- 3rd century BC
The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. It is considered part of the Classical
era, epoch, or historical period.
The first few decades of this century were characterized by a balance of power between the Greek
Hellenistickingdoms in the east, and the great mercantile power of Carthagein the west. This balance was shattered when conflict arose between Carthageand the Roman Republic. In the following decades, the Carthaginian Empirewas first humbled and then destroyed by the Romans in the first and second Punicwars. Following the Second Punic War, Rome became the most important power in the western Mediterranean.
In the 3rd century BC the
Xiong Nuwere at the height of their power in Mongolia. The Warring Statesperiod in China drew to a close, with Qin Shihuangconquering other nation-states and establishing the short-lived Qin dynasty, the first empire of China, which was followed in the same century by the long-lasting Han dynasty. The Protohistoric Period began in the Korean peninsula. In India, Ashoka the Greatruled the Maurya Empire. The Pandya, Chola and Chera dynasties of the classical age rule and flourish in the ancient Tamil country.
*299 BC The
Samnites, seizing their chance when Rome is engaged on the Lombard plain, start the third Samnite Warwith a collection of mercenaries from Gauland Sabineand Etruscan allies to help them.
*298 BC The
Samnitesdefeat the Romans under Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatusin the Battle of Camerinum, first battle of the Third Samnite War.
*293 BC The Chinese State of Qin reduced the threat of the State of Wei and the State of Han with the Qin victory in the
Battle of Yique.
* Roman armies penetrate into the heart of the Samnite territory and then capture the Samnite cities of Taurasia, Bovianum Vetus and
Agathocles, king of Syracuse, assists the Italian Greeks against the Bruttiansand supported the Greeks against the Romans.
* Ptolemy gives his stepdaughter Theoxena in marriage to Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse (in south-eastern
* Ptolemy finally brings the rebellious region of Cyrene under his control. He places the region under the rule of his stepson Magas.
Bindusarasucceeds his father Chandragupta Mauryaas emperor of the Mauryan Empire.
Epidauros, is built with later additions.
Antiochus I Soter, on the assassination of his father Seleucusbecomes emperor of the Seleucid empire.
*280 BC King
Pyrrhus of Epirusinvades Italy in an attempt to subjugate the Romans and bring Italyunder a new empire ruled by himself.
*280 BC Construction of the
Colossus of Rhodesis completed
Singidunumand Taurunum, today's Belgradeand Zemun, founded by ScordisciCelts.
*275 BC: end of history of Babylon.
*After failing to decisively defeat the Romans,
Pyrrhus of Epiruswithdraws from Italy.
Gallicmigration to Macedon, Thraceand Galatia.
*273 BC–252 BC
Ashoka the Greatruled the Mauryan Empire.
First Punic Warbreaks out between the Carthaginian Empire and the Roman Republic.
Antiochus II Theos, 2nd son, at the death of his father becomes emperor of the Seleucid empire.
Battle of Changpingbetween the State of Qin and the State of Zhao in China; a decisive Qin victory.
First Punic Warends in Carthaginian defeat. Rome demands large reparations, and annexes Sicilyand Corsica.
*230 BC The Chinese Qin State conquers Han.
*225 BC A large Gallic army is defeated by the Romans at the
Battle of Telamon.
*225 BC The Chinese Qin State conquers Wei.
*223 BC The Chinese Qin State conquers Chu.
*222 BC The Chinese Qin State conquers Yan and Zhao.
*221 BC With the conquest of the State of Qi,
Qin Shihuangunifies the whole of China into one empire that also included northern Vietnam, forming the Qin Dynasty.
Second Punic Warbegins. Hannibalmakes his famous Alpinecrossing to invade Italy, the Roman heartland.
Hannibalfamously crushed the Roman legions at the Battle of Cannae.
Qin Shi Huangof the Chinese Qin Dynastyordered construction of the Great Wall of China.
*206 BC–202 BC Civil war of the
Chu-Han contentionin China after the fall of the Qin Dynasty.
*202 BC Romans defeat Carthaginians, ending the
Second Punic War. Carthage's territories are reduced to the city itself, and crippling reparations are demanded by Rome.
Indian traders regularly visited Arabia.
Scythians occupy Sogdiana, in modern-day Uzbekistan.
Han Dynastyof China was founded (202 BC–220 AD).
Pharos of Alexandriais built.
*Appearance of the
Hopewell culturein Ohio, USA.
Teotihuacán, Mexico begun.
Mencius, Chinese philosopherand sage (371–289 BC)
Euclid, geometer (c. 365–275 BC)
Mauryanruler of India(273 BC–232 BC)
* Archimedes of Syracuse, mathematician, physicist, and engineer (c. 287–212 BC)
Eratosthenes(c. 276–194 BC), Greek mathematician, geographer and astronomer
Apollonius of Perga, mathematician (c. 262–190 BC)
Qin Shi Huang, Chinese Emperor (259–210 BC, reigned 246–210 BC)
Emperor Gaozu of Han, founder of the Han Dynastyin China, (256 BC–195 BC, reigned 202 BC–195 BC)
Xiang Yu(232 BC–202 BC), Chinese rebel general against the Qin Dynasty and arch nemesis of Liu Bang in the Chu-Han contention.
Hannibal, military leader of Carthage(247–182 BC)
* the "second" Brennus, Gaulish chieftain, invades Macedonia in 279 BC
Ptolemaic dynastyrules Egypt
** Ptolemy I Soter (305 BC–282 BC) and his wives Eurydice and
** Ptolemy II Philadelphos (284 BC–246 BC) and his wives Arsinoe I and Arsinoe II Philadelphos
** Ptolemy III Euergetes I (246 BC–222 BC) and his wife Berenice II
** Ptolemy IV Philopater (222 BC–204 BC) and his wife Arsinoe III
** Ptolemy V Epiphanes (204 BC–180 BC) and his wife Cleopatra I
Appius Claudius Caecus, Aqua Appia, Via Appia, invented letter G
Arcesilaus, founder of new Academy
Manetho, wrote "History of Egypt"
Xun Zi, founder of Legalism (philosophy)
Zeno of Citium, founder of Stoicism
Bai Qi, Chinese general
Song Yu, Chinese poet
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
Eratosthenesaccurately calculates diameter of the Earth
* Weiqi well-established in
China, and may date back to the 2nd millennium BC
* Stone of Canopus (for Ptolemy III), No. 1, in Rosetta Stone Series of 3 stones. Implements Leap year in Egypt. Leap year not formally recognized until Caesar in 55 B.C.
* 293 BC: first Roman
Sundial[Pliny (79ce): Natural History 7.213]
*Water screw invented by
*Invention of the
musical instrument hydraulis, the precursory to the Pipe organby Ctesibius, a Greek engineer working in Alexandria.
Emperor Gaozu of HanChina discovers an elaborate mechanical puppet theater in the treasury of the previous ruler Qin Shihuang.
Du Jiang Yan Irrigation Systemof China is engineered and constructed by Li Bingin 256 BC.
Much of what we know of this century comes down to us from the works of the Roman historian
Polybius, whose main concern is the story of how Rome comes to dominate the known world.
Decades and years
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