This article concerns the period 219 BC – 210 BC.
|Millennium:||1st millennium BC|
- Following the defection of one of Ptolemy IV's leading commanders, Egypt's Syrian territories are seriously threatened by Antiochus III, thus initiating the Fourth Syrian War. When the Seleucid ruler captures the important eastern Mediterranean sea ports of Seleucia-in-Pieria, Tyre, and Ptolemais, Ptolemy IV's advisor, Sosibius, and the Ptolemaic court enter into delaying negotiations with the enemy, while the Ptolemaic army is reorganized and intensively drilled.
- The former King of Sparta, Cleomenes III, escapes from his Egyptian prison and, after failing to raise a revolt in Alexandria, takes his own life.
- The Romans extend their area of domination around the head of the Adriatic Sea as far as the peninsula of Histria by the conquest of peoples who dwell to the east of the Veneti. Thus, with the exception of Liguria and the upper valley of the Po River, all Italy south of the Alps is brought within the Roman sphere.
- Hannibal lays siege to Saguntum thus initiating the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. Saguntum is an independent Iberian Peninsula city south of the Ebro River. In the treaty between Rome and Carthage concluded in 226 BC, the Ebro had been set as the northern limit of Carthaginian influence in the Iberian Peninsula. Saguntum is south of the Ebro, but the Romans have "friendship" with the city and regard the Carthaginian attack on it as an act of war. The siege of Saguntum lasts eight months, and in it Hannibal is severely wounded. The Romans, who send envoys to Carthage in protest, demand the surrender of Hannibal.
- The Roman Senate sends the consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus to Illyria with an army. On discovering Rome's intent, the Illyrian leader Demetrius of Pharos puts to death those Illyrians who oppose his rule, fortifies Dimale and goes to Pharos. After a seven-day siege by the Roman fleet under Lucius Aemilius Paulus, Dimale is taken by direct assault. From Dimale, the Roman navy heads to Pharos, where the Roman forces rout the Illyrians. Demetrius flees to Macedonia, where he becomes a trusted councilor at the court of King Philip V.
- The Cretan city of Kydonia joins the Aetolian alliance.
- A Carthaginian army under Hannibal attacks Rome's Spanish allies. Roman inactivity encourages Hannibal to embark on a daring campaign: the conquest of Spain as far north as the Pyrenees, a clear violation of the Ebro River treaty of the First Punic War. Hasdrubal, the second son of Hamilcar Barca, is left in command of Spain when his brother Hannibal begins his campaign.
- Hannibal sets out with around 40,000 men and 50 elephants from New Carthage (Cartagena) to northern Spain and then into the Pyrenees where his army meets with stiff resistance from the Pyrenean tribes. This opposition and the desertion of some of his Spanish troops greatly diminishes his numbers, but he reaches the Rhône River facing little resistance from the tribes of southern Gaul.
- After crossing the Rhône River and meeting with friendly Gallic leaders headed by the northern Italian Boii, whose knowledge of the Alpine passes are of assistance to Hannibal, the Carthaginians cross the Durance River. Hannibal's army approaches the Alps either by the Col de Grimone or the Col de Cabre, then through the basin of the Durance descending into the territory of the hostile Taurini, where Hannibal storms their chief town (modern Turin).
- A Roman army under the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio is transported by sea to Massilia (modern Marseille) to prevent Hannibal from advancing on Italy. As Scipio moves northward along the right bank of the Rhône, he learns that Hannibal has already crossed the river. Realizing that Hannibal probably plans to cross the Alps, Scipio returns to northern Italy to await him. However, he still sends an army into Spain under his elder brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus to deal with the Carthaginian forces still there.
- A second Roman army, under the other consul, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, assembles in Sicily to embark for Northern Africa. Longus managed to capture Malta from the Carthaginians.
