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The 240s decade ran from January 1, 240, to December 31, 249.
- The Roman Empire is threatened on several fronts at the same time. Africa revolts and tribes in northwest Germania, under the name of the Franks, are raiding the Rhine frontier.
- April 12 – Shapur I becomes co-emperor of the Sasanian Empire with his father Ardashir I.
- Siege of Hatra (240-241) by the Sasanians.
- At the court of Ardashir I, Mani, a young mystic of Ctesiphon, proclaims himself a prophet and preaches his doctrine, Manichaeism, throughout the Persian Empire.
- Winter – Emperor Gordian III reaches Antioch and prepares, with his army, an offensive against the Persians.
- Timesitheus becomes Praetorian Prefect.
- Approximate date – The Dura-Europos church is converted from a house in Syria, the earliest surviving Christian church building.
- Shapur I succeeds his father Ardashir I as king of Persia.
- The ancient city of Bagram (Afghanistan) is abandoned.
- Shapur I annexes parts of the Kushan Empire.
- Fall of Hatra to Shapur I.
- Emperor Gordian III begins a campaign against King Shapur I; Greek philosopher Plotinus joins him, hoping to obtain first-hand knowledge of Persian and Indian philosophies.
- Gordian III evacuates the Cimmerian cities in the Bosphorus (Crimea), as the territory is now controlled by the Goths.
- Shapur I makes a pre-emptive attack on Antioch to drive out the Romans. Gordian's father-in-law, Timesitheus, leads a Roman army to defeat the Persians at Carrhae and Nisibis.
- Patriarch Titus succeeds Patriarch Eugenius I as Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Battle of Resaena: A Roman army under Timesitheus defeats the Persians at Resaena (Syria); King Shapur I is forced to flee to the Euphrates.
- Timesitheus becomes ill and dies under suspicious circumstances. Shapur I retreats to Persia, giving up all the territories he conquered.
- Emperor Gordian III appoints Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect and proceeds with his campaign in Mesopotamia.
- Cohors I Ubiorum, the garrison at castra Capidava in Scythia Minor, is replaced by Cohors I Germanorum Civium Romanorum, until the end of the 3rd century AD.
- January 13 - March 14 – Battle of Misiche: King Shapur I of the Sasanian Empire delivers a counter-attack near Fallujah (Iraq), and defeats the Roman army upstream of the Euphrates.
- February 11 – Emperor Gordian III is murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). A mound is raised at Carchemish in his memory.
- Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) declares himself co-emperor, and makes a controversial peace with the Sassanian Empire, withdrawing from their territory and giving Shapur 500,000 gold pieces. The Sassanians occupy Armenia.
- Philip the Arab is recognized by the Roman Senate as the new Roman Emperor with the honorific Augustus. He nominates his son Philippus, age 6, with the title of Caesar and makes him heir to the throne; gives his brother Priscus supreme power (rector Orientis) in the Eastern provinces; and begins construction of the city of Shahba (Syria) in the province of his birth.
- The vassal Upper Mesopotamian kingdom of Osroene is absorbed into the Roman Empire, its last ruler being Abgar (XI) Farhat Bar Ma’nu.
Arts and sciences
- Plotinus, Greek philosopher, escapes the bloodshed that accompanies the murder of Gordianus III and makes his way to Antioch. Back in Rome he founds his Neoplatonist school and attracts disciples like Porphyry, Castricius Firmus and Eustochius of Alexandria.
- 244–249 – Bust of Philip the Arab (in Braccio Nuovo, Vatican Museums, Rome).
- The silver content of the Roman denarius falls to 0.5 percent under emperor Philippus I, down from 28 percent under Gordian III.
- 244–245 – Last phase of construction of the house-style Dura-Europos synagogue in Syria, one of the oldest to survive (wall-paintings in the National Museum of Damascus, Syria).
- Emperor Philip the Arab entrusts Trajan Decius with an important command on the Danube.
- In Britain, many thousands of acres of modern-day Lincolnshire are inundated by a great flood.
- The philosopher Plotinus goes to live in Rome.
- Emperor Philip the Arab fights the Germans along the Danube.
- The first of two Councils of Arabia in the Roman Christian Church is held in Bostra, Arabia Petraea.
- Rome becomes 1,000 years old.
- Marcus Julius Philippus Augustus and his 10-year-old son Marcus Julius Philippus Caesar become Roman Consuls.
- The Goths appear on the lower Danube frontier; they invade the Ukraine and Romania.
- Emperor Philip the Arab marks the millennium of Rome by holding the Ludi Saeculares.
- The last of the two Councils of Arabia in the Roman Christian Church is held in Bostra, Arabia Petraea.
- The revolts of Pacatianus in Moesia and Iotapianus in Syria are put down by Senator Decius, by order of Emperor Philip the Arab.
- The Roman Empire continues the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of the city of Rome, with the ludi saeculares, organized by Philip the Arab.
- Cyprian becomes bishop of Carthage.
- Origen writes an eight-volume work, criticizing the pagan writer Celsus.
- Trajan Decius puts down a revolt in Moesia and Pannonia. Loyal legionaries proclaim him emperor, and he leads them into Italy.
- Battle of Verona: Decius defeats and kills Philip the Arab.
- Decius begins persecuting Christians, and others refusing to participate in Emperor worship.
- February 5 – Incident at Gaoping Tombs: In the Chinese state of Cao Wei, regent Sima Yi, in a coup d'état, forces his co-regent Cao Shuang to relinquish his power, after taking control of the capital city of Luoyang, and issuing a memorial, which lists the various crimes he and his associates had committed.
- In Alexandria, the populace pillages the homes of Christians.
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (March 2016)
- Lactantius, Christian writer (d. 320) (approximate date)
- Sporus of Nicaea, Greek mathematician and astronomer (approximate date)
- Zenobia, queen of the Palmyrene Empire (d. 274)
- December 22 – Diocletian, Roman Emperor (d. 311)
- Possible date – Alexander of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 337)
- Shi Chong, Chinese statesmen
- Sanatruq II, king of Hatra
- Sun Deng, first crown prince of the Eastern Wu state (b. 209)
- Sun Shao, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state (b. 188)
- Zhuge Jin, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state (b. 174)
- Gu Yong, Chinese official and scholar of the Eastern Wu state (b. 168)
- Timesitheus, advisor and praetorian prefect (b. 190)
- Ammonius Saccas, Alexandrian Greek philosopher (possible date)
- Lu Xun, Chinese general and statesman of the Eastern Wu state (b. 183)
- Empress Wu, Chinese empress of the Shu Han state
- Bu Zhi, Chinese statesman and general of the Eastern Wu state
- Zhang Chunhua, wife of Sima Yi, prominent military general and regent of the state of Cao Wei (b. 189)
- February 9 – Cao Shuang, Chinese general and regent of the Cao Wei state
- Philip the Arab, Roman emperor (b. 204)
- Quan Cong, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state (b. 198)
- Wang Bi, Chinese philosopher (b. 226)
- Zhu Ran, Chinese general of the Eastern Wu state (b. 182)
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- "List of Rulers of Korea". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
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- Song, Geng (2004). The Fragile Scholar: Power and Masculinity in Chinese Culture. Hong Kong University Press. p. 143. ISBN 9789622096202.
- Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Antiquity Through Sui, 1600 B.C.E.-618 C.E. M.E. Sharpe. 1998. p. 272. ISBN 9780765641823.
- Chen, Shou (300). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi ed.). China.