Europe 142: Principate of Antoninus Pius
Hadrian died in 138 and was succeeded by Antoninus Pius. Antoninus’ 22-year reign was the most peaceful of all the Roman emperors, with no known major revolts or wars. However, he did expand Roman power by extending the frontier in Britain to the Firth of Forth and by appointing a new king of Armenia (displacing Shah Vologases III of Parthia).
134–136 Alan War▲
In 134–5 Pharasmanes II of Iberia allied with the Alans, allowing them passage through his land to invade the neighboring Caucasian Kingdom of Albania. Pillaging Albania, the Alans proceeded to rampage through Armenia and Media Atropatene until Shah Vologases of Parthia paid them to withdraw. Attempting to invade the Roman Empire, they were defeated and scattered by Flavius Arrianus (Arrian), the governor of Cappadocia.
135? Syria Palestina▲
With the crushing of the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans abolished the province of Judea, annexing it to Syria to form the new province of Syria Palestina. Torah law and Jewish rituals were prohibited (although most prohibitions were lifted upon Hadrian’s death in 138), and Jews were forbidden to enter Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem) except on the day of Tisha B’Av.
10 Jul 138–7 Mar 161 Principate of Antoninus Pius▲
The 51-year-old Antoninus succeeded Hadrian as ruler of the Roman Empire and soon gained the cognomen Pius, either through his compelling the Senate to deify Hadrian or his pardoning senators that Hadrian had sentenced to death. Antoninus Pius’ reign was marked by over two decades of peace and he was able to govern entirely without leaving Italy. He died of illness in 161, leaving a large treasury and a well-managed empire to his adopted sons and co-successors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.
141? Sohaemus of Armenia▲
In the early 140s the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius granted the Armenian throne to Sohaemus, apparently after the Parthian Shah and former King of Armenia, Vologases III, was expelled from the kingdom. At about the same time, the ruler of another Caucasian kingdom, Pharasmanes of Iberia, visited Rome and mended his relations with the Romans; Antoninus rewarded him by increasing his domain at the expense of his neighbors.
142–154 Antonine Wall▲
In 142 the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius ordered the construction of a wall between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde in what is now Scotland, presumably after a successful military campaign against the Caledonians. Some 140 km (87 mi) north of Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall was 63 km (39 mi) long and took twelve years to complete. However, despite being significantly shorter than Hadrian’s Wall (117.5 km (73 mi)), the Antonine Wall proved harder to maintain due to its distance from large settlements and was abandoned after Antoninus’ death.