Siege of Abydos, 200 B.C.

Siege of Abydos, 200 B.C.

Siege of Abydos, 200 B.C.

The siege of Abydos of 200 B.C. was one of the final of a series of conquests made by Philip V of Macedonia around the Aegean that helped trigger the Second Macedonian War (against Rome). Since 202 B.C. Philip had attacked a series of independent cities around the shores of the Aegean, taking advantage of the completion of a new Macedonian fleet and the absence of the Seleucid emperor Antiochus, who was involved in a war against Egypt. Philip’s actions worried the trading state of Rhodes and Rome’s ally Attalus of Pergamum. In 201 B.C. they took up arms against him, while at the same time sending envoys to Rome to ask for help.

The Romans responded by sending three legati to the area. They had two missions – first to inform Philip that if he wanted peace with Rome then he would have to give up all of his conquests in Greece, and second to visit Antiochus and Ptolemy of Egypt to inform them of the defeat of Carthage (Second Punic War).

While the three Romans were slowly travelling around Greece and the Aegean, Philip decided to take control of the Hellespont. Key to this was the city of Abydos, on the Asian side of the Hellespont, at one of its narrowest points. The inhabitants of Abydos were unwilling to even meet with Philip’s envoys, and so a siege began.

According to Livy neither Attalus nor Rhodes made any serious effort to help Abydos. Attalus sent 300 men to assist in the defence, while Rhodes sent a single quadrireme, while towards the end of the siege Attalus sailed close to Abydos, but without offering any aid.

Livy also gives an account of the siege. At first the Abydenes held off Philip, placing siege engines on the city walls to prevent him from approaching safely. Eventually Philip’s own siege engines created a breach in the city walls. The Abydenes then sent an embassy to Philip, offering him surrender terms. The city would be his if the inhabitants were allowed to leave safely, but with only the clothes on their backs, but Philip demanded an unconditional surrender.

The Abydenes reaction was dramatic to say the least. The men of fighting age took an oath to fight to death or victory. Once the last defenders were defeated, the freeborn women and children were to be killed to prevent them falling into Philip’s hands, and the treasure of the city cast into the sea. The resulting fighting was so fierce that Philip pulled his men out of the city, but the defenders were now in such a hopeless position that the leading citizens of the city decided to surrender. Before the surrender could take place, the survivors of the battle, believing their oath had been betrays, turned back into the city and killed the women and children. Philip called off his last assault, and gave the Abydenes three days to die.

In the last days of the siege one of the Roman envoys finally reached Philip. This was M. Aemilius Lepidus, the youngest of the three. The meeting broke down into an argument about who had started the war, before Philip announced that he was quite ready to fight Rome.

Abydos only remained in Macedonian hands for a short period. Like all other Greek cities captured by Philip it regained its freedom after the great Roman victory at Cynoscephalae, which ended the war.


Ancient Greek Democracy

In the year 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms that he called demokratia, or “rule by the people” (from demos, “the people,” and kratos, or “power”). It was the first known democracy in the world. This system was comprised of three separate institutions: the ekklesia, a sovereign governing body that wrote laws and dictated foreign policy the boule, a council of representatives from the ten Athenian tribes and the dikasteria, the popular courts in which citizens argued cases before a group of lottery-selected jurors. Although this Athenian democracy would survive for only two centuries, its invention by Cleisthenes, “The Father of Democracy,” was one of ancient Greece’s most enduring contributions to the modern world. The Greek system of direct democracy would pave the way for representative democracies across the globe.


2. Siege of Vicksburg

Along with the Battle of Gettysburg, the Siege of Vicksburg stands as one of the major turning points in the Civil War. The deadlock began in May 1863, when Union General Ulysses S. Grant trapped Confederate forces under John C. Pemberton within the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. After probing the Confederate lines in a pair of unsuccessful assaults, Grant reluctantly ordered his men to dig trenches and lay siege to the city.

Desperate to avoid the carnage, many of the city’s civilians were forced to take refuge in a network of clay caves that became known as the “Prairie Dog Village.” In an effort to break the standoff, Grant’s forces eventually dug a tunnel and detonated mines under the city’s fortifications. While the outnumbered Southerners managed to hold their lines and seal the breach, their victory proved short-lived. Without reinforcements and with only meager supplies, Pemberton finally capitulated on July 4. With the fall of Vicksburg, Union forces took full control of the Mississippi River, effectively splitting the Confederacy in half for the rest of the war.


