240s BC

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Millennium: 1st millennium BC
Centuries: 4th century BC3rd century BC2nd century BC
Decades: 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC240s BC230s BC 220s BC 210s BC
Years: 249 BC 248 BC 247 BC 246 BC 245 BC 244 BC 243 BC 242 BC 241 BC 240 BC
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EstablishmentsDisestablishments

240s BC: events by year[edit]

Contents: 249 BC 248 BC 247 BC 246 BC 245 BC 244 BC 243 BC 242 BC 241 BC 240 BC

249 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

248 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

India[edit]

247 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Carthage[edit]

  • By this stage in the Punic War, Carthage has lost to Rome all its Sicilian possessions except Lilybaeum (now Marsala) and Drepanum (now Trapani). Hamilcar Barca takes over the chief command of the Carthaginian forces in Sicily at a time when the island is almost completely in the hands of the Romans. Landing on the north-west of the island with a small mercenary force, he seizes a strong position on Mount Ercte (Monte Pellegrino, near Palermo), and not only successfully defends himself against all attacks, but also carries his raids as far as the coast of southern Italy.

Roman Republic[edit]

246 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Egypt[edit]

India[edit]

Seleucid Empire[edit]

  • Antiochus II leaves Berenice in order to live again with his former wife Laodice and his son Seleucus. However, Laodice poisons him and proclaims her son as King Seleucus II Callinicus, while her supporters in Antioch kill Berenice and her children who have taken refuge at Daphne, near Antioch, in Syria.
  • Berenice's brother, Ptolemy III, sets about to avenge his sister's murder by invading Syria which begins the Third Syrian War (also known as the Laodicean War). Ptolemy III's navy, perhaps with the aid of rebels in the cities, advances against Seleucus II's forces as far as Thrace, across the Hellespont, and also captures some islands off the Anatolian coast.
  • Ptolemy III wins major victories over Seleucus II in Syria and Anatolia and briefly occupies Antioch. These victories are marred by the loss of the Cyclades to Antigonus II Gonatas in the Battle of Andros.
  • Seleucus II Callinicus' mother, Laodice attempts to take control over the Seleucid Empire by insisting that Seleucus II make his younger brother, Antiochus Hierax, co-regent and give him all the Seleucid territory in Anatolia. Antiochus promptly declares independence and begins fighting a war with his brother.
  • In order to secure the Bactrian King Diodotus' friendship, Seleucus II Callinicus arranges the marriage of one of his sisters to King Diodotus.

Roman Republic[edit]

  • With Hamilcar Barca wearing the Romans down in Sicily, the Romans, by private subscription, build another fleet with the aim of regaining command of the sea.
  • In Rome, the number of praetors is increased from one to two. The second praetor is appointed to relieve the backlog of judicial business and to give the Republic a magistrate with Imperium who can field an army in an emergency when both consuls are away fighting a war.

China[edit]

  • An irrigation canal approximately one hundred miles long is built across the current-day province of Shaanxi in China, greatly adding to the agricultural productivity of the area and to the military potency of the Qin dynasty.

245 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Egypt[edit]

Greece[edit]

244 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Greece[edit]

Carthage[edit]

243 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Egypt[edit]

  • Ptolemy III returns from Syria by a revolt in Egypt. As a result, Seleucus II is able to regain control of his kingdom with the Egyptians being pushed out of Mesopotamia and part of Northern Syria.
  • Ptolemy III returns from his conquests of Seleucid territory with a large amount of treasure and works of art, including many statues of Egyptian gods carried off to Persia by Cambyses. He restores the statues to the Egyptian temples and earns the title of Euergetes ("Benefactor").

Greece[edit]

  • Without a declaration of hostilities, Greek statesman, Aratus of Sicyon, who has gradually built up the Achaean League into a major power in Greece, makes a surprise attack on Corinth and forces the withdrawal of the Macedonian occupation troops. Megara, Troezen, and Epidaurus also desert the Macedonian King Antigonus II.
  • Drawing upon the tradition of the Spartan lawgiver, Lycurgus, the young Eurypontid king of Sparta, Agis IV, seeks to reform a system that distributes the land and wealth unequally and burden the poor with debt. He proposes the cancellation of debts and the division of the Spartan homeland into separate lots for each of its citizens. Full citizenship is to be extended to many perioeci (voteless freemen) and foreigners. In addition to pursuing these reforms, Agis seeks the restoration of the Lycurgan system of military training. Agis is supported by his wealthy mother and grandmother (who surrender their property), by his uncle Agesilaus, and by Lysander, who is an ephor (magistrate with the duty of limiting the power of the king).