- A Roman army under Scipio rushes to the Po River to protect the recently founded Roman colonies of Placentia (modern Piacenza) and Cremona. Hannibal's forces meet the army of Scipio on the plains west of the Ticino River in the Battle of Ticinus, and Hannibal's Numidian cavalry prevails over the Romans. Scipio is severely wounded, and the Romans withdraw to Placentia.
- The Roman Senate, appalled by the early setback at Ticinus, orders Tiberius Sempronius Longus to travel from Sicily to reinforce Publius Cornelius Scipio's troops.
- December 18 – The combined Roman armies under Tiberius Sempronius Longus and Scipio meet Hannibal on the left bank of the Trebia River south of Placentia and are soundly defeated in the Battle of the Trebia.
- Hannibal's victory over the Romans brings both the Gauls and the Ligurians to Hannibal's side, so his army is considerably augmented by Celtic recruits.
- Negotiations between the new Egyptian King Ptolemy IV and the Seleucid King Antiochus III collapse, and Antiochus III renews his advance, overrunning Ptolemy's forward defences. Antiochus III gains territory in Lebanon, Palestine and Phoenicia.
- Gaius Flaminius is re-elected consul with Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, in what is considered to be a rebuke of the Senate's prosecution of the war. Flaminius raises new legions and marches north to meet the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
- Hannibal advances to the Arno River and then outmanoeuvres the army of Gaius Flaminius at Arretium and reaches Faesulae (modern Fiesole) and Perugia.
- June 24 – On the northern shore of Lake Trasimene, in Umbria, Hannibal's troops all but annihilate Gaius Flaminius' army in the Battle of Trasimene, killing thousands (including Flaminius) and driving others to drown in the lake. Reinforcements of about 4,000 cavalry from Ariminum under the praetor, Gaius Centenius, are intercepted before they arrive and are also destroyed. The Carthaginian troops then march on Rome.
- Gaius Flaminius' supporters in the Senate begin to lose power to the more aristocratic factions as the Romans fear Hannibal is about to besiege their city. The Senate appoint Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus as dictator.
- Quintus Fabius Maximus begins his strategy of "delay". This involves avoiding a set battle with the Carthaginians and creating a "scorched earth" area around Hannibal's army. Manoeuvring among the hills, where Hannibal's cavalry is ineffective, Fabius cuts off his enemy's supplies and harasses Hannibal’s forces incessantly. Fabius gains the name Cunctator (The Delayer) for this strategy.
- Hannibal ravages Apulia and Campania; meanwhile the delaying tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus' army allows only skirmishes to occur between the two armies.
- Fabius' delaying policy becomes increasingly unpopular in Rome, and Fabius is compelled to return to Rome to defend his actions under the guise of observing some religious obligations. Marcus Minucius Rufus, the master of horse, is left in command and manages to catch the Carthaginians off guard near their camp in Geronium and inflicts severe losses on them in a large skirmish. This "victory" causes the Romans, disgruntled with Fabius, to elevate Minucius to the equal rank of dictator with Fabius.
- Minucius takes command of half the army and camps separately from Fabius near Geronium. Hannibal, informed of this development, lays an elaborate trap, which draws out Minucius and his army and then Hannibal attacks it from all sides. The timely arrival of Fabius with the other half of the army enables Minucius to escape after a severe mauling. After the battle, Minucius turns over his army to Fabius and resumes the duties of Master of Horse.
- June 22 – Egyptian native hoplites under Ptolemy IV crushes the Seleucid army under Antiochus III in the Battle of Raphia near Gaza. The realization of their military importance leads to demands by native Egyptians for greater privileges and so to the development of racial difficulties which will weaken the Ptolemy dynasty in the future.
- Although holding the initiative after the Battle of Raphia, Ptolemy IV, on his chief minister Sosibius' advice, negotiates a peace, and the Seleucid army withdraws from Coele Syria. Antiochus III gives up all his conquests except the city of Seleucia-in-Pieria.
