We learn from History that we never learn anything from history. — G. W. F. Hegel

Timelines of Ancient Greece

    Gods and Myths     Heroes and Monsters     Homeric Epics     Early City-States     Persian War     Athenian Empire     Late Classical     Hellenistic Era

Early City-States—800 to 500 B.C.

Rise of Sparta to Reforms of Cleisthenes


BC YearEvent
884 Lycurgus establishes the Laws of Sparta.
776 First Olympiad.
743-742 First Messenian War: Sparta conquers Messenia, enslaves Helots.
680 King Pheidon leads Argos to power, encourages Helots to revolt against Sparta.
685-668 Second Messenian War: Sparta reconquers Messenia.
Aristomenes, Messenian hero, holds out for eleven years on Mt. Ira.
621 Draco writes down the Laws of Athens.
594 Solon revises the laws of Athens to relieve debtors.
561-510 Pisistratus, and his sons rule as populist tyrants in Athens.
550 Pisistratus returns to power after his first exile.
Pisistratus patronizes the arts, reduces taxes, makes Athens a center of culture.
528 Death of Pisistratus, power falls to his sons Hippias and Hipparchus.
514 Hipparchus is assassinated during Panathenaic festivities.
510 Sparta helps drive Hippias, tyrant of Athens, out of the city.
508 Cleisthenes makes democratic reforms to laws of Athens.
538-522 Polycrates reigns as tyrant of Samos.
540 Pythagoras, renowned mathematician and philosopher, teaches in Samos.

Persian War—560 to 472 B.C.

Rise of the Persia to Aftermath of Persian War


BC YearEvent
605-562 Reign of Nebuchadnezzar as King of Babylon (modern Iraq).
586 Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem, sends Jews into exile.
570-526 Reign of Amasis II as Last Pharaoh of Egypt.
585-549 Reign of Astyages as King of Media (modern Iran, Afghanistan).
560-546 Reign of Croesus as King of Lydia (modern Turkey).
559-539 Reign of Cyrus the Great as King of Persia (Middle East and Central Asia) .
550-526 Persian Wars of Conquest
549 Cyrus rebels against his grandfather Astyages, and unites kingdoms of Persia, Media.
546 Cyrus besieges the capital of Croesus and conquers Lydia.
539 Cyrus besieges Babylon and conquers the Babylonian Empire.
538 Cyrus releases the Jews from the "Babylonian Captivity".
529 Cyrus is killed during a campaign in Scythia.
526 Cambyses II invades and conquers Egypt.
529-522 Reign of Cambyses as King of Persia.
522-521 Smerdis the Magi usurps throne of Persia on the death of Cambyses.
521-486 Reign of Darius the Great as King of Persia.
521 Darius seizes the throne from the usurper Smerdis. marries the daughter of Cyrus.
521 Babylon revolts against Darius but is reconquered.
512 Darius campaigns in Scythia; is saved by Histiaeus.
500-479 Greco-Persian War
500 Ionian Revolt. Athens supports Ionian Greek's rebellion against Persia.
493 Mardonius leads Persia's first, failed invasion of Greece.
490 Persia's second invasion of Greece foiled by Athens' Victory at Marathon.
481 Persia's third and largest invasion of Greece led by Xerxes.
480 Battle of Thermopylae—three hundred Spartans perish holding the pass.
480 Battle of Salamis—great naval victory for Greece destroys Persian fleet.
479 Battle of Plataea—Persian driven from occupied territories of mainland Greece.
478 Pausanias, hero of Plataea, dies in disgrace.
460 Themistocles, hero of Salamis, dies in exile.

Athenian Empire—478 to 404 B.C.

Formation of Delian League to Fall of Athens


BC YearEvent
477 The Delian League of sea-faring Greek city-states is organized under the leadership of Athens.
475 Cimon conquers the pirates of Scyros and brings the bones Theseus back to Athens.
472 Themistocles, the hero of Salamis, is exiled from Athens.
467 Tragic playwright Aeschylus presents "Seven Against Thebes".
466 Delian Navy, under Cimon, destroys the Persian fleet at Eurymedon River
462 A widespread helot Rebellion, following a severe earthquake in Sparta, is put down.
456 The "long walls" from Athens to the port at Piraeus are completed.
453 Treasure of the Delian League is moved to Athens.
447 Construction begins on the Parthenon.
445-431 Pericles leads Athens during the "Golden Age" of the Athenian Empire.
445 "Peace of Pericles" leads to 14 years of peace between Spartan allies and Athens.
430 Phidias begins work on the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.
420 Herodotus completes work on "The Histories". .
431-404 Peloponnesian War, fought between Athenian Empire and cities allied with Sparta.
430 The plague at Athens kills thousands of besieged citizens, including Pericles.
428 A Revolt at Mytilene is crushed when the city attempts to rebel from the Athenian league.
427 Destruction of Plataea by Sparta.
425 Cleon leads Athens to victory over Sparta at the Battle of Sphacteria.
422 Warhawks Brasidas of Sparta and Cleon of Athens are killed at the Battle of Amphipolis
421 "Peace of Nicias" provides 6 year break in hostilities
415 Sicilian Expedition led by Nicias and Alcibiades ends in disaster for Athens.
406 Athenian generals are executed for dereliction of duty after their Victory at Arginusae.
405 Spartan hero Lysander destroys the Athenian fleet at the Battle of Aegos Potami.
404 Athens surrenders after city is besieged and port is blockaded by a Spartan fleet.
406 Death of Euripides great tragic playwright of the classical period.

