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The 230s decade ran from January 1, 230, to December 31, 239.
- Emperor Alexander Severus decides that Thessaly should be a separate province from Macedonia. He increases taxes, in order to maintain the war against the Sassanids, and strengthen the defenses of the Roman Empire.
- King Ardashir I of the Persian Empire invades the Roman province of Mesopotamia, and unsuccessfully besieges the fortress town of Nisibis (Turkey). His army threatens the border outposts of Syria and Cappadocia.
- Alexander Severus assembles the Roman army, and establishes his headquarters at Antioch. He attempts a diplomatic solution, but the Persians decline and choose war.
- July 21 – Pope Pontian succeeds Pope Urban I, as the 18th pope.
- Patriarch Castinus succeeds Patriarch Ciriacus I, as Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Seventy Bishops hold the Council of the Christian Church of Africa.
- Emperor Alexander Severus accompanies his mother Julia Mamaea to Syria, and campaigns against the Persians. Military command rests in the hands of his generals, but his presence gives additional weight to the empire's policy.
- March - August – Battle of Mount Qi: The Chinese state of Shu Han gains a tactical victory, and the state of Cao Wei a strategic victory.
- Roman–Persian Wars: Emperor Alexander Severus launches a three-pronged counterattack against the Persian forces of King Ardashir I, who have invaded Mesopotamia. However, the Roman army advancing through Armenia is halted. Alexander gives the order to march to the capital at Ctesiphon, but the Romans are defeated, and withdraw to Syria. The result is an acceptance of the status quo, and after heavy losses on both sides, a truce is signed.
- Relics of St. Thomas are brought to Edessa from India.
- Origen founds a school of Christian theology in Palestine.
- Pope Heraclas of Alexandria is the first Bishop of Alexandria to use the appellation of "Pope".
- Emperor Alexander Severus celebrates a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory" the previous year over the Persians (in reality, Severus Alexander advanced towards Ctesiphon in 233, but as corroborated by Herodian, his armies suffered a humiliating defeat against Ardashir I). He is soon summoned to the Rhine frontier, where the Alamanni invade what is now modern-day Swabia. German tribes destroy Roman forts, and plunder the countryside at the Limes Germanicus.
- Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Julia Mamaea move to Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), the capital of Germania Superior. His generals have planned a military offensive and built a bridge across the Rhine. Alexander prefers to negotiate for peace by buying off the Alemanni. This policy outrages the Roman legions and he loses the trust of the troops.
- Saban becomes king of the Korean kingdom of Baekje. He is succeeded by Goi of Baekje later in the same year.
- This year is said to have been the beginning of the decline of the Roman empire.
- March 19 – Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Iulia Mamaea are murdered by their own soldiers near Moguntiacum (modern Mainz); Legio XXII Primigenia mutinies. The Severan dynasty ends; this marks the epoch event of the Crisis of the Third Century.
- March 20 – Maximinus Thrax, age 62, is proclaimed Augustus. He is not a senator but the second emperor of the equestrian order since Macrinus 17 years earlier. Maximinus had been a common soldier in the army, serving in the Auxilia and the Imperial Horseguards to become governor of several provinces.
- Widely considered to be the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century: The Roman Empire is under pressure by the Alamanni, Franks, Goths, Quadi and Sassanids (Persia).
- September 28 – Pope Pontian resigns, the first to abdicate, because he and Hippolytus, church leader of Rome, are exiled to the mines of Sardinia. Emperor Maximinus persecutes the Christians.
- November 21 – Pope Anterus succeeds Pontian as the nineteenth pope.
- Origen makes revisions to the Septuagint.
- Emperor Maximinus Thrax and Marcus Pupienus Africanus Maximus become Roman consuls.
- The Roman Senate appoints a twenty-man committee to co-ordinate operations against Maximinus.
- Maximinus campaigns against Dacians and Sarmatians from his supply depot at Sirmium.
- January 10 – Pope Fabian succeeds Pope Anterus as the twentieth pope.
- Fabian separates Rome into seven deaconships.
- Fabian sends seven missionaries to Gaul to evangelize in the large cities.
- Emperor Maximinus Thrax campaigns on the rivers Danube and Rhine in Germania, defeating the Alemanni, and never visits Rome. He is accepted by the Roman Senate, but taxes the rich aristocracy heavily, and engenders such hostility among them, that they plot against him.
- Patriarch Eugenius I succeeds Patriarch Castinus as Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Saint Babylas becomes Patriarch of Antioch.
- Emperor Maximinus Thrax campaigns against the Carpians on the Danube in Moesia (Balkans). In spite of the payment of a tribute, the Romans fail to persuade the Goths and the Germanic tribes.
- March 22 – Roman subjects in Africa revolt against Maximinus. The elderly Marcus Antonius Gordianus yields to public demand that he succeed Maximinus and rules jointly with his 46-year-old son Gordian II.
- April 12 – Battle of Carthage: Numidian forces loyal to Maximinus invade Africa with support of Legio III Augusta. Gordian II is killed and after a siege of 36 days, Gordian I commits suicide by hanging himself with his belt.