- Philip V of Macedon, continuing his war with the Aetolian League lays siege to Phthiotic Thebes, captures it and sells the inhabitants into slavery.
- Learning of Hannibal's victory over the Romans at Lake Trasimene and seeing a chance to recover his Illyrian kingdom from the Romans, Demetrius of Pharos immediately advises Philip V to make peace with the Aetolians, and turn his attentions toward Illyria and Italy. Philip, at once begins negotiations with the Aetolians. At a conference on the coast near Naupactus, Philip meets the Aetolian leaders and a peace treaty is concluded, ending the three-year-long "Social War".
- Publius Cornelius Scipio is sent with reinforcements by Rome to Spain as proconsul. In a naval battle on the Ebro River at Tarraco, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal's fleet is largely destroyed by a daring surprise Roman attack led by Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus. As a result, the Romans are able to strengthen their hold on the Ebro River region.
- The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, moves his forces southward through Italy and seizes the large army supply depot at Cannae on the Aufidus River.
- August 2 – The Battle of Cannae (east of Naples) ends in victory for Hannibal whose 50,000-man army defeats a Roman force of 86,000 led by consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus (who is killed in the battle) and Gaius Terentius Varro. Some 48,200 Roman troops are killed, making this perhaps the deadliest one-day battle in all history.
- A loan of money and supplies for the Roman army in Sicily is sought and obtained from Hiero II of Syracuse.
- The Roman historian Quintus Fabius Pictor is sent to Delphi in Greece to consult the Oracle for advice about what Rome should do after its defeat in the Battle of Cannae.
- Following Hannibal's victory, many regions begin to defect from Rome, while others are conquered by Hannibal's forces. In Apulia, Lucania, Samnium and in Bruttium, Hannibal finds many supporters.
- The city of Capua switches sides to join Hannibal and the Carthaginian army winters there.
- After the defeat at Cannae, Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, commands the remnants of the Roman army at Canusium and saves the city of Nola and southern Campania from occupation by Hannibal.
- A Roman force of 25,000 led by Lucius Postumius Albinus is ambushed by Gauls near Litana and almost completely wiped out.
- Hasdrubal is ordered by the Carthaginian government to march to Italy.
- Roman forces in Spain led by Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and Publius Cornelius Scipio successfully thwart Hasdrubal's attempt to march to Italy.
- Philip V of Macedon, still resenting Rome's interference in Illyrian politics, seizes his opportunity to invade Illyria. Ambassadors from Philip V visit Hannibal at his headquarters in Italy. These actions mark the beginning of the First Macedonian War between Rome and Macedonia.
- A revolt of the Egyptian peasants is put down by Ptolemy IV.
- The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, is denied any reinforcements from Spain for his forces now based in Italy by the activities of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, who, in a battle at Dertosa near the Ebro River effectively stop the Carthaginian general, Hasdrubal's attempt to break through to Italy.
- The Roman law, Lex Oppia, is instituted by Gaius Oppius, a tribune of the plebs during the consulship of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. The Lex Oppia is the first of a series of sumptuary laws introduced in Rome. It not only restricts women's wealth, but also their displaying it.
- The Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, again repulses an attack by Hannibal on the city of Nola.
- Hannibal's forces occupy the cities of Heraclea and Thurii. However, Hannibal is unable to prevent the Romans from besieging Capua.
- Philip V of Macedon and Hannibal negotiate an alliance under which they pledge mutual support and defence. Specifically, they agree to support each other against Rome, and that Hannibal shall have the right to make peace with Rome, but that any peace would include Philip and that Rome would be forced to give up control of Corcyra, Apollonia, Epidamnus, Pharos, Dimale, Parthini and Atintania and to restore to Demetrius of Pharos all his lands currently controlled by Rome.
- The Seleucid king, Antiochus III, crosses the Taurus Mountains, uniting his forces with Attalus of Pergamum and, in one campaign, deprives his rebel general, Achaeus, of all his dominions and takes Sardis (with the exception of the citadel).
