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3rd century BC

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Title: 3rd century BC  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 1st millennium BC, 2nd century BC, 350s BC, 5th century BC, Years of the 4th century BC in Europe
Collection: 1St Millennium Bc, 3Rd Century Bc, Centuries
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

3rd century BC

Millennium: 1st millennium BC
Decades: 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC
240s BC 230s BC 220s BC 210s BC 200s BC
Categories: BirthsDeaths
Eastern hemisphere at the end of the 3rd century BC.

The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period.

Hannibal Crosses the Alps during the Second Punic War

In the Mediterranean the first few decades of this century were characterized by a balance of power between the Greek Hellenistic kingdoms in the east, and the great mercantile power of Carthage in the west. This balance was shattered when conflict arose between Carthage and the Roman Republic. In the following decades, the Carthaginian Republic was first humbled and then destroyed by the Romans in the first and second Punic wars. Following the Second Punic War, Rome became the most important power in the western Mediterranean.

Maurya Empire at the age of Ashoka. The empire stretched from Iran to Bangladesh/Assam and from Central Asia (Afghanistan) to Tamil Nadu/South India.

In India, Ashoka the Great ruled the Maurya Empire. The Pandya, Chola and Chera dynasties of the classical age flourished in the ancient Tamil country. The Xiong Nu were at the height of their power in Mongolia. The Warring States period in China drew to a close, with Qin Shihuang conquering other nation-states and establishing the short-lived Qin dynasty, the first empire of China, which was followed in the same century by the long-lasting Han dynasty. The Protohistoric Period began in the Korean peninsula.


  • Events 1
    • 290s BC 1.1
    • 280s BC 1.2
    • 270s BC 1.3
    • 260s BC 1.4
    • 250s BC 1.5
    • 240s BC 1.6
    • 230s BC 1.7
    • 220s BC 1.8
    • 210s BC 1.9
    • 200s BC 1.10
  • Significant people 2
    • Literature 2.1
    • Science and Philosophy 2.2
  • Inventions, discoveries, introductions 3
  • Evidence 4
  • Sovereign States 5
  • Decades and years 6


The Chinese Terracotta Army of Qin Shihuang's tomb at Xian, Shaanxi, China.

290s BC

280s BC

270s BC

260s BC

The Pyramid of the Moon, one of several monuments built in Teotihuacán

250s BC

240s BC

230s BC

220s BC

210s BC

200s BC

Significant people


Science and Philosophy

Inventions, discoveries, introductions


Much of what is known of this century comes from the works of the Greek historian Polybius, whose main concern is the story of how Rome comes to dominate the known world.

Sovereign States

See: List of sovereign states in the 3rd century BC.

Decades and years

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