- April 22 – Year of the Six Emperors: The Senate outlaws Maximinus for his bloodthirsty proscriptions in Ancient Rome and nominates two of its members, Pupienus and Balbinus, to the throne.
- Maximinus advances to the town Aquileia in northern Italy; his army suffers from famine and disease, while the city is besieged. Soldiers of Legio II Parthica kill him in his tent, along with his son Maximinus (who is appointed co-emperor). Their corpses are decapitated and their heads carried to Rome.
- July 29 – The Praetorian Guard storms the palace and captures Pupienus and Balbinus. They are dragged naked through the streets of Rome and executed. On the same day Gordian III, age 13, is proclaimed the new emperor. Timesitheus becomes his tutor and advisor.
- Future Roman Emperor Valerian becomes princeps senatus.
- The Colosseum is restored after being damaged.
- The Goths, coming from Ukraine, cross the Danube and devastate the Roman Empire up to the border with Anatolia.
- In North Africa, Legio III Augusta is dissolved. Until its reconstitution in 253, Africa is defended by auxiliary forces only.
- Sima Yi, a Chinese general of the Cao Wei state, destroys the outlying northeastern warlord Gongsun Yuan in the Liaodong campaign.
- The silver content of the Roman denarius falls to 28 percent under emperor Gordianus III, down from 35 percent under Alexander Severus.
- Cao Fang succeeds his adoptive father Cao Rui as emperor of the Cao Wei state, in the Three Kingdoms period of China.
- A Chinese expeditionary force from the Eastern Wu state discovers the island of Taiwan.
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- August 19 – Marcus Aurelius Probus, Roman emperor (d. 282)
- Cao Fang, Chinese emperor of the Cao Wei state (d. 274)
- Zhang Hua, Chinese official, scholar and poet of the Jin dynasty (d. 300)
- Porphyry, Neoplatonic philosopher (d. c. 305)
- Wang Rong, Chinese official and scholar of the Jin dynasty (d. 305)
- Sima Yan (Emperor Wu of Jin), first emperor of the Chinese Jin dynasty (d. 290)
- Zhang Ti, Chinese chancellor of the Eastern Wu state (d. 280)
- Zhou Chu, Chinese general of the Jin dynasty (d. 297)
- Alexander of Constantinople, future Patriarch of Constantinople
- Philippus II, Roman Emperor (d. 249)
- Wen Yang, Chinese general of the Jin dynasty (d. 291)
- Empress Yang Yan, Chinese empress of the Jin dynasty (d. 274)
- May 23 – Pope Urban I
- July 9 – Empress Dowager Bian, Chinese empress dowager of the Cao Wei state (b. 159)
- Naehae of Silla
- Zhong Yao, Chinese official, calligrapher of the Cao Wei state (b. 151)
- Cao Zhen, Chinese general of the Cao Wei state
- Li Hui Area Commander of Laixiang
- Zhang He, Chinese general of the Cao Wei state
- January 30 – Hua Xin, Chinese official of the Eastern Han dynasty and Cao Wei state (b. 157)
- December 27 – Cao Zhi, Chinese prince and poet of the Cao Wei state (b. 192)
- Cao Hong, Chinese general of the Cao Wei state
- Demetrius, Patriarch of Alexandria
- April 21 – Emperor Xian of Han, last emperor of the Han dynasty (b. 181)
- Pan Zhang, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state
- Wei Yan, Chinese general of the Shu Han state
- Zhuge Liang, Chinese statesman, Chancellor-Regent of the Shu Han state (b. 181)
- March 14 – Guo Nüwang, Chinese empress of the Cao Wei state (b. 184)
- March 19 – Severus Alexander, Roman Emperor (b. 208)
- October – Pope Pontian
- Hippolytus, Christian writer (b. 170)
- Julia Avita Mamaea, mother of Alexander Severus (b. c. 180)
- January 3 – Pope Anterus
- July 4 – Dong Zhao, Chinese official of the Cao Wei state (b. 156)
- Zhang Zhao, Chinese official of the Eastern Wu state (b. 156)
- February 7 – Chen Qun, Chinese minister of Cao Wei
- September 22 – Empress Mao, Chinese empress of the Cao Wei state
- Wu Yi, Chinese general of the Shu Han state
- Empress Zhang, Chinese empress of the Shu Han
- April 12
- July 29
- Bu Lianshi, Chinese noble lady of Eastern Wu state
- Gongsun Yuan, Chinese warlord based in Liaodong
- Maximinus Thrax, Roman Emperor (b. 173)
- Maximinus the Younger, Roman Emperor
- Zhu Huan, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state (b. 177)
- "List of Rulers of Korea". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
- "List of Rulers of Korea". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
- Crespigny, Rafe de (2006). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). BRILL. p. 47. ISBN 9789047411840.
- Cooper, John C. (June 6, 2021). "Taiwan". Brittanica. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
- Crespigny, Rafe de (2010). Imperial Warlord: A Biography of Cao Cao 155-220 AD. BRILL. p. 459. ISBN 9789004188303.
- Xiong, Victor Cunrui (2009). Historical Dictionary of Medieval China. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-8108-6053-7.