- Roman legions led by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus defeat Hanno's Carthaginian forces in a battle near Beneventum, thus denying Hannibal much needed reinforcements.
- The Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who is in Sicily at the time of the revolt of Syracuse, leads an army which storms Leontini and besieges Syracuse. With the help of Archimedes' ideas and inventions, the Syracusans repel his attacks by sea.
- The censors Publius Furius Philus and Marcus Atilius Regulus condemn and degrade (i.e. cause to lose rank in Roman society and politics) two groups of Romans of high rank, including senators and equestrians. The first group are those Roman officers captured by Hannibal's forces in the Battle of Cannae who have come as Carthaginian hostages to Rome to plead for their ransom (and those of their fellow prisoners), and who then refuse to return to Carthaginian captivity when the Senate refuses to ransom any prisoners. The second group are those Romans who have advocated surrender to Carthage after the Battle of Cannae, or who have made plans to flee Rome and offer their services in Greece, Egypt, or Asia Minor.
- Philip V of Macedon attempts an invasion of Illyria by sea with a fleet of 120 craft. He captures Oricum and, sailing up the Aous (modern Vjosë) river, he besieges Apollonia.
- Upon receiving word from Oricum of Philip V's actions in Illyria, Roman propraetor Marcus Valerius Laevinus crosses the Adriatic with his fleet and army. Landing at Oricum, Laevinus is able to retake the town with little fighting.
- Laevinus sends 2,000 men under the command of Quintus Naevius Crista, to Apollonia. Catching Philip's forces by surprise, Quintus Naevius Crista attacks and routs their camp. Philip V is able to escape back to Macedonia, after burning his fleet and leaving many thousands of his men dead or as prisoners of the Romans.
- Panyu (present-day Guangzhou, or Canton) is established as a city.
- Qin Shi Huang orders general Ren Xiao (任囂), commanding 200,000 troops, to conquer the kingdoms in present-day northern Vietnam.
- The Qin armies defeat an army of 300,000 Xiongnu/Hun cavalrymen and expand their territories along the north basin of the Yellow River.
- In alliance with Attalus I of Pergamum, Antiochus III finally captures the rebel king of Anatolia, Achaeus, in his capital, Sardis, after a siege of two years. Antiochus III then has Achaeus executed.
- Emperor Qin Shi Huang orders all Confucian writings destroyed in the burning of books and burying of scholars.
- After being stopped twice by the Romans in his attempts to invade Illyria by sea, and constrained by the Roman commander Marcus Valerius Laevinus' fleet in the Adriatic, Philip V of Macedon keeps his activities in Illyria land based. Keeping clear of the coast, he takes the inland towns of Atintania, Dimale and Lissus and subdues the Greek tribe of the Dassaretae and the Illyrian tribes of the Parthini and the Ardiaei.
- Syphax, king of the western Numidian tribe, the Masaesyli, concludes an alliance with the Romans and they send military advisers to help Syphax train his soldiers. He then attacks the eastern Numidians (the Massylii) ruled by Gala, who is an ally of the Carthaginians. The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal travels to northern Africa from Spain to stamp out the uprising by the Numidians.
- The Roman generals Publius Cornelius Scipio and his elder brother, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, capture Saguntum (modern Sagunto) from the Carthaginians.
- Antiochus III leaves for a campaign in Asia, where he will reach as far as India and mostly manage to recover the areas conquered earlier by Alexander the Great.
- Having recovered the central part of Anatolia from the usurper Achaeus, Antiochus III turns his forces to recover the outlying provinces to the north and east of the Seleucid kingdom.
- Antiochus III gives his sister Antiochia in marriage to King Xerxes of Armenia, who acknowledges Antiochus III's suzerainty and pays him tribute.
- Publius Licinius Crassus Dives is elected "pontifex maximus" over more distinguished candidates, despite never having held any major offices. He will hold this position until his death.
