The 440s decade ran from January 1, 440, to December 31, 449.

Millennium: 1st millennium
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  • Disestablishments



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  • Chaturanga, Indian war game, and an ancestor of chess through the Persian game of Shatranj (or Chatrang), evolves in the Indus Valley on the Indian subcontinent (approximate date).


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  • Bleda, co-ruler of the Huns, dies in a hunting accident. He is possibly murdered at the instigation of his younger brother Attila, with whom he has ruled since 434. Now about 39, Attila takes the throne for himself, and becomes king of the Hunnic Empire.

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Significant people


  1. ^ The End of Empire. Christopher Kelly, 2009. ISBN 978-0-393-33849-2
  2. ^ The End of Empire (p. 227). Christopher Kelly, 2009. ISBN 978-0-393-33849-2
  3. ^ The End of Empire (p. 144). Christopher Kelly, 2009. ISBN 978-0-393-33849-2
  4. ^ Thiidrekssaga Research: Merovingian Origin Location (s)
  5. ^ The End of Empire. Christopher Kelly, 2009. ISBN 978-0-393-33849-2
  6. ^ The End of Empire. Christopher Kelly, 2009. ISBN 978-0-393-33849-2
440s BC

This article concerns the period 449 BC – 440 BC.

== Events ==

=== 449 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

The Greek city-states make peace with the Persian Empire through the Peace of Callias, named after the chief Greek ambassador to the Persian Court, an Athenian who is a brother-in-law of Cimon. Athens agrees to end its support for the Egyptians rebels still holding out in parts of the Nile Delta, while the Persians agree not to send ships of war into the Aegean Sea. Athens now effectively controls all the Greek city states in Ionia.

Pericles begins a great building plan including the re-fortification of Athens main port Piraeus and its long walls extending to Athens main city.

Pericles proposes a "Congress Decree" allowing the use of 9,000 talents to finance the massive rebuilding program of Athenian temples. This leads to a meeting ("Congress") of all Greek states in order to consider the question of rebuilding the temples destroyed by the Persians. The Congress fails because of Sparta's opposition.

Pericles places the Athenian sculptor Phidias in charge of all the artistic aspects of his reconstruction program. Construction begins on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, while the Athenian Senate commissions Callicrates to construct a temple to Athena Nike on the Acropolis.

The Second Sacred War erupts between Athens and Sparta, when Sparta forcefully detaches Delphi from Phocis and renders it independent.

====== Roman Republic ======

The Law of the Twelve Tables (developed by the Decemvirates) is formally promulgated in 450 B.C. The Twelve Tables are literally drawn up on twelve ivory tablets which are posted in the Forum Romanum so that all Romans can read and know them.

When the Decemvirate's term of office expires, the decemviri refuse to leave office or permit successors to take office. Appius Claudius Crassus is said to have made an unjust decision which would have forced a young woman named Verginia into prostitution, prompting her father to kill her. This leads to an uprising against the Decemvirate forcing the decemviri to resign their offices. The ordinary magistrates (magistratus ordinarii) are re-instituted. Appius Claudius is said to have committed suicide as a result of these events.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Herodotus completes his History, which records the events concerning the Persian War.

=== 448 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles leads the Athenian army against Delphi to restore the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi to Phocis.

The Athenians begin constructing the middle component of the Long Walls from their main city to its port of Piraeus.

====== Rome ======

Following the co-optation of two patricians to the office of Tribune of the Plebs, the tribune Lucius Trebonius Asper introduces the Lex Trebonia, a law forbidding tribunes from co-opting their colleagues in the future.

=== 447 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles leads Athenian forces in the expulsion of barbarians from the Thracian peninsula of Gallipoli, in order to establish Athenian colonists in the region. Thus Pericles starts a policy of kleruchos or "out-settlements". This is a form of colonisation where poor and unemployed people are assisted to emigrate to new regions.

A revolt breaks out in Boeotia as the oligarchs of Thebes conspire against the democratic faction in the city. The Athenians, under their general Tolmides, with 1000 hoplites plus other troops from their allies, march into Boeotia to take back the towns revolting against Athenian control. They capture Chaeronea, but are attacked and defeated by the Boeotians at Coronea. As a result, the Athenians are forced to give up control of Boeotia as well as Phocis and Locris, which all fall under the control of hostile oligarchs who quit the Delian League.

The middle component of the Long Walls from Athens to the port city of Piraeus is completed.

==== By subject ====

====== Literature ======

Achaeus of Eretria, a Greek playwright, produces his first play.

