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 – Prince Shapur I becomes co-ruler of the Sasanian Empire with his father King Ardashir I.
- Siege of Hatra: The Sasanians besiege the capital of the Kingdom of Hatra ruled by Sanatruq II.
- Mani, a young mystic of Ctesiphon, proclaims himself a prophet at the court of Ardashir I. He preaches his doctrine, Manichaeism, throughout the Sassanid Empire.
- Winter – Emperor Gordian III reaches Antioch and prepares, with his army, an offensive against the Sassanids.
- Gaius Furius Sabinius Aquila Timesitheus becomes praetorian prefect and de facto ruler of the Roman Empire.
- Prince Shapur I succeeds his father Ardashir I as ruler of the Sassanid Empire. He begins his expansion in India.
- Shapur I annexes parts of the Kushan Empire. The ancient city of Bagram (modern Afghanistan) is abandoned.
- Fall of Hatra: Shapur I captures Hatra, the capital of the Kingdom of Hatra. The city is destroyed by the Sassanids.
- 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 Sassanids at Carrhae and Nisibis.
- King Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Empire, dies after a 30-year reign. He is succeeded by his son and co-ruler Shapur I.
- Battle of Resaena: A Roman army under Timesitheus defeats the Sassanids at Resaena (mdern Syria); King Shapur I is forced to flee to the Euphrates.
- Timesitheus becomes ill and dies under suspicious circumstances. Shapur I retreats to Sassanid Empire, giving up all the territories he has conquered.
- Emperor Gordian III appoints Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect (after the death of Timesitheus) and proceeds with his campaign in Mesopotamia.
- Cohors I Ubiorum, the garrison at 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.
Art and ScienceEdit
- 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. The 1,000th anniversary is commemorated with the Ludi Saeculares festivals, celebrated throughout the Roman Empire.
- 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 Trajan Decius, by order of Emperor Philip the Arab.
- The Roman Empire continues the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Rome, with the ludi saeculares, organized by Philip the Arab.
- Cyprian, Christian writer of Berber descent, 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. Sima Yi issues a memorial, which lists the various crimes he and his associates has committed.
- In Alexandria, the populace pillages the homes of Christians.
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- Lucian of Antioch, Syrian theologian and martyr (d. 312)
- Sporus of Nicaea, Greek mathematician (approximate date)
- Zenobia, queen of the Palmyrene Empire (d. 274)
- Sun Hao, Chinese emperor of the Eastern Wu (d. 284)
- Sun Liang, Chinese emperor of the Eastern Wu state (d. 260)
- December 22 – Diocletian, Roman mperor (d. 311)
- Alexander of Constantinople, bishop of Byzantium (approximate date)
- Pan Yue, Chinese poet and writer of the Jin Dynasty (d. 300)
- Prisca, Roman empress and wife of Diocletian (d. 315)
- Flavia Iulia Helena, Roman empress (approximate date)
- Li Liu (or Xuantong), Chinese Grand General (d. 303)
- Sima You (or Dayou), Chinese prince and politician (d. 283)
- Shi Chong (or Jilun), Chinese politician and statesmen
- Ammonius Saccas, Neoplatonic philosopher (approximate date)
- Huang Quan (or Gongheng), Chinese general
- Sanatruq II, king of Hatra (Ending of the Kingdom of Hatra)
- Sun Deng, Chinese 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)
- Ammonius Saccas, Egyptian philosopher (b. 175)
- Ardashir I, king of the Sassanid Empire (b. 180)
- Man Chong (or Boning), Chinese general and politician
- Gu Yong (or Yuantan), Chinese official and politician (b. 168)
- Hu Zong (or Weize), Chinese official and general (b. 183)
- Timesitheus, Roman advisor and praetorian prefect (b. 190)
- Xue Zong (or Jingwen), Chinese official, politician and poet
- February 11 – Gordian III, Roman emperor (b. 225)
- Cao Xun, Chinese prince of the Cao Wei state (b. 231)
- Ge Xuan (or Xiaoxian), Chinese Taoist (b. 164)
- Zhang Cheng (or Zhongsi), Chinese general (b. 178)
- Ammonius Saccas, Alexandrian-Greek philosopher (approximate date)
- Lu Xun (or Boyan), Chinese general and statesman (b. 183)
- Wu (or Wu Xian), Chinese empress of the Shu Han state
- Wu Can (or Kongxiu), Chinese official and politician
- Zhao Yan (or Boran), Chinese official and general (b. 171)
- Dong Yun (or Xiuzhao), Chinese general and politician
- Gu Tan (or Zimo), Chinese official and politician (b. 205)
- Jiang Wan (or Gongyan), Chinese general and statesman
- Bu Zhi (or Zishan), Chinese general, official and statesman
- Xiang Lang (or Juda), Chinese general, official and politician
- Zhang Chunhua, wife of Sima Yi, regent of the Cao Wei state (b. 189)
- Dongcheon, Korean ruler of Goguryeo (b. 209)
- Himiko (or Shingi Waō), Japanese queen (b. 170)
- Trieu Thi Trinh, Vietnamese female warrior (b. 226)
- February 9
- May 18 – Jiang Ji (or Zitong), Chinese general
- Ma Zhong (or Dexin), Chinese general and politician
- Philip II (the Younger), Roman emperor (b. 237)
- Philip the Arab, Roman general and emperor (b. 204)
- Quan Cong, Chinese general and politician (b. 198)
- Wang Bi, Chinese philosopher and politician (b. 226)
- Xu Miao (or Jingshan), Chinese politician (b. 172)
- Zhu Ran, Chinese adviser and general (b. 182)
- Stratton, J. M. (1969). Agricultural Records. London: John Baker. ISBN 0-212-97022-4.
- Walker, Brett L. (2015). A Concise History of Japan. Cambridge University Press. p. 18. ISBN 9781107004184.
- "List of Rulers of Korea". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
- "List of Rulers of Korea". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- 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.