- The Roman soldiers billeted in Tarentum so alienate the citizens of the city that conspirators admit the Carthaginian general Hannibal to the city. The conspirators then defeat the Roman contingent in it. Hannibal keeps control of his troops so that looting is limited to Roman houses. The citadel in Tarentum remains under Roman control, which denies Hannibal the use of the harbour.
- The Roman consuls, Appius Claudius Pulcher and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, besiege Capua with eight legions. Hanno moves to Beneventum to try to help the inhabitants of Capua, but he is defeated by the Romans.
- The Capuans then send an appeal for help to Hannibal. In response, Hannibal sends 2,000 Numidian cavalry as reinforcements to Capua. The combined Carthaginian forces defeat the Roman force led by Flaccus and Pulcher, the latter of whom will soon die of wounds he has sustained.
- The Battle of the Silarus is fought between Hannibal's army and a Roman force led by praetor Marcus Centenius Penula. The Carthaginians are victorious, effectively destroying Centenius Penula's army.
- The Battle of Herdonia is fought between Hannibal's Carthaginian army and Roman forces who are laying siege to Herdonia led by praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus, brother of the consul, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. The Roman army is destroyed, leaving Apulia free of Romans for the year.
- After a two years' siege, Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, gradually forces his way into Syracuse and takes it in the face of strong Carthaginian reinforcements and despite the use of engines of war designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes (such as the Claw of Archimedes).
- Although Marcellus wishes to spare the lives of the Syracusans, he is unable to prevent the sack of the city by his soldiers, which includes the killing of Archimedes. Marcellus carries off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which is to become common.
- Antiochus III's sister arranges for the removal of Armenia's king Xerxes, whom she has recently married. Antiochus III then divides the country into two satrapies.
- The Carthaginian general Hasdrubal Barca returns to Spain after his victory over the rebellious Numidians. He then manages to turn the tide against the Romans in Spain, with the Roman generals Publius Cornelius Scipio and his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus killed in separate battles—Publius on the upper Baetis (Guadalquivir) and Gnaeus in the hinterland of Carthago Nova (Cartagena). The Carthaginians recover all their territory south of the Ebro.
- With the capture of Syracuse, the Romans are able to pacify all of Sicily.
- The Romans besiege the town of Capua (which is allied with Hannibal). The town eventually falls to the Romans and its citizens are punished by them. The town's nobility are put to the sword, its territory is confiscated and its municipal organisation is dissolved.
- Hannibal marches northwards on the city of Rome in a belated and unsuccessful effort to capture the city.
- Rome faces the burdens of inflation and the danger of famine, caused by the disturbed conditions in Italy and Sicily and the withdrawal of so many men from farming. The situation is only relieved by an urgent appeal by the Romans to the King of Egypt, Ptolemy IV, from whom grain is purchased at three times the usual price.
- The Roman commander Marcus Valerius Laevinus explores the possibility of an alliance with the Aetolian League as the Aetolians are once again ready to consider taking up arms against their traditional enemy, Macedonia. A treaty is signed to counter Philip V of Macedon who is allied to Hannibal. Under the treaty, the Aetolians are to conduct operations on land, the Romans at sea. Also, Rome will keep any slaves and other booty taken and Aetolia will receive control of any territory acquired.
- Following the death of his father, Publius Cornelius Scipio, and his uncle, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, at the hands of the Carthaginians, the young Publius Cornelius Scipio takes over command of the Roman troops in Spain. His appointment reflects the Roman Senate's dissatisfaction with the cautious strategy of the propraetor, Gaius Claudius Nero, then commander in Spain north of the Ebro.
- The famine and inflation facing Rome is eased with the pacification, by the Romans, of Sicily.
- The Carthaginian general Hannibal proves his superiority in tactics by inflicting a severe defeat at Herdonia in Apulia upon a proconsular army, slaying the consul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus Maximus.