Hebrew / Jewish History - Timeline - Chronology - Important Dates

The following Jewish history timeline details some (not all, of course) of the important events in Jewish history, specifically, historical events in Jewish history which are discussed in this website. Each of the tables below are organized as a chronology specifically, the following Jewish history timeline also lists one (or more) of the dates for these events in Jewish history based on traditional chronological sources in Judaism such as the 2nd century C.E. work by Rabbi Jose (or Yose) Ben Halafta, a student of Rabbi Akiva, entitled the "Seder Olam Rabbah" ("Great Order Of The World" in Hebrew), as well as the mathematical calculations of various secular scholars.

Note that the historical dates in Jewish history that are displayed in each table are not necessarily meant to be derived from each other. I am simply comparing the given dates in the Seder Olam Rabbah for each event in Hebrew/Jewish history with the corresponding modern Hebrew/Jewish calendar dates for each event in Hebrew/Jewish history as well as the secular dates for each event in Hebrew/Jewish history derived from various calculations made by secular scholars. Regarding the modern Hebrew/Jewish calendar tables below, there is an assumption that the Seder Olam Rabbah dates can be applied to the modern Hebrew/Jewish calendar, and that the Seder Olam Rabbah dates as well as the modern Hebrew/Jewish calendar dates can be applied to the traditional/historic and modern Gregorian calendars.

The Orthodox Jewish Timeline : Chronological Dates Based On The Seder Olam Rabbah Dates
(1) With A Year 0
Seder Olam Rabbah DateModern Proleptic Gregorian Calendar DateEvent In Jewish History
2892868 B.C.E.David becomes King of Israel.
2924836 B.C.E.Solomon becomes King of Israel.
2928832 B.C.E.Jerusalem: First Temple started.
2935825 B.C.E.First Temple completed. It takes 7 1/2 years to build the Temple and was completed in the autumn of the 11th year of Solomon's reign.
2964796 B.C.E.In the region of Judea: Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea.
3338422 B.C.E.Babylonians destroy First Temple on the 9th of Av and exile the Jews to Babylon.
3389371 B.C.E.Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia Cyrus reigns Proclamation of Cyrus, he permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Return to Israel. Minority returns in Nissan - same month as Exodus from Egypt. Persian Empire.
3391369 B.C.E.Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple started. Medean Empire.
3408352 B.C.E.Second Temple completed.
382868 C.E.Romans destroy Second Temple - 9th of Av. About 2,000,000 killed. Cruelty, Exile, Slavery. Destruction of Second Temple by Romans (according to some, the year was 3829 = 69 C.E.).


The Orthodox Jewish Timeline : Chronological Dates Based On The Seder Olam Rabbah Dates
(1) Without A Year 0
Seder Olam Rabbah DateTraditional or Historic Proleptic Gregorian Calendar DateEvent In Jewish History
2892869 B.C.E.David becomes King of Israel.
2924837 B.C.E.Solomon becomes King of Israel.
2928833 B.C.E.Jerusalem: First Temple started.
2935826 B.C.E.First Temple completed. It takes 7 1/2 years to build the Temple and was completed in the autumn of the 11th year of Solomon's reign.
2964797 B.C.E.In the region of Judea: Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea.
3338423 B.C.E.Babylonians destroy First Temple on the 9th of Av and exile the Jews to Babylon.
3389372 B.C.E.Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia Cyrus reigns Proclamation of Cyrus, he permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Return to Israel. Minority returns in Nissan - same month as Exodus from Egypt. Persian Empire.
3391370 B.C.E.Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple started. Medean Empire.
3408353 B.C.E.Second Temple completed.
382867 C.E.Romans destroy Second Temple - 9th of Av. About 2,000,000 killed. Cruelty, Exile, Slavery. Destruction of Second Temple by Romans (according to some, the year was 3829 = 68 C.E.).


The Modern Hebrew/Jewish Calendar Timeline : Chronological Dates Based On The Seder Olam Rabbah Dates
(1) With A Year 0
Seder Olam Rabbah DateModern Hebrew/Jewish CalendarModern Proleptic Gregorian Calendar DateEvent In Jewish History
28922894866 B.C.E.David becomes King of Israel.
29242926834 B.C.E.Solomon becomes King of Israel.
29282930830 B.C.E.Jerusalem: First Temple started.
29352937823 B.C.E.First Temple completed. It takes 7 1/2 years to build the Temple and was completed in the autumn of the 11th year of Solomon's reign.
29642966794 B.C.E.In the region of Judea: Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea.
33383340420 B.C.E.Babylonians destroy First Temple on the 9th of Av and exile the Jews to Babylon.
33893391369 B.C.E.Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia Cyrus reigns Proclamation of Cyrus, he permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Return to Israel. Minority returns in Nissan - same month as Exodus from Egypt. Persian Empire.
33913393367 B.C.E.Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple started. Medean Empire.
34083410350 B.C.E.Second Temple completed.
3828383070 C.E.Romans destroy Second Temple - 9th of Av. About 2,000,000 killed. Cruelty, Exile, Slavery. Destruction of Second Temple by Romans (according to some, the year was 3829 = 71 C.E.).