====== Architecture ======

Pericles commissions the architects Kallikrates and Iktinos to design a larger temple for the Parthenon and the construction begins on rebuilding the great temple of Athena (the Parthenon) on the Acropolis at Athens soon afterwards.

=== 446 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Achaea achieves its independence from Athens, while Euboea, crucial to Athenian control of the sea and food supplies, revolts against Athens. Pericles crosses over to Euboea with his troops.

Megara joins the revolt against Athens. The strategic importance of Megara is immediately demonstrated by the appearance, for the first time in 12 years, of a Spartan army under King Pleistoanax in Attica. The threat from the Spartan army leads Pericles to arrange, by bribery and by negotiation, that Athens will give up its mainland possessions and confine itself to a largely maritime empire.

The Spartan army retires, so Pericles crosses back to Euboea with 50 ships and 5,000 soldiers, cracking down any opposition. He punishes the landowners of Chalcis, who lose their properties, while the residents of Histiaea are uprooted and replaced by 2,000 Athenian settlers.

After hearing that the Spartan army had accepted bribes from Pericles, Pleistoanax, the King of Sparta, is impeached by the citizens of Sparta, but flees to exile in Arcadia. His military adviser, Cleandridas also flees and is condemned to death in his absence.

====== Sicily ======

Ducetius, the Hellenised leader of the Siculi, an ancient people of Sicily, returns from exile in Corinth to Sicily and colonises Cale Acte on the north coast with Greek and Siculi settlers.

Acragas declares war on Syracuse because of the return of Ducetius and is defeated by Syracuse in the Battle of the Himera River.

====== Roman Republic ======

In the Battle of Corbione, Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus leads Roman troops to a victory over the Aequi of north-east Latium and the Volsci of southern Latium.

=== 445 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles, concerned over the draining effect of years of war on Athenian manpower, looks for peace with the support of the Assembly. Athenian diplomat, Callias, goes to Sparta and after much bargaining arranges a peace treaty with Sparta and her Peloponnesian allies, thus extending the 5 years truce of 451 BC for another 30 years. According to this treaty, Megara is to be returned to the Peloponnesian League, Troezen and Achaea become independent, Aegina is to become a tributary to Athens but autonomous, and disputes are to be settled by arbitration. Each party agrees to respect the alliances of the other.

The Temple of Poseidon is completed south of Athens at Cape Sunion.

====== Roman Republic ======

A new law, the Lex Canuleia removes the ban on inter-marriage of the Roman classes, i.e. plebeian with patrician.

The Plebeians demand the right to stand for election as consul but the Roman senate refused to grant them this right. Ultimately, a compromise is reached, and consular command authority is granted to Consular Tribunes ("Military Tribunes with Consular powers" or tribuni militares consulari potestate).

=== 444 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

The conservative and democratic factions in Athens confront each other. The ambitious new leader of the conservatives, Thucydides, accuses the leader of the democratic faction, Pericles, of profligacy and criticises the way Pericles is spending money on his ambitious building plans for the city. Thucydides manages, initially, to gain the support of the ecclesia. Pericles responds by proposing to reimburse the city for all the expenses from his private property, on the condition that he would make the inscriptions of dedication in his own name. His stance is supported by the ecclesia, so Thucydides' efforts to dislodge Pericles from power are defeated.

====== Persian empire ======

Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to Artaxerxes I at Susa, is given permission by Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem as governor of Judea, in order to rebuild parts of it.

=== 443 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

No consuls are elected in Rome, but rather military tribunes with consular power are appointed in their stead. While only patricians could be consuls, some military tribunes were plebeians. These positions had responsibility for the census, a vital function in the financial administration of Rome. So to stop the plebeians from possibly gaining control of the census, the patricians remove from the consuls and tribunes the right to take the census, and rather entrust it to two magistrates, called censores who were to be chosen exclusively from the patricians in Rome.

====== Italy ======

Pericles founds the colony of Thurii near the site of the former city of Sybaris, in southern Italy. Its colonists include Herodotus and Lysias.

=== 442 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

As a result of his failure to effectively challenge Pericles, the Athenian citizens ostracise Thucydides for 10 years and Pericles is once again unchallenged in Athenian politics.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Sophocles writes Antigone.

=== 441 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

Zhou ai wang becomes King of the Zhou Dynasty of China but dies before the year's end, to be succeeded by Zhou si wang.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

The Greek playwright, Euripides, wins his first victory in a dramatic festival.