- The Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus is elected consul for the fourth time and takes Salapia in Apulia, which has revolted and joined forces with Hannibal.
- The Spanish language evolves from Vulgar Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans during the Second Punic War.
- Arsinoe III, wife and sister of King Ptolemy IV gives birth to the future Ptolemy V Epiphanes. Thereafter, she is sequestered in the palace, while Ptolemy's depraved male and female favourites ruin both the king and his government of Egypt. Although Arsinoe III disapproves of the sordid state of the court, she is unable to exert any influence.
- After allying with Hannibal, Philip V of Macedon attacks the Roman positions in Illyria, but fails to take Corcyra or Apollonia, which are protected by the Roman fleet. Rome's command of the sea prevents his lending any effective aid to his Carthaginian ally in Italy. The Aetolians, Sparta and King Attalus of Pergamum join the Romans in the war against Philip V. This coalition is so strong that Philip V has to stop attacking Roman territory.
- Cleomenes III, Spartan king from 235 BC to 222 BC, who reorganized Sparta's political structure and struggled unsuccessfully to destroy the Achaean League.
- Gaius Flaminius, Roman consul and general
- Pinnes (also Pinneus or Pineus), son of Agron, king of Illyria, and Agron's first wife Triteuta
- August 2
- Gelo, son of Hiero II
- Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Roman consul 232 BC and priest (augur)
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Greek author (b. 295 BC)
- Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse from 270 BC (b. c. 308 BC)
- Hieronymus, grandson of Hiero II of Syracuse and tyrant (assassinated) (b. c. 231 BC)
- Aratus of Sicyon, Greek statesman, general and advocate of Greek unity, who, for many years, has been the leader of the Achaean League (b. 271 BC)
- Achaeus, Seleucid general and later separatist ruler of most of Anatolia until his defeat and execution by the Seleucid king Antiochus III
- Archimedes of Syracuse, Greek mathematician and scientist, who has calculated formulae for the areas and volumes of spheres, cylinders, parabolas and other plane and solid figures. He has also founded the science of hydrostatics, including the principle of the upthrust on a floating body which has led to his cry, "Eureka". Thirdly, he has invented siege-engines for use against the Romans and the Archimedean screw to raise water (b. c. 287 BC)
- Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, Roman consul from 215 to 213 BC
- Xerxes of Armenia (assassinated by his wife Antiochia)
- Arsaces I, king of Parthia from 250 BC and son of Phriapites, a chief of the seminomadic Parni tribe from the Caspian steppes
- Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, Roman general, statesman and brother of Publius Cornelius Scipio
- Manius Pomponius Matho, Roman general, consul and maternal grandfather of Scipio Africanus
- Publius Cornelius Scipio, Roman general, consul and proconsul during the Second Punic War
- September 10 – Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China (b. 259 BC)
- Fusu, son and heir apparent of Qin Shi Huang
- Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus Maximus, Roman consul and general
- Meng Tian, Chinese general of the Qin Dynasty
- Meng Yi, Chinese official of the Qin Dynasty
- Tiberius Sempronius Longus, Roman consul and general
- Bashu Guafu Qing, Chinese businesswoman (b. 259 BC)
- Gavin De Beer, Hannibal: Challenging Rome's Supremacy, 1969, Viking Press, 319 pages
- C. Michael Hogan, Cydonia, The Modern Antiquarian, January 23, 2008
- Castillo, Dennis Angelo (2006). The Maltese Cross: A Strategic History of Malta. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 20–26. ISBN 9780313323294.
- Polybius, 3:107.2–3 The Histories
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.44–51
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23.21
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.57
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.61
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23.24
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23.27
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23.29
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.56
- Smith, William (2006). A New Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, Mythology and Geography. Whitefish, MT, USA: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 423.
- "Ptolemy V Epiphanes | Macedonian king of Egypt". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.49
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 23.30