of opposition to their expansion, as various tribes were uniting as one to fight against the expanding Europan powers. Though the Egyptians were expanding quickly southward into the deserts of the Levant, to gain any valuable resources or allies within the region, to ensure the Persians do not acquire it. The Egyptians were not making any progress with these larger powers as none saw the advantage to an alliance with one another, and merely sought simple trade agreements. Egypt did find better relations with the smaller nations that bordered these larger nations. Such as Carthage, who had been in good relations since their losses to Cogotas in the Punic Wars. The various Indus nations who were starting to form under stabilized rulers and kingdoms, and were looking for aid in case of a potential invasion from the ever expanding Persians in the region. Then even improving relations with the tiny Greek nation bordering just south of the Macedonians.
With the defeat of the Carthaginians in two successful wars, the Cogotas were able to freely expand into Iberia freely. Though the nation of Mauretania was proving to be a problem to the Cogotas. As they began setting up puppet states and expanding into southern Iberia. Even when the Cogotas held the advantage against the Mauretania, they would not risk another war with one of the Ifran nations. With the few colonies in mainland Europa, Cogotas' current ruler Demetrius Remus, began his expansion into mainland Europa. Dealing with the various barbarian and tribal states in Francia, but due to the initial colonies being built up in the past two centuries they were prepared to handle the large expeditions into the mainland. Though Remus' plans for expansion, made him paranoid of any other nations that threatened his potential empire, especially an old rival in Ifran.
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War (149–146 BCE) involved an extended siege of Carthage, ending in the city's thorough destruction. The resurgence of the struggle can be explained by growing anti-Cogotas agitations in Francia and Italia, and the visible improvement of Carthaginian wealth and martial power in the fifty years since the Second War.
With no military, Carthage suffered raids from its neighbor Numidia. Under the terms of the treaty with Cogotas, such disputes were arbitrated by the Cogotas Emperors. Because Numidia was a favored client state of Cogotas, Cogotas rulings were slanted heavily to favor the Numidians. After some fifty years of this condition, Carthage had managed to discharge its war indemnity to Rome, and considered itself no longer bound by the restrictions of the treaty, although Rome believed otherwise. Carthage mustered an army to repel Numidian forces. It immediately lost the war with Numidia, placing itself in debt yet again, this time to Numidia.
This new-found Punic militarism alarmed many Cogotas, including Philandros the Womanizer who, after a voyage to Carthage, ended all his speeches, no matter what the topic, by saying: "Birr dha weirr I dhailc dhed Cesdhera nird fa nardsuirran" – "By the way I think that Carthage must be destroyed".
In 149 BCE, in an attempt to draw Carthage into open conflict, Cogotas made a series of escalating demands, one being the surrender of three hundred children of the nobility as hostages, and finally ending with the near-impossible demand that the city be demolished and rebuilt away from the coast, deeper into Ifran. When the Carthaginians refused this last demand, Cogotas declared the Third Punic War. Having previously relied on mercenaries to fight their wars for them, the Carthaginians were now forced into a more active role in the defense of their city. They made thousands of makeshift weapons in a short time, even using women's hair for catapult strings, and were able to hold off the initial Cogotas attack. A second offensive under the command of Zotikos Maximianus resulted in a three-year siege before he breached the walls, sacked the city, and systematically burned Carthage to the ground in 146 BCE.
Macedonia had a large issue with overexpansion all thoughout the 200's. The conquests of the upper Balkans came as a surprise when they began to rebel in the 160's, causing a civil war of major proportions in Macedonia. It took 20 years to handle the so-called "Balkan Secession War", but they finally managed to absorb the seceded provinces, admitting most back as limited provines (without rule in the senate). From there, they began to become more weary of admitting so many new provinces without checking their loyalty first. When they managed to absorb Greece in the 120's, and later Magna Graecia, in the 60's.
The leaders of Macedonia had a troubled time keeping power over the lands that the Alexanders managed to obtain. They managed to successfully consolidate their loyal regions, but had extremely hard times absorbing the North Balkans and Lombardians. They managed to eventually kill off most of their dissidents, and the lower class people of the territories knew it wouldn't help them to rebel. By 50 BC, Macedonia had mostly solved this issue. From there onwards, they were able to mostly hold back the barbarians, and made peace with the natives who had frequently sacked Rome centuries before.
King Moquihuix of the Teotihuacan was regarded by historians as the best emperor of pre-European Aztlan. Born in the kingdom of Teotihuacan in 223 BCE. Being the son of a lesser-known noble, he later became the advisor and helper of the King of the time. Due to his close relation with the king, he actually picked Moquihuix to become his successor instead of his son. He knew the potential and military power of his chosen advisor, who took the throne in 201 BCE. Moquihuix tried his best to secure the tribal states around Teotihuacan for himself, and quickly set up multiple tributary states on their border. Using their superior technology and military tactics, Teotihuacan was able to quickly secure rule over much of lower Aztlan. They became known as the Unified Teotihuacan Empire by the Maya around the 190's, due to them owning much of the land of the Teotihuacan and Olmec people. Moquihuix died from an unknown disease in 186 BCE, and his son Ahuiliztli took over. However, Ahuiliztli didn't have the military prowess of his father. The tributary states declared themselves independent from Teotihuacan hegemony and sacrifice, and most were able to achieve that independence. Over the next 100 years, Ahuiliztli's descendants attempted to take over these states, who happened to put up quite a fight. They eventually succeeded, and managed to get up to around 2/3rds the size of Moquihuix's dynasty.
