The T5 series portrays the 20 centuries of the last two millennia, and this one is devoted to the second century, 100 to 199. And, unless you’re a historian, you’re probably wondering “did anything happen then?”.
(Image: © Copyright Gregory Williams (Flickr) and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))
One big event in the second century was the construction of Hadrian’s wall, which I think is well represented by the bricks in the background of this disk. The popular view is that Hadrian built the wall “to separate Romans from barbarians”. The barbarians in question here are the assorted tribes that lived in the north of Britain (in what we know now as Scotland), who obviously bothered the Romans to such an extent that a 100 kilometre wall between 3 and 6 metres high was considered necessary.
I haven’t yet found a meaning for the two characters in the centre of the disk… I would have expected to see some reference to Claudius Ptolemy’s astronomical treatise called The Almagest. We know that the puzzlemaker likes to insert astronomical and scientific clues, and, according to the wikipedia, the Almagest is:
one of the most influential scientific texts of all time, with its geocentric model accepted for more than twelve hundred years.
Ptolemy, an Egyptian scholar and Roman citizen, lived from about 100 to 170, and the Almagest, written in Greek, dates from around 150.
The three coded text strings are:
n o c o r n e r s n e s a n d l o n g d e g r e e s /
which gives something like:
...nes and long degrees no corners...
whatever a long degree might be…!