The Modern Hebrew/Jewish Calendar Timeline : Chronological Dates Based On The Seder Olam Rabbah Dates
(1) Without A Year 0
Seder Olam Rabbah DateModern Hebrew/Jewish CalendarTraditional or Historic Proleptic Gregorian Calendar DateEvent In Jewish History
28922894867 B.C.E.David becomes King of Israel.
29242926835 B.C.E.Solomon becomes King of Israel.
29282930831 B.C.E.Jerusalem: First Temple started.
29352937824 B.C.E.First Temple completed. It takes 7 1/2 years to build the Temple and was completed in the autumn of the 11th year of Solomon's reign.
29642966795 B.C.E.In the region of Judea: Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea.
33383340421 B.C.E.Babylonians destroy First Temple on the 9th of Av and exile the Jews to Babylon.
33893391370 B.C.E.Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia Cyrus reigns Proclamation of Cyrus, he permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Return to Israel. Minority returns in Nissan - same month as Exodus from Egypt. Persian Empire.
33913393368 B.C.E.Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple started. Medean Empire.
34083410351 B.C.E.Second Temple completed.
3828383069 C.E.Romans destroy Second Temple - 9th of Av. About 2,000,000 killed. Cruelty, Exile, Slavery. Destruction of Second Temple by Romans (according to some, the year was 3829 = 70 C.E.).


The Secular Historical Timeline : Chronological Date Calculations Of Various Secular Historians
Seder Olam Rabbah DateProleptic Gregorian Calendar Date (Traditional/Historic and Modern)Event In Jewish History
2892David ruled from either 1011 B.C.E. or 1010 B.C.E. or 1005 B.C.E. or 1004 B.C.E. or 1001 B.C.E. or 1000 B.C.E. or 990 B.C.E. until either 971 B.C.E. or 970 B.C.E. or 968 B.C.E. or 967 B.C.E. or 965 B.C.E.David becomes King of Israel.
2924Solomon ruled from either 970 B.C.E. or 968 B.C.E. or 967 B.C.E. or 965 B.C.E. or 960 B.C.E. until 931 B.C.E. or 930 B.C.E. or 928 B.C.E. or 927 B.C.E. or 922 B.C.E.Solomon becomes King of Israel.
2928(1014 B.C.E. or 1013 B.C.E.) or (971 B.C.E. or 970 B.C.E.) or (968 B.C.E. or 967 B.C.E.) or (958 B.C.E. or 957 B.C.E.)Jerusalem: First Temple started.
29351006 B.C.E. or 963 B.C.E. 960 B.C.E. or 950 B.C.E.First Temple completed. It takes 7 1/2 years to build the Temple and was completed in the autumn of the 11th year of Solomon's reign.
2964930 B.C.E. or 929 B.C.E. or 927 B.C.E. or 926 B.C.E. or 922 B.C.E.In the region of Judea: Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea.
3338587 B.C.E. or 586 B.C.E.Babylonians destroy First Temple on the 9th of Av and exile the Jews to Babylon.
3389539 B.C.E. or 538 B.C.E. or 537 B.C.E. or 536 B.C.E.Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia Cyrus reigns Proclamation of Cyrus, he permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. Return to Israel. Minority returns in Nissan - same month as Exodus from Egypt. Persian Empire.
3391520 BCE - 515 B.C.E. or 521 B.C.E. - 516 B.C.E.Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple started. Medean Empire.
3408536 B.C.E. or 535 B.C.E. (foundations laid for Second Temple, but work suspended thereafter) building of Second Temple resumes from either 520 B.C.E. to 515 B.C.E. or from 521 B.C.E. to 516 B.C.E. (521 B.C.E. or 520 B.C.E. : work resumes on Second Temple Second Temple completed in either 516 B.C.E. or 515 B.C.E.)Second Temple completed.
382870 C.E.Romans destroy Second Temple - 9th of Av. About 2,000,000 killed. Cruelty, Exile, Slavery. Destruction of Second Temple by Romans (according to some, the year was 3829 = 71 C.E.).