242 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

Egypt[edit]

241 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Greece[edit]

  • The Eurypontid King of Sparta, Agis IV, is called away from Sparta when Aratus of Sicyon, temporarily Sparta's ally, requests Agis' aid in his war against the Aetolians. Upon his return, Agis finds that his supporters are discontented with the rule of his uncle, Agesilaus, and are disillusioned by the delay in implementing the Agis IV's reforms. As a result, the Agiad king of Sparta, Leonidas II, gains power, supported by mercenaries. Rather than engage in a war with Leonidas, Agis takes sanctuary in a temple, but is enticed out, summarily tried and then executed, along with his mother and grandmother.
  • Archidamus V, son of the Spartan King, Eudamidas II, and grandson of Archidamus IV, flees to Messenia after the murder of his brother Agis IV.
  • As general of the Achaean League, Aratus of Sicyon defeats the Aetolians at Pellene and then pursues a policy of establishing democracies in the Peloponnese.

Roman Republic[edit]

  • March 10 – The Carthaginian fleet sent to relieve the Roman blockade of the Sicilian cities of Lilybaeum and Drepanum is totally defeated near the Aegates Islands off western Sicily by the Roman fleet led by Roman consul and commander, Gaius Lutatius Catulus. The result is a decisive Roman victory which forces an end to the protracted First Punic War, to Rome's distinct advantage.
  • The Carthaginians under Hamilcar Barca are forced to accept severe peace terms and agree to evacuate Sicily. As part of the treaty with Rome, Carthage agrees to abandon all its claims on Sicily, to refrain from sailing her warships in Italian waters and to pay an indemnity of 3,200 talents. However, the Carthaginian army is allowed to return home with its arms. Rome is now the dominant power in the Western Mediterranean basin.

Carthage[edit]

  • A mercenary army of some 20,000 is transported from Sicily to Carthaginian territory, by Carthaginian commander, Gesco. On arrival in Carthaginian territory, the mercenaries submit a demand to Hanno the Great for payment of their contracts. Hanno attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince the mercenaries to accept smaller payments due to Carthage's impoverished post-war conditions. Negotiations break down. The mercenaries take up arms, march on Tunis, occupy it, and threaten Carthage directly.
  • Given their strong position, the mercenaries inflate their demands and demand payment for the non-mercenary Libyan conscripts in the army as well. Gesco is sent to negotiate with the mercenaries at Tunis.

Pergamum[edit]

Egypt[edit]

China[edit]

  • Five of the seven major warring states: Chu, Zhao, Wei, Yan, and Han, formed an alliance to fight the rising power of Qin. King Kaolie of Chu was named the leader of the alliance, and Lord Chunshen the military commander. The allies attacked Qin at the strategic Hangu Pass, but were defeated. Afterwards, Chu moved its capital east to Shouchun, farther away from the threat of Qin.

240 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Carthage[edit]

  • Two of Carthage's mercenary commanders – Spendius and Mathos – convince the Libyan conscripts in the mercenary army, that is currently occupying the Carthaginian city of Tunis, to accept their leadership. They persuade the native Libyans that Carthage will take revenge against them for their part in the conflict once the foreign mercenaries are paid and sent home. They then convince the combined mercenary armies to revolt against Carthage and convince the various native Libyan towns and cities to back the revolt. Spendius and Mathos then take the Carthaginian commander Gesco as a hostage. What has started as an argument over pay owed to soldiers by the Carthaginian Government, explodes into a full-scale revolt, known as the Mercenary War.
  • The Libyan forces loyal to the mercenaries besiege the towns of Utica and Hippacritae, which refuse to defect to the mercenaries.
  • Hanno the Great is given command of the Carthaginian forces. However, the mercenaries defeat the Carthaginian armies in the Battle of Utica.
  • Carthage decides to give Hamilcar Barca joint command with Hanno the Great. Hamilcar Barca is able to end the siege of Utica by the mercenaries. He is then placed in complete command of the Carthaginian forces and defeats the mercenaries in the Battle of the Bagradas River.
  • After the Numidian mercenary leader Narawas defects to Hamilcar Barca, Numidian reinforcements (about 2,000 men) help him defeat the mercenaries again. Hamilcar pardons his captured prisoners, accepting into his army anyone who will fight for Carthage, and exiling anyone who will not.

Roman Republic[edit]

  • Rome takes over full control of Sicily and stations a legion there.

By topic[edit]

Literature[edit]

Astronomy[edit]


Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

References[edit]