5th century BC

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Millennium: 1st millennium BC
Centuries:
Decades: 490s BC 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC
440s BC 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC
Categories: BirthsDeaths
EstablishmentsDisestablishments

The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC.

Overview[edit]

The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. Location 23°43'35.69"E 37°58'17.39"N

This century saw the ending[citation needed] of a period of philosophical brilliance among Western civilizations, particularly the Greeks which would continue all the way through the 4th century until the time of Alexander the Great. Ancient Greek philosophy developed during the 5th century BC, setting the foundation for Western ideology. In Athens and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world, the 5th century marked a high point in the development of political institutions, art, architecture, and literature.

The century was also notable for the Persian Wars, fought between the Greek cities and the vast Persian Empire. Determined to punish Athens for supporting a revolt by conquered Greek cities in Asia Minor, King Darius I sent several armies against them, only to have his plans first thwarted by a storm and later by a defeat at the Battle of Marathon. His son Xerxes attempted to finish the job 10 years later, and succeeded in capturing Athens and burning it to the ground, only to be defeated later on land at Plataea. In the latter part of the century the Greeks became locked in a bitter war among themselves, with the major cities Athens and Sparta competing for absolute domination. The Spartans were victorious in this battle.

Events[edit]

490s BC[edit]

480s BC[edit]

470s BC[edit]

460s BC[edit]

450s BC[edit]

440s BC[edit]

430s BC[edit]

420s BC[edit]

410s BC[edit]

  • 419 BC: The Peace of Nicias is broken when Sparta defeats Argos.
  • 418 BC: The Spartans win a major victory over the Athenians in the Battle of Mantinea, the biggest land battle of the Peloponnesian War.
  • 416 BC: The Athenians capture the island of Melos and treat the inhabitants with great cruelty.
  • 416 BC: The Athenians adheres a plea of help from Sicily and starts planning an invasion of the island.
  • 415 BC: The sacred Hermae busts in Athens are mutilated just before the expedition to Sicily is sent away. One of the culprits, Andocides, is captured and is forced to turn informer. He names the other mutilators, among them Alcibiades, who are sentenced to death in their absence.
  • 415 BC: Alcibiades defects from Athens to Sparta after having learned about his death sentence.
  • 414 BC: The Athenians try to make a breakthrough in their siege of Syracuse but are defeated by the Spartans.
  • 413 BC: Demosthenes suggests the Athenians leave Syracuse in order to return to Athens, where help is needed. However, Nicias refuses and they are again defeated in battle by the Spartans. Both Demosthenes and Nicias are killed.
  • 413 BC: Caria allies itself with Sparta.
  • 412 BC: The Persian Empire starts preparing an invasion of Ionia and signs a treaty with Sparta about it.
  • 411 BC: The democracy in Athens is overthrown and replaced by the oligarchic Council of Four Hundred. This council is itself soon defeated and order is almost restored, when the Five Thousand start ruling. Early next year, they are also overthrown and the old democracy is restored.
  • 410 BC: Athens regains control over its vital grain route from the Black Sea by defeating Sparta in the Battle of Cyzicus.

400s BC[edit]

  • 409 BC: Athens recaptures Byzantium, thereby putting an end to its revolt against Athens and taking control of the whole Bosporus.
  • 409 BC: The city of Rhodes is founded.
  • 409 BC: The Carthaginians invade Sicily.
  • 408 BC: The Persian king, Darius II, decides to aid Sparta in the war and makes his son Cyrus a satrap. However, Cyrus starts collecting an army to benefit his own interests, rather than his father's.
  • 408 BC: Alcibiades returns to Athens in triumph after an absence of seven years.
  • 407 BC: The Athenian fleet is routed by the Spartan one in the Battle of Notium, which gives Alcibiades' opponents a reason to strip him of command. He never returns to Athens again.
  • 406 BC: Athens defeats Sparta in the Battle of Arginusae and the blockade of Conon is lifted.
  • 406 BC: Sparta sues for peace, but Athens rejects this.
  • 406 BC: The Carthaginians once again invade Sicily and return to Carthage with spoils of war, but also with the plague.
  • 405 BC: The Spartan king Pausanias lays siege to Athens, which makes the city start starving.
  • 405 BC: Dionysius the Elder rises to power in Syracuse. He signs a peace with Carthage and starts consolidating and expanding his influence.
  • April 25, 404 BC: Athens surrenders to Sparta, ending the Peloponnesian War. Sparta introduces an oligarchic system, the Thirty Tyrants, in Athens.
  • 404 BC: Egypt rebels against Persian rule.
  • 403 BC: Some exiled Athenians return to fight the Thirty Tyrants and restore democracy in Athens. They are, however, narrowly defeated by the Spartans in the Battle of Piraeus. After this, the Spartan king Pausanias allows democracy to be restored in Athens.
  • 403 BC: Thrasybulus restores the Athenian democracy and grants an almost general amnesty.
  • 403 BC: The Athenians adopt the Ionian alphabet.
  • 401 BC: Cyrus the Younger rebels against the Persian king Artaxerxes II but is, however, eventually slain in battle.
  • 400 BC: After Cyrus has been killed, his Greek mercenaries make their way back to Greece, where Sparta is so impressed with their feats in and march through Persia that they declare war on the Persians.
  • 400 BC: The Carthaginians occupy Malta.
  • 400 BC: The Egyptians successfully revolt against Persian rule.
  • 400 BC: London has its origins as far back as this time.
  • 400 BC: Jōmon period ends in Ancient Japan.

Significant people[edit]

Visual arts[edit]

Literature[edit]

Science and philosophy[edit]

Inventions, discoveries, introductions[edit]

A Maya calendar

Decades and years[edit]