Timeline of ancient Greece
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This is a timeline of Ancient Greece from 800 BC to 146 BC.
For Modern Greece after 1820, see Timeline of modern Greek history.
- Archaic Period (800 BC – 480 BC).
- 776 Traditional date for the first historic Olympic games.
- 757 The First Messenian War starts. (Date disputed by Jerome, Pausanias and Diodorus; this estimate is based on a reading of Diodorus' Spartan king lists and Pausanias' description of the war).
- 757 Athens: Office of Archon reduced to 10 years. Members of the ruling family to possess the office starting with Charops. (Dating based on Pausanias).
- 754 Polydorus becomes king of Sparta.
- 738 Alternate date for the end of the first Messenian war.
- 735 Perdiccas I of Macedon flees from Argos to Macedonia and conquers the land.
- 734 Polydorus sends colonists to Italy.
- 727–717 Hippomenes, archon of Athens, kills his daughter's adulterer by yoking him to his chariot and then locks his daughter in with a horse until she dies. (Pausanias and Aristotle).
- c. 725 Lelantine War between Chalcis and Eretria. Many Greek cities are allied with one or the other. Dates before this time uncertain.
- 719 Polydorus, king of Sparta, is murdered by Polymarchus.
- 716 According to legend: The reign of the Heraklids over Lydia is ended when Candaules, known as Myrsilus to the Greeks, is murdered by Gyges because of his wife’s anger.
- 690 Pheidon becomes tyrant of Argos.
- 687 Annual office of Archon established in Athens. Any Athenian citizen can be elected to the office if they have the qualifications. Creon elected first annual archon. (Dating based on Pausanias).
- 685 The second Messenian war begins.
- 665 The second Messenian war ends.
- 656 Cypselus subjects Corinth to tyranny.
- 645–560 Spartan wars with Tegea all unsuccessful.
- 642 or 634 Battus establishes a Greek colony in Cyrene in Libya.
- 632 Cylon, Athenian noble, seizes Acropolis and tries to make himself king, fails.
- 630 Formal pederasty is introduced, first in Crete, as a means of population control and an educational modality.
- 621 Draco, Athenian lawgiver, issues code of laws, with many crimes punishable by death.
- 594 Solon, Athenian statesman, becomes Archon pre-582BCE (cf. ML6 (death of Kypselos 585BCE) and Plutarch Sol. 14), captures Salamis from Megarians—later, when member of the Areopagus is appointed to effect social reforms in order to preserve order in Athens, which include the abolition of the security of debts on a debtor's person (Aristotle Ath. Pol. 6), returning exiled Athenian slaves (Solon fr. 4 in Ath. Pol. 12), changing the value of weights and measures to the Korinthian standard, prohibiting the export of grain from Attica and encouraging the planting of olives (Plut. Sol. 22-4), established the property classes (Ar. Ath. Pol. 7) and the council of 400 (Ar. Ath. Pol. 8).
- 590 Sappho, Greek poet, flourishes on island of Lesbos.
- 585 The philosopher Thales of Miletus predicts a solar eclipse that occurs during the Battle of Halys.
- 569 Pythagoras is born.
- 565 Peisistratos, Athenian general, organizes Diakrioi, party of poor people.
Late Archaic Period
- 561 Peisistratos takes power in Athens for first time.
- 555 Peisistratos driven out by Lycurgus who is commander of nobles.
- 549 Peisistratos restored by help of Megacles.
- 546 Croesus, rich king of Lydia, captured at Sardis by Persians.
- 542 Peisistratos expelled, makes fortune from Thracian mines.
- 532 Peisistratos restored by Thessaly and Lygdamis of Naxos.
- 527 Peisistratos dies, succeeded by sons Hippias and Hipparchus.
- 525 Persian Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great takes Egypt.
- 515 Hippias becomes sole ruler after the death of Hipparchus.
- 510 Pythagoras establishes his own school.
- 508 Hippias is forced to leave Athens.
- 507 Cleisthenes, Greek reformer, takes power, increases democracy.
- 500 Pythagoras dies in Crotona, Italy, when he was in Metapontum.
- 490 Themistocles and Miltiades, Athenians, defeat Darius at Marathon, Phidippides runs with news.
- 484 Aeschylus, Athenian playwright wins his first victory at the City Dionysia.
- Classical period (480 BC – 323 BC).
- 480 Leonidas, Spartan, sacrifices 300 Spartan soldiers at the Battle of Thermopylae so main force can escape; Xerxes son of Darius is commanding the Persians.