China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE). The Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion. Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu (202 BCE) of Chu and Liu Bang (195 BCE) of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia (202 BCE). Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" (huangdi) at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu (202–195 BCE). Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han.
At the beginning of the Western Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BCE, the Han court had replaced all of these kings with royal Liu family members, since the loyalty of non-relatives to the throne was questioned. After several insurrections by Han kings—the largest being the Rebellion of the Seven States in 154 BCE—the imperial court enacted a series of reforms beginning in 145 BCE limiting the size and power of these kingdoms and dividing their former territories into new centrally controlled commanderies. Kings were no longer able to appoint their own staff; this duty was assumed by the imperial court. Kings became nominal heads of their fiefs and collected a portion of tax revenues as their personal incomes. The kingdoms were never entirely abolished and existed throughout the remainder of Western and Eastern Han.
To the north of China proper, the nomadic Xiongnu chieftain Modu Chanyu (209–174 BCE) conquered various tribes inhabiting the eastern portion of the Eurasian Steppe. By the end of his reign, he controlled Manchuria, Mongolia, and the Tarim Basin, subjugating over twenty states east of Samarkand. Emperor Gaozu was troubled about the abundant Han-manufactured iron weapons traded to the Xiongnu along the northern borders, and he established a trade embargo against the group. Although the embargo was in place, the Xiongnu found traders willing to supply their needs. Chinese forces also mounted surprise attacks against Xiongnu who traded at the border markets. In retaliation, the Xiongnu invaded what is now Shanxi province, where they defeated the Han forces at Baideng in 200 BC. After negotiations, the heqin agreement in 198 BCE nominally held the leaders of the Xiongnu and the Han as equal partners in a royal marriage alliance, but the Han were forced to send large amounts of tribute items such as silk clothes, food, and wine to the Xiongnu.
Despite the tribute and a negotiation between Laoshang Chanyu (174–160 BCE) and Emperor Wen ( 180–157 BCE) to reopen border markets, many of the Chanyu's Xiongnu subordinates chose not to obey the treaty and periodically raided Han territories south of the Great Wall for additional goods. In a court conference assembled by Emperor Wu (141–87 BCE) in 135 BCE, the majority consensus of the ministers was to retain the heqin agreement. Emperor Wu accepted this, despite continuing Xiongnu raids. However, a court conference the following year convinced the majority that a limited engagement at Mayi involving the assassination of the Chanyu would throw the Xiongnu realm into chaos and benefit the Han. When this plot failed in 133 BCE, Emperor Wu launched a series of massive military invasions into Xiongnu territory. Chinese armies captured one stronghold after another and established agricultural colonies to strengthen their hold. The assault culminated in 119 BC at the Battle of Mobei, where the Han commanders Huo Qubing (117 BCE) and Wei Qing (106 BCE) forced the Xiongnu court to flee north of the Gobi Desert.
After Wu's reign, Han forces continued to prevail against the Xiongnu. The Xiongnu leader Huhanye Chanyu (58–31 BCE) finally submitted to Han as a tributary vassal in 51 BCE. His rival claimant to the throne, Zhizhi Chanyu (56–36 BCE), was killed by Chen Tang and Gan Yanshou at the Battle of Zhizhi.
The 2nd century BCE began for Persia as quietly as it would end. Emperor Kaveh gained back the final land that Persia had lost due to it's "Desert Plague" outbreak, but wasn't able to do much else. His son, Jahangir II, attempted to begin an age of peace for Persia known as the "Era of Good Crops". He also brought up relations with Macedonia, and effectively nullified their alliance treaty with Eneti by killing one of their surviving princes on Persian land. Macedonia gave up on their potential conquests of Persia due to this. Jahangir also tried to make a peace deal with Egypt over the state of their western border. However, this failed soon after the proposal, as Egypt was still itching to attack and absorb Persia. By the time he died, he did not succeed in his goal, but got extremely close. In addition to getting the deal with Macedonia, he did good work in distributing food to the east. He left his son, Kaveh II, to finish the job for him.
Kaveh II wasn't able to do much either, but attempted to hold up the peace with Macedonia, as well as making peace with the minor Indian states in the east (specifically those who belonged to Persia shortly before the Desert Plague). He still didn't get permission from Egypt for an official peace agreement, but made agreements to never dispute over the border specifically. After this agreement, next to nothing changed in Persia. The Era of Good Crops continued on, and everything seemed like it would keep going the way it was. However, Emperor Artakama died (in 84 BCE) before he had a proper male heir, causing a succession crisis in Persia. His daughter, Pegah, claimed the throne for herself, while Artakama's nephew (named Quhyar) claimed it as well. In the end, Quhyar won out, and reigned for 3 years. It has been revealed in recently uncovered documents that he was actually assassinated by supporters of Pegah, who seized the throne after Quhyar's death. After Pegah died after reigning for over 20 years, she passed the emperorship down to her son, Kaveh III. He would bring the end of the Era of Good Crops, however, as tensions with Egypt forced him to stop focusing on the state of food and crops in general. Once he passed the throne onto his son, Omid, the era was over for good.
Rest of the World
Decline of the Maurya Empire
Ashoka was followed for 50 years by a succession of weaker kings. Brihadrata, the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty, held territories that had shrunk considerably from the time of emperor Ashoka. Brihadratha was assassinated in 185 BCE during a military parade by the Brahmin general Pushyamitra Sunga, commander-in-chief of his guard, who then took over the throne and established the Sunga dynasty. Buddhist records such as the Ashokavadana write that the assassination of Brhadrata and the rise of the Sunga empire led to a wave of religious persecution for Buddhists, and a resurgence of Hinduism.