The mid-3rd century was a period of crisis for the world’s empires. The Han dynasty in China had disintegrated, leaving the empire split into three kingdoms, and wracked by civil war; in India, the Satavahana kingdom fragmented in the 230s while, in the same decade, the Parthians would be supplanted by the Sassanians in Persia. The Roman Empire, beset by barbarian invasion, plague and internal conflict, fell into crisis after the murder of Alexander Severus by his troops in 235 CE. Order would not be restored until the reign of Diocletian (284–305). On the fringes of the traditional imperial powers, new kingdoms were arising. The Funan controlled a substantial part of Indochina, while the Himyarites controlled the mouth of the Red Sea and prospered through the export of frankincense and myrrh. In the Americas, Teotihuacan and El Mirador were amongst the largest cities in the world.
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