- 4th century BC
The 4th century BC started the first day of
400 BCand ended the last day of 301 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period.
This century marked the height of Classical Greek civilization in all of its aspects. By the year 400 Greek
philosophy, art, literatureand architecturehad spread far and wide, with the numerous independent Greek colonies that had sprung up throughout the lands of the eastern Mediterranean.
Arguably the most important series of political events in this period were the conquests of Alexander, bringing about the collapse of the once formidable
Persian Empireand spreading Greek culture far into the east. Alexander dreamed of an east/west union, but when his short life ended, his vast empire was plunged into civil war as his generals each carved out their own separate kingdoms. Thus began the Hellenistic age, a period characterized by a more absolute approach to rule, with Greek kings taking on royal trappings and setting up hereditary successions. While a degree of democracy still existed in some of the remaining independent Greek cities, many scholars see this age as marking the end of classical Greece.
*Mid-4th century BC —
Priene, Western Turkeyis rebuilt.
*4th century BC —
Pectoral, from the tomb of a Scythianat Ordzhonikidze, Russia, is made. It is now at Historical Museum, Kiev.
*Late 4th century BC —
Diadem, reputed to have been found in a tomb near the Hellespont. It is now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Praxitelesor his followers makes Hermes and the infant Dionysos. A Hellenistic or Roman copy after a Late Classical original is at Archaeological Museum, Olympia. Discovered in the rubble or the ruined Temple of Hera at Olympia in 1875.
399 BC Socratesis executed in Athenson charges of impiety and corrupting Athenian youth.
383 BC Second Buddhist councilat Vesali, 100 years after the Parinirvana.
373 BCThe Greek city of Helikesinks into the sea causing the death of its entire population.
360 BCTheater of Tholos, at Epidauros is built.
*Mid-4th century BC —
Skopas(?) makes Panel from the Amazon frieze, south side of the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. It is now kept at The British Museum, London.
354 BC, the Battle of Guilingin China.
342 BC, the Battle of Malingin China.
323 BC Alexander the Greatconquers the Persian Empire, decline and depopulation of Ancient Greecewith large migrations towards the conquered lands.
316 BCThe Chinese State of Qin conquers the State of Shu, located in modern-day Sichuan, the ultimate success of the conquest due large in part to the strategy of Zhang Yi.
312 BC Seleucus I Nicatorestablishes himself in Babylon, founding the Seleucid Empire.
*Invasion of the
Celts into Ireland.
Battle of the Alliaand subsequent Gaulish sack of Rome.
Scythiansare beginning to be absorbed into the Sarmatian people.
*The Romans conquer the
Abruzziregion, decline of the Etruscan civilization.
Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman dictator("c." 446– 365 BC)
Plato, philosopher ("c." 427– 347 BC)
Tollund Man, Human sacrificevictim on the Jutland Peninsulain Denmark, possibly the earliest known evidence for worship of Odin
Aristotle, philosopher and scientist (384– 322 BC)
Philip II of Macedonia(born 382, reigned 359– 336 BC)
Demosthenes(384–322 BC), a prominent Athenian statesmanand orator, who became a fierce opponent of Philip II and Alexander of Macedon
Gan De, Chinese astronomer
Shi Shen, Chinese astronomer
Darius III of Persia, last King of the Achaemenid dynasty(born 380, reigned 359– 330 BC)
Mencius, Chinese philosopherand sage (371– 289 BC)
Yang Zhu(also Yang Chu), Chinese philosopherfor egoism and intellectual rival of Mencius (370– 319 BCE)
Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty("c." 367– 283 BC)
Shang Yang, Prime Minister of Qin, his reform helped Qin to become the strongest country and later unified China(term 361– 338 BC)
Seleucus I Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Empire("c." 358– 281 BC)
Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, invades Asia Minor, Persia and reaches India(born 356, reigned 336– 323 BC)
*Brennus, Gaulish chieftain
Zhuangzi, Chinese philosopher
Archon of Pella, Babylonian satrap
Sun Bin, Chinese general and military strategist (d. 316 BC)
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
*Oldest Brahmi script dates from this period (Brahmi is the ancestor of
*Romans build first aqueduct.
*Chinese use the handheld trigger
crossbowfor the first time.
*The first crossbow, the
gastraphetes, is invented at Syracuse.
*Burnt brick first used in
*Donkey-powered mills first used in
*Torque with lion's-head terminals, from
Susa(modern Shush, Iran) was made. It is now in Musee du Louvre, Paris.
Daric, a coinfirst minted under Darius Iof Persiawas made. It is now in Heberden Coin room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
*Starting in the year
309 BC, the later Chinese historian Sima Qian( 145 BC– 90 BC) wrote that the Qin-employed engineer Bi Ling of the newly conquered State of Shu in Sichuanhad the shoulder of a mountain cut through, making the 'Separated Hill' that abated the Mo River, and excavated two canals in the plain of Chengdu. The significance of this was phenomenal, as it allowed the new Guanxian irrigationsystem to populate an area of some 40 by 50 miles (60 × 80 km) with over five million people, still in use today (Needham, "Science and Civilization in China", Volume 4, Part 3, 288).
*The Chinese astronomer
Gan Dedivides the celestial sphereinto 365¼ degrees, and the tropical year into 365¼ days at a time when most astronomers used the Babylondivision of the celestial sphere as 360 degrees (Deng, Yinke.  (2005). Chinese Ancient Inventions. ISBN 7508508378).
Decades and years
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