- 480 Simultaneous with Thermopylae, the Greeks and Persians fight to a draw in the naval Battle of Artemisium.
- 480 Battle of Salamis: Themistocles, Athenian general, lures Persians into Bay of Salamis, Xerxes loses and goes home, leaves behind Mardonius.
- 479 Pausanias, Greek general routs Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea.
- 479 Battle of Mycale frees Greek colonies in Asia. After the Battle of Salamis, Athens initiated the Delian League, with treasury initially on island of Delos, a confederacy of cities around the Aegean Sea. It was intended as a military defense association against Persia but became controlled by the Athenians, who collected tribute and decided policy. Sparta formed rival Peloponnesian League.
- 476–462 Cimon elected general each year, he was victorious over Persia and then enforced military power on Delian League.
- 474 Pindar, Greek poet relocates to Thebes (in Greece) from court at Syracuse.
- 471 Themistocles ostracized.
- 468 Sophocles, Greek playwright, defeats Aeschylus for Athenian Prize for drama.
- 461 Cimon ostracized.
- 457 Pericles, Athenian statesman begins Golden Age, he was taught by Anaxagoras, who believed in dualistic Universe and atoms.
- 456 Aeschylus dies.
- 449 Herodotus, Greek Historian, writes History of Greco-Persian War from 490–479.
- 448 Ictinus and Callicrates, Greek architects, rebuild Acropolis from Persian destruction.
- 441 Euripides, Greek playwright, wins Athenian prize.
- 440 Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, teaches that everything is mutable.
- 435 Phidias, Greek sculptor, completes statue of Zeus at Elis, 1 of 7 wonders of the world.
- 433 Corinth, Sparta, Megara and Aegina ally against Corfu, Athens, Rhegium, and Leontini.
- 432 End of "Golden Age", Athens under Pericles blockades Potidaea (Battle of Potidaea), Corfu declares war on Corinth (Battle of Sybota).
- 431 Sparta commanded by King Archidamus II prepares to destroy Athens thus starting the Peloponnesian War.
- 431 Empedocles, Greek doctor, believes body has Four Temperaments.
- 430 Failed peace mission by Athens, bubonic plague year, Sparta takes no prisoners.
- 430 Leucippus, Greek philosopher, believes every natural event has natural cause. Athenian Plague begins in Athens.
- 429 Phormio, Athenian admiral, wins the Battle of Chalcis.
- 429 Pericles dies of Athenian Plague, possibly typhus or bubonic plague.
- 429 Hippocrates, Greek doctor, believes diseases have physical cause.
- 428 Plato born.
- 428 Mytilene rebels, chief city of Lesbos.
- 427 Archidamus II dies, Alcidas, Greek admiral sent to help Lesbos, raids Ionia and flees after seeing Athenian might. Athenian Plague returns.
- 427 Mytilene surrenders to Athens, Plataeans surrender to Athens.
- 427 Aristophanes, Greek playwright, wins Athenian Prize.
- 426 Corfu secures island for Athens.
- 426 Demosthenes, Athenian general, and Cleon, Athenian demagogue, revitalizes Athenian forces, makes bold plans opposed by Nicias, his first military campaign barely succeeds.
- 425 Athenian fleet bottles up Spartan navy at Navarino Bay, Nicias resigns.
- 424 Syracuse sends Athenians home.
- 424 Pagondas of Thebes (in Greece) crushes Athenian army at the Battle of Delium, Brasidas a Spartan general makes a successful campaign, Cleon exiles Thucydides for 20 years for arriving late.
- 423 Truce of Laches supposed to stop Brasidas but doesn't, Nicias commands Athenian forces in retaking Mende.
- 422 Cleon meets Brasidas outside of Amphipolis, both are killed (Battle of Amphipolis).
- 421 Peace of Nicias brings temporary end to war, but Alcibiades, a nephew of Pericles, makes anti-Sparta alliance.
- 420 Quadruple alliance of Athens, Argos, Mantinea, and Elis confronts Spartan-Boeotian alliance.
- 419 King Agis II of Sparta attacks Argos, makes treaty.
- 418 Battle of Mantinea, greatest land battle of war, gives Sparta victory over Argos, which violated treaty, Alcibiades thrown out, alliance ended.
- 416 Alcibiades makes plans, is restored to power.
- 416 Massacre of the Melians.