Additional notes about the Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea (consisting of 10 of the 12 Hebrew tribes: Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulon) and the Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea (consisting of the remaining two Hebrew tribes: Judah and Benjamin), both of whom were created by the splitting of the united Kingdom of Israel (united in the sense that it included the lands of all twelve Hebrew tribes) into two kingdoms following the death of King Solomon:

  • Kingdom of Israel in northern Judea: Nablus (Shechem) was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (1 Kings 14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (1 Kings 16:24), and continued as such until the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5).
  • Kingdom of Judah in southern Judea: Jerusalem remained the sole capital of the southern kingdom of Judah, continuing its status as a capital city after the division of the united Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms.

Additional significant events in Jewish history:

  • 725 B.C.E. - 722 B.C.E. (according to secular historical dates alternate scholarly date claims are: 724 B.C.E. - 721 B.C.E. or 723 B.C.E. - 720 B.C.E.): Siege of the northern Kingdom of Israel (also known as Samaria which was taken from the city of the same name in Judea) by Assyria, led by King Shalmanezer V (also spelled: Shalmanassar V, Shalmaneser V, or Shalmanezzer V he changed his original name of Ulula to that of Shalmaneser when he became king.), who ruled Assyria from 727 B.C.E. until 722 B.C.E. (according to secular historical dates alternate scholarly date claims are: 726 B.C.E. until 721 B.C.E. or 725 B.C.E. until 720 B.C.E.).
  • 722 B.C.E. (alternate scholarly date claims are: 721 B.C.E. or 720 B.C.E.) : King Shalmanezer V of Assyria dies during the siege of the northern Kingdom of Israel and was succeeded by King Sargon II of Assyria who ruled Assyria from 722 B.C.E. until 705 B.C.E. (according to secular historical dates alternate scholarly date claims are: 721 B.C.E. until 704 B.C.E. or 720 B.C.E. until 703 B.C.E.). King Sargon II himself records the capture of the city of Samaria in 722 B.C.E. (alternate scholarly date claims are: 721 B.C.E. or 720 B.C.E.). End of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Its inhabitants - the 10 Hebrew tribes and some members of the priestly Levites - are exiled to Assyria and assimilated. Some inhabitants escape to the southern Kingdom of Judah where they are incorporated into the Hebrew tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In addition, some members of the priestly Levites also escape the Assyrians and join their bretheren in the Kingdom of Judah.
  • 587 B.C.E. or 586 B.C.E. (according to secular historical dates): King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia, who reigned from 605 B.C.E. until 562 B.C.E. (according to secular historical dates), defeats the southern Kingdom of Judah and destroys Jerusalem and the Temple (specifically, the First Temple). Most of the Kingdom of Judah's inhabitants are exiled to Babylonia. Some are allowed to remain in Judah.

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Siege of Abydos, 200 B.C. - History

The ringleader of what became a conspiracy to assassinate Caesar was Longinus Caius Cassius. He was joined by Marcus Junius Brutus.
A meeting of the Senate was called for the 15th (the Ides) of March to discuss the Parthian War. Caesar had been warned not to attend the session, but went anyway. The moment Caesar took his seat, the conspirators surrounded him. They began to petition him to recall from banishment a certain Cimber. When Caesar arose, they attacked him with knives. It is said that Caesar tried to defend himself, but when he saw Brutus among the attackers he cried out 'Et Tu, Brutus' and succumbed.

Octavian greatly streamlined the administration of the provinces. He directly appointed the governors of all the provinces that still required military control. He also approved all other appointments.

Roman Legions commanded by Tiberius initiated a campaign against the Germanic tribes. The campaign extended the Roman Empire to the area of modern-day Switzerland and much of Germany and Hungary.


How Castles Work

What happens when an invading army entered a territory and laid siege to its castle? Let's look at siege methods and how the castle's defenders could counter it.

Surround and starve

The invading army surrounded the castle and cut off its supplies of food and water with the hope of starving the defenders. In an effort to spread disease among the defenders, the invaders could use their catapults to send dead or diseased animal and human bodies over the castle walls. They could also loft fiery projectiles to wreak havoc inside the castle. This siege method was actually preferred because the invading army might negotiate the castle's surrender with minimal casualties. But it took months to years to work, and the invading army had to be very well supplied with food and water for the duration of the siege.

