In the year 4 BC...
- The Scythians conquer the Crimea from the Cimmerians, establishing a kingdom which would endure for more than 300 years until being overrun by the Goths in the 4th century.
- The Beja Dynasty innaugurates its rule over the Kush region of northeastern Africa, in what is now Sudan.
- Ise Shrine, the oldest and most important Shinto shrine in Japan, is said to have been constructed.
- In China, Han Dynasty emperor Ai begins a homosexual relationship with a minor official named Dong Xian, elevating Dong to a series of major posts and setting off a chain of events that will eventually precipitate the seizure of power by Wang Mang in AD 9.
- Abgar V, known to Christians as Abgar of Edessa from a famous story about Abgar's plea to Jesus to heal him of a sickness, succeeds to the throne of the Syriac kingdom of Osrhoene.
- The town of Nice is founded by Roman settlers in what is now southern France.
- Equestrian events are reintroduced at the 194th Olympic Games in Greece, having been eliminated in 68 BC due to cost concerns.
These people were born in 4 BC:
These people died in 4 BC:
- Herod the Great, Roman client-king of Judea, succeeded by three of his sons, who divide the kingdom.
- Herod's son Antipater, executed on Roman orders for the attempted murder of his father.
- Marcus Tullius Tiro, Cicero's slave, secretary, confidant, and posthumous biographer, and the inventor of Tironian Shorthand, at the age of 100.
- Feng Yuan concubine to Han emperor Yuan, mother of Prince Xing and grandmother of Han emperor Ping.
5 BC - 4 BC - 3 BC
1st century BC
A Note on dating the birth of Jesus:
4 BC is the latest date Jesus could have been born, because Herod the Great died that year. It is also the earliest date he could have been born because Luke states that he was 30 years old when he died, but Pontius Pilate was not appointed governor of Judea until AD 26. These dates are generally accepted among historians, and are not especially controversial even among Christians because the Bible does not fix a precise date for Jesus's birth or death. The dating of the birth of Jesus to the year 1 BC is based on erroneous calculations made by the Dacian monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525.