- 415 Hermai statues are mutilated in Athens, Alcibiades accused, asks for inquiry, told to set sail for battle (Sicilian Expedition), is condemned to death in absentia, he defects to Sparta.
- 414 Lamachus, Athenian commander killed at Syracuse.
- 413 Nicias and Demosthenes killed at Syracuse.
- 412 Alcibiades is expelled from Sparta, conspires to come back to Athens.
- 411 Democracy ends in Athens by Antiphon, Peisander, and Phrynichus (oligarch), overthrown by Theramenes, Constitution of the 5000, Athenian navy recalls Alcibiades, confirmed by Athenians.
- 410 After several successes, Athenian demagogue Cleophon rejects Spartan peace offers.
- 409 Byzantium recaptured by Alcibiades for Athens.
- 408 Alcibiades reenters Athens in triumph, Lysander, a Spartan commander, has fleet built at Ephesus.
- 407 Lysander begins destruction of Athenian fleet, Alcibiades stripped of power.
- 406 Callicratides, Spartan naval commander, loses Battle of Arginusae over blockade of Mitylene harbor, Sparta sues for peace, rejected by Cleophon.
- 405 The naval Battle of Aegospotami in which Lysander captures the Athenian fleet, Spartan king Pausanias besieges Athens, Cleophon executed, Corinth and Thebes demand destruction of Athens.
- 404 Athens capitulates April 25. Theramenes secures terms, prevents total destruction of Athens, Theramenes and Alcibiades are killed.
- 401 Thucydides, Greek historian, leaves account of "Golden Age of Pericles" and Peloponnesian War at his death (History of the Peloponnesian War).
- 400 Democritus, Greek philosopher, develops Atomic theory, believes cause and necessity, nothing comes out of nothing
- 399 Socrates, Greek philosopher, condemned to death for corrupting youth.
- 387 Peace of Antalcidas concluded between the Greeks and the Persians.
- 347 Plato, Greek philosopher, founder of Academy, dies.
- 342 Aristotle, Greek philosopher, begins teaching Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon.
- 338 King Philip II of Macedon defeats Athens and Thebes at Battle of Chaeronea August 2 and establishes League of Corinth during winter of 338 BC/337 BC.
- 336 Alexander succeeds father Philip II, who was assassinated by Pausanias of Orestis.
- 333 Alexander defeats Persians at Battle of Issus, Oct, but Darius III escapes.
- 332 Alexander conquers Egypt.
- 331 at Battle of Gaugamela October 1, Alexander ends Achaemenid Dynasty and conquers Persian Empire.
- 329 Alexander conquers Samarkand.
- 327 Alexander invades northern India, but his army is despondent and refuses to march further eastwards.
- Hellenistic period (323 BC – 146 BC).
- 323 King Alexander dies, his generals vie for power in Wars of the Diadochi:Antigonus—Macedon, Antipater—Macedon, Seleucus—Babylonia and Syria, Ptolemy—Egypt, Eumenes—Macedon, Lysimachus, later Antipater's son Cassander also vies for power.
- 323–322 Lamian War.
- 322–320 First War of the Diadochi.
- 320 Partition of Triparadisus.
- 320–311 Second War of the Diadochi.
- 316 Menander, Greek playwright, wins Athenian prize.
- 310 Zeno of Citium founds his stoic school in Athens.
- 307 Epicurus founds his philosophic school in Athens.
- 301 Battle of Ipsus.
- 300 Euclid, Greek mathematician, publishes Elements, treating both geometry and number theory (see also Euclidean algorithm).
- 295 Athens falls to Demetrius, Lachares killed.
- 281 Creation of the Achaean League.
- 280–275 Pyrrhic War.
- 279 Gallic invasion of the Balkans.
- 274–271 First Syrian War.
- 267–262 Chremonidean War.
- 265 Archimedes, Greek mathematician, develops Archimedes' screw, specific gravity, center of gravity; anticipates discoveries of integral calculus.
- 260–253 Second Syrian War.
- 246–241 Third Syrian War.
- 219–217 Fourth Syrian War.
- 214–205 First Macedonian War.
- 203–200 Fifth Syrian War.
- 200–196 Second Macedonian War.
- 192–188 Roman–Syrian War.
- 172–167 Third Macedonian War.
- 170–168 Sixth Syrian War.
- 150–148 Fourth Macedonian War.
- Wasson, Ruck, Hofmann, The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978. ISBN 0-15-177872-8.