The Greek playwright Sophocles writes Antigone.

=== 440 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Samos, an autonomous member of the Delian League and one of Athens' principal allies with a substantial fleet of its own, quarrels with Miletus and appeals to Athens for assistance. Pericles decides in favour of Miletus, so Samos revolts. Pericles then sails to Samos with a fleet to overthrow its oligarchic government and install a democratic one. Sparta threatens to interfere. However, at a congress of the Peloponnesian League, its members vote not to intervene on behalf of Samos against Athens.

====== Roman Republic ======

A famine strikes in Rome.

====== China ======

Zhou Kao Wang becomes King of the Zhou Dynasty of China.

==== By topic ====

====== Physics ======

Democritus proposes the existence of indivisible particles, which he calls atoms.

====== Art ======

Polykleitos completes one of his greatest statues, the Doryphorus (The Spear Bearer) (approximate date).

The stela, Demeter, Persephone and Triptolemos, from Eleusis, is made (approximate date). It is now kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

A temple for Poseidon is erected in Sounion.


Agathon (; Ancient Greek: Ἀγάθων; c. 448 – c. 400 BC) was an Athenian tragic poet whose works have been lost. He is best known for his appearance in Plato's Symposium, which describes the banquet given to celebrate his obtaining a prize for his first tragedy at the Lenaia in 416. He is also a prominent character in Aristophanes' comedy the Thesmophoriazusae.

Agesilaus II

Agesilaus II (; Greek: Ἀγησίλαος Agesilaos; c. 444/443 – c. 360 BC), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta and a member of the Eurypontid dynasty ruling from 398 to about 360 BC, during most of which time he was, in Plutarch's words, "as good as though commander and king of all Greece," and was for the whole of it greatly identified with his country's deeds and fortunes. Small in stature and lame from birth, Agesilaus became ruler somewhat unexpectedly in his mid-forties. His reign saw successful military incursions into various states in Asia Minor, as well as successes in the Corinthian War; however, several diplomatic decisions resulted in Sparta becoming increasingly isolated prior to his death at the age of 84 in Cyrenaica.

Agesilaus was greatly admired by his friend, the historian Xenophon, who wrote a minor work about him titled Agesilaus.

Ammonius Hermiae

Ammonius Hermiae (; Greek: Ἀμμώνιος ὁ Ἑρμείου Ammōnios ho Hermeiou; c. 440 – c. 520) was a Greek philosopher, and the son of the Neoplatonist philosophers Hermias and Aedesia. He was a pupil of Proclus in Athens, and taught at Alexandria for most of his life, writing commentaries on Plato, Aristotle, and other philosophers.


Antisthenes (; Greek: Ἀντισθένης; c. 445 – c. 365 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric under Gorgias before becoming an ardent disciple of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy.

Arsenius the Great

Saint Arsenius the Deacon, sometimes known as Arsenius of Scetis and Turah, Arsenius the Roman or Arsenius the Great, was a Roman imperial tutor who became an anchorite in Egypt, one of the most highly regarded of the Desert Fathers, whose teachings were greatly influential on the development of asceticism and the contemplative life.

His contemporaries so admired him as to surname him "the Great". His feast day is celebrated on May 8 in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox church, and on 13 Pashons in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Battle of Guoloph

The Battle of Guoloph took place in the 5th century. Various dates have been put forward: 440 AD by Alfred Anscombe, 437 AD according to John Morris, and 458 by Nikolai Tolstoy. It took place at what is now Nether Wallop, 15 kilometers southeast of Amesbury, in the district of Test Valley, northeastern Hampshire. The battle pitted a Britonnic alliance against invading Jutes and Saxons. The Britons were victorious.

Battle of the Utus

The Battle of the Utus was fought in 447 between the army of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, and the Huns led by Attila at what is today the Vit river in Bulgaria. It was the last of the bloody pitched battles between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Huns, as the former attempted to stave off the Hunnic invasion.

The details about Attila's campaign which culminated in the battle of Utus, as well as the events afterwards, are obscure. Only a few short passages from Byzantine sources (Jordanes' Romana, the chronicle of Marcellinus Comes, and the Paschal Chronicle) are available. As with the whole activity of Attila's Huns in the Balkans, the fragmentary evidence does not permit an undisputed reconstruction of the events.

Byzantine–Sasanian War of 440

The East Roman–Sassanid War of 440 was a short conflict between the East Roman Empire and the Sassanian Empire. The reason for its short ending was that the southern Roman provinces were being invaded by the Vandals, which forced the East Romans to sue for a quick end to the war to focus on the Vandal invasion. The Sassanians were also paid some money in return for peace.