Late Classical—404 to 338 B.C.

Thirty Tyrants in Athens to Battle of Chaeronea


BC YearEvent
404 Pro-Spartan government of the "Thirty Tyrants" oppresses popular Athenian leaders.
403 Thrasybulus, leader of the exiled Athenian democrats, overthrows the Thirty Tyrants.
401-399 Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greek soldiers from the heart of Persia, recorded by Xenophon.
401 Cyrus the Younger is killed, during a rebellion against Artaxerxes at the Battle of Cunaxa.
399 Socrates is condemned to death for "impiety and corruption of youth.".
393 Long walls of Athens are rebuilt.
387 Disastrous "Peace of Antalcidas" treaty ends the Corinthian War.
386 Dionysius the Elder comes to power as the tyrant of Syracuse.
385 Plato founds his Academy in Athens.
382 Spartans capture citadel at Thebes, install a puppet government.
379 Theban rebels, led by Pelopidas overthrow the pro-Spartan government.
373-363 Boeotian Wars destroys Spartan hegemony over Greece.
371 Theban general Epaminondas routes the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra.
364 Pelopidas is killed while fighting Alexander, despot of Phera.
362 Death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantinea ends Theban supremacy.
367 Dionysius the Younger succedes to power in Syracuse, after the death of his father.
357 Dion, an exiled minister, raises a fleet and overthrows of Syracuse.
357356 Athenian Social War disrupts Athens' effort to rebuild its empire.
355-352 Philip of Macedonia begins meddling in Greek affairs, by getting involved in the Sacred War.
338-335 Macedonian Conquest of Greece
338 Philip of Macedonia defeats Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea.
336 Philip of Macedonia is assassinated at a wedding.
335 Thebes is besieged and destroyed by Alexander after it rebels from Macedonia.
345-340 Third Carthaginian Invasion of Sicily
340 Timoleon drives Carthage out of Sicily at Battle of Crimesus.

Hellenistic Era—336 to 146 B.C.

Reign of Alexander to Rome Destroys Corinth


BC YearEvent
334-323 Alexander the Great leads Macedonian Conquest of Persia.
335 Alexander destroys Thebes when it rebels against Macedonia.
334 Alexander invades Persia. Battle of the Granicus delivers Asia Minor.
333 Alexander cuts Gordian Knot; Victory at Battle of Issus delivers Syria.
332 Siege of Tyre ends in a hard-won victory. Egypt opens its doors to Alexander.
331 Alexander meets Darius III in Battle of Guagamela (aka Arabela) —conquers all of Persia.
327 Alexander invades central Asia and conquers India at the Battle of Hydaspes.
323 Death of Alexander and the division of his Empire.
322 Demosthenes kills himself after failure of Greek Rebellion against Macedonia.
321-280 Wars of the Diadochi fought among Alexander's generals over control of his empire.
331 Ptolemy I wins control of Egypt at the Battle of Pelusium.
302 Seleucus wins control of Syria at the Battle of Ipsus, Antigonus I is killed.
281-271 Pyrrhus Conquers Southern Italy and much of Greece but fails to hold his territory.
200-146 Roman Macedonian Wars are fought for control Greece.
197 Romans punish the Macedonians for supporting Hannibal at the Battle of Cynoscephalae.
168 Romans, under Aemilius Paulus conquer Macedonia at the Battle of Pydna.
226-146 AD Achaean League Civil Wars are fought among Greek city states for control of the Peloponnese.
226 Spartans, under Cleomenes III destroy the Achaean league capital of Megalopolis.
221 The Achaeans, led by Aratus, ally with Macedonia to defeat Sparta.
183 Achaean League under Philopoemen defeats Nabis, the tyrant of Sparta.
146 Achaean League resists Roman domination and is defeated. Corinth is destroyed.