280s BC

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Millennium: 1st millennium BC
Centuries: 4th century BC3rd century BC2nd century BC
Decades: 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC280s BC270s BC 260s BC 250s BC
Years: 289 BC 288 BC 287 BC 286 BC 285 BC 284 BC 283 BC 282 BC 281 BC 280 BC
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EstablishmentsDisestablishments

280s BC: events by year[edit]

Contents: 289 BC 288 BC 287 BC 286 BC 285 BC 284 BC 283 BC 282 BC 281 BC 280 BC

289 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Sicily[edit]

  • The tyrant of Syracuse, Agathocles, dies after restoring the Syracusan democracy on his death bed, by stating that he does not want his sons to succeed him as king. However, the resulting dissension among his family about the succession leads to a renewal of Carthaginian power in Sicily.

288 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Greece[edit]

  • The Macedonian King, Demetrius Poliorcetes, faces a combined attack from Lysimachus and Phyrrhus, king of Epirus, after Seleucus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus form a coalition to block plans by Demetrius to invade Asia Minor. Ptolemy's fleet appears off Greece, inciting the cities to revolt.
  • Athens revolts and Demetrius besieges the city. Pyrrhus takes Thessaly and the western half of Macedonia and, with the assistance of Ptolemy's fleet, relieves Athens from Demetrius' siege.
  • After the Egyptian fleet participates decisively in the liberation of Athens from Macedonian occupation, Ptolemy obtains the protectorate over the League of Islanders, which includes most of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. Egypt's maritime supremacy in the Mediterranean in the ensuing decades is based on this alliance.

Sicily[edit]

  • Following the death of Agathocles, some of his disbanded mercenaries seize Messana in northeast Sicily and set up a society, calling themselves Mamertines (Sons of Mars). The city becomes a base from which they will ravage the Sicilian countryside.

Sri Lanka[edit]

287 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

  • A new law, Lex Hortensia, gives much greater power to the plebeian Assembly compared to the Senate. This law is passed following a threat from plebeian soldiers to secede. In the face of this threat, the Senate yields to plebeian concerns over their lack of political power and over their level of debt to the aristocracy. The law is named after Quintus Hortensius, a plebeian, who is made dictator to settle the controversy.
  • With the Lex Hortensia in place, in theory the political distinctions in Rome between the patricians and the plebeians disappear. However, in practice, the coalition of leading plebeian families keep control which means that the patricians are able to largely nullify the power of the assemblies. So Roman government continues to be oligarchic in character.

Greece[edit]

  • The Macedonians resent the extravagance and arrogance of Demetrius Poliorcetes and are not prepared to fight a difficult campaign for him. When Pyrrhus of Epirus takes the Macedonian city of Verroia, Demetrius' army promptly deserts and goes over to Pyrrhus' side as he is much admired by the Macedonians for his bravery. At this change of fortune, Phila, the mother of Antigonus, kills herself with poison.
  • Demetrius besieges Athens without success. He leave Antigonus in charge of the war in Greece, assembles all his ships and embarks with his troops to attack Caria and Lydia, provinces in Asia Minor controlled by Lysimachus.
  • Agathocles is sent by his father Lysimachus against Demetrius. Agathocles defeats Demetrius and drives him out of his father's provinces.
  • Pyrrhus is proclaimed King of Macedonia.

286 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Greece[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

  • The new law, Lex Aquilia, is enacted. This is a Roman law which provides compensation to the owners of property injured as a result of someone's fault.

285 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Egypt[edit]

Seleucid Empire[edit]

284 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

Greece[edit]

Asia Minor[edit]

  • Ptolemy I's eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Keraunos, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated by the new King Ptolemy II, flees Egypt to the court of Lysimachus, the king of Thrace, Macedon and Asia Minor.
  • Lysimachus' wife, Arsinoe, being keen to gain the succession to the kingdom of Thrace for her sons in preference to Agathocles (the eldest son of Lysimachus), intrigues against him with the help of her brother Ptolemy Keraunos. They accuse him of conspiring with Seleucus to seize the throne, and Agathocles is put to death. This atrocious deed by Lysimachus and his family arouses great indignation. Many of the cities in Asia Minor revolt and some of his most trusted friends desert him.
  • Agathocles' widow Lysandra flees with their children and with Alexander, Agathocles' brother, to the court of Seleucus, who at once invades Lysimachus' territory in Asia Minor.