If they had time to prepare, the defenders could outlast the siege. They usually brought supplies and people from the surrounding countryside into the castle. Most castles had their own water supplies for this situation. Also, the defenders would usually burn the surrounding countryside so the invading army could not forage it for supplies. Often, the outcome of the siege depended upon whether the invading army or the defending army received reinforcements first.

Scale the walls

The invaders would set huge scaling ladders against the castle's outer curtain wall. Invading soldiers would climb the ladders to gain access to the castle. However, the climbers were vulnerable to arrow fire and objects thrown at them from the battlements on the castle walls. Defenders could also push the ladders off the walls.

Alternatively, the invaders built large wooden siege towers and filled them with soldiers. Other soldiers would wheel the towers to the base of the curtain wall. Soldiers in the top of the tower would lower a plank, storm across it onto the battlements and hope to outnumber the defenders. Siege towers provided cover for the invading soldiers, but they were large and heavy. The invaders were vulnerable as they stormed across the plank single-file. Also, the defenders could set the wooden towers ablaze with flaming arrows.

Ram the doors

If an invading army could break down the castle gate, they could enter the castle relatively easily.So they'd use battering rams (large wooden logs) to pound against the gate (or sometimes the castle walls) and eventually break it. Some battering rams were covered to shield the invading soldiers from the defenders' arrow fire and thrown objects. Sometimes, the wooden castle gates were set on fire to weaken them.

To defend against battering rams, defenders would fire arrows (sometimes flaming). They would often lower soft, padded curtains or wooden walls to lessen the impact of the battering rams. Finally, they could brace the castle doors or gates to withstand the forces of the blows.

And as we mentioned, castle gates had murder holes and arrow loops to help pick off invaders who breached the gate.

Bring down the walls

If an invading army could create a breach in a wall, they could enter the castle in a less defended place. Invaders smashed the walls with battering rams and launched heavy stone projectiles and flaming projectiles at and over the walls. They used catapults, trebuchets (heavy sling weapons) and ballistae (large mounted crossbows).

Another way to bring down castle walls was to mine under them. The invading army would dig tunnels under the castle walls and brace them with timber supports. Once they dug the tunnel far enough to the other side, they would set the tunnel on fire. The timber supports would be destroyed, and the wall above the tunnel would collapse. But defenders could counter by digging under the invading army's tunnel before it reached the wall.

Sieges usually combined all of these tactics. They were expensive, exhausting and time-consuming, but were often necessary to take control of a castle and its territory.

The 2005 movie "Kingdom of Heaven" accurately depicts siege techniques during the segment on the siege of Jerusalem during the crusades.


Alexander Enters Egypt

After rejecting another peace offer from Darius, Alexander set out for Egypt. He was sidelined at Gaza, however, and forced to endure another lengthy siege. After several weeks, he took the town and entered Egypt where he established the city that still bears his name: Alexandria.

Alexander traveled to the desert to consult the oracle of Ammon, a god of supposed good counsel. Legends abound about what transpired at the oracle, but Alexander kept mum about the experience. Still, the visit furthered speculation Alexander was a deity.


The Black Sea is to the east of most of Greece. It is also basically to the north of Greece. At the tip of Greece on this map, near the southeastern shore of the Black Sea, you can see Byzantium, or Constantinople, after Emperor Constantine set up his city there. Colchis, where the mythological Argonauts went to fetch the Golden Fleece and where the witch Medea was born, is along the Black Sea on its eastern side. Almost directly across from Colchis is Tomi, where the Roman poet Ovid lived after he was exiled from Rome under Emperor Augustus.

DHUSMA/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

This map of the Persian Empire shows the direction of Xenophon and the 10,000. Also known as the Achaemenid Empire, the Persian Empire was the largest empire ever to be established. The Xenophon of Athens was a Greek philosopher, historian, and soldier who authored many practical treatises on topics like horsemanship and taxation.


Guardian Australia is eight years old, with 200 years of history

As the Guardian celebrates its 200th birthday, Lenore Taylor reflects on how Guardian Australia transplanted the progressive values of its global parent company to change the fabric of Australian media

‘We report for Australia, but we are part of something bigger – a global parent company and the big foundational idea of independent journalism, beholden to nothing except the pursuit of the truth.’ Composite: The Guardian

‘We report for Australia, but we are part of something bigger – a global parent company and the big foundational idea of independent journalism, beholden to nothing except the pursuit of the truth.’ Composite: The Guardian

Last modified on Thu 13 May 2021 04.44 BST

M ilestone birthdays are times for reflection, for assessing achievements and charting the path ahead. Reflecting on 200 years of Guardian journalism would be easier done from a place of calm, rather than from newsrooms reporting and comprehending a deathly, history-changing pandemic.