Cynisca or Kyniska (Greek: Κυνίσκα; born c. 440 BC) was a Greek princess of Sparta. In 396 BC, she became the first woman in history to win at the ancient Olympic Games.

Diocese of Pannonia

The Diocese of Pannonia (Latin: Dioecesis Pannoniarum, lit. "Diocese of the Pannonias"), from 395 known as the Diocese of Illyricum, was a diocese of the Late Roman Empire. The seat of the vicarius (governor of the diocese) was Sirmium.


Glaucon (; Greek: Γλαύκων; c. 445 BC – 4th century BC) son of Ariston, was an ancient Athenian and the philosopher Plato's older brother. He is primarily known as a major conversant with Socrates in the Republic, and the interlocutor during the Allegory of the Cave. He is also referenced briefly in the beginnings of two dialogues of Plato, the Parmenides and Symposium.

Groans of the Britons

The Groans of the Britons (Latin: gemitus Britannorum) is the name of the final appeal made by the Britons to the Roman military for assistance against Pict and Scot raiders. The appeal is first referenced in Gildas' 6th-century De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae; Gildas' account was later repeated in Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. According to Gildas, the message was addressed to the general Flavius Aetius and requested his aid in defending formerly Roman Britain from the Picts and Scots. The collapsing Western Roman Empire had few military resources to spare during its decline, and the record is ambiguous on what the response to the appeal was, if any. According to Gildas and various later medieval sources, the failure of the Roman armies to secure Britain led the Britons to invite Anglo-Saxon mercenaries to the island, precipitating the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain.

Marcus Furius Camillus

Marcus Furius Camillus (; c. 446 – 365 BC) was a Roman soldier and statesman of patrician descent. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus triumphed four times, was five times dictator, and was honoured with the title of Second Founder of Rome.


Myrtis is the name given by archaeologists to an 11-year-old girl from ancient Athens, whose remains were discovered in 1994–95 in a mass grave during work to build the metro station at Kerameikos, Greece. The name was chosen from common ancient Greek names. The analysis showed that Myrtis and two other bodies in the mass grave had died of typhoid fever during the Plague of Athens in 430 BCE.The United Nations Regional Information Centre made Myrtis a friend of the Millennium Development Goals and used her in the UN campaign "We Can End Poverty".


Rhufoniog was a small sub-kingdom of the Dark Ages Gwynedd, and later a cantref in medieval Wales.

Samian War

The Samian War (440–439 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict between Athens and Samos. The war was initiated by Athens's intervention in a dispute between Samos and Miletus. When the Samians refused to break off their attacks on Miletus as ordered, the Athenians easily drove out the oligarchic government of Samos and installed a garrison in the city, but the oligarchs soon returned, with Persian support.

A larger Athenian fleet was dispatched to suppress this agitation. This fleet initially defeated the Samians and blockaded the city, but Pericles, in command, was then forced to lead a substantial portion of the fleet away upon learning that the Persian fleet was approaching from the south. Although the Persians turned back before the two fleets met, the absence of most of the Athenian fleet allowed the Samians to drive off the remaining blockaders and, for two weeks, control the sea around their island; upon Pericles's return, however, the Athenians again blockaded and besieged Samos; the city surrendered nine months later. Under the terms of the surrender, the Samians tore down their walls, gave up hostages, surrendered their fleet, and agreed to pay Athens a war indemnity over the next 26 years.

During the course of the war, the Samians had apparently appealed to Sparta for assistance; the Spartans were initially inclined to grant this request, and were prevented from doing so primarily by Corinth's unwillingness to participate in a war against Athens at the time. In 433 BC, when Corcyra requested Athenian assistance against Corinth, the Corinthians would remind the Athenians of the good will they had shown at this time.

Second Sacred War

The Second Sacred War took place during 449 BC and 448 BC and resulted in an indirect confrontation between Athens and Sparta during the First Peloponnesian War.

Vincent of Lérins

Saint Vincent of Lérins (Latin: Vincentius) who died c. 445, was a Gallic monk and author of early Christian writings. One example was the Commonitorium, c. 434, which offers guidance in the orthodox teaching of Christianity. A proponent of semipelagianism, he opposed the Augustinian model of Grace and was probably the recipient of Prosper of Aquitaine's Responsiones ad Capitula Objectionum Vincentianarum. His feast day is celebrated on 24 May.

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