283 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Greece[edit]

Roman Republic[edit]

Egypt[edit]

  • The canal from the Nile River to the Red Sea, initially started but not completed by the Egyptian pharaoh Necho II and repaired by the Persian king Darius I, is again repaired and made operational by Ptolemy II.
  • Ptolemy II enlarges the library at Alexandria and appoints the grammarian Zenodotus to collect and edit all the Greek poets.

282 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Asia Minor[edit]

  • The city of Pergamum in Asia Minor ends its allegiance to Lysimachus. Its ruler, Philetaerus, transfers his allegiance, as well as the important fortress of Pergamon and his treasury, to Seleucus, who allows him a far larger measure of independence than he had hitherto enjoyed.

Roman Republic[edit]

  • The Battle of Populonia is fought between Rome and the Etruscans. The Romans are victorious and, as a result, the Etruscan threat to Rome is sharply diminished.
  • The Magna Graecia city of Thurii appeals to Rome for help against the native Italian tribes. Though the Roman Senate hesitates, the plebeian Assembly decides to respond. Thurii is saved, but Tarentum, jealous of Rome's interference, attacks and sinks some Roman ships entering its harbour. Roman envoys, sent to protest, are mistreated.
  • Rome declares war on Tarentum. King Pyrrhus of Epirus declares his willingness to come to the aid of Tarentum. Tarentum also looks for support from the Samnites and other Italian tribes in southern Italy.

Egypt[edit]

281 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Asia Minor[edit]

Greece[edit]

  • Seleucus takes over Thrace and then tries to seize Macedonia. However, he falls into a trap near Lysimachia, Thrace, set by Ptolemy Keraunos, one of the sons of Ptolemy I and Arsinoe II's half brother, who murders Seleucus and takes Macedonia for himself.
  • Cineas, a Thessalian serving as chief adviser to King Pyrrhus of Epirus, after visiting Rome attempts, without success, to dissuade Pyrrhus from invading southern Italy.

Seleucid Empire[edit]

280 BC[edit]

By place[edit]

Seleucid Empire[edit]

  • Antiochus makes his eldest son, Seleucus, king in the east, but he proves to be incompetent.
  • Antiochus is compelled to make peace with his father's murderer and King of Macedon, Ptolemy Keraunos, abandoning, for the time being, his plans to control Macedonia and Thrace.
  • Nicomedes, King of Bithynia, is threatened with an invasion from Antiochus who has already made war upon his father, Zipoites. Antiochus actually invades Bithynia but withdraws again without risking a battle.
  • Antiochus is unable to bring under his control the Persian dynasties that rule in Cappadocia.
  • Antiochus is defeated by Egypt's Ptolemy II in the Damascene War.

Greece[edit]

  • Pyrrhus makes an alliance with Ptolemy Keraunos, King of Macedon. This allows him to go to southern Italy with his army.
  • The Achaean League is reformed by twelve towns in the northern Peloponnesus and will later grow to include non-Achaean cities. It has two generals, a federal council with proportional representation of members and an annual assembly of all free citizens. The League achieves a common coinage and foreign policy and the member cities pool their armed forces.
  • Rhodes, rising in prosperity, becomes head of an Island League and helps to keep the peace and freedom of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
  • The Colossus of Rhodes is completed by the sculptor Chares of Lindos after twelve years' work. It becomes one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Colossus of Rhodes is a giant statue of the Greek god Helios. It stands 70 cubits tall, over 30 metres (100 feet), making it the tallest statue of the ancient world.

Roman Republic[edit]

  • Responding to an appeal from Tarentum, King Pyrrhus of Epirus uses his army of over 20,000 men against the Romans. In the Battle of Heraclea he defeats a Roman army led by consul Publius Valerius Laevinus. Pyrrhus's judicious use of his elephants plays a large part in his victory. Several tribes including the Lucani, Bruttii and the Messapians as well as the Greek cities of Crotone and Locri join Pyrrhus.
  • Roman commander and statesman, Gaius Fabricius Luscinus, is sent to negotiate the ransom and exchange of prisoners. Pyrrhus is so impressed by Fabricius refusing to accept a bribe, that Pyrrhus releases the prisoners without the requirement for a ransom. Following his victory, Pyrrhus advances as far north as Latium.

By topic[edit]

Astronomy[edit]

  • Aristarchus of Samos uses the size of the Earth's shadow on the Moon to estimate that the Moon's radius is one-third that of the Earth. He proposes for the first time a heliocentric view of the Solar System, but is ignored due to the lack of evidence of the Earth's motion.


Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

References[edit]