But the news is seldom calm, and, as our editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, reflects in this essay to mark the Guardian’s bicentennial, our path forward is charted by the same principles that have guided us through those two centuries of reporting on wars and massacres and corruption and inequities and moments of progress and triumph.

We report for the powerless and the people subjected to the exercise of power, not in the interests of those who wield it. We seek to listen and understand the experience of our readers and help them make sense of the world as it is. And we try to help consider how we can act to create a better one. That is what we mean when we say we are progressive.

It’s this editorial purpose that informed our reporting of the pandemic and it will govern how we try to understand the ways the world has been transformed and how we shape the memory of this catastrophe. And our purpose will provide the plumb line for how we analyse and imagine rebuilding from this collective trauma in a way that makes our communities better able to face the challenges we know are to come.

It was this same purpose that inspired the launch of the Guardian in Australia, just eight years ago. We aimed to transplant that independence and those progressive values into one of the most concentrated media markets in the world.

We launched in May 2013, a tiny startup impatient to make a mark in a country where the news was dominated by two big media companies and a public broadcaster under constant political pressure, and in spite of the fact the digital giants were at that very time upending the traditional news company’s revenue streams.

I have written before about that leap into the unknown. At the time Guardian Australia was a handful of staff, guided by the enthusiasm of Katharine Viner, our first Australian editor, and our absolute determination to make a difference.

Eight years on, and five years after I took over as Guardian Australia’s first Australian editor, we can say, without hesitation, that we have made a difference.

We are read by millions of Australians, we are expanding and we are profitable, thanks in large part to the loyalty and generosity of our readers. Our reporting has influenced the national debate on the climate emergency, on the treatment of asylum seekers, on Indigenous issues, on the environment, on welfare policy and on politics. The Australian discourse is broader and deeper and sharper because we are here.

In Australia, coronavirus arrived just as our newsroom was drawing breath after an exhausting, terrifying summer reporting on the bushfire crisis. We asserted, contrary to some of our competitors, that this disaster was in fact a frontline in the fast-approaching climate emergency. Through that black summer and the long months of the pandemic, readers grasped for trustworthy factual news from all media organisations as they faced upheaval and uncertainty in their own lives and watched the horror unfolding around the world. We found new ways to reach them and learn from them about the impact of coronavirus. We brought them the depth and perspective of the Guardian’s global reporting and every necessary prosaic detail needed to navigate their lives at home.

The pandemic has changed much, but our values remain the same. They are the deep roots of a 200-year-old organisation that nourish our young Australian operation. We report for Australia, but we are part of something bigger – a global parent company and the big foundational idea of independent journalism, beholden to nothing except the pursuit of the truth. Our 200th birthday catchcry is “we’ve only just begun”. In Australia, eight years in, that is equally true.


China 200 BCE

After the fall of the ruthless Qin dynasty, the Han dynasty emperors now rule Ancient China.

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What is happening in China in 200BCE

The past 300 years have been tumultuous ones for China. Indeed, this period of ancient Chinese history is traditionally known as the age of the “Warring States”. The competition between the states increased, and armies grew much larger, with professional generals, often of humble origin, commanding massed ranks of infantry and cavalry. The smaller states were swallowed up in the larger, until only six powerful kingdoms were left.

Economic progress

Despite this constant warfare, Chinese civilization has continued to advance. Trade and industry have expanded, towns and cities have grown, education has spread and technological innovation has continued: for example, the Chinese have developed steel by this date, centuries before other parts of the world.

The first imperial dynasty

Starting in the 250s BCE, one of these states, Qin, conquered all the others, one by one. The rulers of the Qin dynasty were thus the first in China’s history to rule a unified Chinese empire.

The Qin imposed a rigid centralization upon the vast country. Their empire lasted barely a generation, however, before it dissolved into anarchy. Out of this chaos a leader eventually emerges who founds the long-lasting Han dynasty.

The Han dynasty

This ruler, who takes the reign-name Gaozu, has adopted much the same centralized system of government as the Qin, but in a milder form. Taxes and labour services are less onerous than under his predecessors, and the laws less severe. He has thus successfully established his rule over the entire country, and the Han dynasty he founds will rule ancient China for 400 years.