During the 290s BC, Hellenistic civilization begins its emergence throughout the successor states of the former Argead Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great, resulting in the diffusion of Greek culture throughout the Levant and advances in science, mathematics, philosophy, etc. Meanwhile, the Roman Republic is embroiled in war against the Samnites, the Mauryan Empire continues to thrive in Ancient India, and the Kingdom of Qin in Ancient China, the one which in the future will conquer its adversaries and unite China, begins to emerge as a significant power during the Warring States period.
|Millennium:||1st millennium BC|
- The Samnites, seizing their chance when Rome is engaged on the Lombard plain, start the third Samnite War with a collection of mercenaries from Gaul, Sabine, and Etruscan allies to help them.
- The state of Qin attacks eight cities of the state of Chu. Chu then sends an envoy to ask the King of Huai to go to Qin to negotiate peace. Qu Yuan risks his life to go up to the court to persuade the King of Huai not to go to the negotiation.
- King Wuling of Zhao abdicates the throne of Zhao to his son.
- The Samnites defeat the Romans under Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus in the Battle of Camerinum, the first battle of the Third Samnite War.
- The Roman armies penetrate into the heart of the Samnite territory and then capture the Samnite cities of Taurasia, Bovianum Vetus and Aufidena.
- Agathocles, king of Syracuse, assists the Italian Greeks against the Bruttians and supports the Greeks against the Romans.
- Ptolemy gives his stepdaughter Theoxena in marriage to Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse (in south-eastern Sicily).
- Ptolemy finally brings the rebellious region of Cyrene under his control. He places the region under the rule of his stepson Magas.
- Fabius Maximus Rullianus becomes consul for the fourth time. He defeats the Samnites in a battle near Tifernum.
- Following Cassander's death from illness, Philip IV, Cassander's eldest son, succeeds his father as King of Macedon, but soon after coming to the throne suffers from a wasting disease and dies. Antipater, the next son, rules jointly with his brother Alexander V.
- Demetrius Poliorcetes returns to Greece with the aim of becoming master of Macedonia. While Demetrius is in Greece, Lysimachus seizes his possessions in Asia Minor.
- Ptolemy decides to support Pyrrhus of Epirus and restores him to his kingdom. At first Pyrrhus reigns with a kinsman, Neoptolemus II of Epirus (who is a son of Cleopatra of Macedonia and a nephew of Alexander the Great), but soon he has him assassinated.
- Chandragupta Maurya goes to Sravana Belagola near Mysore to live in the way of Jains.
- Bindusara his son ascends to the Pataliputra throne.
- The temple to Bellona is erected at the south end of the prata Flaminia, later the Circus Flaminius, in Rome.
- The Battle of Sentinum west of Anconum ends in defeat for a formidable coalition of Samnites, Etruscans, Umbri, and their Gallic allies at the hands of the Roman legions commanded by consuls Publius Decius Mus (who is killed in the battle) and Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus. The Romans lose nearly 8,000 men but kill some 25,000 men of the enemy and force peace on the Etruscans.
- August 19 – The first temple to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, is dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the Third Samnite War.
- Athens falls to Demetrius Poliorcetes after a bitter siege, and its tyrant Lachares is killed.
- The king of Macedon, Antipater II, murders his mother Thessalonike, accusing her of being too fond of his brother and co-ruler Alexander V.
- Archidamus IV, king of Sparta, son of Eudamidas I and grandson of Archidamus III, is defeated by Demetrius Poliorcetes of Macedonia in a battle at Mantinea. Sparta is saved only because Demetrius is called away by the threatening activities of his rivals Lysimachus and Ptolemy.
- Alexander V of Macedon is ousted by his brother, Antipater II. Therefore Alexander V turns to Demetrius Poliorcetes for help in recovering his throne. However, Demetrius Poliorcetes establishes himself on the throne of Macedonia and then murders Alexander V. Antipater II loses the throne of Macedonia but is able to survive.
- Pyrrhus of Epirus exploits the dynastic quarrel in Macedonia involving Alexander V of Macedon, his brother, Antipater II and Demetrius Poliorcetes to take over the frontier areas of Parauaea and Tymphaea, along with Acarnania, Ampholochia, and Ambracia.
- Lysimachus concludes a peace with Demetrius Poliorcetes whereby Demetrius Poliorcetes is recognized as ruler of Macedonia.
- Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes and wife of Seleucus marries her stepson Antiochus. Seleucus has reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son by his late wife Apama was in danger of dying of lovesickness as he has fallen in love with his beautiful stepmother.
- The Battle of Aquilonia is fought between the Roman Republic and the Samnites, near the current city of Aquilonia in Campania (in southern Italy). The Romans, led by the consuls Lucius Papirius Cursor and Spurius Carvilius Maximus, are victorious. After the battle, the Samnites flee into the city of Aquilonia and into their camp. The camp is captured and looted by the Romans, while the city is eventually taken, with many of the Samnite survivors being slaughtered in the fighting.
- Rome suffers from the plague. The worship of Aesculapius is introduced from Epidaurus to Rome in the hope of averting the plague.
- When an invasion of nomads threatens the eastern possessions of his realm (i.e. between the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea and the Indian Ocean), Seleucus hands over the government of these lands west of the Euphrates to his son Antiochus. Antiochus is appointed co-regent and commander-in-chief of these territories.
- The State of Qin, led by commander Bai Qi, wins a decisive victory over the States of Wei and Han in the Battle of Yique. As part of the terms of defeat, Han and Wei are forced to concede land to Qin.
