The 162 AD – 163 AD Jewish blood moon eclipses and corresponding plague took place during the historical time period of the Hollywood movie Gladiator. Released in the United States on May 5, 2000, Gladiator was a box office success, received positive reviews, and was credited with rekindling interest in the historical epic. The film won multiple awards, notably five Academy Awards in the 73rd Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe.
Christopher Harris starred in the role of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelious, which Hollywood choose to portray as a George Washington figure who was a very good ruler. The movie was very inaccurate from a historical point of view.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs states that the greatest time of persecution in the Roman Empire coincided with the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and the occurrence of the lunar eclipse in 162 – 163 AD. The truth of the matter is Emperor Marcus Aurelius was the most ruthless and brutal Roman Emperors in the history of Rome.
The Tiber River which flows through the city of Rome flooded it’s banks in the Spring of 162 AD, killing most animals in Rome and destroying much of the city. A severe Famine resulted. In 165 AD a plague broke out which was responsible for killing 1/3 of the Roman Empire including 2 emperors.
The Antonine Plague of 165–180 CE—also known as the Plague of Galen, who described it—was an ancient pandemic brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East.
The plague began shortly after the 1st Jewish Blood Moon lunar eclipses in 162 – 163 AD.
It has been suspected to have been either smallpox or measles, but the true cause remains undetermined. The epidemic may have claimed the life of Roman emperor Lucius Verus, who died in 169 and was the co-regent of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day in Rome, one quarter of those infected. Total deaths have been estimated at five million. The disease killed as much as one-third of the population in some areas and devastated the Roman army.
Ancient sources agree that the epidemic appeared first during the Roman siege of Seleucia in the winter of 165–166. Ammianus Marcellinus reports that the plague spread to Gaul and the legions along the Rhine. Eutropius asserts that a large population died throughout the Empire.
Passover: April 17, 162 AD – Total lunar eclipse
Tabernacles: October 11, 162 AD – Total lunar eclipse
Passover: April 6, 163 AD – Total lunar eclipse
Tabernacles: 30 September, 163 AD – Total lunar eclipse