- Lysimachus tries to extend his influence beyond the Danube River, but he is defeated and taken prisoner by the Getae (Dacian) king Dromichaetes (Dromihete). Eventually, Lysimachus is set free and a peace is agreed between the Getae and Lysimachus. This peace agreement is strengthened further by the marriage of Dromichaetes with Lysimachus' daughter.
- While Demetrius Poliorcetes is campaigning in Boeotia, he receives news that Lysimachus, the ruler of Thrace, has been taken prisoner by Dromichaetes. Hoping to seize Lysimachus's territories in Thrace, Demetrius, delegates command of his forces in Boeotia to his son, Antigonus and immediately marches north. However, while he is away, the Boeotians rise in rebellion, but are defeated by Antigonus, who bottles them up in the city of Thebes and puts them under siege.
- Demetrius Poliorcetes joins his son, Antigonus, in the siege of Thebes. As the Thebans defend their city stubbornly, Demetrius forces his men to attack the city at great cost. Demetrius finally takes the city after using siege engines to demolish its walls.
- Roman general and consul, Manius Curius Dentatus, gains a decisive victory over the Samnites, thereby ending a war that has lasted 50 years. He also reduces the Sabine insurgents to submission, their territory is annexed and they are granted civitas sine suffragio ("citizenship without the right to vote"). The Samnites are recognised by the Romans as autonomous allies. The Samnites are forced to give up some of their land to the Romans as compensation.
- Nan, Zhou dynasty king of China, r. 314–256 BC
- Mencius, Chinese Confucian philosopher
- Perunar killi, King of the Chola Empire, r. 316-286 BC
- Huai, King of Chu, r. 328–299 BC
- Qingxiang, King of Chu, r. 299–263 BC
- Qu Yuan, poet, scholar, and minister from Chu
- Ptolemy I, Pharaoh of Egypt, r. 305–285 BC
- Euclid of Alexandria, mathematician and "Father of Geometry"
- Onias I High-Priest of Israel, held position 320–280 BC
- Neoptolemus II, King of Epirus, r. 302–297 BC
- Pyrrhus I, King of Epirus, r. 307–302, 297–272 BC
- Pharnavaz I, King of Caucasian Iberia r. 302-237
- Énna Aignech, Legendary High-King of Ireland, r. 313-293 BC
- Crimthann Coscrach, Legendary High-King of Ireland, r. 293-289 BC
- Kōan, Legendary Emperor of Japan, r. 392–291 BC
- Kōrei, Legendary Emperor of Japan, r. 291–215 BC
- Aktisanes, King of Kush, r. c. 300-290 BC
- Cassander, King of Macedon, r. 305–297 BC
- Philip IV, King of Macedon, r. 297 BC
- Alexander V and Antipater II, co-kings of Macedon r. 297–294 BC
- Demetrius I, King of Macedon, r. 294–288 BC
- Epicurus, Greek philosopher (founder of Epicureanism)
- Chandragupta Maurya, Mauryan dynasty Emperor of India, r. 322–298 BC
- Bindusara, Mauryan dynasty Emperor of India, r. 298–272 BC
- Chanakya, Mauryan Prime Minister
- Zhaoxiang, King of Qin, r. 307–251 BC
- Bai Qi, Qin general
- Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, Roman Consul and general, in office 298 BC
- Publius Decius Mus, Roman Consul, in office 312, 308, 297, 295 BC
- Fabius Maximus Rullianus, Roman Consul, in office 322, 310, 308, 297, 295 BC
- Manius Curius Dentatus, Roman Consul, in office 290, 284, 275, 274 BC
- Gellius Egnatius, leader of the Samnites during the Third Samnite War
- Seleucus I, King of the Seleucid Empire, r. 305–281 BC
- Antiochus, Prince, commander of western territories, and future king of the Seleucid Empire
- Berossus of Babylon, astronomer and writer
- Megasthenes, traveller, geographer, and Seleucid ambassador to the Mauryan Empire
- Areus I (Agaid king) r. 309–265 and Archidamus IV (Eurypontid king) r. 305–275 BC, Co-kings of Sparta
- Agathocles, Tyrant of Syracuse, in office 317–289 BC
- Lysimachus, King of Thrace and Asia Minor, r. 306-281 BC (Thrace), 301-281 BC (Asia Minor)
- Cotys II, King of Odrysian Thrace, r. 300-280 BC
- Wuling, King of Zhao, r. 326–299 BC
- Huiwen, King of Zhao, r. 299–266 BC
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Greek poet and librarian (approximate date)
- Ptolemy, son of Pyrrhus of Epirus (d. 272 BC)
- King Cassander of Macedon (one of the diadochoi ("successors"), the Macedonian generals who have fought over the empire of Alexander the Great after his death) (b. c. 358 BC)
- Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor of the Maurya Empire in India, r. 322–297 BC (approximate date)
- Gellius Egnatius, Roman military leader of the Samnites
- Publius Decius Mus, Roman consul (killed in the Battle of Sentinum)
- Thessalonike of Macedon, daughter of king Philip II of Macedon and wife of Cassander (b. 352 BC)
- Wuling of Zhao, Chinese king of Zhao (b. 340 BC)
- Zhuang Zhou, Chinese philosopher (approximate date)
- Menander, Athenian dramatist, considered to be a master of Greek New Comedy (b. c. 342 BC)
- Dinarchus, Athenian speech writer whose work is generally thought to reflect the gradual decline of Attic oratory (b. c. 361 BC)